CNC cutting machines and laser cutting machines perform a very similar function: they cut, shape,
and drill materials like woods, plastics, and metals to produce commercial products or industrial
machine parts. Computer numerical controlled (CNC) cutting machines use a variety of tools to cut
and shape the material, such as Router cutters, Milling cutters and Spindle tooling or tipped tooling
with poly-crystalline diamond (PCD) or Tungsten Carbide (TCT).
Laser cutters use (you guessed it!) lasers to cut the materials into the desired shape, which yields
some interesting benefits. Laser cutters come in three main variations: a C02 laser runs electricity
through a tube of carbon dioxide, a fibre laser amplifies its beam through glass fibres, and the
Nd:YAG laser, or the “neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet; Nd:Y3Al5O12” laser, delivers a
very high power beam using Nd:YAG crystals.
CNC Cutting Machines
- CNC machines use complex software designed to maximise the quality of the finish and
minimise the amount of waste.
- As the name suggests, CNC machines complete their machining without human intervention,
leaving little opportunity for human error.
- Because of their lack of human intervention, CNC machines reduce the risk of workplace
- CNC machines can run at much higher speeds than laser cutters, so long as the tool tip is
- CNC machines use considerably less power than laser cutters.
Laser Cutting Machines
- Laser cutting machines benefit from having a much finer cut, and therefore can be used to
create far finer details. The smallest available size of a CNC cutting tool will be around .062”,
while a laser cutter can set its beam to around 0.005”, a staggering difference.
- Laser cutting leaves a perfectly smooth and sealed edge due to the heat it generates. When
compared to a CNC machine, the finish is of a higher quality for both function and
- Due to its fine beam, laser cutters maximise the number of useable parts produced by one
piece of material and minimise waste.
- Laser cutters have far fewer moving components than CNC milling machine, which reduces
the risk of breakages and repair costs for moving mechanical parts