More and more people embrace laser technology to help them with their design or cut metal with perfect contour. When you first come to this technology, here is the thing you need to care about - Kerf.
Kerf, most of people heard this word from woodworking. It was used to describe how much wood was removed by saw. In order to prevent the blade of saw from getting stuck in the wood during the process, the teeth of saw need to be bent to one side, then when you work that way, it will remove more wood than the width of the blade. With this method , the process will be going on. And when we talk about laser cutting process, we use kerf to describe the width of material that is removed by laser cutting machine.
Why we want to talk about kerf, because it is very important thing you should think about when we use laser machine to design. One of the reasons why we use this technology is because of this accuracy, so think about this, If you want to get a 10 by 10 square, and the laser machine removes about, say 0.2 of material, then what you really get is a 9.8 by 9.8 square. So when you design the program, you really need to think about this kerf thing.
Luckily, most of laser machine today actually can take care of this itself, you just input the dimension you need and tell the machine which direction to offset and how much, then the machine will finish the job automatically.
And there are lots of factors effects the quantity of material that is being removed by laser cutting process. When it comes to different process, of course the kerf width is different. When you think about the different thickness of metal that you are dealing with, specifically as the thickness of metal increases, you need to add more power to the laser system, higher current and larger nozzle to cut it through. And it also need a slower cutting speed. So when you add all those things together, you get larger kerf width.
Today,Laser cutting machine system has the kerf width value in the program. When we start a program, experienced operator will input the kerf width, so the the system will automatically get the correct dimension that includes material need to be removed. That is very convenient for operators to do their job, they can more focus on the design itself, rather than check all the values for each program. Leave all the tedious job to the system, get all the fun from the design itself. It is the thing that laser cutting machine can give you.