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Frequently Asked Questions

When energy is applied to an atom it can move from ground state energy level to excited state energy level. When returning to ground state, the atom releases energy in the form of light called Photons. "Laser" is actually an acronym for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.. LASER (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) is a device that helps in emitting light via a process of optical amplification. Today, it is used in various industrial applications. ​

The Three main types of Laser are:-
i) CO2 Laser
ii) Nd YAG Laser
iii) Fiber Laser

i). CO2 Lasers are gas Lasers that use Carbon Dioxide as the lasing medium. Powerful sealed CO2 lasers that emit far-infrared light at a wavelength of 10.6 microns. This wavelength is highly effective in processing a wide range of materials including wood, paper, plastics, glass, textiles, rubber and metals. Gas lasers that use carbon dioxide as the lasing medium. CO2 lasers are offered in either sealed or flowing gas configurations. Sealed CO2 lasers are generally under 500 watts and are less expensive to operate.

ii). Fiber and Nd-YAG's are solid-state lasers that use elements like Neodymium (Nd), Erbium (Er) and Ytterbium (Yb) diffused in a crystal of Yttrium-Aluminum-Garnet (YAG) or glass (in the case of Fiber) as the lasing medium. Fiber and YAG emit wavelengths 1060-1070 nm and are well suited for processing metals, especially high reflectivity metals like copper, brass and aluminum. Plastic or organic materials cannot be processed with this wavelength. YAG Laser are Solid-state lasers that use the element Neodymium (Nd) diffused in a crystal of Yttrium-Aluminum-Garnet (YAG) as the lasing medium.

Laser cutting - The process of using a powerful laser to cut and/or engrave items from flat sheets of material like metals, plastic, wood and other materials. The Laser cutter works by directing a high powered laser beam very precisely at the chosen material to either etch the material or cut right through. When cutting, the laser beam burns away at the material leaving you with a cutout shape that you have specified in your vector file. The cutting beam is very thin (typically around 0.1mm) and precise resulting in incredibly detailed and accurate cuts. By reducing the beam power you can mark the surface of the material, this is known as etching or engraving and can give some stunning effects on wood and plastic.

Laser marking - The Laser marker works by directing a high powered laser beam very precisely at the chosen spot to be etched by burning away the surface of the material leaving you with a design or shape that you have specified in your vector file. Laser Welding - Laser Welding technique in manufacturing is used to join two or more pieces of dissimilar metals together through the use of a Laser beam.

Laser Engraving - To carve or etch a design or letters into a material. The laser engraving process can be either Vector (line following) or Raster (scanning with the laser turning on or off to create an image).

The laser used in our laser cutting machines is a sealed CO2 laser. Sealed lasers feature slab-discharge technology, which permanently confines the lasing gas mixture between two rectangular plate electrodes. These lasers require no replacement gas and no scheduled maintenance to the laser head for up to 25,000 hours of continuous operation. Consequently, sealed lasers eliminate maintenance downtime, thereby increasing productivity and reducing costs. Sealed lasers keep the beam path away from contaminants, ensuring a steady beam alignment and eliminating the need for cleaning. Sealed lasers also have lower electrical and cooling-water requirements than flow-through lasers that flow consumable gases through the laser head. The combination of these features results in an hourly operating cost of well under one dollar. By comparison, the hourly operating cost of flow-through lasers can be five to ten times higher.

Because we use a sealed laser, the beam path is concealed from contaminants and does not have to be taken apart to be cleaned, unlike lower end lasers where the beam path is exposed. This helps keep a steady beam alignment. Our machines are also very stable. After the initial installation, the laser cutting machine should not ever require a beam alignment.

No. The laser vaporizes materials to cut it. This process should go as quickly as possible, to minimize heat being imparted to the material near the cut. Lasers that don't vaporize quickly will take longer to cut through an area, resulting in more heat which causes burning. The lasers used in our machines have an extremely high peak power so parts are vaporized much faster, with higher edge quality. Lower watt lasers can't accomplish this quality because they cut too slowly, and burning is more likely to take place.

