What is the smallest hole you can laser cut?

One of the most common questions we’re asked at GF Laser is ” What is the smallest hole you can laser cut?”.

Like many questions in engineering the answer is: It depends!

The general rule of thumb in laser cutting used to be that the smallest hole that can be cut is equivalent to the thickness of material. For example a 5mm hole would be possible to be laser cut in 5mm material but not 4mm.

The reason for this is that the initial laser pierce point, as it burns through the material to start the cut, is equal to the thickness of material it’s cutting. So when the laser pierces in 5mm material the hole is already 5mm in diameter.

The advent of Fiber Laser cutting machines has given laser cutting companies the ability to cut holes smaller than the material thickness. The reason for this is that the Fiber laser beams are smaller than the traditional CO2 machines and are more stable.

Utilising their latest Fiber Laser cutting machines GF Laser have been able to offer customers the ability to manufacture parts with holes smaller than diameter for some time. But if you are designing a new product or would like some general advice it’s worth chatting to one of our team, before manufacture, so we can advise what is possible.

In some instances we can offer free of charge samples to illustrate what we can achieve and demonstrate the cut quality. We can also laser etch hole positions to assist customers who want to manually drill smaller holes.

It’s also worth pointing out that our sister company Moseley Brothers has a range of CNC machining centres that can process smaller holes in thicker materials. GF Laser and Moseley often work together to provide a customer solution where laser cutting and machining is required to meet the customer needs.

For more details please call a member of our technical team today on 01384 245095.