Join Gabriel Corbett for an in-depth discussion in this video Laser cutting, part of SOLIDWORKS: Sheet Metal Design.
Today, we're here at Fabcorp Precision Sheet Metal and Manufacturing. It's a local manufacturer of sheet metal parts based in Orange county California. Today, we're going to be looking at the laser. And behind me, we have it set up to cut this part right here. it's about eighth 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 4 kW machine. It can cut 1 inch thick steel. It can also cut 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 set up. The process is simple. First, we need to generate a 2D CAD file. The file formats we can use are .dwg, .dxf, .ai, .svg, or (INAUDIBLE) 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 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, and allows you as a 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 other 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 aluminium, to stainless steel, intricate sheet metal parts, to heavy gauge steel structural parts, all the way up to 3 quarter inch thick steel plate.
- Understanding sheet metal fundamentals
- Creating base features
- Creating flanges and tabs
- Making hems and corner features
- Unfolding and folding parts
- Adding cuts across bends
- Adding welded corners
- Using the Forming tools
- Importing geometry
- Using the Convert to Sheet Metal command
- Making sheet metal drawings
- Exporting DWG and DXF files for laser cutting
- Building an assembly
- Creating parts in an assembly
- Creating flat patterns
- Using in-context design techniques
- Exporting parts
Skill Level 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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