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Laser Cutter Kerf Measurement

It’s well documented what kerfs are achievable with commercial 1KW+ laser cutters cutting steel, aluminium and plastics. I wanted to know what kerfs were achievable on our 40W Chinese built laser cutter so that I could work out what to add to allow for kerf when designing finger joints to be cut in 3mm ply or when cutting holes to be tapped. The kerf is the width of material removed during the cutting process.

Kerf is determined by material properties and thickness, the focal length of the lens and the gas used while cutting. Our laser cutter uses a lens with a 50mm focal length and uses compressed air to push out the vapourised/molten swarf.

Laser Cutter Kerf Investigation

(Kerf measurement description, photos and results after the break)

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