Updated: Sep 23, 2022
There are three main types of laser engravers. These include diode lasers, CO2 lasers, and fiber lasers. Here at Busy Bee Laser and Design, we use a 45W CO2 laser. Each type of laser has its own pros and cons, which we will get into in a later blog post. Today, we are going to talk about how these three types of lasers work.
A diode is a semiconductor, made by combining the p-type on one side of the diode with the n-type material on the other side of the diode. They are joined together at the p-n junction. After potential different is applied to the ends of the diode, the free electrons begin to move, and electric current is generated in the p-n junction. Diode lasers direct this current into beams, which are deflected using mirrors and pass through a lens. They converge in one spot on the material, which produces intense heat. This heat is capable of engraving and cutting.
A CO2 laser utilizes a tube filled with multiple gases, primarily CO2. There are two electrodes on each end of the tube, to which high voltage is applied to. When the voltage is applied, the CO2 molecules are excited and come into contact with helium molecules. This results in a powerful energy, which is released in the form of light. This light is then refracted using mirrors in the laser, and directed onto the material.
Fiber lasers are a much newer technology compared to CO2 and diode lasers. These lasers use diodes to create a beam. What makes these lasers unique from diode lasers is that the beam is amplified as is travels through fiberglass or fiber optic cables. The beam is directed towards a converging lens, and produces a powerful laser on the material.