We may have heard about CNC cutting(otherwise called CNC routing) and Laser cutting, but wouldn’t have any definite idea about those. Still, the majority of people find it difficult in understanding between  CNC engraving machines and laser engraving machines as a kind of thing. Being a better solution for cutting these are famous among people especially among carpenters and furniture manufacturers. While both methods produce intricate parts and components and are fast and reliable, they work in unique ways. So what would be their differences? Let’s have a look at it.

CNC cutting 

CNC  is the short form of Computer Numerical Control. CNC router cutting machine is a computer-controlled cutting machine. A CNC device is, in essence, a tool programmed to receive and interpret designs from a computer and thereby guide a cutter, usually a router bit or a laser. It is a handheld machine which is used for cutting various hard materials including wood, aluminium, steel, plastic, foam etc. It has the ability to perform multiple tasks of various carpentry instruments such as panel saw, boring machine, spindle moulder. With CNC cutting, an expert creates a design based on what the customer needs using a software program like CorelDRAW or AutoCAD. Once the designer feels satisfied with the drawing, he or she places a piece of metal or some other material on the cutting surface.

The computer sends a signal to the CNC machine, which in turn, interprets the design. With a prototype that meets all requirements, the operator can process multiple products. 

Advantages of CNC cutting 

  • Unlike manual labour, CNC machinery can work continuously over any period of time without a break.
  • They can product jobs with higher accuracy and precision than other manual machines
  • Number of operators required to operate a machine is less
  • Less skilled/trained people can operate CNCs unlike manual lathes/milling machines etc.. which need skilled engineers.
  • The software can be reprogrammed quickly and easily to produce different parts, allowing operations to keep up with shifting customer demands.
  • Unlike other machines, they are safe to use.
  • Versatility while using the machines

Who can use CNC cutting?

  • Sign-making
  • Carpentry, cabinetry and woodworking
  • Shopfitting
  • Plastic fabrication
  • Metal fabrication
  • Engineering
  • Theatre and set design
  • Boatbuilding

Laser Cutting

Like CNC routing, laser cutters are guided by a computer system. Where routers cut with friction, lasers employ heat to slice through the material. The laser is used to cut out designs with incredible precision, giving greater control over angles and intricate patterns. Laser cutting relies on a high-energy light beam that burns through the metal material. Laser cutting material uses a motion control system. The focused laser beam is then directed at the path which eventually melts, burns or vaporizes away leaving a surface of a very smooth edge and perfect shape of high-quality finishing. Lasers are often used in critical manufacturing processes involving the cutting of silicon, making this technique an important tool in the production of high-tech components such as microelectronic parts, semiconductors, and solar panels.

Advantages of Laser cutting

  • High Accuracy and Precision Cuts
  • The laser cutting machines require less energy for cutting sheet metal.
  • Laser cutting machines have a high level of efficiency and required design replicas are exact copies of each other.
  • Can Handle Jobs of Almost any Complexity
  • Laser cutting has versatile technology and can be used to cut or burn simple to complex structures
  •  Higher Sheet Utilization with Less Waste
  • Lot quicker than traditional mechanical cutting methods. 

Who can use Laser cutting?

  • Sign makers
  • Engineers
  • Mining companies
  • Electronics manufacturers
  • Jewellers
  • Shopfitters

Difference between CNC cutting and laser cutting

CNC and Laser cutting are widely used for a similar type of work. Both are precise and efficient when it comes to work, but still, there are some differences in them. Here we can list out a few of their differences that would help you to choose between them. 

  • CNC Cutting is a direct contact cutting method in which the workpiece is cut by direct contact of the tool to the workpiece by means of machining. Laser cutting is an indirect contact cutting method in which workpiece is cut by using a LASER  technique
  • Laser cutting electricity cost is huge as compared to CNC cutting.
  • CNC cutting in terms of expenses are on the lesser side while Laser cutting is expensive as the tool itself is expensive
  • Laser cutting has a bit more precision when compared to a CNC machine as they have bit more chances of having mistakes
  • Laser cutting could be used for welding whereas CNC doesn’t have that function
  • In CNC even though the path of cutting programmed the operation is manual whereas laser cutting uses laser beams to cut the materials.
  • The CNC machine has a better life than the Laser cutting machine.

Now you have almost got an idea of the differences between CNC cutting and laser cutting. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages and it’s up to the user to select the best one according to the relevance. Always buy a machine according to the use only.