Laser Cut Pressings using a 5 axis laser

The ability to use a five axis or 3D laser cutting machine to cut pressed panels instead of expensive cutting tools is perhaps one of the most exciting advances in laser system technology over the past few years.


GFL entered the laser cutting subcontract market offering a five axis laser cutting service in 2006, since this time they have gained wide ranging experience in cutting pressed panels. Although this is primarily for the automotive market any pressed panel can be cut using a five axis laser.

Why use a five axis laser to cut a formed panel?

Predominantly a five axis laser is used to laser holes and trim panels when it is uneconomical to manufacture hard tooling. For example, low ongoing production volumes, prototypes or modifications do not justify the high cash outlay associated with hard tooling.

Quick turnaround times.

Manufacturing a tool takes weeks or months, time which often isn’t available in todays fast moving manufacturing environment. The team at GFL can produce a laser cut panel from start to finish within 24 hours using offline CAD and more importantly our expert knowledge of how pressings react when cut using a laser. For example, we ensure holding fixtures are manufactured with defined location points to make sure the parts do not move during laser cutting.


GFL has a dedicated Quality department that can provide CMM inspection reports on pressed parts as well as ISIR’s and PPAP’s.

Large Projects.

The Project team at GFL have experience in handling projects that may include a number of pressed parts making up an assembly. Our strong links with toolmaking companies mean that we can oversee a whole project that may contain a mixture of 5 axis and tooled components. In addition, our press brake facility adds another option for customers where traditional press tooling is not required.

Design Flexibility.

Designers utilising the flexibility of 5 axis laser cutting systems do not have to worry about holes or apertures deforming when formed. This gives them far more flexibility when designing parts and cuts down the needs for multiple tools line ups. A five axis laser can cut holes and shapes almost anywhere on any form on a pressed panel without deformation or “pulling”.

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