In majority of laser machines in the market, the laser source they use is the main difference. Every type of laser is suited for various applications and needs and has its own pros and cons.
CO2 Lasers or Gas Lasers
CNC CO2 lasers are actually gas lasers that are based on carbon dioxide gas mixture that’s electrically stimulated. With the 10.6 micrometer wavelength, they are beneficial for working on majority of plastics and non-metallic materials. CNC CO2 lasers also have high efficiency rate and comes with a good beam quality, so it is surprising that they are the widely used type of laser. These lasers are suited for various materials including stone, leather, films and foils, plastics, textiles, paper, glass, acrylic, and wood.
These are a member of solid state laser group. These generate a beam with the use of seed lasers and amplify this in specially made glass fibers that are supplied with energy through pump diodes. With 1.064 micrometer wavelength, the fiber lasers can produce small focal diameter, which makes their intensity up to hundred times greater than the CNC CO2 lasers’ intensity with same emitted average power.
A fiber laser is perfectly suited for metal markings by ways annealing for high contrast plastic marking and metal engraving. Usually, they are maintenance free and promise long service life at least twenty-five thousand laser hours. The special kind of fiber lasers is MOPA lasers where the pulse durations can be adjusted. It makes MOPA lasers one of the flexible lasers that may be used for numerous applications. Fiber lasers are ideal for materials including plastics, coated metals, and some metals.
YAG or Crystal Lasers
Like the fiber lasers, the crystal lasers are the members of solid-state laser group. At present, the lasers for marking are pumped through diodes. The most typical laser types are YAG and YVO, which are named after neogdymium doping element as well as carrier crystal.
With 1.064 micrometer wavelength, the crystal lasers have the same wavelength like the fiber lasers and also suited for marketing plastics and metals When compared to the fiber lasers, such laser types basically include relatively costly pump diodes that are wearing parts. It means that they should be replaced after thousands of laser hours. The crystal also offers shorter service life compared to fiber lasers. Crystal lasers are suited for materials such as plastics, coated metals, and sometimes, ceramic.
There are other CNC laser cutters you will find in the market once you start shopping around. However, no matter what kind of laser cutter you are searching, it is wise to make comparisons of the different suppliers or providers of such lasers. The reason behind it is that some suppliers of laser cutters might give you the wrong equipment, which could cost you time and money. Knowing your needs is one of the best factors that you have to take for consideration because there are laser cutters that are suitable for specific applications only.