What You Need To Ask Before Hiring A Laser Cutter

When you need parts or pieces cut with precision, laser cutting is the best manufacturing method to choose. This is because you will end up with sharp, clean edges, and a consistent product or part no matter how many you have made. The following guide can help you interview laser cutters so that you find the one that fits best with your needs.

What are the file requirements for laser cutting?

The vast majority of laser cutters require vector files of the part to be cut. If you are designing in-house, then make sure your graphics person has the ability to render the final design in vector. If you do not have a vector file, the laser cutter may offer drafting services for a fee. Inquire into file needs and services before accepting any quote.

Which materials are provided?

Not all laser cutters work with the same material. Paper and cardboard cutting is probably the most common. Wood, vinyl and plastic are also commonly cut materials, although some cutters may not allow PVC due to the fumes produced as it it cut. If you need metal cut, make sure you find a laser cutter that works with the material. Also, verify that they actually cut metal and don’t just engrave it.

What are their size limitations?

Most cutters have size limitations as set by the specifications of their equipment. If you have a large item you will need to make sure your cutter has the means to fabricate it. If your item is too large for standard laser cutting methods, it may be necessary to redesign it into multiple parts that are assembled after cutting.

Do they offer samples?

If you aren’t familiar with the work of a particular laser cutter, inquire into samples. Some cutters provide free samples demonstrating the cut work on a variety of materials. Others may make a sample of your specific design, but this is usually done for a small fee.

What is the average turn around time?

This will vary depending on how busy the cutter shop is and the size of your project. If you will be depending upon the cutter to keep your own production lines going, make sure they will offer a specified and committed turn-around time for your project. This can be included in their bid for the work. For one-time or infrequent projects, check with the cutter to see how far in advance you should place an order on average to meet your turn-around time needs.

For more help, contact a company, such as Midbrook Factory-For-Hire, that specializes in laser cutting.