How to cut copper? Learn about the most popular copper cutting methods and find out which one gives the best results!

What to cut copper with

Copper's high electrical conductivity makes it an important component of energy technologies such as wind farms, solar panels, battery systems and more.

However, cutting copper can be a difficult task. It is a soft metal that can be prone to deformation, melting or burrs. In this article, we'll discuss some methods of cutting copper, such as laser cutting or water jet cutting, and point out which methods give the best results.

Copper cutting method no. 1: Laser cutting of copper

Laser cutting of copper is a modern and highly precise method of cutting copper that offers a host of advantages. It uses a high-powered laser beam to precisely and quickly cut metals such as copper. Laser cutting of copper is particularly useful for cutting complex shapes or patterns, and produces clean edges and precise cuts without the need for additional finishing or refinement.

The process involves using a computer-controlled laser head to burn the desired shape or pattern into the copper. The laser beam heats the copper to a high temperature, causing it to melt and vaporize, then creating a clean cut.

Laser cutting is particularly effective for cutting sheets of copper up to 10 mm. It is also useful for preparing intricate designs or patterns that would be difficult or impossible to achieve with other cutting methods.

What are the biggest advantages of laser cutting copper?

  • Precision and accuracy: Laser copper cutting uses a highly focused beam of light, resulting in extremely precise cuts with a high degree of accuracy. This allows for tight tolerances and the ability to create intricate and complex shapes.
  • Speed and efficiency: Laser copper cutting is a fast and efficient process.
  • Consistency and repeatability: Laser beam cutting provides consistent and repeatable results, ensuring that each cut is identical to the previous one. This is important for large production runs.
  • Minimal waste: Laser cutting of copper results in minimal waste because the placement of the parts on the sheet is arbitrary, allowing for optimized roll-out. This minimizes material waste (little scrap), making the entire process more environmentally friendly.
  • Flexibility: fiber laser cutting is a flexible process that can be used to cut copper in a variety of shapes and sizes, from simple cuts to complex and intricate designs. This makes it an ideal choice for a wide range of applications: from industrial production to artistic projects.

The benefits of this method's precision, speed and consistency make it a worthwhile investment for many companies and industries.

Copper cutting method no. 2: Waterjet copper cutting

Waterjet copper cutting is another advanced cutting technology that can be used to process copper. This technique uses a high-pressure water jet that is combined with abrasive particles to cut through materials precisely and quickly.

Waterjet copper cutting is particularly effective for thicker or larger pieces of copper, and can also be used to cut other materials, such as plastics or composites. This method provides high precision cutting, high productivity and efficiency of the process on thicker material (12 mm - 15 mm), high-quality cut edges, and the ability to cut any shape. What's more, waterjet cutting does not generate heat that can affect the metal itself. The absence of a heat zone reduces the risk of warping or deformation of copper parts. Waterjet copper cutting also produces minimal waste, and the scrap (waste) can be recycled.

Despite its many advantages, the use of waterjet does not solve many of the problems associated with copper processing. This method produces precise cuts, but nevertheless, the edges may not be smooth, and the component will require further processing (grinding, milling), which significantly increases the time and cost of component production.

Waterjet copper cutting

Other Copper Cutting Methods

In addition to laser cutting of copper or waterjet machines, copper can also be cut manually or by plasma.

Manual Copper Cutting Methods

Manual copper cutting requires the use of various tools, such as saws, chisels, rotary shears, or special cutting shears. These tools are used to shape and trim copper to the desired size and shape. Although the process can be time- and labor-intensive, it has several significant advantages. It is an ideal choice for small-scale projects or for those working with limited resources. It has a wide range of applications, especially in carving or working with single pieces of parts.

The advantage of hand-cutting copper is also its versatility. With a variety of hand tools at your disposal, you can create a wide range of shapes and sizes, from simple cuts to more complex designs. This allows for a high level of customization and creativity, making hand cutting an ideal choice for artists and craftsmen.

The process of hand-cutting copper also has many disadvantages. One of them is the processing time required and the high level of effort. Hand cutting is a slow and tiring process, especially when processing larger pieces of copper. Another disadvantage of this method is also the possibility of many imperfections. Since hand cutting relies on the skill and experience of the worker, there is always a risk of errors and inconsistencies. This can result in wasted material and increased production costs.

Plasma Copper Cutting

Plasma copper cutting is also a fairly popular method of cutting copper, mainly due to its ability to produce fast cuts on thicker materials. The technology uses a high-temperature plasma arc that is generated by passing a gas, such as nitrogen or oxygen, through a small orifice and then applying an electric arc to ionize the gas. The resulting plasma arc is able to melt and cut copper.

One of the main advantages of plasma cutting is its speed. A high-temperature plasma arc can cut through copper at a much faster rate than other cutting methods, making it an ideal choice for large-scale industrial applications where speed and efficiency are key. Nevertheless, this method is not the best choice for thin copper sheets, due to the high risk of warping or deforming the workpiece.

Modern Copper Cutting Methods Offered by Electris

Electris is a significant supplier of copper components in Poland and abroad. The company offers its customers comprehensive copper processing and supplies various products such as bus bars, connectors, air heat sinks, and liquid-cooled heat sinks. These are products created according to the guidelines and needs of our customers. The selection of the appropriate copper cutting method is always thoroughly analyzed with regard to the product in question. The copper processing methods used by our company are fiber laser copper cutting and water jet copper cutting.

Summary: Which method of cutting copper is best?

It is difficult to identify one "best" copper cutting method that is suitable for all applications. The choice of cutting method depends on several factors, including the desired level of precision, the thickness and hardness of the copper, the required production speed, and the available budget. However, it is tempting to say that the laser beam cutting method has the most advantages.

laser copper cutting

FAQ - What to Cut Copper With? Learn About the Best Ways!

What are the methods of cutting copper?
What are the characteristics of laser cutting of copper?
What copper cutting techniques does Electris use?
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