It is crucial to choose the best cutting table when you have a cutting process on different materials. The purpose of a cutting table is to allow the laser beam to travel completely through the substrate while having the material supported in key locations to ensure accuracy of the cut piece. Cutting tables minimize burning and melting by reducing the reflection of the beam from the table. If you attempt to cut through a material on a solid surface, the heat and debris generated when breaking through the material will have no place to travel, resulting in smoldering on the back side of the material, in addition to a dirty end product.
Here’s a variety of cutting tables to choose from:
- A slat cutting table is made of aluminum slats and is mainly used for cutting thicker materials (0.3-inch thick) and for parts wider than four inches. Acrylics can be cut with no reflections by exchanging the aluminum slats with acrylic slats. You can also reduce the number of supporting points by removing individual slats, depending on the job process.
- Another option is an aluminum cutting grid. It is suitable for cutting tasks with parts smaller than four inches, as these remain in a flat position after the cut. Compared to the slat cutting table, the aluminum cutting grid table has more supporting points.
- An acrylic cutting grid is also available, and widely considered the universal cutting table for its reflection-free cutting of thin acrylics and other materials that melt easily with a thickness as much as 0.3 of an inch. Similar to the aluminum cutting grid, parts smaller than four inches remain in a flat position after the cut.
- A fourth option is a vacuum table with honeycomb cutting tabletop. This processing table is used for applications that require minimal back reflections and optimum flatness of the material, such as the cutting of membrane switches; however, the very thin honeycombs are sensitive in terms of transportation, handling and storage.
–Josh Stephens, Trotec Laser