A laser cut screen is a sheet of material into which a pattern is cut using a laser. Depending on the material used, the resulting screen may be used indoors or outside and it typically performs both a functional and decorative role. The uses of a laser cut screen are many but include balcony enclosures, privacy panels, theater sets and garden features. As laser cutting equipment allows designs to be created using computer software, numerous different patterns may be cut into screens and some customers may choose to create their own.
Laser cut products are manufactured using precise laser cutting tools. The laser is programmed to follow accurately the design that has been outlined on the computer. When cutting screens, the laser makes its cut by burning and melting the sheet of material. A gas such as oxygen is added, which removes the melted material, leaving a clean hole.
Typical materials that may be used to create a laser cut screen include steel, aluminum, plywood and medium density fiberboard. With thicker materials, the cut edges are more likely to appear to have lines running across them. These are formed when hot and cool areas meet.
When a laser cut screen is to be used to create a private space, by making it difficult to see what lies beyond the screen, what is called the pattern density becomes important. Pattern density describes how easy or difficult it is to see through different laser cut designs. A loose pattern with big shapes and large holes may be less dense and appear more transparent than more complex, tightly packed designs that obscure the view. Pattern density might be an important consideration for a laser cut screen used as a balcony panel or to hide unsightly aspects of a garden.
The thickness of the laser cut materials used to manufacture screens can vary, but there is usually a maximum width beyond which the laser will not cut. In the case of some materials such as copper and aluminum, the maximum thickness tends to be less than it is for others, such as acrylics and wood. Depending on the material, some laser cut screens can be colored. Wooden screens can be painted, and metals such as aluminum and some steels can be coated with powder. Some metals, such as non-stainless steel, will rust over time, and this could itself be considered a decorative effect.