What high-powered fiber lasers mean for a fabricating shop The FABRICATOR STAMPING Journal The Welder The Tube and Pipe Journal The FABRICATOR en Español The Additive Report The FABRICATOR The Welder The Tube and Pipe Journal STAMPING Journal The Additive Report The FABRICATOR en Español

Fabricators don’t have to be an expert in fiber laser cutting technology to know that if they can cut 0.25-inch plate with a 4-kW laser, they can cut it faster with an 8-kW laser power source. Now think what they can do with a 12-kW fiber laser cutting machine. What about a 15 kW? Those choices are available for metal fabricators today, but to focus solely on thick metal cutting with these new high-powered fiber lasers would be wrong. These 10-, 12-, and even 15-kW machines can do much more than cut thick materials, even if that may be the first thing that comes to mind for a metal fabricator when talking about these powerful machine tools. The reality is that a large majority of metal fabricating companies in North America process metal that is 0.25 in. or thinner. There’s simply not a lot of shops requiring laser cutting of very thick specialty metals for something like nuclear reactors. Those types of applications are not abundant. The story of high-powered fiber laser technology is about decreasing process time in laser cutting. That’s why we are seeing metal fabricators buying one high-powered laser cutting machine to replace two or even three older lasers. They can get par...

Fail Of The Week: Did My Laser Cutter Tube Really Burn Out?

All the cool kids are doing it these days, or more like for many years now: you can get a laser cutter for a song if you don’t mind doing your own repairs and upgrades — you know, being a hacker. The downside is that some failures can really ruin your day. This is what [Erich Styger] encountered with his cutter that is just a bit more than a year old. This Fail of the Week looks at the mysterious death of a CO2 laser tube. This is the infamous K40 laser cutter. Our own [Adam Fabio] just took one on a couple of months back and [Erich] even references Hackaday coverage of the K40 Whisperer project as what pushed him over the edge to make the purchase. We’ve followed his blog as he acquired the cutter and made upgrades along the way, but after an estimated 500 hours of use, a horrible teeth-gnashing screech sprung forth from the machine. [Erich’s] reaction was to hit the e-stop; that’s certainly why it’s there. Chasing down the problem is a story well-told, but as is often the case with these FotW articles, in the end what caused the failure is not entirely known. We’d love to hear what you think about it in the comments below. The investigation began at the power supply for the la...