What to pay attention to when choosing a laser engraving machine
The product you plan to manufacture on the laser engraver and the expected output are key aspects to consider when choosing a laser wood engraving machine.
This will help you decide on the optimal working area size and power for your machine. For example, cutting 10 mm plywood requires at least 100 W of laser power. However, it is strongly recommended not to use laser tubes at full power, the generally accepted optimal power level is 75-80%, which means you need to take an oversized tube. As a result, the CO2 laser tube will have a longer life, saving components.
Below we describe each criterion in more detail:
1. The size of the work area. There are benchtop (working areas from 200 x 300 mm to 600 x 400 mm), medium (600 x 900 mm and 1200 x 900 mm) and large format models (2000 x 3000 mm).
Basically it depends on the standard of sheet size and the size of the final product. The blank size available in your region will determine the working area of your future machine. It's also important to know if you need to pre-cut these materials or if you're going to be dealing with the entire sheet.
Important: For laser engraving of a single unit, the tabletop model is the best choice. When it comes to mass production, mid-format laser engravers and even larger models are more suitable and profitable options.
2. The working table descending depth of the laser engraving machine. This function determines the workpiece size you can machine. For example, if the machine is equipped with a lift table, you can use a swivel and carve on a wooden railing.
3. Laser engraving table type.
There are the following types of workbenches for laser engraving machines:
flakes. A sheet sheet is usually included in the basic version; for easy cleaning and preventive maintenance. honeycomb. The best choice for handling small products and components and working with thin materials. The workpiece can be pressed against the honeycomb steel table with neodymium magnets, which ensures the precision and high quality of engraved and cut products. conveyor. This model is designed for the cutting and engraving of leather (artificial leather) and various fabrics into rolls. Only handle wooden blanks on transfer tables in emergency situations, as such transfer tables are not usually anodized.
4. Engraving and cutting speed. It is individual for each machine and can vary between 300 and 500 m/s.
5. Positioning accuracy. A parameter representing the acceptable error limit for laser engraving. Like the previous paragraph, it varies by model and ranges from 0.03 to 0.05 mm.
One of the most important factors affecting the positioning accuracy is the presence of the fuselage frame structure, which strengthens the entire structure of the laser machine.
During the engraving process, the rapid movement of the laser head will generate an excessive moment of inertia. This means that many machines can shake during operation, reducing the quality and accuracy of the final image.
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Laser engraving is a popular option that provides a permanent and legible marking on an object through etching, ablation, or deep laser engraving. It is similar to laser marking, but the resulting appearance differs due to the depth of laser penetration.
Laser engraving is commonly used to create permanent serial markings on substrates made of: Metal, Wood, Plastic, Leather.
Benefits Of Laser Engraving Over Traditional Processes
Compared to manual engraving:
Minimally Invasive: Laser engraving can be performed at a range of depths without any direct contact at all. Surface marks can even be done on stainless steel with no depth. Overall, lasers are less damaging than manual engraving and keep the substrate material’s physical integrity intact.
Precise: Lasers provide a level of control that’s impossible to achieve manually. Compared to hand-engraving, the process is swift, clean, and highly repeatable, with little room for human error.
Versatile: A single laser engraving machine can be used to create a host of different designs with only minimal calibration. They can also produce exceptionally complex patterns.
Affordable: On average, laser devices last longer than other engraving machines and require less maintenance, resulting in savings that can be passed along to the consumer.
Fast: Lasers can be programmed to render virtually any design in a matter of moments. Because the process is automated, it’s easy to scale production runs as needed according to demand.
Long-Lasting: Laser-engraved designs are permanent but can wear over time, depending on the substrate material that’s used. Soft metals, for example, may experience more signs of wear than hardwood. In general, however, laser-engraved designs tend to have a longer lifespan compared to other engraving methods.