Water Vs Laser
A different type of cutting involves the use of lasers. The lasers are composed of CO2 gas, seen as infrared light. The energy is transmitted via a beam guided by mirrors. The beam has an output anywhere between 1500 and 2500 watts. Water jetting does not produce the toxic fumes that laser cutting does. The noise pollution is very low for a laser cutter, while water jetting is high. Due to the high heat source of the laser, cut material may melt, or become damaged. Water jet cutting does not face this problem. A water jet uses water and a high-pressure pump. The high flow rate can be measured as 4-16 kilowatts. A water jet cutter is very precise but a laser can cut smaller. For example, the smallest size of cutting by a water jet is .02 inches, while a laser cutter is .0006 inches. They both cost a minimum of $300,000 per machine depending on brand, sizing, equipment and other operating costs.