Laser cutting of sheet metal parts results in substantial cost savings compared, to the currently used sawing, milling, and drilling operations. The savings are especially significant if the laser-cut surfaces can be used in the as-cut condition. However, laser cutting is a thermal process similar to electrical discharge machining (EDM) which removes material by a combination of vaporization and melting. This results in a residual recast layer and heat-affected zone (HAZ), which affect material properties such as fatigue life if they are not removed. Thus, prior to using the process for specific applications, its effect on the material must be evaluated.

© 1984 Optical Society of America

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