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Metal Cutting

Which metal cutting is better? Laser or plasma?

There are two main choices when it comes to metal cutting- laser cutting and plasma cutting. Both these methods have their own effective solutions for when the traditional methods of cutting do not work. Here is a detailed description of the methods of cutting to help you which is better.

  • Plasma cutting- Plasma cutting was first used in early 1950s and is the oldest when compared to laser cutting. Plasma cutting is done by firing a gas, which is a mix of hydrogen and nitrogen and a little of other inert gases out of a nozzle on the metal. An electric arc is formed between the gas and metal which creates plasma and results in cutting of the metal. The high speeds at which the gases are released and pressure lead to cutting the metal. However plasma cutting works only on metal and not on any other material. A plasma cutting machine can be noisy and requires one to wear glasses at all time to avoid damage to the eyes. Plasma can cu metal materials with thickness ranging from 1mm to 80mm and can cut at the speed of 20 meters per minute.
  • Laser cutting- Laser cutting machines use high-powered, computerized lasers with compressed air or nitrogen and oxygen. Laser cutting best works on thin metal sheet and has two types CO2 and fiber laser. CO2 lasers can work on other material other than metal such as wood, acrylics and glass. However it cannot work on reflective surfaces such copper, brass and aluminum. Lasers cannot be used for various other reasons too such as engraving, welding, drilling, etc. CO2 Laser is mostly used for engraving due to its incredible accuracy. Laser cutting is known for being quick, accurate and efficient and leaves a smooth edge after the cutting. Like plasma cutting, laser cutting cannot work on think surfaces and can work only surface with thickness up to 25mm.


Both these methods have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to cutting metals. Laser cutting method is best known for its speed and accuracy whereas plasma cutting is known for cutting through all types of metals and metals with high thickness. When it comes to safety, plasma cutting is highly dangerous and requires several precautions to be taken before operating the machine. While laser is not as dangerous as plasma cutting and it can be used for cutting metals and wood. Laser cutting also leaves as smooth finish while plasma cutting finish is not as smooth. Laser cutting is also very energy efficient as it requires less energy in comparison to plasma cutting. Laser machinesĀ  are also great at giving specific designs or for engraving.