In 1960 the first functioning laser made its public debut. The debut occurred at Hughes Research Laboratories. In less than ten years from this ground-breaking event, lasers were being used for cutting in shops. The new technology made the erstwhile reliance on punching and shearing outdated. Shears, which come in various types, were made to create single and linear cuts. As shop tools they are not useful for curved cuts. Shears also require multiple setups to perform their task efficiently. The standard before lasers when curved and round cuts were needed was to default to punching tools. Making use of a CNC turret punch was often the employed strategy. Back then, cuts were made as needed. However, the extra machinery and time used generally created a delay in production times, besides adding stress to small shop budgets. Segue to modern times. Modern laser cutters can cut virtually any shape desired, using a single setup. Modern programming for laser tools is easy, only slightly more elevated than that used for the average printer. When lasers are the primary means of cutting within a shop it eliminates or at worst substantially reduces the need for alternate dedicated cutting and deburring tools. Production rises and costs decline.
- It was in 1960 that the first totally usable laser was publicly demonstrated at Hughes Research Laboratory.
- Modern lasers can cut through diamond dies, metals and other materials as well.
- Traditional shearing can create holes and cuts within limits. However, laser have the ability to create any shape with a single setup.
“Shears come in several styles, but all make single, linear cuts, requiring multiple setups to create a part.”