Why You Should Be Careful When Laser Cutting Brass

Some novice metal fabricators may not know that different metals present different challenges when they are being cut using a laser cutter. Such inexperienced fabricators may end up making costly mistakes, such as underestimating the cost of the job, when bidding for a project. This article discusses some risks that inexperienced fabricators should consider when planning to cut brass using a laser cutter.

Heat Conductivity

Brass has a very high ability to conduct heat. This can pose a big challenge when you are cutting it using a laser cutter. This is because the heat that is generated by the laser beam may be quickly conducted away from the location of the cut to the rest of the metal. To overcome this, one needs to use higher power settings so that the extra heat generated can offset the effects of the high conductivity of the metal. This high consumption of energy needs to be put into consideration when you are formulating a quotation for your client. Otherwise, you may end up spending more to do the job compared to the payment that you receive from the client.

Radiation Exposure

Brass cutting also presents the risk that you may be exposed to high levels of radiation. This is because the metal is highly reflective. This reflective ability can cause radiation to be channeled towards the operator of the laser cutter from the molten metal at the site of the cut. You should therefore avoid taking on a job to cut brass with a laser cutter if you don't have the appropriate protective equipment that can safeguard you from this reflected radiation.

Equipment Damage

The reflectivity of brass can also pose a danger to the laser cutting equipment. This is because the laser beam directed at the metal can bounce off the surface of the metal and head towards the laser cutter. Such reflected beams can cause costly damage to the optical system of your laser cutter. This is particularly true for laser cutters that use carbon dioxide gas.

An awareness of this risk should prompt you to accept to cut brass if your laser cutter has a protective mechanism that allows it to turn itself off automatically in case it detects high levels of reflected laser beams. Alternatively, you could use a fibre laser cutter for cutting brass. This is because the optical system of fibre cutters does not rely on mirrors to focus the beam on the material. The absence of mirrors reduces the impact of reflected beams on the optical system.

As you can see, you can cut brass successfully using a laser cutter if you are aware of its unique challenges. You should therefore avoid using the same cutting parameters for the different materials that come to your fabrication shop. Consult experienced fabricators (like Intracut) for advice on how to tweak the cutting parameters in order to address the problems that can arise as brass cutting takes place on a laser cutter.