How To Save Money On Your Next Laser Cutting Project

Ways to Reduce Laser Cutting Costs

Have you ever wondered how to save money on your industrial laser cutting projects? Would you rather save on the amount of scrap or the amount of time spent cutting? It is a difficult trade-off. What if you were able to save on both? We have come up with several time and scrap saving methods below to help you save money on your next laser cutting project. You will also find a few of the techniques we use at our fabrication shop that help save our customers money while utilizing our laser cutting services.

Start Small

Starting small is a great tip for beginners and is also useful for experienced designers looking to get a project laser cut for the first time. By starting out small, you can test out several of your ideas and material types and be confident before moving ahead to larger sheet sizes. 

Following this tip will help keep material costs lower and comes in handy when you are trying out a material you haven't used before.

Avoid Double Lines

Avoid double lines when designing your CAD file. When objects are placed side-by-side, a double cutting line can occur if there is an overlap. This means during the production process, the laser will cut the same line twice -- which means you'll pay double the cost! To make sure this doesn't happen with your design, take a moment to go through and review it for any shared lines or overlaps.

Remember that with laser cutting, you pay for every move it makes. Don't pay twice! 

Want to be sure your design has no shared lines or overlaps? Contact us and we will have an engineer review your design before it goes through to production.

Material Thickness and Type

How flexible are you with material type and thickness for your sheet metal project? These are questions you should ask yourself before going through with production. Different materials burn at different rates on a laser. Also, the thinner a material you use, the faster the laser will cut through it. Always remember you are paying for the time the laser spends running. Choosing the right material type or finding the optimal material thickness for your part can reduce laser cutting costs considerably.

Have questions regarding what material type or thickness you should choose for your next laser cut project? Contact us.

Keep The Details Simple

You already know that it is important to start small in the beginning of a project. But, keeping design details simple is an aspect that is sometimes overlooked. This means keeping to designs that will use as little laser time as possible. 

So how do you go about designing your project as simple as possible? In short, it is always important to remember that the less time it takes to cut, the less it will cost. You pay for every movement a laser cutter makes; whether it is cutting, engraving or traveling between cuts. Small detailed shapes and forms take longer to trace out than larger ones. Circles take longer to cut out than straight lines. Items spread out or further apart take longer to cut than items placed close together. Keep the details of your project simple and you will save on costs.

How Dickmann Helps You Save Money On Laser Cutting

Keeping Pieces Close Together

When we group all the pieces of your design closer together it can really make a difference when it comes to laser cutting cost. Remember, you pay for every second the laser moves. Instead of having pieces of your design scattered around a piece of sheet metal, we group them together sort of like a jigsaw puzzle. Depending on your design, it may even be possible for us to have some of your pieces share a cutting line, which also helps reduce cost.

 
Scattered designs will cost you more money.

Scattered designs will cost you more money.

By grouping design parts close together, we save you money on laser time and material.

By grouping design parts close together, we save you money on laser time and material.

 

Nesting

Nesting is a laser cutting technique that involves us positioning your parts to be cut in such a way that maximizes the use of your material. In most cases, it involves a common cutting line by arranging parts so they have a common edge. For example, say your project needs to have four squares cut out. Instead of making 16 individual cuts, (Cut 1) we can make 6 cuts (Cut 2) and reduce the number of cuts by more than 60%. Common-line nesting can work especially well for applications with straight-line cuts.

 
Laser Cutting Cost Savings.jpg
 

When nesting is determined to be an effective cutting technique for a particular design, it is huge time and material saver. Our experienced design engineers make sure all cutting lines are setup correctly and are certain to avoid double lines when using this cutting technique. By the time your project is complete, you'll able to start a new one with all the money you have saved!

Lead-Ins and Lead-Outs

This laser cutting technique is used in our shop to ensure quality cuts and reduce scrap. To cut a lead-in, we start the cut slightly outside of the object and lead the laser head into the cutting line. The same technique can be applied to the end of a cut by using a lead-out cut. Although this technique slightly increases laser time,  it ensures the laser is cutting the material BEFORE cutting the part you want to keep. As a result, we reduce the need to scrap material due to bad cuts.

We combine lead-in and lead-out cuts with effective nesting techniques to increase productivity and lower costs.

Tabbing (Bridging)

Tabbing or bridging is a laser cutting process we use that leaves parts minimally attached to the original sheet material as "tabs" or "bridges." Tabbing is an effective technique for reducing scrap, especially for smaller cut parts, as they tend to fall through the laser and are at risk to be mis-cut.  It also a great time saver, especially for thin materials, because it keeps your parts attached to the metal skeleton so we don’t need to pick up parts after cutting. And as you know by now, saving time is saving you money.

 
 

More Questions About Reducing Your Laser Cutting Costs?

Let us know.