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Laser Cutting vs. 3D Printing

When you’re looking to produce your business’s products and components as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible, it’s wise to explore and compare the features and benefits of all available technologies.

Have you wondered what the difference is between laser cutting and 3D printing for producing parts? Here’s a rundown of their basic features, benefits and uses!

Laser Cutting

Laser cutting is done either with a flat sheet laser or a 3D tube laser. It’s a “subtractive” technology that creates parts by cutting material away from a source.

Flat sheet laser cutting has a speed and an accuracy advantage. If you need to cut a large volume of components quickly from sheets of steel, stainless steel, aluminum, brass and copper, flat sheet laser cutting can deliver. When you need prototypes or full runs, you can get them done fast.

3D tube lasers have more versatility in that the 3D rotating laser head can cut round tube, channel, angle, square tube and open profile stock in addition to straight, flat stock. Plus it can cut, bevel, countersink and chamfer all in a single step. That saves precious time and effort.

We can create all sorts of parts out of all types of metal. And with subsequent forming, welding and finishing processes, we can create just about any type of part you might need.

3D Printing

3D printing, or “additive manufacturing,” is a completely different technology from laser cutting. However, it, too can be used for producing prototypes quickly.

Through a computer-driven additive process of adding layers upon layers of material on top of each other to form a piece, 3D printers can create a three-dimensional object from an electronic 3D model. For smaller quantities, 3D printing can produce components relatively quickly; but it may not be the best option for more extensive runs.

At BenCo, we offer 3D modeling using our SolidWorks software. This enables us to produce prototypes and full runs of parts using our wide range of in-house cutting technology without the limitations of 3D printing.

Which Technology will Serve You Best?

That’s a great question. The answer: It depends!

At BenCo, our team at our PA laser cutting facility won’t suggest a technology until we know the details of your project and your manufacturing goals. Please contact us to discuss your needs. We’ll be happy to share our insight and recommendations.

 

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