We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Different Types of Laser Cutting Tools?

By Larry Ray Palmer
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

"Laser cutting tool" is a broad term that covers a variety of cutting tools. Although there are only a few basic laser types, the adaptations and uses of these tools present a range of possibilities. From the high-speed steel-cutting lasers used in industrial applications to the laser engraving machines used by artists to create beautiful works of art to the micro jet lasers that are capable of producing clean cuts while cooling the cut materials, laser cutting tools are becoming a popular choice in manufacturing and various industries.

The type of laser used to power a cutting tool gives it specific characteristics and properties. These cutting tools fall into three basic categories: carbon dioxide (CO2), neodymium (ND) and neodymium yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Nd-YAG). These three types of lasers are used in laser tools that perform six laser cutting functions.

The laser micro jet is a unique laser cutting tool because the laser is contained within a jet of water that guides it to the cut. This method of laser cutting is much faster than traditional, dry laser cutting, and it offers several advantages. The most noteworthy advantage is the water jet, which cools the cut material and clears debris while guiding the laser.

Vaporization cutting, also called keyhole cutting, focuses the beam of the tool in a specific area to start the cutting process. As the area heats to the boiling point, it forms a small indentation called a keyhole, which rapidly expands, creating an even bigger hole. Cutting tools that employ vaporization cutting are usually used on materials that do not melt, such as carbon, wood or thermoset plastic.

Melt and blow cutting laser cutting tools are used primarily for cutting metal and metal alloys. This process is similar to vaporization cutting, with one subtle difference. Instead of using additional heat from the laser to create a bigger hole, the melt and blow laser cutting tools use a blast of compressed gas to push the melted material out of the cut after the material has reached its boiling point.

Thermal stress cracking laser cutting tools are commonly used by artists for cutting glass or acrylic. The process of thermal stress cracking takes advantage of the natural characteristic of brittle materials to crack when exposed to thermal expansion. By moving the focus of the laser, the artist can control the movement and depth of the crack.

Reactive cutting, or flame cutting, is used for cutting very thick metals. The cutting tools used for this process produce an effect that is similar to the cutting torch used in welding, but the laser beam provides the heat source rather than the oxy-fuel flame of the cutting torch. These cutting tools are very powerful and can cut flat sheet materials or thick carbon steel with a relatively conservative amount of power.

Surface finishing tools are another variation of laser cutting tools. Laser machining is used to produce ultra-fine finishes on manufactured products. Personalized products are made using laser engraving machines. These tools often sport low-powered lasers that merely cut or scratch the surface of the material.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Talentryto — On Dec 09, 2014

@raynbow- I think that your friend should look online to find a laser cutting tool for a low price. Since these tools are not always available in retail or second-hand shops, he might not be able to find one in his area.

Tell your friend to look at different web sites, including those that sell items through auctions, before he makes his purchase. The more he shops around for his laser cutting tool, the better deal he will get.

By Raynbow — On Dec 08, 2014

I have an artist friend who is looking for a good deal on a basic laser cutting tool. Where can he find one without spending a fortune?

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.