There are a variety of considerations when selecting the right laser power for your application. It is important to note that we use pulsed lasers that pulse ON/OFF thousands of times each second. The laser powers indicated are an Average with pulse ON power being three or more times the average. It is the Peak Pulse ON power that does the cutting. On many materials a higher Peak Pulse ON will result in quicker vaporization of material and a cleaner cut with less heat being imparted to the material near the cut. In laser cutting terms, high Peak Pulse power results in less Heat Affected Zone (HAZ) damage.

There are a variety of considerations when selecting the right laser power for your application. It is important to note that we use pulsed lasers that pulse ON/OFF thousands of times each second. The laser powers indicated are an Average with pulse ON power being three or more times the average. It is the Peak Pulse ON power that does the cutting. On many materials a higher Peak Pulse ON will result in quicker vaporization of material and a cleaner cut with less heat being imparted to the material near the cut. In laser cutting terms, high Peak Pulse power results in less Heat Affected Zone (HAZ) damage.

CO2 For Non Metals
Nd-YAG & Fiber Laser For Metals

Metal SS - Max 20 mm, MS - Max 25 mm
Non-Metal - Max 40 mm​

Marking depth for Metals - 1 mm on multi-pass Marking depth for Non-Metals up to 2 mm max

110 mm x 110 mm min marking area to 180 mm x 180 mm max marking area.

Laser applications can be applied on moving and stationary objects for example; marking of bar codes on labels moving or stationary on a conveyor belt. Flying Optics is where the part being cut remains stationary while the laser beam is directed by mirrors to a gantry that moves at high speed over the part.

CO2 Laser Machines require water cooling Chiller.
Nd-YAG Lamp & Diode Laser machines require water cooling Chiller.
Fiber Laser Machines have in-built Air cooling.

Fiber Laser – Fiber lasers utilize semiconductor diodes as the pumping mechanism and a doped fiber optic cable as the gain medium. Fiber Laser provides continuous output power because of the fiber's high surface area to volume ratio, which allows efficient cooling. Fiber lasers are generally maintenance-free with an In-built air cooling system and a long service life of at least 25,000 laser hours.

Nd-YAG - Unlike fiber lasers, these laser types include the relatively expensive pump Diodes, which are wearing parts. They must be replaced after approx. 8,000 to 15,000 laser hours max. The crystal itself also has a shorter service life than a fiber laser. However in the past Nd-YAG used flash lamp pumping where the lamp required changing after 700 hrs of usage.

CO2 - Cooling the laser effectively and efficiently is a critical process. Failure to do so will cause massive fluctuations in the performance and reliability of the laser cutter, significantly shortening the working life of the laser itself and can in some cases lead to a premature, catastrophic laser failure. For the laser to be cooled efficiently and effectively the coolant (water) must pass through a device specifically designed to control its temperature known as a chiller which will only reduce the coolant temperature after it reaches a set-point. It is therefore an ‘on-demand’ device, continually monitoring and keeping the coolant temperature constant. Most chillers use deionised water for the coolant, which helps to keep both the coolant and the internal workings of the laser clean. No matter what the coolant type the chiller must be regularly monitored and maintained to ensure that it is performing correctly. Periodically, the chiller should be drained, the internal workings of the laser flushed and the chiller replaced with new coolant. Care should be taken to ensure that any air filters/vents on the chiller are also regularly cleaned/replaced. DC lasers are a consumable part. When replacing the laser the user should never use a chiller containing old coolant.

Class I is the safest type of laser machine, with a fully enclosed cutting area. All doors and covers have redundant safety interlocks that, when doors are opened, turn off power to the laser and place a shutter over the laser beam path. No eye protection or personal safety equipment is required when using this machine. Scantech laser cutting machines are Class I laser systems.

Class IV is an open machine, so safety equipment must be used in the laser hazard area. When a 4' x 8' extension table is added to a laser cutting machine, then our system goes from Class I to Class IV. The machine must be open to allow the pass through of the cutting bed.

When used according to regulations, the standard Class I enclosure prevents any exposure to the laser beam. You do not even have to wear eye protection when operating the machine.

Yes, the laser is completely safe to operate. It is a Class 2 laser - 1mW CW Maximum 600-700 nm, which means that the laser is secured with interlock devices so it will not run with the doors of the system open. No special safety gear is required to run the laser. During laser cutting, there is no need for aligning or fastening the material. Users will never come into contact with open and moving machine parts.

