Laser Engraving Machines
Frequently Asked Questions
Laser engraving is a process in which a laser is used to engrave on the surface or in the bulk of the material. Engraving is a subtractive process and as such has similarities with laser cutting. Although engraving is sometimes thought of as a marking technique, the underlying physics is different. Generally, in laser engraving process microscopic layers of the material are removed leading to a mark on the surface. Depending on the material surface, the mechanism of engraving is mainly based on ablation. Engraving can achieve depth of 100um and beyond.
With modern engravers the depth of engraving can be well beyond 100um. This depends on multiple factors, such as the laser wavelength, power, and the material surface properties. It is more difficult to penetrate deep into the bulk of the material using laser marking as compared to laser engraving.
The laser engraving machine, or a laser engraver, must be equipped with a sufficiently powerful laser source to ablate the material off the surface of the workpiece. The laser beam is scanned over the surface of the workpiece either using a galvo actuation or a X, Y, Z gantry type system. Other important aspects of the laser engraving machine are the software and control of the laser power, modulation, or pulsing frequency, and working area. The latter determines how big of a workpiece can be processed with the engraver.
Normally, infrared laser sources are used for engraving, such as a fiber laser at 1064nm or 1070nm wavelength or a CO2 laser with a wavelength around 10.6um. The laser output power in engravers varies from sub-50W level to above 1000W, depending on the application.
Laser engraving machines can be used for many different types of surfaces, such as metals, plastics, glasses, jewelry, wood, ceramics, etc. Laser engravers are used in various industries: semiconductors, glass manufacturing and processing, jewelry, automotive, aerospace, consumer electronics and appliances, packaging, and more.
The laser engraving machine price may range from $1,000 to beyond $50,000. The price of the laser engraving machine depends on various factors, such as the laser power, working area, integration with a material handling system, software features, marking speed, etc.
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