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Nov. 19, 2020When to Laser Parts vs. When to Turret Punch

You may have heard a lot about laser cutting technology and seen some cool videos with sparks flying as it slices through steel like its soft butter. But what about CNC Turret punching? The videos aren’t nearly as exciting, but it is just as important in sheet metal fabrication. Have you ever wondered how your sheet metal fabricator decides which projects will be cut with a laser and which are cut with a turret punch? 

How Metal Fabricators Decide Between Laser and Turret Punch

When your metal fabricator gets your RFQ there are several things they will look for when determining which cutting method to use.  These include:

  • Material type and thickness
  • Volume
  • Intended Industry
  • Part Complexity

Before we issue a quote, we learn our customers’ needs and expectations. We determine the most advantageous way to make them best part based on their needs are the criteria listed above. If customer is looking for most efficient way or cost-effective method, we will enter both operations into the quote to see what is most cost effective.

Differences Between Laser and Turret



  •  ¼ inch to .035 inches thick or above* for our FMS Laser systems
  • Plus 5’ x 10’ bed size
  • .003” thru .250” thick for our stand alone lasers, with 48” x 50” bed size


  • Below ¼ inch - above this the presses may not have tonnage required.
  • Larger parts



  • Smaller parts with smaller volume can be put through smaller lasers that are hand fed.
  • Can be larger parts with high volume!


  • High quantity or
  • 3 dimensional features

Industry Preference


  • Medical industry prefers the smooth edges from laser cutting


  • Computer industry usually prefers punching because they want a pre-galvanized material to prevent rusting (punching allows more galvanized coating to remain on the edges) and parts typically have 3D features



  • Less complex part - complex parts take longer to manufacture with laser if there are secondary operations that can be done if turret


  • Complex parts with a lot of holes or 3D figures (such as emboss or extruding pieces)

*Some thin material can be cut with the laser.  HPM has 3 standalone lasers where the sheet is clamped into the machine and it moves around like a turret, but its laser cutting instead of punching. This method can be used with materials between 0.010 to a 1/4 inch. However, if it is less than this a fixture may be needed

Call HPM For Your Next Project

Herold Precision Metal delivers quality items on time with your cost parameters taking priority. Our Account Management, Design Engineering, and Customer Service Support excel at rapid prototyping, quick turn production, and customer service excellence. We have the right team, with world class equipment, and the right attitude to get the job done. Contact us to learn more.