Laser cutting has made manufacturing faster, cheaper and, most importantly, more accurate than ever. But it’s not just the laser cutter that is making the difference, it’s the computer aided design (CAD) that has made creating new and interesting designs possible.

From novelty to innovation, CAD is what makes an idea a reality.

Why Use CAD?

Humans aren’t perfect; we all make mistakes. Whether it is a sudden twitch or a project that is too finely detailed, one accident can ruin the final result. And with laser cutting, there’s no rescuing a project once it’s gone wrong.

Luckily, CAD eliminates human error and you can produce exactly the same design over and over with perfect results. This is what makes it so popular in so many manufacturing industries, not just laser cutting.

Preview and Prototype

One of the joys of hand crafted items is the inevitable uniqueness only a person can achieve. Sometimes, though it is vital that products are identical. This is particularly important for industries such as the automotive and architectural industries where the accuracy is paramount.

Using CAD, you can design your product first giving you a clear idea of the outcome. Once you have finalised your design, the computer will ensure that the laser takes exactly the same path every single time with remarkable accuracy. You can start with a prototype and then easily make minor changes to perfect your design without slowing the whole process down.

Being able to create the same design over and over and have the ability to make minor changes with such accuracy is perfect for companies who are in the final stages of product design.

CAD laser cut design on an iPad

Quick Process

CAD laser cutting is so cheap and efficient because the laser cutter is following the same optimised pattern every time. This means that the computer can not only cut the material more precisely than a person could, it also cuts much faster.

The speed of CAD assisted laser cutting means that the manufacturing process is much cheaper than many other methods. It also means that if you need products in bulk, you will get identical parts quicker, too. Once the design has been inputted, the laser cutter will just get on with repeating the process to your specifications.

Perfect Results

Combined with the accuracy of the laser, which can be as small as 0.025mm, CAD vastly improves the accuracy of the laser cutter. Unlike us humans, the computer can measure tiny distances, moving the laser fractionally and to a much smaller tolerance than guestimation would allow. This means that more finely detailed designs can be produced using CAD.

CAD is also responsible for making sure that the laser is at the right temperature so that it efficiently makes the cut without causing any damage to the material. The overall finish of any product is a high priority in any industry so having control over the minutia of every detail is paramount. Laser cutting and CAD provide these results.

When CAD Made Magic Happen  

CAD is an amazing tool that has brought all so many seemingly impossible designs to life, and on this blog we have featured all sorts of cool and innovative laser cut designs. Here are a few of them:

Laser Cut Dinosaurs

The novelty of having a large laser cut cardboard t-rex is too much to resist for some people. Luckily, CAD is here to bring those toothy grins and tiny hands to life – or at least to cardboard. Constructed from lots of separate 2D parts, CAD helps to build up a design from lots of individually cut pieces that all fit together perfectly.

The Ultimate PB&J Sandwich

The peanut butter and jelly sandwich needed perfecting and only a laser could produce the best results. The accuracy of the laser cutter was absolutely vital for this project – too much heat and the bread would burn and no-one wants that!

Laser cut peanut butter sandwich

Laser Tattooed Fruit and Veg

Laser engraving fruit and veg is enough to impress us, but this campaign aims to reduce waste by replacing sticky labels with laser engraved alternatives. With CAD, each veggie can be tattooed with the same logo and barcode quickly and efficiently – a real food revolution!

Image: The Guardian

Ikea’s Growroom

Laser cutting really is for everybody as this open source design proves. Rather than shipping the parts for their novel design, SPACE10 have made their Growroom available for anybody with access to a local laser cutter (like Subcon Laser!). With this set of instructions, CAD handles all the cutting for you so that your laser cut parts will be exactly the same as the designers intent.

The Growroom full of plants

Image: Business Insider