What is Laser Cutting?
Laser cutting, as the name suggests, is a form of cutting materials using the powerful beam of a laser. It is one of the most commonly used forms of digital fabrication. Needless to say, it is used often for industrial manufacturing, but is also commonly used by individuals for a variety of uses. Laser cutters can cut all sorts of materials, from thick paper to pieces of metal. One draw back, arguably, is that it cannot cut through very deep materials. In these cases however, a CNC mill will most likely be used.
There are three laser cutters at Slocum Hall. Two of the laser cutters have 50 Watt lasers while the third is equipped with a 60 Watt laser. The laser cutters can cut one sheet of material at a time. The size of the bed is 18” by 32”. While this is a big sized bed size, it is often problematic for students when trying to plan their models. It is not uncommon to see laser cutters at even a bigger scale.
The cost to laser cut is $0.20 per minute. You need an architectural student account in order to have laser cuts. (I will research farther into if other students can use these forms of digital fabrication without architectural accounts). With the high demand of laser cutting, during finals week, the laser cut will often have waiting periods of up to a few days.
The laser cutter at Falso Industries is, as one might expect, at an industrial level. This means that the bed is much larger, and the laser is much stronger. They are able to cut stainless steel, carbon steel and aluminum. Once again, this raises prices, but significantly raises quality.
Because of the large variety of materials that can be cut at Falso Industries, the best way to get an idea of pricing for the laser cutter is through direct contact. The customer services is extremely helpful and the turn around for a quote is very fast.
The laser cutter available at the warehouse is very similar to that which is in Slocum Hall. The bed size is 32” by 18”, providing the same services as Slocum Hall. However, the Warehouse laser cutter is operated by students at later hours of the night. This allows for a longer work period and the potential to receive work sooner.
While the technology of the laser cutter is almost the same as the one in Slocum, the Warehouse actually charges more per minute. Part of the underlying reason for this is the majority of the labor to run the machines is done by students. The Warehouse charges $0.25/minute, 5 cents more expensive per minute than Slocum Hall.
Examples of Laser Cutting