3D Printing vs. Laser Cutting: Differences and Comparisons

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3D Printing vs. Laser Cutting: Differences and Comparisons

Laser cutting is a technique that uses a high-powered laser beam to cut a sheet of material, usually metal, into a 2D shape.3D printing is a technique that creates a part by adding material layer by layer until the part is complete. Laser cutting is suitable for sheet metal fabrication, whereas 3D printing can produce plastic and metal products in almost any shape. 3D printing has a very wide range of potential materials, whereas laser cutting is generally more limited due to the high energy of the laser and the heat capacity or reflectivity of the material. Laser cutting, especially of metals, is much cheaper than 3D printing metals. Laser cutting is much faster than 3D printing.

What are the advantages of 3D printing over laser cutting?

Listed below are some of the advantages of 3D printing over laser cutting:

1. 3D printing can produce complex 3-dimensional parts out of plastics and metals. Laser cutting can only create simple 2D parts.

2. 3D printing can use a wide range of materials from thermoplastic elastomers to inconel alloys. Many plastics and some metals (such as copper and aluminum) are generally not suitable for laser cutting.


What are the disadvantages of 3D printing compared to laser cutting?

Listed below are some of the disadvantages of 3D printing over laser cutting:

1. 3D printing is not well suited for creating large, flat parts. This is because the flat surface area of a 3D printer is usually small. Removing thin, flat metal parts from the 3D printer bed can cause them to warp or break. Metal printed parts often need to be cut from the print plate.

2. Producing metal parts through 3D printing is much more expensive than laser cutting. Ultimately, it is more expensive to produce metal powder for 3D printing than it is to produce sheet metal.




3D Printing vs. Laser Cutting: A Speed Comparison

Laser cutting is a very fast process. Sheet metal blanks can be produced in seconds; 3D printing can take hours to produce small plastic or metal parts.

3D Printing vs. Laser Cutting: Volume Comparison

Laser cutting is a high-volume technology. It can cut many tons of simple 2D parts per month. 3D printing is a slow, low-volume production technique. It is better suited for complex 3-dimensional parts for advanced applications.

3D Printing vs. Laser Cutting: Material Comparison

Laser cutting can be used to cut metal, wood, plastics, ceramics, etc. 3D printing, on the other hand, can produce almost any material. On the other hand, 3D printing can produce parts in almost any plastic and many metals. Wood-filled plastics are also possible, and 3D printing can also create multi-material parts in one step. Therefore, 3D printing has a wider range of available materials.
This article describes the differences between 3D printing and laser cutting, explains what they mean, and discusses how each technology is used in manufacturing. To learn more about 3D Printing and Laser Cutting, contact a Business Manager at xy-global!