Watch a video of a CNC laser cutting machine.
- Today, we're here at Fabcor Precision Sheet Metal and Manufacturing. It's a local manufacturer of sheet metal parts based in Orange County, California. Today we're gonna be looking at the laser, and behind me we have setup to cut this part right here. It's about eighth of an inch thick and solid steel, and let's go ahead and cut a part. Laser cutting machines are extremely versatile, and can cut a variety of materials. This machine is a four kilowatt machine, and can cut one-inch thick steel.
It can also cute stainless steel, aluminum, copper, and many other materials. Wood and plastic can also be cut, as well as glass. By focusing light into a small area, the material melts, and a stream of assist gas cuts through the material. Typically nitrogen or oxygen are used, depending upon the material to be cut. The key benefit of using lasers, is there's really no tooling, and very minimal setup. The process is simple. First, we need to generate a 2D CAD file. The file formats we can use are .dwg, .dxf, .ai, a .svg file, or just about any other vector format out there, we can work with.
Secondly, we need to take that 2D file, and import it into the laser software to generate the G-Code that drives the machine. Finally, we need to load both the program and the material, make sure we've got the correct gas, as well as the correct nozzle, in the machine. The laser makes it easy to quickly develop and cut parts. It allows you as the designer to design without limits. Also, lasers excel at cutting parts that have free-form curves, and odd size radiuses. These can be trouble for most of the processes, but easy for a laser. Here's an example of some parts that can be cut with a laser.
We can cut from very thin gauge steel parts, to aluminum, to stainless steel, intricate sheet metal parts, to heavier gauge steel structural parts, all the way up to 3/4-inch thick steel plate.
First, review the sheet metal tools in SOLIDWORKS and the properties that make sheet metal unique: bend radius, K-factor, bend deduction, gauge thickness, and more. Then learn how to create basic parts, with base features, flanges, and bends that add strength and connections. Find out how to flatten parts and add holes, cuts, and corners that are manufacturing ready, and use the Convert to Sheet Metal command to convert imported geometry into native sheet metal parts. Gabriel also shows you how to create assemblies from multiple parts, use the Pattern and Mirrors tools to effortlessly duplicate existing work, and then document your designs with detailed sheet metal drawings. Watch the bonus videos to learn about the different machinery and processes that occur during manufacturing.
- Sheet metal tools in SOLIDWORKS
- Sheet metal manufacturing: Laser cutting, CNC machining, welding, and more
- Creating base features
- Creating flanges and tabs
- Making cuts and corners
- Using the Convert to Sheet Metal command
- Building multi-body parts
- Creating forming tools
- Forming across a bend
- Building an assembly
- Creating parts in an assembly
- Creating sheet metal drawings
Skill Level Intermediate
Designing a Sheet Metal Enclosure with SOLIDWORKSwith Gabriel Corbett2h 31m Intermediate
Cert Prep: SOLIDWORKS Sheet Metalwith Gabriel Corbett1h 34m Intermediate
Cert Prep: SOLIDWORKS Weldmentswith Gabriel Corbett1h 26m Intermediate
1. Interface and Sheet Metal Basics
2. Sheet Metal Flanges
3. Sheet Metal Cuts and Corners
4. Converting to Sheet Metal
5. Multibody Parts
6. Forming Tools
7. Sheet Metal Assemblies
8. Sheet Metal Drawings
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