Laser Cutting Alumina


#1

Does anyone have experience laser cutting Alumina? I know it is possible with a CO2 laser, I am just unsure of the power requirements.

Thanks!


#2

In what form are thinking?
I doubt that a 45W laser could cut very far into a sapphire (for instance) but it might be able to make a visible mark on the surface.


#3

Definitely not sapphire. 98% composite, maybe less. Something like the material you can get from Morgan ceramics (http://www.morgantechnicalceramics.com/materials/alumina-al203).


#4

I’m not optimistic on a 40W CO2 laser being able to cut alumina. I’ve found references online for ~200W CO2 lasers and ~10kW pulsed YAg lasers being used, but nothing about sub-100W CO2 lasers :frowning:

edit: this paper seems to suggest that a 50W laser was able to cut Alumina with a very slow feedrate


#5

Here is a google book with reference to cutting alumina (among other things, interesting book!)
https://books.google.com/books?id=PrguBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA111&lpg=PA111&dq=cutting+alumina#v=onepage&q=cutting%20alumina&f=false

It seems to say that continuous wave cutting is possible but slow. Perhaps many passes at various focus depths? I imagine that would only work for very thin sections though before the kerf gets huge.


#6

Thanks, @aeva & @jkopel, these are some great resources. I may have to but that book now! :smile:
The Alumina I would be thinking about cutting would only be 1mm or less thick. So, it might be possible, but still slow going.

edit: It is $64.50 on Amazon right now. Might have to go on my christmas list. http://www.amazon.com/CO2-Laser-Cutting-John-Powell/dp/1852330473


#7

I may have to pick up a copy as well, good find @jkopel! I’ll see if I can dig up any more resources for you. One thing I am worried about (and why I’m not going to test this yet) is the safety of vaporized ceramics. Definitely not fun stuff to breathe :scream:


#8

Hey, @joe, be thankful it’s only 64.50 for you - Up here in Canada on Amazon.ca, its 129.85! I know our dollar sucks right now relative to USD, but it’s not that bad! It is bad enough though that even ordering if from Amazon.com, it would cost us just under $86 with the exchange! arrgh!


#9

Always check local libraries, especially college ones.


#10

As @jacobturner says… libraries rock (I need to say this my wife is currently getting her library & information science degree :smile: )

I found said book at the University of Washington engineering library for instance. For only $100/year I can join and check the book out… or just have my wife get it for me.


#11

Seriously, someone could get a “hobbyist book of lasers” out for a better price point and make a few bucks. Good to have the engineering and science but would love a howto for neophytes.