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      What laser power do you need to engrave metal?

      ¿Qué-potencia-de-láser-se-necesita-para-grabar-metal

      Laser machines come in a variety of models with different power options. For this reason, if you need to buy one of these devices, you should know what laser power you need to engrave metal.

      At COUTH, we provide you with all the advice you may need before purchasing a laser marker machine with the right power for your company’s needs.

      It is essential that you define the most frequent application for the laser marker machine before you select the laser power. In other words, tasks like efficiently marking or cutting different metals require different power levels.

      Having said this, in this post we explain: What laser power do you need to engrave metal? As well as all the information you need to properly pick the laser marker unit model for your project.

      Laser marker power

      Depending on the surface you are going to work on, and the type of laser marker required for it, you will need to use specific power for each different case.

      • For high-speed and/or laser cutting applications, we recommend using laser power levels above 80 W.
      • For the particular case of which laser power level you need to engrave or mark metal, you can apply laser power between 25 and 80 W and obtain excellent results.

      It is important to know that laser power can be adjusted with the device’s software depending on marking needs, although maximum power levels depend on hardware.

      COUTH’S laser machines offer quality and great flexibility, since you can operate with different power levels depending on the characteristics and needs of different materials.

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      Relationship between the material and laser power

      To find out which laser power level you need to engrave metal, it is essential that you know that, depending on the material you use, you require a specific laser power level to obtain satisfactory results in engraving, marking, and cutting work. To this end, you must consider the following aspects:

      1. Types of material

      Knowing the type of material you will be working with also allows you to define the laser power you will use to engrave or cut. Some materials need greater or lesser power, depending on their characteristics, like density and hardness, which can vary within one same range.

      For example, not all metals are equal, so they require different power levels when you work on them.

      To be more specific regarding What laser power do you need to engrave metal?, we suggest applying at minimum 30W, and up to 80W, depending on the type of metal. We would like highlight the fact that the higher the power you use, the faster you will obtain results.

      1.1. Minimum laser power recommendations based on the material

      For the engraving process, and based on the material you use, we recommend:

      MaterialLaser power
      Paper25W
      Laminate40W
      MDF40W
      Acrylic30W
      Anodised aluminium30W

      Black anodised aluminium is perfect to be engraved with laser, since you obtain a white mark with excellent contrast. You can also work at high speed and low power, achieving clean, highly clear results.

      Engraving on stainless steel requires high power and low frequency, which translates to high pulse power with minimum marking speeds of 250 mm/s.

      2. Material thickness

      The material’s thickness is an aspect that determines proper selection of the laser marker’s power, as well as the role it conducts, since greater power is required for cutting work.

      To this end, you must consider the material’s thickness, function, and frequency of use.

      3. Productivity

      This aspect is essential when selecting the laser machine that best meets the company’s needs. For this point, you must know and define the laser power you need to engrave metal.

      The greater the power of a laser marker, the wider range of options you have for engraving on different materials with different thicknesses. You can also obtain greater performance with materials that do not require great power, but rather speed, which means you can produce more, faster.

      To this end, it is essential that you have properly defined the materials you will be regularly working with, as well as the maximum thicknesses and estimated production level you must reach.

      Types of laser

      It is essential to learn what laser power you need to engrave metal and that you know that there are different kinds of lasers for industrial use, which have different power levels to be used for cutting and marking on a wide variety of surfaces:

      Fibre laser

      This kind of laser is for engraving technical plastics and metals, and to cut these materials, where metals like stainless steel, aluminium, gold, bronze, silver, etc., are of note.

      If you want to know what laser power you need to engrave metal, with fibre lasers, you must apply power levels between 20 and 50 W, and to cut metals with industrial machines, you can use up to 15,000 W power.

      CO2 laser

      This type of laser provides great functionality and versatility to engrave and cut metals and other materials, which makes it one of the most widely used in industry.

      The CO2 laser can be efficiently used to mark and cut different materials like wood, anodised metals, methacrylate, acrylics, glass, cardboard, paper, and more.

      We can find models of these lasers that provide power levels ranging from  20 to 6000 W. With desktop laser machines for household use, they provide power between 20 and 80 W.

      Diode or blue laser

      This is the kind of laser normally used with household engraving machines or DIY laser. They can engrave different materials but have very lower power in comparison with other laser models.

      For this reason, we recommend only working with materials that are not dense or thin, like cardboard, paper, and poster board. In closing, it is worth mentioning that diode laser devices have power levels between 1 and 5 W.

      If you have any questions or require engraving services or professional laser machines, please do not hesitate to contact us.