We now offer UV printing and more metal laser cutting capabilities!
I’m excited to share some exciting improvements to our Custom Laser Cutting Service: a greatly expanded range of metal cutting capabilities and UV printing!
Metal laser cutting
The last time we made a blog post about our laser cutting capabilities (over six years ago now), our most powerful machine was a 400 W CO2 laser cutter that could cut materials including plastics and woods up to 1″ (25.4 mm) thick, as well as steel up to 0.060″ (1.5 mm) thick. But we still weren’t satisfied with our metal cutting capabilities, so in the time since then, we have added an IPG Photonics LaserCube with a 3000 W fiber laser. The LaserCube is specifically designed to cut metals, enabling us to work with a wider variety of metals in thicknesses up to 1/4″ (6.35 mm).
Jan briefly mentioned the LaserCube in a blog post back in March 2020 just after we finished installing it—and right as the world was locking down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the disruptions first from pandemic and then from the subsequent global parts shortages, almost all of our efforts went into keeping daily operations going, and developing new processes for fundamentally new equipment like the LaserCube got put on the back burner. Fortunately, things have been gradually getting back to normal and we are now ready to officially announce the new metal cutting capabilities the LaserCube enables!
We can now cut:
Steel up to 1/4″ (6.35 mm) thick
Aluminum up to 1/4″ (6.35 mm) thick
Brass up to 1/8″ (3.18 mm) thick
Bronze up to 1/8″ (3.18 mm) thick
Correspondingly, we have added 5052 and 6061 aluminum to our regularly-stocked metals, joining 304 stainless steel and 1018 mild steel. We typically have sheets up to 24″ × 48″ (61 cm × 122 cm), but we can also order different metals/alloys or cut materials provided by customers up to 48″ × 48″. Additionally, since getting the LaserCube set up, we have started regularly using nitrogen (N2) as an assist gas, which helps cut parts with less discoloration and cleaner edges.
Our newest equipment is a Mimaki UJF-6042 MkII e UV printer, which lets us add vibrant and colorful labels, logos, photos, and artwork to your laser-cut parts. It can print with 1200 DPI resolution to an area up to 24″ × 16.5″ (61 cm × 42 cm), and the UV-cured ink adheres to many of the materials we laser cut, including plastics, wood, and yes, metal!
Our printer has inks for CMYK colors, plus a few special inks:
White ink for printing vibrant colors on non-white materials
Primer ink for helping the print better adhere to the material
Clear ink for adding a layer of protection to the print
These different types of ink can be layered in various combinations for different effects.
We especially like printing on transparent materials, like clear acrylic, since there are so many ways you can print different layers of ink to create unique parts. For example, we can make opaque images visible from either side of the part by printing a layer of white sandwiched by two color layers like we did for these personalized Christmas tree ornaments.
Laser-cut and UV-printed acrylic Christmas tree ornaments with two color layers for double-sided appearance.
Alternatively, by strategically skipping the white layer in some areas of the print we can make transparent colorful parts that resemble stained glass.
Laser-cut and UV-printed acrylic part with stained glass appearance.
Getting a quote
You can submit a quote request for laser-cut metal parts, laser-cut parts with UV-printed artwork, or other types of laser-cut and engraved parts through our Custom Laser Cutting Service page. To get started, we recommend downloading one of our templates below, which already have the different layers set up.
CorelDRAW (340k cdr)|
Adobe Illustrator (7MB ai)|
Inkscape (457k svg)|
Then, all you will need to do is add your artwork to the appropriate layer, save it, and submit a quote request!For more detailed information about all of our capabilities and how to set up your files to make the process as smooth as possible, check out our Custom Laser Cutting Guide.
Share with us
We are excited to see what parts you design and how they get used in your projects! When you get your parts, consider posting some pictures in the Share Your Projects category of our forum. If you are still brainstorming ideas for your next project, our forum and blog posts tagged laser cutting
are a great places to find inspiration.