Although Class I means there is little to no possibility of being injured by a laser beam, it is still necessary to take common sense safety precautions. For example, some materials create harmful gasses when laser cut. Other materials may be flammable if correct process techniques are not used. It is important to determine material safety by acquiring a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) from material suppliers. Some materials may require a fume filtration machine and dust collector.

Required knowledge & safety guidelines for Laser use include:
1. Properties of laser light
2. Characteristics of each laser wavelength
3. Absorbing chromophores of each wavelength (selective photothermolysis)
4. Dosimetry (power, power density, pulse parameters, fluence, energy density, etc.)
5. Spot size, delivery systems, instrumentation
6. Application (medical and surgical) techniques

The standard Class I enclosure is safety interlocked preventing any exposure to the laser beam, fully complying with 21 CFR Chapter 1, Subchapter J. The machine is so safe that no eye protection need be worn when operating the machine. All motors are completely disengaged when the safety cover is open for mechanical safety.

Yes. A dual exhaust machine provides efficient removal of cutting fumes. The vacuum cutting bed provides material hold-down and removes smoke from through-cutting. An additional top exhaust port removes residual smoke from engraving.

Many of our customers simply vent outside, but check the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for its particular properties. Some materials may require a fume filtration machine and dust collector.

In order to determine the best cutting method for your process, conduct a careful examination of your production needs. All cutting methods have their advantages and disadvantages. Typical criteria used for most process evaluations should include the following:

• Material To Be Processed
• Range of Material Thickness
• Accuracy Required
• Material Finish Required
• Production Rate Desired
• Cost of Technology
• Operating Costs
• Operator Skill Requirements

There are many reasons to choose a laser cutting machine. There is almost no limit to the cutting path of a laser—the point can move in any direction. This means that very complex designs can easily be performed without expensive tooling costs or long lead times. Small diameter holes that cannot be made with other machining processes can easily and quickly be performed with a laser. The process is non-contact and non-force, allowing very fragile parts to be cut with little or no support, and the part keeps its original shape from start to finish. Lasers can cut at very high speeds. Lasers do not have parts that will dull and need to be replaced, or that can break easily. Lasers allow you to cut a wide range of materials, and produce a high quality cut without requiring secondary processes. Laser cutting is a very cost effective process with low operating and maintenance costs and maximum flexibility.

In general, routers provide a low cost method for a variety of capabilities. Face milling on a router produces a smooth, clean finish. A router offers strong drilling performance, and is good for cutting thick plate, or several thin sheets of material clamped together.

However, with a router you need to find a way to hold down the material. Our products have a vacuum cutting bed that provides material hold-down. A router needs to be sharpened and replaced over time, while the laser is “permanently sharp.” With a router, variations will also occur as the blade gets duller while cutting, and parts are limited in the complexity of the design. With lasers, the focused area is very small, so detail is vastly greater-—anything you can draw, you can cut. Routers are also unsafe due to small pieces that can fly loose, while our machines are enclosed and have a powerful vacuum bed that captures small pieces. Finally, routers are very noisy (to the point where safety equipment must be worn), but that is not the case with lasers.

In terms of dies, the cost of the tooling in a steel rule die is one of the lowest in all die technologies. The blades can also be changed easily, relative to other dies, when necessary. It takes 3 to 5 days to have the dies made, which is short compared to other die technologies, but tremendously long compared to laser cutting machines, where cutting is instantaneous.

Dies are great when accuracy is not required, such as for boxes or garments. Overall, however, there is a major lack of accuracy and fine detail. Designs are limited to complexity—the more complex the part, the more it will cost to produce and the longer it will take. Large dies are even more expensive, and the lead time even greater. In some circumstances, especially for short-runs, the job may not even be worth the costs. Lasers, on the other hand, have a very small focus, so you are not at all limited by design or size—anything you can draw can be cut quickly and accurately. If any changes need to occur to the design, dies are difficult and expensive to change—it needs to be completely retooled. With a laser cutting machine, you need only make the changes to your design and save them to your file. This makes it easy, cost-effective, and efficient to make modifications with a laser.

Dies wear out and have to be sharpened, while lasers do not encounter this problem. You will also require a lot of space to store the dies for your customers. The only space you need for your laser machine is for the machine itself. Finally, though it is possible to kiss-cut parts with dies, it is much more difficult and less accurate than with laser cutting.

