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CNC  Plasma Cutting and Engraving:

What is plasma?

To Properly explain how a plasma cutter works, we must begin by answering the basic question “What is plasma?  In its simplest terms, plasma is the fourth state of matter. We commonly think of matter having three states: a solid, a liquid, and a gas. Matter changes from one state to the other through the introduction of energy, such as heat.  For example, water will change from a solid (ice) to its liquid state when a certain amount of heat is applied. If the heat levels are increased, it will change again from a liquid to a gas (steam).  Now, if the heat levels increase again, the gases that make up the steam will become ionized and electrically conductive, becoming plasma.  A plasma cutter will use this electrically conductive gas to transfer energy from a power supply to any conductive material, resulting in a cleaner, faster cutting process than with oxyfuel.

The plasma arc formation begins when a gas such as oxygen, nitrogen, argon, or even shop air is forced through a small nozzle orifice inside the torch. An electric arc generated from the external power supply is then introduced to this high pressured gas flow, resulting in what is commonly referred to as a “plasma jet”.  The plasma jet immediately reaches temperatures up to 40,000° F, quickly piercing through the work piece and blowing away the molten material.

Plasma cutting is a process that cuts through electrically conductive materials by means of an accelerated jet of hot plasma. Typical materials cut with a plasma torch include steel, Stainless steel, aluminum, brass and copper, although other conductive metals may be cut as well.

Plasma cutting is often used in fabrication shops, automotive repair and restoration, industrial construction, and salvage scrapping operations and General signage applications.

Due to the high speed and precision cuts combined with low cost, plasma cutting sees widespread use from large-scale industrial CNC applications down to small hobbyist shops.

Our Machine Bed / Cut size  is 1200mm x 120000mm – Any items larger than that we will outsource this for you……

 

CNC  Laser Cutting:

Laser cutting is a technology that uses a laser to cut materials, and is typically used for industrial manufacturing applications, but is also starting to be used by schools, small businesses, and hobbyists. Laser cutting works by directing the output of a high-power laser most commonly through optics. The laser optics and CNC (computer numerical control) are used to direct the material or the laser beam generated. A typical commercial laser for cutting materials involved a motion control system to follow a CNC or G-code of the pattern to be cut onto the material. The focused laser beam is directed at the material, which then either melts, burns, vaporizes away, or is blown away by a jet of gas,[1] leaving an edge with a high-quality surface finish. Industrial laser cutters are used to cut flat-sheet material as well as structural and piping materials.

 

Our Machine Bed / Cut size  is 1200mm x 900mm – Any items larger than that we will out source this for you……

 

Safe Cutting Materials:

Many woods  Avoid oily/resinous woods.  Be very careful about cutting oily woods, or  very resinous woods as they also may  catch fire.

Plywood/Composite  woods . These contain glue, and may not laser cut as well as  solid wood.
MDF/Engineered woods  These are okay to use but may experience a higher  amount of charring when cut.
Paper, card stock  Cuts very well on the laser cutter, and also very  quickly.
Cardboard, carton  Cuts well but may catch fire.  Watch for fire.
Cork  Cuts nicely, but the quality of the cut depends on the  thickness and quality of the cork. Engineered cork has  a lot of glue in it, and may not cut as well.
Avoid thicker cork.
Acrylic/Lucite/Plexiglas/ PMMA . Cuts extremely well leaving a beautifully polished  edge.
Thin Polycarbonate  Sheeting (<1mm)  Very thin polycarbonate can be cut, but tends to  discolor badly. Extremely thin sheets (0.5mm and less)  may cut with yellowed/discolored edges.  Polycarbonate absorbs IR strongly, and is a poor  material to use in the laser cutter.
Watch for smoking/burning
Delrin (POM)  Delrin comes in a number of shore strengths  (hardness) and the harder Delrin tends to work better.  Great for gears!
Kapton tape (Polyimide)  Works well, in thin sheets and strips like tape.
Mylar  Works well if it’s thin. Thick mylar has a tendency to  warp, bubble, and curl
Gold coated mylar will not work.
Solid Styrene  Smokes a lot when cut, but can be cut.  Keep it thin.
Depron foam  Used a lot for hobby, RC aircraft, architectural models,  and toys. 1/4″ cuts nicely, with a smooth edge.
Must be constantly monitored.

