Should I choose laser cutting or CNC Machining?

Although GF Laser are predominantly a laser cutting company, our sister company Moseley Brothers offer CNC Machining.

Laser cutting and CNC machining are both methods of cutting and shaping materials, but they use different technologies and have different applications.

Laser cutting uses a high-powered laser to cut and shape materials such as metal, wood, plastic, and fabric. Please note though at GF Laser we only offer a metal laser cutting service.

The laser beam is directed by a computer program to cut the material with high precision and accuracy. Laser cutting is ideal for cutting complex shapes and patterns, as well as creating fine details, because the laser beam can be focused to a very small point. However, laser cutting is limited to certain types of materials and thicknesses, and it can produce heat-affected zones and burrs that require further processing.

CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining, on the other hand, is a process that uses a computer program to control the movement of cutting tools such as drills, mills, and lathes. CNC machining is typically used for cutting, drilling, and milling metal and other solid materials. It is very versatile and can be used to produce a wide range of shapes and sizes, from simple to complex, and can also be used to create fine details. CNC machining can produce high-quality parts with tight tolerances and smooth finishes, but it may not be as efficient as laser cutting for certain types of materials or shapes.

We often work hand in hand with Moseley Brothers on projects which require a very small hole cut through thick material. For example, laser cutting an 8mm hole through 20mm thick mild steel isn’t possible with a laser. However, the outer profile and most holes over about 15mm diameter can be laser cut. GF Laser would provide Moseley Brothers with the main part and they would then drill the hole using a CNC machine.

If a hole diameter has tight tolerances ( Less than +/- 0.1mm)  this is another reason to choose CNC machining as a laser cutting machine would struggle to consistently hold such tight tolerances.

Laser cutting is ideal for cutting thin materials with complex shapes, while CNC machining is better suited for thicker materials and more versatile in terms of the types of materials that can be used. Both methods can produce high-quality results, but the choice between them will depend on the specific needs of the project.

If you have a project in mind why not contact a member of our estimating team today.