Views: 0 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2022-12-27 Origin: Site
Much has changed since the introduction of lasers as a tool for paper cutting nearly thirty-five years ago. Advances in laser technology and paper handling have combined to lower equipment costs and increase both speed and capacity. And now that more is generally understood about the advantages and applications of this process, it rapidly is becoming the tool of choice for many diecutting operations where extremely detailed work is required. Laser cutting is a process that becomes essential when, for a variety of reasons, the requirements of a job exceed the capability of a blade cut.
How the Process Works
In simplest terms, laser cutters use a focused beam of light to scan art onto, or completely through, material. No physical cutting tools make contact with the stock. Therefore, the level of detail possible in a laser-cut design is primarily limited by the durability required of the finished piece. Designs are created by moving the target sheet under a stationary beam, moving a beam over a stationary target sheet, or by a hybrid system utilizing a combination of both actions.
The method is called a Galvo and has two XY mirrors, driven by small devices called galvanometers, which remain in one position over a stationary target sheet and steer the beam by changing its angles. Because the mirrors remain in the same location over the target sheet, the angle of the beam becomes increasingly oblique as the cut area’s diameter becomes larger. A Galvo’s beam can follow a vectored path faster than the eye can follow because its movement is only limited by the inertia of the small lightweight mirrors directing it. The angular change in the cutting beam unfortunately does limit the material thickness that can be successfully cut and also the size of the overall scan area. Galvo systems are extremely fast when the art being cut is a continuous vector, but it must power down the beam at the end of each cut and power up again after it moves to the next target cut. So, the complexity of the cut art, total length of the cut, and number of holes being cut determine the production speed.
Choosing a paper stock for a laser cut project is extremely important as most stocks are produced for qualities other than laser compatibility. Most are formulated for an ability to be embossed, diecut, or scored cleanly, in addition to handling the specific requirements of whatever printing will be used.