Laser Cutting: The two decade old CO2 laser is gradually replaced by fiber laser for metal cutting. Fiber laser can cut thicker materials with high spatial precision at faster speed. Fiber laser is energy economic, maintenance free, and easy to use with high repeatability. It leaves clean and straight edges due to thermal annealing process. Fiber laser also allows three dimensional cutting if combined with robot arm.
Waterjet Cutting: Water jet cutting uses high water pressure. The water, with a very small diameter, leaves it at a speed of around 900 m/s due to high pressure. With the computer’s CNC control of this power, any desired shape can be cut. Water jet can cut a wide range of materials. It does not leave any thermal stress in working objects.
CNC Milling: CNC milling is used to cut or engrave metal and non-metallic materials. It has high flexibility due to ability to move in three dimensions. Its cutting accuracy is higher than all other devices except lasers. Extra care should be used because of possibility tip damage.
Plasma Cutting: Plasma cutting is used only for metal materials. The advantage of this method to other methods is that the plasma cutting machines are cheaper than other metal cutting machines. The accuracy of this method is lower than all other methods. It creates an edge with 30 degree inclination. It also produces a large amount of dust fume. Thus significant post cutting polishing is needed.
Ultrasonic Cutting: Ultrasonic cutting is used to process hard or brittle material (both conductive and non-conductive), with hardness typically more than 40 RC. This method uses a high frequency mechanical movement and abrasive slurry. Material is cut by abrasive particles that are driven by a vibrating machine perpendicular to the workpiece surface.