When people think of carbon dioxide they typically think of the function of photosynthesis (the process in which glucose is made). When we think carbon dioxide, we think you are referring to the CO2 lasers that cut with through metals, plastics, rubbers, and films. The CO2 laser was invented in 1964 by Kumar Patel from Bell Labs. These lasers use infared light to cut through materials. CO2 lasers have come a long way since the invention of this laser at Bell Labs. They now use a coordination of hydraulics, computer algorithms, and material loaders. All of these qualities make it possible for NEDC to produce a laser cut part at the best price possible.
NEDC owns and operates CO2 lasers, not to be confused with fiber lasers. These lasers operate with very precise accuracy, carrying the ability to hold some parts within a +/- .003” tolerance. It is good to keep in mind that laser machines are limited to a certain thickness of all materials, depending on the material, but a CO2 laser may cut very thick materials. The ability to cut thick materials on a CO2 laser is also a function of the amount of the power the laser is able to produce. To understand how powerful a laser is, it is pretty simple. The power of the laser operates off of something called watts (which is basically energy produced per second). The higher the wattage the more powerful the machine, so a 140 watt laser is less powerful than a 4000 watt laser.
NEDC cuts a variety of materials with its CO2 lasers, including films (Kapton®, Teflon®, and ETFE films), metals (brass, stainless steel, aluminum), papers, and plastics (such as Delrin®). Note that while CO2 lasers can be extremely versatile machines, they are unable to cut some highly reflective materials such as copper. Copper cutting can be reserved for a machine called a fiber laser, which is a relatively new machine to the laser market. Copper can also be cut on our Waterjet Machine (see our article on waterjet cutting). If you have a part that you think could be potentially laser cut, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.