nitrogen laser applications

Nitrogen Gas Laser Cutting – Cutting Stainless Steel with Nitrogen

Fabricating dense materials for industrial and commercial uses often means using precision cutting equipment. With metals, that means laser cutting when possible.

Different options for laser cutting result in variable qualities. Due to the many industrial uses of nitrogen gas, nitrogen gas laser cutting is one of the top options for steel and aluminum fabrication.

What is Nitrogen Laser Cutting?

Thermal cutting is often the best way to create a smooth edge and finish on metal. Nitrogen laser cutting uses a laser as a thermal tool that vaporizes the metal in the areas to be cut. Unlike oxygen powered lasers, the cuts reach high enough temperatures for vaporization, instead of just applying enough heat for combustion.

Nitrogen laser applications are a great example of how to cut stainless steel without burning the metal.

When to Use Nitrogen Laser Cutting

While the finished product when using nitrogen powered laser tools is higher quality, it can be a more expensive option. With oxygen powered laser cutting, the final metal may need additional finishing to work with welding processes or powder coating.

nitrogen laser cutting

Avoiding these additional steps can help keep the cost of working with nitrogen to a minimum.

Here are a few examples of laser nitrogen applications.

Laser Cutting Mild Steel with Nitrogen

Mild and stainless steel applications often require minimum oxidation, which means fast cutting times and high nitrogen purity when used for cutting. Oxygen-powered lasers are limited in cutting speed, but with nitrogen, a higher-power level will generate faster cutting. This means that nitrogen is ideal for use with mild steel, and it can cut faster and with more precision than many alternatives.

Plasma Cutting Stainless Steel with Nitrogen

For a clean-cut, weld-ready edge, plasma cutting is the fabrication method of industry experts. Using nitrogen as the assist gas creates a non-oxidizing plasma arc that enables quick, clean cutting with no additional processing required.

Oxygen is not an ideal choice for this cutting method, due to the level of contamination present and the oxidation that can result. It can be difficult to clean stainless steel of oxidation, making nitrogen a better choice for these applications.

Best Gas for Plasma Cutting Aluminum

Choosing the right gas for plasma cutting aluminum often depends on several factors, including:

  • Quality
  • Speed
  • Cost

Oxygen is not a good choice, though compressed air can offer the lowest cost for cutting. Unfortunately, since it doesn’t meet high-quality standards, it is not suitable for many fabrication applications.

When working with thinner aluminum applications, nitrogen offers the best combination of quality, cutting speed and affordability. If you are working with thicker aluminum, you might want to consider and argon/hydrogen, nitrogen blend.

Choose a Nitrogen Generator for Laser Cutting

plasma cutting stainless steel with nitrogen

As a gas that offers incredible versatility and high quality in your machined metal parts, you’ll want to install affordable and highly pure sources for nitrogen. A nitrogen generator for laser cutting allows you to separate nitrogen from air, providing you with the nitrogen gas you need, at the purity you specify.

NiGen’s on-site nitrogen generators offer similar versatility, with designs that work with the surrounding air or compressed air, and setups that are portable or large enough to support massive industrial fabrication efforts.

With your own on-site nitrogen system, there will never be any issues with a broken supply line or late fuel delivery.

Contact us today for a quote or to learn more about how our nitrogen systems can help streamline your workflow.