Water jet cutting works well for certain types of materials, such as titanium, granite, marble, concrete, and stone. Cut edges are clean with minimal burr. Problems encountered with other methods, such as crystallization, hardening, and reduced machine- or weld-abilities, are eliminated. Parts remain flat and there is no tooling to design or modify. Costs associated with secondary processes also do not exist.

In general, however, a water jet has lower precision than a laser because the focus is larger and it cannot get the same level of detail that a laser can. Many materials cannot be cut by a water jet because they will shred or flutter. There are also lots of problems associated with the disposal of the abrasives used in the water jet, problems which do not exist for a laser cutting machine. The nozzles and parts wear out quickly, which leads to variations in the cut, as well as higher expenses for replacement components. With lasers, there are no parts to wear or break over time. Water jets tend to move fairly slowly, while a laser is typically much faster. Finally, your parts get wet with a water jet. It is very messy, noisy, and humid. Obviously, with a laser, your parts do not get wet, and the process is much cleaner with less inconveniences.

EDM allows for cutting complex shapes and thin walled configurations without distortion. EDM is suitable for materials considered too hard or where adhesion is a problem for traditional machining, and for materials typically machined by grinding. EDM can replace many types of contour grinding operations and eliminate secondary operations such as deburring and polishing.

In general, however, EDM is really only suited for metal cutting. Laser cutting machines, on the other hand, can be used for a wide variety of applications and materials. EDMs can cut really thick, hard metals, including steels with hardness above Rc 38. If that is your main application, then this process may be suitable for you. Otherwise, you will find the machine is very slow and fairly limited in its capabilities. There are also parts to replace, such as when a wire breaks, which can slow down production and increase costs. This problem will not be encountered with a laser cutting machine.

Knife cutting machines have been designed to process a variety of materials including technical textiles, industrial fabrics, paper, corrugated materials and more. These machines can be equipped with a range of tool heads for total cutting, kiss-cutting, creasing, routing, milling, drilling, etc. They have the ability to produce prototypes and samples rapidly.

In general, however, knife cutters encounter problems with material hold-down. Our products have vacuum cutting beds which provide material hold-down. Knives also dull over time, so parts have to be replaced. This causes issues with variations in your part due to dulling. Lasers do not have any parts that can wear or dull, so these parts do not have to be replaced and accuracy is maintained throughout the entire cut. Also, knives can’t cut very thick materials. It is best used for thin sheet metal cutting. Otherwise, you will experience limitations in cutting that are not found with laser cutting machines. A laser can also easily cut hard plastics with adhesive backs that gum-up knife cutters.

The machine controls are easy to use and require little specialized training. An LCD display provides information about the file to be cut and allows editing of the laser settings. Additional buttons allow the user to move the cutting head, raising and lowering the bed, controlling the exhaust machine and regulating the gas pressure. The user can select a job file from the control panel that resides on any PC networked to the machine through our DNC software.

The ability to cut a broad spectrum of materials is one of the strongest attributes of the laser. It is generally more cost effective than conventional cutting since it is faster and does not require cutting tools. Laser cutting is also a non-contact, non-force process well suited for cutting delicate or fragile parts that cannot take the stress of traditional machining. The thickness, cut pattern, and size of the part can vary depending on the material. A partial list of materials includes: • Acrylic
• Alumina
• Cardboard
• Ceramic
• Composites
• Delrin
• Fabric
• Fiberglass
• Foam
• Laminate
• Leather
• Masonite
• Matte Board
• Nylon

• Paper Products
• Plastics
• Plywood
• Polycarbonate
• Polyester
• Rubber
• Stainless Steel
• Steel
• Styrene
• Teflon
• Vinyl
• Veneer
• Wood

Materials that cannot be machined by other means because of lack of conductivity, abrasiveness, or hardness can usually be cut using a laser. Materials with high reflectivity can also be cut but special precautions must be taken. A laser can also easily cut hard plastics with adhesive backs that gum-up stamping tools or knives.

The machine controls are versatile, yet easy to understand. Scantech Laser cutting machines include custom designed CAM software which manages the entire cutting process, without requiring specialized user training. During the initial machine setup, Scantech will provide free training onsite. This training typically lasts for one or two days.

Yes, the cutting head includes a crash sensor and break-away nozzle to reduce the risk of damage from setup errors.

