CO2 gas lasers still dominate sheet metal cutting, but they aren’t the only game in town anymore. Solid-state lasers like the fiber and disk varieties--which use diode lasers to pump, or excite, the lasing medium--continue to have considerable market success. And now fabricators may have a new type of solid-state system to consider for sheet metal cutting: the direct-diode laser.
Not too long ago, cutting most sheet metal gauges efficiently with a direct-diode laser seemed like a far-fetched concept, and for good reason. Historically direct-diode lasers haven’t had adequate beam quality to do the job. That’s because there has always been a trade-off between high power and high beam quality. In a direct-diode setup, you couldn’t have both.