Controlled-Depth Laser Cutting of Aluminum Sheet for Laminated Object Manufacturing
Replacing paper with metal in laminated object manufacturing would bring improvements in terms of part's longevity, and its mechanical and thermal properties. In fabricating laminated parts, a challenging step is blind cutting of the metal sheet. Challenges to overcome are (1) maintaining consistent depth of cut, (2) achieving good surface quality of the cut groove walls, and (3) minimizing the formation of recast. Results are presented of an experimental investigation into controlled-depth laser cutting of aluminum sheet. Thin (0.12-mm) aluminum sheet specimens were cut with a 10-W Nd:YLF laser while varying scan speed and laser power. To accurately observe the cut profiles, specimens were mounted in resin and sectioned. Special handling procedure was developed to handle thin sheet material while avoiding damage. Relationship between cut profile and process parameters was established and shown to conform to established theoretical models.