Laser Cutting Frame and Cab parts

Today I visited LASERLE OY, a company in Helsinki specializing in laser cutting. This machine (one of many they have) can handle huge sheets of material, of up to 1.5 x 3 meters (5 x 10 ft).

My frame and cab parts will be cut from 3 mm thick steel. Here the raw material is placed on the machine bed.

The 2.5 kilowatt (!) CO2 laser is inside the huge orange casing, the actual cutting head almost touches the plate to be cut. The head can travel in 5 axes - so this machine can also do 3-dimensional cutting and welding. The large, computer controlled chuck you see to the right of the laser head can hold tubular material, which thus can be cut to intricate shapes.

The head's position is zeroed in one corner of the plate.

Here Sergei, the operator, has loaded my CAD file into the controlling computer.

There is a shower of sparks every time the laser beam pierces the steel plate. (It lasts for only a fraction of a second, so I had to shoot quite a few pics to get this one successful shot of the sparking!)

The actual cutting proceeds rapidly, around 3 meters (10 ft) per minute. A blast of oxygen gas from the nozzle speeds up the cutting and blows away the molten material. The width of the cut is only 0.2 mm (8 thou).

This is what was left of the plate after one hour or so of the laser head zigzagging over it... (Only about one fourth of the entire plate is shown here.)

... and here is a jumble of locomotive parts, sorted out on a table in my workshop. About 40 kilograms (90 lbs) in all!

I shudder to think of how long it would have taken to make these parts myself (well over 150 pieces altogether)... chain-drilling, hacksawing and filing!

Next step: assembling all these parts to a loco frame, with running boards, buffer beams, smokebox saddle and cab!

Close this window when you are ready...

Any information presented on this website (especially any do-it-yourself instructions) is given without any acceptance of liability for damage or injury - so, always remember: SAFETY FIRST!

The material on this page and its related pages is Copyright © 2001-2007 by J-E Nystrom. You may NOT copy, transmit and/or publish any of my images or texts in print, electronically, on your own website or in any other way. The author retains all rights to this work, with this sole exception: Storing the pages on your own computer or printing out a paper copy, for your own, strictly personal use is allowed.

You may, however, freely link to the "Building Live Steam Locomotives" page at:, or to my Animation Home Page at:

You should NOT link directly to THIS page, since it's address may change in the future. Also, you may not put any of these pages or pictures into "frames" on your own website.

Thank you.