We often have the need for custom laser-cut sheet metal parts. Modern laser cutting machines are highly capable, cutting up to inch thick steel and beyond, depending on the specific machine. In the past, we've used laser cut metal for custom enclosures, metal brackets, electrical bus bars, and steel framing, among other things.
Laser cutting is usually preferable to other manufacturing methods, like water-jet cutting, plasma cutting, and milling; water-jet cutters are slow, making parts more expensive; plasma cutting suffers from significant kerf and requires more post operations to prep a part; and while milling produces an excellent finish, it is expensive. In contrast, laser-cutting is fast, clean, accurate, and relatively inexpensive.
Ironically, in spite of the speed and precision, getting laser-cut sheet metal parts is weirdly time-consuming. It takes days to get quotes, and lead-times are usually on the order of two to three weeks for prototypes - this in spite of the fact that, once on the machine, most parts can be cut in a handful of minutes.
A new custom laser cutting service is opening in Utah to address these issues, and we are excited about it! OSH Cut provides instant online quoting for laser cut metal parts. Unlike traditional sheet metal fabrication shops, OSH Cut is oriented toward producing prototype and mid-volume parts with instant quoting and short lead-times.