Choosing a Laser Welding Machine
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  1. #1
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    Default Choosing a Laser Welding Machine

    We're looking for our first laser welding machine and I'd appreciate input. Here's a little background:

    I'm a process engineer with lots of experience setting up laser processes (cutting/welding/marking) in Asia. I know several vendors I'd go to for machines over there, but don't really know where to begin domestically. I want a machine that's supported in the US and has an English UI.

    The company I work for has a prototype/development lab in the US and we're ready to add laser welding to our capabilities due to rising demand for the process. We already have a 1kw Coherent CO2 cutting laser and a couple of smaller marking lasers, but nothing for welding.

    The parts we'd be welding would be 90% stainless sheet under 0.25 [mm] thick. The balance of work would be dissimilar material bonding of stainless and aluminum or copper of similar thickness. All of these welds need to be run via CNC and are 2D welds (no rotary needed).

    We have a couple of projects that would benefit from a combined welding and cutting process. Not sure if that's feasible but thought I'd throw it out there.

    From my prior work in Asia it seems like YAG is going out of style due to the lower cost and increased reliability of recent fiber lasers, so I think I'd like to stick with the latter as many of our projects will eventually transfer to CMs in Asia.

    Does anybody have recommendations?

  2. #2
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    This is strictly manual but we've had great success with the LaserStar iWeld. It's basically a jewelry welder so the work envelops is a few inches cubed. We have a table top unit with the removable chamber in case we need to do larger parts which has happened once or twice. I believe it's the 80 Joule version but I'd have to check. There is a thread recently here were I detailed butt welding .064" SS spring temper wire to .059" SS wire (316 to 304 in this case) with fine results. Stretching 316 1/8 hard wire. We did another project where we welded 90 degree miter joints in 1/16" wall mild steel tubing and that was fine too and that is on the edge of TIG welding scale. We have also welded neodynium wire of a few thousands diameter for some super conducing quantum computer malarkey which worked great in that superconducing quantum malarkey subsequently occurred in the lab, as I was told. LasserStar has larger and more automated machines but I can say we are very pleased with it in that a) it has been dead reliable and b) laser welding in general is magic and awesome.

    There is one trick with this machine by the way. The glass windows for the laser wear out but if you replace it with a quartz one you can get from McMaster, they seem to last forever.

  3. #3
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    Contact IPG. Both lasers and machines are made in MA. Almost in your back yard.


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