Co2 Lasers for cutting and engraving in Woodworking and Plastics here's what we recommend thinking about
CO2 lasers are more commonly used in woodworking due to their ability to cut and engrave wood with high precision and accuracy, quite simply on a laser you can cut intricate shapes that you could only dream of on a router! And at relative costs, why shouldn't that be interesting!?
Here are some of the ways CO2 lasers are used in woodworking:
Cutting: CO2 lasers are often used to cut wood into intricate shapes and patterns. They can cut through wood quickly and accurately, creating clean edges without the need for sanding or finishing.
Engraving: CO2 lasers can be used to create detailed engravings on wood surfaces. This is particularly useful for creating designs, logos, and text on wood products.
Etching: CO2 lasers can be used to create fine lines and textures on wood surfaces. This technique can be used to create unique designs and patterns that are difficult to achieve with traditional woodworking tools.
Marking: CO2 lasers can be used to mark wood products with information such as product codes, serial numbers, and branding information.
Joinery: CO2 lasers can be used to create precise joinery cuts for wood products like cabinets and furniture. This allows for tight and secure joints that are less likely to come apart over time.
Overall, CO2 lasers are a useful tool in the woodworking industry for their ability to create intricate designs and precise cuts in wood products.
What to look for when buying a Co2 laser in woodworking applications
When buying a CO2 laser for woodwork , there are several factors to consider. Here are some of the most important things to look for:
- Laser power: The laser power determines how quickly and efficiently the laser can cut through wood. For most woodworking applications, a laser power of at least 50 watts is recommended. We normally stock the larger machines in 130watt, but other powers are available on request.
- Bed size: The size of the laser bed determines the maximum size of wood pieces that can be cut or engraved. Choose a bed size that is appropriate for the size of the woodworking projects you plan to work on. Our 'Extra' range of Laser's come with removable size and bed sizes of 1300x900 , they can take full sheets !
- Software: The software that controls the laser cutter is important for creating and editing designs. Look for a CO2 laser with user-friendly software that allows you to import designs from other programs and customize them for your needs. All iTECH Lasers come with Vectric V Carve Pro as standard so thats worth bearing in mind!
- Cooling system: CO2 lasers generate a lot of heat, so a good cooling system is essential to prevent overheating and ensure consistent performance. Look for a laser with a high-quality water or air cooling system.
- Safety features: CO2 lasers can be dangerous if not used properly. Look for a laser cutter with safety features such as emergency stop buttons, interlocks, and laser shielding to protect you from accidental exposure to the laser beam. Most lasers are totally enclosed which enhances extraction and safety.
- Extraction for fumes, you can either vent out to the great outdoors, or where that is not possible, filter using fume extraction.
- Brand reputation and customer support: Look for a reputable brand with good customer support. This will ensure that you have access to technical support and replacement parts if needed.
So what is the difference between Fibre Lasers and CO2 Lasers ?
The main difference between a fiber laser and a CO2 laser is the type of laser medium used to generate the laser beam.
A fiber laser uses a fiber optic cable doped with rare earth elements such as erbium, ytterbium, or neodymium. The laser beam is generated by passing a high-intensity light source through the fiber optic cable, which causes the rare earth elements to emit laser light.
A CO2 laser, on the other hand, uses a gas mixture consisting of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and helium. The laser beam is generated by exciting the gas mixture with a high-voltage electrical discharge, causing the carbon dioxide molecules to emit laser light.
Here are some key differences between fiber lasers and CO2 lasers:
Wavelength: Fiber lasers typically have a wavelength of around 1 micron, while CO2 lasers have a longer wavelength of around 10 microns. This means that fiber lasers are better suited for cutting and engraving metals, while CO2 lasers are better suited for cutting and engraving non-metallic materials like wood, acrylic, and plastic.
Power efficiency: Fiber lasers are more power-efficient than CO2 lasers, meaning they require less electricity to generate the same laser power output.
Maintenance: Fiber lasers require less maintenance than CO2 lasers, as they have fewer moving parts and do not require the gas mixture to be refilled or replaced.
Cost: Fiber lasers are generally more expensive than CO2 lasers due to their higher power efficiency and more complex design.
Overall, the choice between a fiber laser and a CO2 laser depends on the specific application and material being cut or engraved.