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How to Adjust the Cutting Width (Kerf) on Nesting


For the effective use of nesting patterns on the shop, it is necessary they match the reality of the cutting process, materials and machinery. Adjusting the cutting width is one of the important settings on a nesting software.

Almost any of kind of material produces a waste. This waste can be defined as the cutting width of the material that is removed by the cutting process. This is also known as kerf.

Cutting Width Varies

In case of wood cutting, a common mistake is to think cutting width as being the same of blade thickness. The teeth on a saw are bent to the side, so that they remove more material than the width of the saw blade itself, preventing the blade from getting stuck in the wood.

In case of sheet metal, each cutting process removes a different amount of material. The more precise process, like water jet and laser, remove a smaller amount of material, which is one of the reasons they can be more precise.

As the thickness of the material increases, it takes more power to cut through it. In case of plasma, this means higher current and larger nozzle. Laser increases power. Oxy-fuel cutting uses a larger nozzle with a wider oxygen stream and hotter preheats. Waterjet uses either a larger nozzle/orifice combination, or a slower cutting speed. Regardless of the process, as the plate gets thicker, the cutting width gets wider.

A typical example shown here is for 1/2" thick mild steel.

  • Plasma: 0.150"

  • Oxy-Fuel: 0.045"

  • Waterjet: 0.035"

  • Laser: 0.025"

Configuring Cutting Width

To set the thickness of the cut, simply access the optimize nesting settings. The configuration area is located next to the top-right corner of the main window.

In the Settings area, click the "Part space" item located on the left side of the screen. When you click this item, the currently configured value is displayed.

Adjust to the desired value, always observing the specified unit of measurement (mm, centimeter, etc.)

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