If you ever ask yourself if you should use plasma or laser cutting, then follow along to figure out the differences between plasma and laser cutting.
You’ll often find the terms plasma cutting and laser cutting used interchangeably. They are similar but use different methods to perform the cutting processes. Read on to understand the differences between plasma cutting and laser cutting.
Laser cutting originated in the 1960s. The use of amplified laser light characterizes it. Laser cutting utilizes a computer for intense accuracy when cutting pieces: known as computer numerical control, or CNC. This focuses on a tiny point with the aid of optics. It then becomes smaller and hotter as the light enters the optics. The centered beam cuts through workpieces.
Laser cutting uses three key varieties:
- Neodymium (Nd)
- Yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Nd:YAG)
Each of the different lasers has definite benefits and drawbacks. CO2 lasers are perfect for cutting and inscription. Nd lasers are ideal for cutting products that involve a considerable amount of force. All three lasers use a magnified laser beam to cut.
Plasma cutting originated in the 1950s. It’s an alternate cutting method, and the use of a plasma torch characterizes it. The plasma torch produces a fiery stream of plasma that can melt through the toughest materials. It will project a combination of gases out of the nozzle, which creates plasma.
Plasma doesn’t use a flame or fire: it uses ionized gas, or another name for plasma. Plasma is excruciatingly hot, and temperatures fluctuate depending on which torch you use. It’s not unusual for ionized gas to achieve upwards of 40,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
When working with a plasma cutter, workers must wear personal protective equipment to protect themselves from arc eye. The injury arc eye occurs when you don’t protect your eyes from high radiation levels. It’s also known as photokeratitis or ultraviolet keratitis. Laser cutting does not emit or produce radiation.
The Key Difference
Both are capable of cutting metal workpieces; although, they work in different ways. Plasma machines cut plasma, and lasers project amplified laser light. This is the major difference between plasma cutting and laser cutting.