Steel Laser Cutting: Understanding the Factors Affecting the Material Edge Quality

Hello, my name is Malcolm and this is my new blog. My friends thought that I was insane when I told them I was going to start a manufacturing blog. However, I'm not insane. I am just massively inspired by a trip I made to my father-in-law's factory. I married into an industrial and manufacturing family who run a number of different plants across the country. When I was brought into the family fold I decided to find out about the industry. It was a fascinating experience and I am really pleased to have had it. I hope you like my blog.

Steel Laser Cutting: Understanding the Factors Affecting the Material Edge Quality

13 October 2017
 Categories: Industrial & Manufacturing, Blog


There are multiple cutting methods that you can choose if you are planning on fabricating steel sheets. One of the most advantageous options is laser cutting. This technique is favoured because it is quick, and it can handle different grades of material. Also, the cut edge produced after the process is clean, so it does not require additional finishing. 

However, you should note that the edge quality can vary. In simple terms, some factors can affect the refinement of the cut areas. If these boundaries are rough, you might have to pay for improvements. Alternatively, you can minimise the risks of striated steel ends in your custom products. If you would like to ensure that your laser-cut steel has flawless edges, consider the outlined determining factors.

Steel Sheet Thickness

The thickness of the steel sheets will affect the quality of the edge after laser cutting. Typically, as the depth of the material increases, the prominence of the striations on the ends will also increase. Striations are the lines which appear on the cut edge of metal when the molten material meets with a cold zone. These patterns tend to lower the appeal of the sides. If aesthetics are essential for your sheet metal project, consider decreasing the panel thickness. 

Laser Cutting Power

The edge quality of steel sheets can be improved by the use more powerful laser cutters. Simply speaking, if the cutting beam is weak, the speed and ease of cutting will be low. Therefore, more striations will form along the edges of the material. On the other hand, a more powerful laser will be able to cut through the metal quickly and efficiently, reducing the unattractive patterns. If you must use thick panels of steel for your project, you should look for a manufacturer with the right equipment for smooth finishes. 

Quality of Material

You should evaluate the quality of your steel sheets before the laser cutting project commences. In general, laser profiling relies significantly on the consistency of the material for a clean cut. If the metal has many impurities and other anomalies, the edges are likely too rough. For example, a low-grade panel will have inferior quality edges because the contaminants will react with the laser heat. It is advisable to purchase clean, rust-free and pickled metal for the project. Alternatively, you can acquire laser-grade steel from your local metal mill.

You should discuss your options for cleaner and smoother laser-cut edges with your fabricator for ideal results. 

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Malcolm's Manufacturing Blog

Hello, my name is Malcolm and this is my new blog. My friends thought that I was insane when I told them I was going to start a manufacturing blog. However, I'm not insane. I am just massively inspired by a trip I made to my father-in-law's factory. I married into an industrial and manufacturing family who run a number of different plants across the country. When I was brought into the family fold I decided to find out about the industry. It was a fascinating experience and I am really pleased to have had it. I hope you like my blog.

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