Laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) technology is used to create thousands of products. Manufacturers use a laser machine to create a focused beam of light that can perform various tasks. The machines can be programmed to etch, cut, and engrave. Businesses typically use large, powerful machines to create millions of everyday items such as DVDs, bar code scanners, clothing, metal forming, and the technology has also been adapted for surgical procedures. However, the devices are not limited to huge corporations. Anyone can buy a smaller laser cutter for personal or small business needs.
How a Laser Cutter Works
A laser cutter is a programmable machine that uses a focused light beam to engrave or cut material. The process essentially causes the material to melt, burn, or vaporize locally. The kinds of materials that lasers will cut depend on the laser type and the machine’s power. Sellers offer a variety of CO2 machines that are well-suited for hobbies and small businesses. That is why customers inquiring about Boss Lasers often find several models that suit their needs and budgets.
In a CO2 machine, the laser beam is generated in a tube filled with CO2 gas. Each device includes mirrors and lenses that direct the beam to a laser head and focus on the material’s surface. Motors direct the beam to cut or engrave into the material. The design is determined by an input file that can be a raster or vector image.
Cutting with a Laser
When a laser beam is programmed to go completely through the material, it will create a cut. Lasers can make exact, clean cuts. The look of the cut edges is determined by the material being used. For instance, wood edges tend to turn a darker colour, while acrylic edges stay the same colour and have a glossy finish. Machines are often used to cut cork, wood, acrylic, paper, and cardboard.
Engraving with a Laser
When a program directs a laser beam to remove parts of the top material, the process is called engraving, and the beam does not cut through the material. Some of the materials a CO2 laser can engrave include aluminium, wood, glass, stainless steel, marble, stone, and tile.
Marking with a Laser
Lasers may be used for marking materials, which is a process that does not remove material. Instead, it creates a change, such as altering the colour. Marking is most often used on metals. Users apply a marking solution to the material’s surface. Once the marking solution dries, the user engraves the metal. The heat from the laser causes the solution to bond with metal, creating a permanent mark. Marking can be customized for any purpose and is often used to imprint logos, add QR codes, imprint serial numbers, and add trademarks.
Millions of small business owners and hobbyists now invest in small laser machines that can be programmed to perform several functions. CO2 laser machines are some of the most popular because they are easily altered to suit various purposes. Lasers are most often used for cutting, engraving, and marking. Machine operators can use these processes on various materials, including wood, acrylic, glass, steel, and stone.