Gator foam  Foam core gets burned and eaten away compared to  the top and bottom hard paper shell.
Not a fantastic thing to cut, but it can be  cut if watched.
Cloth/felt/hemp/cotton  They all cut well. Our lasers can be used in  lace-making.
Not plastic coated or impregnated cloth!
Leather/Suede  Leather is very hard to cut, but can be if it’s thinner  than a belt (call it 1/8″)
Real leather only! ​Not​ ‘pleather’ or other  imitations .. they are made of PVC.
Magnetic Sheet  Cuts beautifully
NON-CHLORINE-containing rubber
Fine for cutting.  Beware chlorine-containing rubber!
Carbon fiber mats/weave, that has ​not​ had epoxy  applied Can be cut, very slowly.  You must not cut carbon fiber that has  been coated!!
Coroplast (‘corrugated  plastic’)
Difficult because of the vertical strips. Three passes at  80% power, 7% speed, and it will be slightly connected  still at the bottom from the vertical strips.

Engraving
All the above “cuttable” materials can be engraved, In addition, you can engrave:
Glass  Green seems to work  best…looks  sandblasted.
Flat glass,  bottles glasses and Ceramic tiles
Anodized aluminum  Vaporizes the  anodization away.
Painted/coated  metals Vaporizes the paint  away.
Stone, Marble,  Granite, Soapstone,  Onyx. Gets a white “textured”  look when etched.

 

NEVER CUT THESE MATERIALS:

 

PVC (Poly Vinyl  Chloride)/vinyl/pleather/artificial  leather Emits chlorine gas  when cut!
Thick ( >1mm )  Polycarbonate/Lexan, Cuts very poorly,  discolors, catches  fire
Polycarbonate is often found as flat, sheet material.  The window of the laser cutter is made of  Polycarbonate because ​polycarbonate strongly  absorbs infrared radiation!​ This is the frequency of  light the laser cutter uses to cut materials, so it is very  ineffective at cutting polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is  a poor choice for laser cutting. It creates long stringy  clouds of soot that float up, ruin the optics and mess  up the machine.
ABS  Melts / Cyanide  ABS does not cut well in a laser cutter. It tends to  melt rather than vaporize, and has a higher chance of  catching on fire and leaving behind melted gooey  deposits on the vector cutting grid. It also does not  engrave well (again, tends to melt). Cutting ABS  plastic emits hydrogen cyanide, which is unsafe at  any concentration.
HDPE/milk bottle plastic  Catches fire and  melts , It gets gooey. It catches fire. Don’t use it.
PolyStyrene Foam  Catches fire  It catches fire quickly, burns rapidly, it melts, and only  thin pieces cut. This is the #1 material that causes  laser fires!!!
PolyPropylene Foam  Catches fire  Like PolyStyrene, it melts, catches fire, and the melted  drops continue to burn and turn into rock-hard drips  and pebbles.
Epoxy  burn / smoke  Epoxy is an aliphatic resin, strongly cross-linked  carbon chains. A CO2 laser can’t cut it, and the  resulting burned mess creates toxic fumes ( like  cyanide! ). Items coated in Epoxy, or cast Epoxy  resins must not be used in the laser cutter. 
Fiberglass  Emits fumes  It’s a mix of two materials that cant’ be cut. Glass  (etch, no cut) and epoxy resin (fumes)
Coated Carbon Fiber  Emits noxious fumes  A mix of two materials. Thin carbon fiber mat can be  cut, with some fraying – but not when coated.
Any foodstuff ( such as meat,  seaweed ‘nori’ sheets, cookie  dough, bread, tortillas!

ADDED SERVICES

CNC Routing Service – Now Also available in house on various materials in 2D or 2.5D

 – Our bed / cutting size is 1200mmx600mm.

 

 3D Printing – Now Also available in house – Our Bed / Printing size is 200mmx280mm.

 

 Regards to our Laser Cutting / Engraving / Plasma Cutting / Routing / 3D Printing Services, Please get in contact with us for a Quote.

 

 We able to also supply various materials – Send us your design or let us do a design for you.

 Please note redrawing or creating a design for you may reflect extra charges depending on time spent creating each unique custom design your heart desires!