Materials behave differently during machining, with capabilities and limitations that vary between materials and their thicknesses. That’s why it’s important to understand the tolerance of specific materials when designing your projects to be laser cut.
To help, we created a chart that organizes the general maximum and minimum limitations for all of our materials, and a second chart that shows the maximum and minimum material limitations for post processing (bending, tapping, and deburring). Let’s talk about why knowing this information is important, and exactly how to read these charts.
Material Limitations for Post Processing
Knowing your chosen material’s post processing limitations prior to placing your order can save you a lot of time and headache. If you know exactly what the material can handle during post processing, you can plan for it during the initial design phase as opposed to having to change something after you’ve already finished designing the part.
Let’s take a look at an example. Below is a screenshot of the rows of information given in our Tapping Min/Max chart.
Within this chart you’ll see the following information:
- Minimum part size
- Smallest tap possible
- Largest tap possible
The image shows this information for every thickness we offer in 5052 Aluminum. The “N/A” written in all columns next to 0.040” simply means that we do not offer tapping on 5052 Aluminum in this thickness as it’s too thin for reliable thread engagement.
So let’s say you have a .125” 5052 Aluminum that needs to be tapped. According to the chart, the bracket has to be at least 1.5 square inches, the smallest tap you could select would be M2 x .04, and the largest would be ¼-28. After looking at this chart, you know the maximum and minimum limitations of your part from SendCutSend and can design it accordingly.
Material Limitations for Machining
Machining limitations vary between materials, thicknesses, and especially machining processes. You don’t have to worry about what machining process to use for your parts because we take care of that for you, but you do have to choose the right materials and thicknesses for your design. This is where our Material Min/Max charts come in handy.
Below you can see the information given in each chart. We have four charts in total (Metals, Plastics, Composites, and Wood) but all four have the same information columns.
- Dimensional thickness
- Maximum part size available with an instant quote
- Maximum part size available with a custom quote
- Minimum part size across the board
- What machining process we use to machine your parts.
Let’s again take a look at .125” 5052 Aluminum. You can get a part up to 47″ x 60″ with an instant quote, or 47″ x 118″ with a speedy custom quote from our support team. The smallest part size we offer, period, for 5052 Aluminum is 0.25″ x 0.375″. We machine all 5052 Aluminum on our state of the art fiber lasers.
Making Online Laser Cutting and Machining Easy
We are continually adding resources like the above charts to make fabricating easier for you. Whether you’re designing and ordering 2,000 parts for your own customers or creating custom mods for your car rebuild, SendCutSend is here to make the process simple, fast, and affordable.