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How does laser cutting work?
How does laser cutting work?

The Ponoko machine setup and tolerances

Dayma Otene avatar
Written by Dayma Otene
Updated over a week ago

CO2 lasers produces a beam of infrared light to cut and engrave flat sheet materials, see one in action here: 

  • Laser cutting uses a computer to direct light at the material to be cut.

  • The material then melts, burns, or vaporizes leaving an edge with a high-quality finish.

  • See material edge finishes and thickness tolerances on our material pages

  • The laser beam is guided by the lines in vector design files. Ponoko cuts on the center of the lines in your file.

  • Dimensional accuracy of laser cutting is +/-0.005"

  • Average Kerf (amount of material burnt away) is +/-0.004"

  • Ponoko materials pages have more specific kerf averages under 'technical information' as this number is affected by material properties. See more information on how to design for kerf here.

  • The beam of light has a cone like shape, therefore edges are not always perfectly 90 degrees and squares and circles will not be perfectly symmetrical (this is more noticeable on our thickest sheets of material) .

To get started with laser cutting, you'll need to provide a vector design file and upload it here for quotes and orders.

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