The control panel is easy to understand and allows you to control all of the machine functions as well as download files, view and edit settings.

A dual exhaust machine provides efficient removal of cutting fumes. The vacuum cutting bed provides material hold-down and removes smoke from through-cutting. An additional top exhaust port removes residual smoke from engraving.
Many of our customers simply vent outside, but check the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for its particular properties. Some materials may require a fume filtration machine and dust collector.
As for material waste, the honeycomb bed allows small pieces to fall through, which will gather in the plume. A shop vacuum can be used to remove the collected material waste.

The powerful vacuum cutting bed provides hold-down for most materials, however there are exceptions. Please contact us to discuss exceptions.

The machine uses flying optics. The part being cut remains stationary while the laser beam is directed by mirrors that move over the surface of the bed on an XY table. This high-speed design provides a large cutting area while consuming a minimum of valuable floor space. The entire beam path is enclosed for safety and low maintenance.

The linear drive machines use closed loop servo motors with linear encoders that enable precise positioning and repeatability. This machine provides extremely high accuracy, at all speeds, and does not change over time.

The machine is belt driven, using closed loop servo motors with linear encoders that enable precise positioning and repeatability. It is much more accurate than a ball screw machine, which wears over time.

Our machines provide up to 12 inches of clearance for cutting or engraving on non-sheet material. By adjusting the height of the cutting bed, the machine allows for custom fixturing of tall parts for secondary laser cutting operations.

Operating costs ultimately depend on the laser power you employ, but typically will be less than $1 per hour, including maintenance costs. The assist gas you use will depend on what you are cutting. An air assist gas will only be the cost of running your compressor. However, some materials require specific assist gases, and that will cost you the price of the gas as well.

The machine requires basic clean up on a daily basis. Use a shop vacuum to clean the plume and cutting bed, and wipe it down with a cleaner once a week. The encoder strip can be cleaned with alcohol only.

One of the many advantages of a laser cutting machine is that there are no tools to wear or break over time. There are few consumable parts within the machine itself. The honeycomb bed will need to be replaced as it degrades over time. This part is about $200 and typically needs to be changed every 6 months. Other parts can be replaced as required, but should not be often. The flying optics are sealed and protected, and should not have to be replaced with proper operation.

Yes, Machine includes a CAD/CAM package designed specifically for laser cutting. LaserLink lets you easily edit geometry, manipulate layers, control the tool path, step-and-repeat parts and combine multiple processes. The user selects settings from an integrated database of materials. The database can be edited and stores an unlimited number of settings.

Our software supports both vector and raster fill engraving.

LaserLink imports popular CAD and graphics file formats and supports all TrueType fonts. The program supports the following file types and file extensions:

CAD (dxf, dwg)
Gerber (circuit layout) (.GBR, .GER, .PHO)
Mill/rout Data (.rte, .rou)
HPGL (.hpg, .hp, .plt)
CNC code (G-Code) (.CNC)
Drill file (.drl, .dpt)
Laser Machining Center files (.lmc)
Raster files (.bmp, .jpg, .gif, .png)

For those with an existing knowledge of CAD/CAM programs, Laser-Link is very easy to use. For those without prior experience, it may take a little more ramp-up time but they will also find it easy to use after the free training provided by Scantech. If you find you have further questions afterwards, simply use your ongoing telephone or online support and we can quickly supply you with answers.

It’s not a matter of switching to tool-free cutting. Rather, it’s advisable to add laser cutting to whatever tool-based cutting systems you already utilize in your finishing department.

Whether one is screen printing flexible circuits, or complex product faceplates such as those used on mini cell phones, or creating an intricate design label, there will come a point when you run up against the very real limitations of any die-based cutting system—whether it is a rotary die cutter, platen press, optically-registered gap press, etc. Sometimes this limitation presents itself when handling ultra-thin delicate substrates where there is a difficulty making precise cuts with a mechanical die. Even with more substantial materials tiny features such as micro-perforations and especially design features including many small sharp angles pose challenges to a tool-based cutting system. Male-female dies face inherent constraints in creating corners that are less than 30 degrees, even in best-in-class tool-based cutting systems. Then there are the problems of adhesives that quite literally gum up the works of tool-based cutting systems. Or, consider the costly wear and tear on dies that make it nearly impossible to cost-effectively cut abrasive substrates.

