A Guide To Laser Cutter Funtions

What does a laser cutter do?

Laser cutting technology has existed industrially since 1965 and is still being innovated and improved upon today as a prototyping and manufacturing technique. The laser beam we use is a generated by passing a large DC (Direct Current) through a CO2 gas mix, then towards a series of mirrors, and eventually into the final focusing lens. From there, the focused beam and sighting laser are directed by the CNC (Computer Numeric Control) system and on to the material.

There are a multitude of designs, materials, and even different kinds of laser cutting technologies that are all possible today. When it comes to lasers though, there are three main functions you can perform: Cut, Etch and Engrave.

 

Cut

The laser penetrates completely through the material and any closed shape will drop out of the piece.

The Fremont Laser & Design Logo cut out from 5 millimeter birch plywood.
The Fremont Laser & Design Logo cut out from 5 millimeter birch plywood.

Uses: profiles, lettering, jigs, layered 3d models, etc.

 

Etch

The laser follows the same path as the cut line but only marks the material’s surface and leaves the entire piece intact.

The Fremont Laser & Design logo etched on 5 millimeter birch plywood.
The Fremont Laser & Design logo etched on 5 millimeter birch plywood.

Uses: labelling, marking, scoring glass, cutting masking for weeding, etc.

 

Engrave

The laser moves back and forth across the material, firing whenever it is above a closed shape. After each pass, it moves down a specified ammount to make the next pass.

The Fremont Laser & Design logo engraved on 5 millimeter birch plywood.
The Fremont Laser & Design logo engraved on 5 millimeter birch plywood.

Uses: artwork, marking, engraving masking, etc.

 

Have a question or a project on which you’d like to find out about using lasers? Contact us, we’d be happy to help.

 

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