FAQ

What advantage does the laser cutting process offer?

  • Accurate
    • The computer technology incorporated in the controls of laser cutting machines allows for the achievement of tolerance requirements as small as +/-.005″.
  • Economical
    • Due to the automated nature of the laser cutting machine, parts are produced with a minimum amount of labor and material cost.
  • Smooth Edge Quality
    • High precision and minimal distortion result in dross-free, clean finished parts.
  • Kerf
    • The narrowness of the kerf (material cut away) is a major advantage of the laser cutting process. This feature allows for maximizing material usage by reducing scrap.
  • Taper
    • The focused beam of a laser minimizes taper of the cut to less than 1 degree.
  • Heat Affect Zone
    • Since the laser does not have to remove as much material (narrow kerf) as other thermal cutting processes, the depth of the material affected by the heat of the cut is much less. The HAZ for laser cut metals is often contained within .005″ of the cut edge.

How does laser cutting compare to conventional methods?

  • Oxyfuel Cutting
    • Use confined to primarily mild steel plate. Its compact size and low capital cost make OFC a flexible cutting tool, but it’s slow cutting speed makes it an unlikely choice for metals less than 1″ thick.
  • Plasma Arc Cutting
    • While the cutting rates are considerably faster than OFC and are on the same range as high power lasers, the cuts are generally lower quality than other methods. The top edges are rounded while there is considerable waviness along the edge.
  • Nibbling
    • Various tools allow for contouring of complex shapes, yet the resultant “scalloped” edge often requires secondary edge prep operations. The punching action creates extremely wide kerfs in comparison to laser, and therefore generates considerable scrap.
  • Water Jet Cutting
    • Since no heat is generated with water jet, this makes it a good choice for a variety of non-metals. It is an efficient method to cut extremely thick plate and certain stainless projects, but its high operating costs on metals 1″ and below tend to make laser a more competitive choice.

What advantages does Central Cal Metals offer?

  • Quick Quotations
    • We respond to all quotation requests within 24 hours. Parts are typically quoted F.O.B. Fresno, CA. Freight rates are low due to our Central California location and can be provided upon request.
  • Competitive Pricing
    • Our Central California location and outright ownership of all equipment and facilities give us pricing flexibility.
  • First Articles
    • Provided at no additional cost to ensure your satisfaction.
  • Lead Time
    • Our 25 lasers enable us to efficiently start and finish your parts in a very cost-effective time period.