Laser cutters are excellent tools whenever you are trying to do something new. Compared to vinyl and craft cutters they are more precise and cut through dense materials like they were butter. A laser cutting machine is as useful in prototyping as a 3D printer. The only difference is that one of them systematically adds layers, while the other one shaves them off. Cutting, engraving and etching with the help of a laser has its use in many different professions and hobbies. Picking the right laser machine to do it is something that requires careful considerations.
What type of laser cutters are there on the market?
While the build of the laser cutters might be similar on the outside, there are three main types of lasers used
- CO2 lasers
- Neodymium lasers
- fibre lasers
Each of them has a specific use and cutting power, so choose the laser type based on the tasks that need to be performed. Neodymium and fibre lasers are used for the majority of heavy-duty tasks involving cutting metal and plastic. Softer materials like paper based products, leather, wood, acrylic, glass and some plastics should be cut with a CO2 laser.
What kind of designs can you cut with a laser cutter?
The designs that are created with a laser cutter depend on both the cutter and the supporting software. Make sure that the cutting software you use or plan to use has drivers for the laser cutter you consider purchasing. A laser etching machine paired with the right software cuts both 2D and 3D models with excellent detail.
Some software and cutter combinations even work with vector imagery, offering smoothness even when an extremely thin curvy line needs to be cut. This comes in very handy when you need to place precision holes or cut an outline. Those who want to work on familiar territory, choose a CNC laser cutter that uses the same CNC router technology thats been used since the 1950s.
Does size play a role in the power of the laser cutter?
Laser cutters are often quite big, but even the smaller home versions are quite powerful. Some smaller cutters are marketed as laser engravers, though their laser is still capable enough to make a clean cut. Its more important to get the right laser for what you plan to cut and to pair it with the right software.