What kind of materials we can cut by CO2 laser? – application overview
CO2 lasers differ from fiber lasers by the wavelength of light, which significantly increases the range of materials that can be processed with it.
The most popular materials are: wood, plastics like PMMA (plexiglass), fabrics, rubber, stone, glass as well as steel and coated non-ferrous metals.
- In the past the most popular co2 lasers used kilowatt power and were mainly used to cut thick sheet metal. Over time, small 40-80W office lasers began to be produced, mainly used as engraving machines.
- Now the most popular models have a power of 100-150W, and in addition to engraving like models with lower power, they can cut quite thick materials 15-20mm (50mm) as well as steel up to 2mm thick.
Cutting thick materials results in a loss of accuracy due to the need for longer focal length lenses. For example, for a material up to 3mm thick, you can use a lens with a focal length of 1.5 “and we get an accuracy of 0.08mm, while for a 15mm thick we will use a lens with a focal length of 4” and the accuracy will drop to 0.35mm.
Materials that can be processed with a CO2 laser are divided into two categories:
- Materials that we can cut:
- all types of plastics – ! but it should be remembered that many of these materials produce toxic fumes and gases (such as popular polycarbonates, PVC). The harmfulness of a given material can depend very much on its color – the components of the dye used in production !
- wood and its derivatives ( the quality of cutting maximum thickness depends very much on the type of wood, its dryness, or the adhesive used)
- colored metals only in the form of a thin film.
2. Materials that can be engraved:
- all types of plastics (subject to damage as if cutting)
- wood and its derivatives (you can get a relief effect with variable engraving depth)
- only coated non
- ferrous metals (e.g. anodized aluminum)