Laser cutting challenging materials

Challenging & difficult to laser-cut materials

Not all materials are suitable for laser cutting technology. Besides standard materials like steel and stainless steel, Raytech has a broad knowledge and parameters in order to process ‘exotic’ and difficult material. A summary below:

** Before diving into the overview of difficult to laser-cut materials, it could be interesting to first have a look at our overview of the most common materials used for laser cutters. Overview can be found on the following link: most common materials **


High reflective metals (limited in thickness)

Several materials, mainly non-ferrous metals, are hard to laser-cut due to their high reflectivity. These materials are capable of reflecting radiated wavelenghts back into the laser machine. This ‘flashback’ of laser beams can cause considerable damage to various components inside the laser head.

  • Aluminium
  • Brass
  • Bronze
  • Copper
  • Zinc


Micro fiber laser – thé solution!

Fiber lasers uses a fiber optical cable instead of mirrors or lenses to focus and transport laser beams. This method reduces the risk of laser light reflecting back into the laser head. Under certain circumstances, it’s possible to process high reflective materials. Influencing factors:

  • Laser machine & laser source
  • Addition of cutting gases
  • Alloy properties
  • Material thicknesses


Precious metals

Precious metals can sometimes reflect up to 90-95% of the emitted laser light. It goes without saying that adapted equipment (laser source & laser wavelength) is necessary in order to produce components out of precious metal material. (Platinum…)


‘Exotic materials’

Certain markets (a.o. electronics & medical) use sector-specific materials. Over the years, Raytech built an extensive parameter list in order to process niche materials.

  • Ni-Ti legeringen
    • ‘Memory alloys’
  • Glass
  • Titanium
  • Silicium
  • Germanium


Fire hazard & toxic gases

Some materials can emit toxic gases or cause fire. In order to prevent these unwanted side effects, custom cutting parameters and equipment (ventilation & filtration) are applied. Material thickness is also limited to have a minimum of unpleasant adverse effects.

The materials listed below can be processed, depending on material thickness:

  • HDPE
  • Polystyrene
  • Carbon
  • Epoxy
  • ABS
  • Polycarbonate