The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Laser Cutting Technology in 2024

A laser cutting machine, also known as a laser cutter, is a specialized CNC system that uses laser technology to cut and engrave various materials. It is often referred to as a laser engraver or laser etcher and can also be referred to as a laser wood cutter or laser acrylic cutter. The machine operates by focusing a laser beam onto the workpiece’s surface, causing the material to melt. A coaxial stream of compressed gas is then used to blow away the liquefied material, creating a desired shape and dimension. The laser beam’s movement is controlled to complete the cutting process, resulting in intricate and high-precision results.

What Is Laser Cutting?

Laser cutting is a process that uses a laser beam to cut through the surface of a material, allowing for finishing, trimming, engraving, or cutting complex shapes that manual tools may struggle with. It can cut a wide range of materials, starting with a hole at the design edge and running along a programmed pathway. The laser works as a laser melting machine, melting away the material it passes, allowing it to cut delicate materials like cloth and tough gemstones like diamonds. This accurate and controlled process provides for the creation of cuts and engravings of varying sizes, ensuring precision and precision in the final product.

How does it Work?

Modern CO2 machines use a glass tube filled with carbon dioxide to produce a laser beam. A high current is sent through the tube, causing a reaction with the CO2, increasing the energy of gas particles and making light. This intense heat can melt materials with high melting points. A partially reflective mirror and a fully reflective mirror help intensify the light, allowing it to vaporize most materials.

The entire mirror guides the laser beam towards a subset of mirrors used to create the desired design. The final mirror directs the laser through a focus lens onto the material being worked on, ensuring precise and clean finishes on a broad range of materials. Additionally, the machine has a computer numerical control system that enables it to move the laser head in any direction over the work surface, allowing the beam to form a variety of forms without sacrificing power or accuracy. The laser’s remarkable speed of on/off switching enables users to etch exquisite, detailed designs.

Benefits of CO2 Laser Cutters

  • High-speed, precision cutting with a small heat-affected zone and narrow kerf.
  • Offers flexibility and material optimization in fabrication processes.
  • Reduces material consumption and labor costs.
  • Offers exceptional environmental stewardship and operator safety.
  • No harmful emissions or hazardous consumables are required.
  • Ideal solution for businesses minimizing environmental footprint.
  • Boosts productivity, enhances product quality, and demonstrates a commitment to sustainable practices.

Factors Affecting a CO2 Laser Cutting Machine’s Cost

Parts and Components

A CO2 laser cutting machine is a complex system that includes a laser tube, optical lenses, guide rails, frame, stepper motors, cooling systems, and other ancillary components. The brand reputation of the manufacturer is crucial when sourcing a machine, as they use high-quality, durable parts and materials. Despite the higher price point, the benefits include enhanced performance, prolonged operational lifespan, and minimal downtime. Businesses seeking a reliable CO2 laser cutting solution should invest in a machine from an industry-leading brand, leveraging the exceptional quality and seamless integration of its constituent parts.


When purchasing a CO2 laser cutting machine, it’s crucial to consider both pre-sales and after-sales service. Manufacturers should offer comprehensive service to ensure safety and reliable maintenance, ensuring peak performance over the long term. Established brands in the laser equipment space are best positioned to provide this support, backed by high-quality components and reliable machinery. CO2 laser cutters are powerful, versatile tools with lightning-fast, precision cutting, minimal heat distortion, and the ability to process non-metallic materials. When evaluating potential solutions, buyers should consider factors such as brand reputation, accessory packages, laser power output, work table dimensions, and after-sales support quality. This will help select an optimal system that aligns with specific production needs, ensuring efficient and dependable performance.

Difference between CO2 laser cutter and fiber laser cutting machine

A CO2 laser engraving machine uses a CO2 laser tube to generate laser beams, mainly CO2, O2, He, and Xe, as the working substance. The CO2 laser beam is reflected and focused on the laser cutter head by reflective and focusing lenses. A fiber laser cutting machine generates a laser beam through multiple diode pumps and transmits it to the cutting head through a flexible fiber optic cable.

The beam wavelength of a CO2 laser is 10.64um, making it more easily absorbed by non-metal materials like wood, acrylic, paper, leather, fabric, etc. However, the fiber laser cutter’s beam wavelength is 1.064um, ten times shorter, resulting in a 100 times higher intensity. This makes it suitable for cutting metal materials like stainless steel, carbon steel, galvanized steel, copper, and aluminum.

A CO2 laser cutter consumes a lot of gas but has a low photoelectric conversion rate of only 8% to 10%. Fiber laser cutting machines require less energy and are highly tolerable to dust, shock, impact, humidity, and temperature, making them more energy-saving.

In terms of cutting efficiency, a CO2 laser engraving machine has a considerable beam divergence during processing, which is not suitable for large-size processing. However, a fiber laser cutting machine offers features such as high density, intense laser beam, high brightness, and high conversion rate, making it 2-3 times faster for thin plate processing than a CO2 laser cutter with the same power.

Leave a Comment