Laser Cutting and CNC Punching: Which Method To Opt For?

Both punching and laser cutting can be used effectively in order to cut through materials during sheet metal fabrication. Although laser cutters are more popular owing to the variety of features they offer, punching machines are almost equally effective when it comes to metal cutting. This blog will review main differences between laser cutters and CNC punching machines and hopefully help you decide which metalworking method would best meet the needs of your projects. 


CNC punching vs laser machines: what’s the difference?


CNC punching involves placing a metal sheet between a punch and a die. Using significant force, the punch pushes excess metal into the die. CNC punching machines use computer programming codes to ensure the design pattern is precisely followed. In laser cutting, the laser beam hits the surface of the material and heats it in a way that it melts or completely vaporizes. Coated mirrors guide and focus the laser beam while also shielding it from the operator’s eyes. The entire process is simple and effective.


Aspects to consider when choosing between the two methods

When choosing between laser cutters and CNC punching machines, there are a few aspects that need to be considered.


Project complexity

Laser cutting is a preferred method when working on a more detailed project with a number of small features, elements and curves. 


Batch size

Laser cutting is mostly used in producing goods in small batches as laser machines are simpler to set up. Punching machines are more complex in terms of set up so they are best used in production of goods in large quantities. 


Production speed

Punching provides faster throughput and production speed, so they are better used in projects with a large number of holes to be made. 


Material specifications

Punching machines perform better with thicker materials, while laser cutters are mostly used to cut through the materials that are thinner. Punching also works great on parts with large louvres or countersinks needing taping. 

When it comes to choosing between punching machine and laser cutters, it all comes down to the type of project you work on. Laser machines are more flexible than punching machines as they are adaptable at high speeds. They don’t require frequent oil or filter change and no additional optics need to be added unless you need to cut through thick materials.

Choosing the right machinery for your project is important to ensure the parts are produced efficiently, safely and in the most cost-effective way. Metal Tronics is a trusted metal fabrication company offering laser cutting services in Toronto and across the GTA. With precision being our top priority, we take on custom metalworking projects of all complexities. We create top-quality products and an excellent level of customer service. Get in touch with us today to get a consultation on your custom metalworking project.