Difference Between CNC Cutting and Laser Cutting

Difference Between CNC Cutting and Laser Cutting

There are two main types of cutting machines used in manufacturing: CNC (Computer Numeric Controlled) cutting and laser cutting. Both these processes rely on CNC cutting and laser cutting to control the tool movement. CNC cutting uses a router bit to cut shapes out of materials like wood, plastic, or metal. Laser cutting uses a high-powered laser to cut through materials like paper, fabric, or acrylic. Both CNC cutting and laser cutting can be used to create detailed shapes and designs in a variety of materials. Although both processes are employed for cutting purposes, they in several aspects. This post lists a few of the many differences between CNC cutting and laser cutting.

CNC Cutting vs Laser Cutting

As mentioned earlier, CNC cutting and laser cutting are both popular methods for cutting materials during parts manufacturing. The two most significant differences are the speed of the cuts and the amount of heat produced. The other main differences between the processes include;

  • CNC cutting is a manufacturing process whereby material is cut using a series of commands entered into a computer. The cutting tool follows these instructions and cuts the material according to the programmed path. Laser cutting is a manufacturing process that uses a laser beam to cut or engrave materials. The laser beam is focused through a lens system onto the material to be cut or engraved.
  • CNC cutting machines use a series of rotating blades to cut through material, and can be used to create a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The main benefit of CNC machines is their versatility – they can be used to cut a wide range of materials, including wood, metal, and plastic. On the other side, laser machines can cut materials, like paper, wood, cork, acrylic and foam to certain types of metals.
  • When compared in terms of pricing CNC cutting is cheaper than laser cutting. The CNC machines can be used to cut a wide range of materials, however, laser cutters are generally used for cutting super alloys and tough gemstones, which require high precision cutting.
  • CNC machines feature several moving parts, which makes repair and maintenance quite tedious. However, CNC laser cutters come with fewer parts and require less repairs, too. The later machine type helps reduce repair and maintenance costs.

Although both these machining techniques have been quite popular, CNC cutting is more widely accepted due to efficiency, high repeatability, and cost advantages offered by it. When looking for a machining shop to partner with, it is important to consider their experience and the types of CNC machining services they offer. If you are looking for a partner who is an expert to help with CNC cutting then Brogan & Patrick is a great option. By partnering with this reputed machining shop, you can get access to their knowledge and resources, which will help you to create high-quality products that meet your customer’s needs.


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