What is a laser engraver?
A laser engraver is a device that performs laser engraving, which is the process of engraving designs, letters or numbers on material using a laser beam. These machines use automation to achieve precise cutting and engraving on a variety of materials, including metal, wood, glass and plastic. The basic components of a laser engraving machine are a laser and a lens, which create and focus a beam of light powerful enough to engrave a design.
Laser engraving with a atomstack laser engraver creates a permanent mark on the material so manufacturers and customers can easily identify and track products. Manufacturers use laser engraving to create product identification numbers, barcodes and other markings on materials such as metal, wood and plastic. Built to withstand time and rugged use, these markers are ideal for industries such as automotive manufacturing and medical device production.
If you are considering using laser engraving in your operation, it is essential to understand how a laser engraving machine works. You can then choose the device that best suits your needs.
The most common types of laser engravers are:
Fiber laser marking machine: Fiber laser marking machine uses glass fibers to conduct electricity. A laser diode generates light and travels along a fiber optic cable, where it harvests energy and changes shape to suit the application. Fiber laser marking machines can make precise marks and are very powerful.
UV Laser Markers: These laser engravers use ultraviolet (UV) light to mark materials using a cold marking method. Manufacturers can use UV laser markers to cause minimal thermal damage to organic materials and plastics.
Crystal Lasers: Engravers with crystal lasers use garnet or vanadate crystals to change the characteristics of the beam and give it extremely high power. For example, vanadate laser markers offer better beam quality and depth of focus than fiber laser markers.
CO2 Laser Marker: This laser engraver directs emitted light through a glass tube containing gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), helium, nitrogen, and hydrogen. These CO2 laser markers reflect light between two mirrors as the light intensity increases. CO2 laser markers are versatile machines for materials such as plastics and wood.
How does laser engraving work?
Laser engraving works by using a laser beam to focus a large amount of heat onto a surface to create a pattern. Hyperfocus lasers use concentrated heat to cut at a certain depth, removing the surface layer of the material. Laser engraving machines are programmable and can engrave designs on materials, including patterns such as text, numbers and logos. These markings are permanently imprinted on the material, making them durable even after harsh use.
The process exists thanks to recent advances in laser technology. The word laser is an acronym for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. Laser engravers repeatedly focus the beam until the correct power level is achieved. Different types of laser engraving machines use different methods to excite electrons in the beam to generate energy high enough for the laser to cut material. Engraving with a laser requires three factors for proper operation:
Concentration: A laser engraver must focus the wavelengths of light very close together to increase the power of the beam. The process of concentration enables light to be focused on a single point.
Energy: Once focused, the laser must collect enough energy to change the surface of the material from a solid to a gas, a process called sublimation. Sublimation requires extremely high temperatures to carve materials, especially harder materials like metals.
Direction: Finally, the laser engraving machine directs the course of the beam to mark letters, numbers and designs. The movement of the laser must be precisely controlled to ensure accuracy.
Laser engraving is ideal for improved product identification and tracking. Printed product labels are easily lost or damaged, while other forms of engraving, such as handprints, can be dangerous to manipulate. Laser engraving makes it easier to identify and track products by permanently marking materials with durable human- and machine-readable designs.