A Quick Look at How and Why Laser Cutters and Engravers Have Become So Common

The laser was invented in 1960, and it has since gone on to become one of the most widespread and advanced technologies of all. Focusing light into a highly coherent beam is a fundamentally useful ability that is applicable in a huge variety of situations.

Lasers of very little power are commonly used to leverage the imaging resolution that the reflection of a precisely focused beam of light can enable. This is the general type of application that makes consumer technologies like Blu-ray not just possible but also highly affordable.

Modern Laser Engravers and Cutters Provide a Lot of Functionality at Low Prices

On the other hand, there are many more uses for lasers that do rely on the ability of the beam to not just bounce off a designated surface but to impart energy to it instead. When a laser of enough power is focused on almost any material, it can precisely burn away portions of the exposed surface as directed.

Should the laser beam be allowed to impact the material for only a relatively short amount of time, it can be employed to engrave to whatever depth might be desired. Focusing a laser of enough power on another piece of stock for longer could allow for the material to be cut and shaped however might be wanted.

That these capabilities can be useful in a wide variety of situations should be obvious enough. An equally important fact is that laser machines that are able to cut and engrave a variety of materials have become extremely affordable and easy to use.

Most of the devices that fall into this group use gas-filled glass laser tubes to enable the production of the beam itself. Thanks to a blend of gases that normally includes a small amount of nitrogen and a larger dose of carbon dioxide inside, a tube will convert electric current introduced into it into a beam of laser energy.

However Much Power Might be Needed

Most entry-level laser machines today are rated to process somewhere between 30 and 60 watts of electric power. On the other hand, machines that are only slightly more expensive are also available and can often accomplish significantly more.

A 100 watt CO2 laser tube, for example, might be able to engrave a given product several times faster than one rated at only 40 watts. A 150w laser tube could be used to cut through thick sheets of metal that a lesser beam would only be able to engrave. Understandably enough, laser tube prices tend to increase as power ratings rise, but the additional investment will often be easy to justify.