Laser Cutting Process - A Different Type of Blade
When Precision Counts, Laser-Cutting Is A Viable Alternative To Cutting Metal With A Saw, Torch, Or Plasma Cutter
You're the kind of guy who likes to tackle the tough jobs yourself. You take great pride in performing the mods to your truck at home. That's all well and good, as long as you can achieve the results you are after with the cleanliness that will satisfy that pride of yours. After all, doing it yourself only counts if the work is good enough to show off to your buddies. For example, lots of you can stick two pieces of steel together safely with a MIG welder, but if the work looks like a blind man laid down the beads, then you'd better stick to only welding in areas of your truck that people won't see at the next truck show.
One of the best ways to ensure that the parts you are welding together will look great after you're done making heat is to cut them precisely so they fit together well. In the right hands, a vertical bandsaw can make pretty clean cuts, but even the best fabricator can't make a perfectly straight cut. The same goes for a plasma-cutter or oxyacetylene torch. At some point (usually the bridge notch or other highly visible area), you have to put your ego in check and realize that cutting out parts at home in the garage isn't very efficient. The solution is having your ideas transferred to steel via a laser cutter.
A laser cutter works by directing a beam of light to the work piece. The energy of the laser beam is absorbed by the metal, where it is converted to heat, which melts away the material. Carbon dioxide is also focused into the material to blow away the metal and vapor to produce a clean cut. Lasers have the advantage of precisely cutting material as much as 1-inch thick with little or no waste.
We decided to have the rear suspension mounting points of our Project '67 Chevy laser-cut to ensure they fit precisely. After having Mike Kim of Orange County Auto Shop convert our ideas into a CAD program drawing, we spent $300 bucks to have everything laser-cut by Elite Laser Cutting in Santa Ana, California. Here's a look at the process, the drawing, and the finished product after Elite did the work.
Elite Laser Cutting Inc.www.elitelaser.net