We here at Estes Design & Manufacturing are pretty excited about the possibilities and advantages opened up by 3D laser welding, and many of our customers have already gotten to find out why. Today, we’re going to share a little bit of background on 3D laser welding: the process itself, as well as some of the benefits. We’ll also talk some about when not to use it, because it’s not always the ideal solution.
3D laser welding does not operate on the same principles other types of welding in that 3D laser welding uses a beam of light, instead of electricity, to join two pieces of metal together through a melting and cooling process. Another key difference with 3D laser welding is the intensity and ability to focus the heat source: the laser. The much higher, focused heat than, say, the electricity of a MIG welder or TIG welder, means that the weld occurs much more quickly. What’s more, the ability to narrowly pinpoint the weld area leads to much greater precision and more accurate and attractive weld joints.
What does this mean for you?
- Higher speeds: 10x faster than MIG welding, and 40x faster than TIG welding.
- Minimal/no finishing: The accuracy of the laser welding process means that little to no grinding or finishing is needed.
- Visually superior: Laser welding is ideal for straight line joints in furniture and other consumer products, since there is a much smaller heat-affected zone and a much tighter weld.
- Greater strength: A smaller heat-affected zone also means less weakening of the material.
So when wouldn’t you want to use 3D laser welding? Thicker materials and parts where the weld joint construction does not allow the fit-up to be consistently maintained generally are not good candidates for laser welding.
Whatever your application, we’ll work with you to determine the best process to suit your needs.