Laser vs plasma vs waterjet
When you want to cut metal ,you may consider buying a laser, plasma, or waterjet cutter. But deciding which one is suitable for you can be quite confusing. In this article, I will provide you with a comparative comparison of these machines so that you can make your own decisions. However, the results will depend entirely on your priorities.
I'll walk you through the differences in application, cutting edge, speed, accuracy, thickness and device Settings.
1、Comparison of application range：Water cutting can cut and punch any material with fast cutting speed, Belongs to cold cutting, no thermal deformation, cutting surface quality is good, without secondary processing, if need is also easy to carry out secondary processing.
Laser cutting machine has a wide range of applications, whether metal, non-metal, can be cut, Metal can be cut with a fiber laser cutting machine. Plate deformation is small, cutting non-metal, such as cloth, leather can be used CO2 laser cutting machine;
Plasma cutting machine can be used for stainless steel, aluminum, copper, cast iron, carbon steel and other metal materials cutting, Plasma cutting has obvious thermal effect, low accuracy, cutting surface is not easy to secondary processing.
2、When it comes to cutting edge quality, waterjet is undoubtedly the winner. You can get the highest quality cut from the waterjet. Laser cutting machine is the second best. This is because while it provides a very straight cut, it creates some perforation splash and leaves some scum when cutting thick metal pieces. The plasma cutter is again the last placeholder, as it produces high thermal deformation. But this distortion can be greatly reduced by cutting underwater.
3、The speed of operation can vary depending on how many cutting tools you have on your machine. For example, if you have 3 waterjet cutting heads on your machine, it will significantly increase the cutting speed. However, for the sake of the evaluation, I will only compare the cutting speed of smaller machines that have only one cutting tool.
When it comes to cutting speed, waterjet and laser cutters fall far behind plasma cutters. Plasma cutters can cut most of the metals at an unprecedented speed that ranges from 60 to 200 inches per minute. A laser can cut 20 to 70 inches per minute and a waterjet can cut with a speed of 1 to 15 inches per minute depending on the thickness and type of the material.
4、Cutting accuracy: Accuracy is the measurement of the part size and the size of the numerical control software programming comparison. In terms of accuracy, water jet technology also takes the top spot. Laser cutters are in second place because they produce some thermal deformation during machining, especially in the case of thick metal parts. You can compare the data.
Waterjet: 0.1mm (cold cutting); Plasma: 1mm (high thermal deformation); Laser: 0.2mm (thermal deformation).
5、When it comes to the maximum cutting thickness, waterjet beats plasma and laser cutters by a lot. Waterjet cutters can cut up to 12 inches of thick materials. Plasma cutters come in second place with the ability to cut up to 6 inches thick mild steel or stainless steel sheets.
As for laser cutters, their maximum cutting thickness is up to ¾ inches for carbon steel, ⅝ inches for stainless steel, and ⅛ inches for aluminum sheets. One thing to remember here is that the maximum cutting thickness of these cutters varies depending on the material you are cutting.
6、Equipment setting: waterjet: all materials are set the same; Plasma: Different operating Settings are different; Laser: Different gases and parameters are different for different operations.
From what has been discussed above, Do you pick your favorite machine? In a word, Each way of cutting has its advantages and disadvantages. First identify your own needs and practical applications, Taking into account the various process characteristics described in this paper, I believe you can choose the most suitable cutting equipment.