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“Should I use laser cutting or should I use plasma cutting?”—that is the question. Certainly for manufacturers like us, this is a question we receive from many customers; what is the difference between the two and which cutting process is better suited for their end application? While the answer is not cut and dry, there are some general rules that separate the two processes.

Laser cutting is a precise thermal cutting process, utilizing a focused beam of light. We often recommend this manufacturing process for applications where parts require tighter tolerances. When it comes to a specific material choice, we typically work with customers and make recommendations based on their specific application.

Plasma cutting, on the other hand, uses a mixture of gases in order to form a cut. With our high definition plasma cutting equipment, we are able to perform bevel cuts on parts as required. According to this article, “Here manufacturers rely on beveling as a part of the weld preparation process.” The article continues, “Beveled edges produce a sturdier type of weld needed to support the massive weight and loads on such machines and structures.”

For parts that have simple shapes, without many cutouts or intricate notching, we typically utilize plasma cutting. When a part has tight tolerance specifications, needs a precise cut, and/or calls for a small hole diameter in relation to the thickness of the material, then we utilize laser cutting. Again, these are general rules and we consider which process is best suited to cut each part on a case by case basis.

Now, hopefully you have a better understanding of whether laser cutting or plasma cutting is better suited for your application. If not, let us help determine the right cutting process for your parts!