Laser cutting of polycarbonate - advantages and disadvantages
Polycarbonate is a universal building material that is used for the most different repair needs. Transparent, durable or even colored material is used for the construction of greenhouse buildings and finishing the kitchen apron. For all types of work, the user is faced with the fact that it is required to cut the plastic. Laser cutting polycarbonate is the best method, albeit relatively expensive.
Polycarbonate is distinguished as cellular and monolithic.
The first one can be cut with even the simplest clerical knife, but the monolithic variety is quite strong, and it will take effort to cut it. If it is required to cut a complex (in terms of configuration) part from plastic, problems may arise with cutting. In the latter case, simple tools, for example, a hacksaw or even a metal saw, are almost unsuitable. But laser cutting is the ideal solution.
The fact is that a high-temperature plasma beam with a diameter of 0.
004 does not cut, but melts the material with incredible ease and precision. Even gas lasers with a power of 50 to 15,000 W are used for the procedure, which makes it possible to successfully process products with any thickness.
Laser cutting of monolithic polycarbonate has many advantages:
The disadvantages of this method include a rather difficult access, and laser cutting is offered in relatively large cities.
High productivity, efficiency and extraordinary high cutting precision are the most significant advantages of the process. Together with other properties, they determine a wide area of use. Depending on the power, the beam can melt building materials with varying degrees of strength, thickness and structure. Laser cutting makes it possible to work with metals - both soft and very hard, with all types of plastics, even wood.Today the laser machine is the most unpopular and optimal method for cutting sheets of all kinds of material.
Accordingly, the method is applied in all possible areas:
The only limitation for using this method is the large thickness. At the same time, this has nothing to do with monolithic plastic.
Laser cutting of solid polycarbonate is quite simple.
Most of the cutting steps for polycarbonate are automatic. The process will include three stages:
Thickness is the only thing that matters to the cutting process, as different material densities require lasers with varying power levels. The other two parameters are important for quality performance, because the finished product must meet certain functional and aesthetic requirements.
The laser-type machine is set up with the operator. The parameters for carrying out tasks depend on the type of material. For example, when cutting metallized polycarbonate, it is required to reduce the speed of the beam from the laser in order not to spoil the metallized layer.
When selecting tools, it is important to take into account dimensions, sheet thickness and cutting complexity. Monolithic thin sheets are much more convenient to separate with a construction knife.
Prepare straight cuts very conveniently with a circular and a grinder. For the design of rounded shapes, it is preferable to use an electric jigsaw. If the polycarbonate surface has a laminated or mirror finish, it is required to lay the decorative side up before cutting. If you need to make curly holes, in that place you need to drill through the polycarbonate with a drill on a material such as metal. It should not go beyond the contour line of the figure being made.
The same drill is required to make a small-sized partition.
When preparing the hole, insert a jigsaw file or a sharp utility knife. Then begin to carefully cut out the shape, and this work takes a lot of time and effort. And in order not to waste your own nerves and energy, it is best to use laser cutting. In the process of cutting a monolithic / cellular sample, it is extremely important to adhere to some recommendations, due to which the result will exceed all expectations:
It is recommended to lay out plywood or chipboard on a clean surface and lay out such material as polycarbonate on top.
Laser cutting of polycarbonate is the optimal method of material processing. It is able to provide the maximum accuracy of cutting plastic, and also makes it possible to obtain products with a very complex configuration and based on materials of any thickness.
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