There’s a good chance you’ve heard of both CNC cutting (or routing) and laser cutting before and likely have some sort of idea what they do. Laser cutting has a huge giveaway in its name. But beyond some very loose basics, it can be tough to know exactly what both of these machines do. It can be even tougher to figure out what the differences and benefits they each have over one another too.
What is the difference between CNC cutting and laser cutting? First of all, both should be electrically. There are a lot of people who always misunderstand CNC cutting and laser cutting as a kind of thing. In fact, there is a big difference between the two, and with the development of the times, this difference is becoming more and more obvious.
Firstly, we need to take a look at what exactly each of these machines is before we can examine the differences. A CNC cutting machine’s most obvious characteristic is that it cuts through direct physical contact. However, unlike other cutting tools at your disposal, a CNC machine is automated and follows a set programmed path through computer numerical control.
Laser cutters are quite similar in that they follow a programmed path that has been set out in advance but differs radically when it comes time for it to cut. Instead of the physical method, it uses a laser, as the name suggests, to cut through the plywood. This process works by directing the output of a high powered laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) through optics.
In explaining what each cutting machine is we’ve come to the biggest difference; CNC cutting is achieved through friction, while laser cutting is achieved through heat.
This difference is the most crucial, as it helps to set each machine apart and gives them each a number of unique areas where they thrive.