MLT is capable of laser machining, cutting, and drilling many thin metals to exacting tolerances. Specializing in the laser processing of thin, flat, sheet or roll stock, laser fabrication of metals and metal alloys is limited to a maximum thicknesses of .100″. A subset laser machinable metals and metal alloys are listed below.
Metal selection is generally based on the properties of strength, wear resistance or hardness, corrosion resistance, formability, and machinability. Surface finishes may be precision ground, unpolished, coated, polished, brushed, bright, or reflective.
If required, material certifications can be provided to document compliance to military (Mil-Spec), food and drug, automotive, and aerospace standards. This includes SAE recognized Ground Vehicle Standards; Aerospace Standards; and Aerospace Material Specifications (AMS). ASTM categories for metals include:
- Steel Standards
- Fastener Standards
- Nonferrous Metal & Alloy Standards
- Metallic Coating Standards
- Fatigue and Fracture Standards
- Corrosion and Wear Standards
- Copper Standards
- Cast Iron Standards
- Analytical Chemistry Standards
Lightweight, economical, corrosion resistant, easy to machine, and a good conductor of heat and electricity. CR = Corrosion-Resistant. Aluminum types include:
- 1100 – Ultra-CR
- 2024 – High-Strength
- 3003 – CR Formable
- 2024 – High-Strength
- 3003 – CR Formable
- 5052 – Easy-to-Weld Highly CR
- 5083 – Strengthened Highly CR
- 5086 – Marine Alloy
- 5205 – Color-Anodized
- 6013 – Strengthened Multipurpose
- 6061 – Multipurpose
- 6063 – Highly CR Architectural
- 6101 – Highly CR
- 7050 – Very High-Strength
- 7075 – Hard High-Strength
Offers good machinability at an economical cost but lacks corrosion resistance.
• Carbon steel – an economical choice for machining and structural applications, and it can be surface hardened.
• Alloy steel – greater strength and hardness than carbon steel, making it useful for high-stress applications. Heat treating can further enhance strength and hardness.
• Tool steel – used to make cutting tools, and it can be heat treated for extreme hardness.
With at least 10% chromium, stainless steel types types 301, 302, 303, and 304 are excellent for corrosion resistance. The 300 series hardens by cold working, many in the 400 series can be hardened by heat treating, and those designated “PH” can be heat treated by the process of precipitation hardening. Stainless steel is generally formable and bendable, but types that harden by cold working can require more force to bend than carbon steel. Stainless steel can typically be more difficult to machine than steel. Stainless steel types include:
- 301/2 – High-Strength Multipurpose
- 303 – Easy-to-Machine
- 304 – Multipurpose
- 309 – High-Temp Multipurpose
- 316 – Super-CR
- 321 – Weldable
- 430 – Econ-Grade light-duty
- 416 – Very Easy-to-Machine
- 410 – Wear-Resistant
- 420 – Mold-Quality Wear-Resistant
- 420V – Very Wear-Resistant
- 440C – Ultra-Hard Wear-Resistant
- 440A – Impact and Wear-Resistant
- 17-4PH – CR High-Strength
- A286 – Strengthened CR
Nickel, Invar, & Titanium Alloys
Nickel can handle many aggressive chemicals and acids, even at high temperatures. Titanium is extremely strong, lightweight, and maintains good corrosion resistance in marine environments.
- 200 – Highly CR Ni
- 400 – Multipurpose Ni
- 625 – High-Strength Ni
- 718 – High-Strength Extreme-Temp Ni
- Alloy X – High-Temperature Ni Alloy
- Invar 36 – Low-Expansion
- Kovar – Low-Expansion Machinable
- Grade 2 – Highly CR Ti
- Grade 5 – High-Strength Ti
- Grade 7 – Titanium
Red Metals of Copper, Brass, and Bronze
Excellent conductors of heat and electricity, these metals are soft and very formable. These alloys have a high copper (red) content that provides corrosion resistance and redish-brown coloring. With a minimum of 99.3% copper content, copper is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity in electrical applications.
Brass alloys consist of copper and about 40% zinc that promotes machinability. Bronze alloys are mostly copper with small amounts of tin, iron, and zincthat promote low friction and high wear resistance (i.e. bearings).
- 101 – Super-Conductive, OFHC Cu
- 110 – Multipurpose, EPT Cu
- 145 – Easy-to-Machine tellurium Cu
- 182 – High-Strength Cu
- 220 – CR Easy-to-Form Bronze
- 260 – Easy-to-Form, Cartridge Brass
- 353 – Easy-to-Machine Brass
- 360 – Ultra-Machinable Brass
- 385 – Easy-to-Machine Architectural Brass
- 464 – Weldable Naval Brass
- 510 – Very High-Strength Bronze
- 932 – Multipurpose Bearing Bronze- SAE 660
Inherently soft and is readily alloyed with other metals to form solder. Commonly used to make gaskets and filters, these soft sheets are very easy to form. The material is considered commercially pure, because it contains more than 99.9% tin.
Tungsten Carbide and Tungsten Alloys
Very wear resistant (harder than tool steel) and can withstand extremely high temperatures. All shapes are C2 tungsten carbide.
Zinc provides non-sparking, corrosion resistance, formability, and non-abrasive properties as an alternate to lead. 99% zinc is considered pure and the softest of all the zinc alloys. Zinc is excellent for EMI/RFI shields and architectural sheeting.