A professional laser cutting machine is one which employs the use of 2D software commands to either cut or engrave materials. Such machines are well known for flawless works that bear detailed designs which are beautiful to the eye. The devices use a powerful laser which is aimed at the material area resulting in either cuts or engravings.
The most commonly used laser is the CO2 sourced laser as it employs more speed in cutting materials. It also has the capability of cutting more materials at once, therefore, making it more reliable and efficient. The machine is also quite easy to operate when compared to the other types of lasers.
With the use of a fibre laser however to engrave plastics, one can come up with a range of commercially used products. The plastic varieties include polyamide, ABS and polycarbonate. The laser cutting will deliver quick, permanent as well as high-quality products. Examples of products which are resultant of plastic laser engraving include electric plugs, plastic housings, tools and their handles as well as computer keyboards.
The task of laser cutting plastics also involves a segment known as laser engraving where small cuts are made on the surface of the plastic materials to form markings. Some of the methods which are used to achieve this include foaming, carbonising and removing.
Foaming is a process where plastics are marked with the laser to leave visible marks. It is also regarded as laser induced-boiling, which is used to melt the surface of the plastic material. After the laser induced-boiling, rapid cooling is allowed, which causes bubbles to be encapsulated in the plastic material. The bubbles eventually leave behind a tangible and positive mark on the plastic. The laser cutting machine utilises longer pulses as well as low power levels. Depending on the materials that have been used, the marks made might either be light or dark.
In the process of carbonising, sharp contrasts are created on the bright surface of the material. Here, the laser is used to heat up the surface of the material. In the process, there is an emission of hydrogen, oxygen or a combination of both. The plastic product has a greater carbon concentration, making it darker than the rest of the surface. The laser cutting machine is used with little energy, which results in longer cutting times when compared to other processes.
Removing is a process used to create marks on plastics that have multiple layers. It can also be referred to as laminates. In this process, the laser beam from the machine is used to remove the top layers applied to the base material. The resultant product will, therefore, have different colour contrasts due to the already cut off layers.