Laser Cutting of Ceramic

Many types of ceramic materials can be cut using lasers but Alumina Silicate (Al2SiO5) is the most common. Either the full ablation method or the scribe-and-break technique can be use to cut Alumina Silicate, each have their own advantages depending on the requirements of the application. A ceramic laser cutting machine allows for precise heat control and is able to cut detailed patterns that other contact methods cannot achieve.

Our Applications Lab at Control Micro Systems, Inc. will process your samples for free and determine the best laser and optics configuration to meet your ceramic laser cutting needs. Contact us today!

Advantages of Laser Cutting of Ceramic:

  • No Contact Cutting – No saws to replace as there are in diamond cutting of ceramic and no extra mechanical stress on parts.
  • Precise Control – Focused, localized laser energy allows for very narrow cuts with small kerf widths and the ability to cut detailed, intricate patterns.
  • No consumables – Unlike water jet cutting, laser cutting of ceramic does not require extra consumables or have disposables.

Methods of Laser Cutting of Ceramic:

There are two typical types of lasers used for cutting ceramic.

  • A high brightness fiber laser (1064nm wavelength) or a high powered CO2 laser (10600nm wavelength) couples well with ceramic and are fast cutting options.
  • Femtosecond lasers can also be used when superior cut quality and precision are required.

Any of these lasers can be used with the following cutting methods but one may provide certain advantages in cut quality or speeds over the other depending on the exact application requirements.

There are two techniques most commonly used to cut ceramic:

  • Full Ablation Cutting:

In this method, the focused laser spot is used to cut the ceramic completely through, fully separating the two cut edges. Full ablation is normally preferred when cutting patterns out of the center of a part or when the material being cut is sensitive to extra force. On-axis gas assist can be used with this method to achieve cleaner full ablation cuts with minimal recast on the back side of the cut.

  • Scribe-and-Break Technique:

Scribe and Break Ceramic Cut

Another commonly used cutting technique is to scribe the ceramic surface enough to weaken the part at the cut line. Then, as a secondary step, force is applied to break the two cut edges apart. Scribe-and-Break is faster than the full ablation method but requires extra force to be applied that may not work well for cutting fragile parts.

Ceramics are just one material of many where laser cutting offers an ideal solution in industrial and manufacturing systems. Learn more about other methods and applications for laser cutting.