Laser cutting machines can accurately produce complex exterior contours. The laser beam is typically 0.2 mm (0.008 in) diameter at the cutting surface with a power of 1000 to 2000 watts.
Laser cutting can be complementary to the CNC/Turret process. The CNC/Turret process can produce internal features such as holes readily whereas the laser cutting process can produce external complex features easily.
Laser cutting takes direct input in the form of electronic data from a CAD drawing to produce flat form parts of great complexity. With 3-axis control, the laser cutting process can profile parts after they have been formed on the CNC/Turret process.
Lasers work best on materials such as carbon steel or stainless steels. Metals such as aluminum and copper alloys are more difficult to cut due to their ability to reflect the light as well as absorb and conduct heat. This requires lasers that are more powerful.