Here at Pesznecker Brothers, we work with lots of metal. Whether we're fabricating, cutting or waterjetting, many of our services in some way involve manipulating metal. Whole doing so, it's important to understand what material you're working with and what it can and can't do.
These are some of the metals we work with the most and what you need to know about them.
Aluminum, the most abundant metal in the Earth's crust, is a silvery-white, soft, nonmagnetic, ductile metal. Aluminum is able to resist corrosion through passivation, an inherent resistance to nature's effects. It also has a uniquely low density, which allows it to be used heavily in the transportation and aerospace industry.
Like brass and bronze, aluminum is highly reflective which can cause problems when trying to laser cut it using conventional CO2 laser technology. With our new start-of-the-art 6000 watt fiber laser, we can cut aluminum quickly and efficiently, up to 3/8" thick. In addition to laser cutting, our dynamic head water jet equipment can cut aluminum easily up to 8” thick with virtually no kerf taper.
Brass is a metal alloy primarily comprised of copper and zinc. The ratio of copper to zinc can vary, creating a diverse range of different brass types with varying characteristics and properties. Combining other alloys to the base composition enhances the machinability and strength of brass.
Since brass is soft, it generally can be machined and water jet cut. Typically, brass is so reflective that there's a risk cutting with conventional CO2 lasers that the laser beam will actually reflect back into the optics, destroying the very expensive lens. However, cutting brass with our fiber laser is not an issue. We can laser cut brass up 1/4" and waterjet cut it up to 8" thick.
Bronze is a metal alloy, primarily comprised of the natural occurring metal copper. Bronze also has tin it, generally around 12%, and a few other assorted metals in very low percentages. Humans began using bronze in four thousand BC, and it was so useful that the period became known for the rest of time as the "The Bronze Age."
Bronze is similar chemically and compositionally to brass, and like brass, it's very difficult to cut with a standard CO2 laser. Water jet cutting or even machine cutting is recommended, but our OPTIPLEX 4020 Fiber laser is capable of cutting sheetings of bronze. Also similarly to brass, bronze is now primarily used for statues, musical instruments, and a wide variety of ornamental elements.
Check out Part 2
for more metals breakdowns. And for all your custom fabrication, polishing and metal cutting needs, call the experts at Pesznecker Brothers today! (503) 655-5128