We laser cut tube, using our laser cutting services, with outside diameters from 0.40mm to 20.0mm. The laser cut is made from a single fibre laser source whilst the tube is held in a precision collet. The cut is usually made toward the central axis of symmetry of the tube, which is rotated and moved back and forth under the laser beam which cuts through the tube wall.
Some straightforward examples of laser-cut tubes, including stainless steel tubes, are shown here. This is an economical method of making tube components which have several features such as holes, slots, and cut shaped ends. Examples of applications include probe end tips for actuators, sensors in medical devices, needles, temperature probes.
Spiral spring forms can be made by cutting a spiral along the tube, increasing its flexibility as shown. Stents for use in medical devices are commonly made from nitinol (nickel-titanium alloy) using this laser process, so that a burr-free, precision cut is produced.
Laser marking on tubes and off-axis cutting of tubes is also offered by Attica.
Specialist high-frequency pico-second lasers are now being developed which can cut through metal and ceramic materials without leaving a heat-affected zone, so that the surface around the cut no longer requires post-finishing such as pickling or polishing.
Alternative non-contact methods of metal cutting include EDM, or electro-discharge machining. This method uses a wire electrode to oxidise and remove metal, with the part immersed in aqueous fluid, and provides an alternative very accurate cutting method. Irregular metal shapes such as gears can be cut by this method. Precision tube cutting, without burrs at the tube ends, can also be carried out using this method, in place of the more usual laser cutting or abrasive cut methods.
Spark erosion similarly uses an electrode, but here a solid one which is a negative of the hole to be drilled. EDM hole drilling is used to drill deep, small diameter holes. These are either used in their own right or as starter holes for wire cutting.