Laser cutting systems, because they are tool-free, do not have to contend with any of these challenges. Better yet, the costs and delays involved in tool fabrication are bypassed. For short runs especially the costs and time delays for tooling are especially significant. That is why laser cutting systems offer such a clear advantage for prototyping.

However, it would be a mistake to think that laser cutting will replace the tool-based cutting technology used by screen printers. If part geometries are not out-of-reach of a tool-based cutting system, and if easier to cut substrates are being cut, if hand labor would not be required for parts extraction, and especially if it involves a long run length, a male-female die or steel rule die based cutting system will many times provide a more cost-effective solution.

Laser cutting systems are tool-free. They take any vector-based digital image and import it into their operating software to set up a job. The best-in-class laser cutting systems can complete set up from these imported digital images in just a few minutes.

The ‘digital die cutter’ term that is used interchangeably with laser cutting speaks to this advantage that tool-free cutting systems provide, especially when used in combination with digital printers. The combination of an imported digital image into a digital printing press followed by a laser cutting system allows one to move from artwork to finished product in just a few hours, or even less for very short runs.

The capabilities of latest generation best-in-class laser cutting systems are dramatically more advanced than the technology that was first introduced five or so years ago. Basically, three areas of technological improvements contribute to these more far ranging capabilities – advances in lasers, software, and software integration.

Manufacturers of the lasers used in laser cutting technology have continued to improve them and to offer better lasers at lower cost. These newer lasers shape beams with greater precision. And, higher powered lasers now cost less, such that even basic laser cutting systems can use competitively priced 200 watt or 400 watt lasers today, compared to these only being available in the priciest systems several years ago. To a certain extent, higher-powered lasers facilitate faster cutting action. The better-shaped beams of today’s lasers are also more easily steered by galvo systems at greater speeds.

These improvements in lasers, while significant, are surpassed by the advantages conferred by the high quality software engineering in today’s better laser cutting systems. The best-in-class systems have improved software at every level— the building block algorithms of programs are more robust, the mathematical concepts that underlie the programming are more sophisticated, and the overall systems integration is more comprehensive. The end result is in software that works behind the scenes, so to speak, to control and maneuver laser beams within tolerances that were out of reach only a few years ago and to do so without any programming expertise required of the operator.

Users of newer best-in-class laser systems see these improvements in several ways. The telltale pinholes and burn throughs that were made by earlier generation laser cutting systems have been eliminated. In turn this has made a wide array of special features that laser cutters can excel in— perforations, creases, score lines, kiss cuts, consecutive numbering, personalizations, etc.—all the more doable.

Both. The advantages of laser cutting systems being tool-free will always make them a superior option for prototyping work because there is no delay or expense for tooling. Now, however, better lasers and better software engineering create a speed improvement in the newer laser cutting technology. The better shaped beams not only make steering the lasers faster but the best-in-class laser cutting systems take this a step further with software engineering that shaves milliseconds off of every operation cumulating in speed increases. These systems’ software takes it even further by optimizing cutting sequences for faster throughput. They also use smart control systems that monitor operating conditions such as registration, web control, and integrated laminating and slitting operations and allow programming of automatic shut-off at the completion of runs or when material or machine conditions require. The upshot is that today’s laser cutting technology is geared for full production too.

(Note: The speed of laser cutting systems is highly job dependent. A highly intricate cutting pattern involving a long linear cutting path will take longer than a straight crease line, for example.)

Setup is comparable to that required for a digital printing press. In the better laser cutting systems, software tools are built in to improve imported DXF or DWG files for best laser cutting results. These tools provide corrections for difficulties created by vector type files allowing shorter setup times and overall improvement of the laser cutting results. The best-in-class systems also will simulate the job production rate during set up telling operators precisely how long a job will take. And, the job set up specifications are saved so that they can be recalled at a later time, making a changeover to that repeat job a simple matter of a few keystrokes done in seconds.

In the newer and better laser cutting systems, the skill levels of machine operators that are required is very similar to those that are needed to operate a cable television menu screen. Spartanics Finecut Laser Cutting System, for example, has an interactive help tools (Video Wizard) that makes it possible for workers who have never used a PC to fully operate the Finecut Laser Cutting System and all its features. This interactive Video Wizard also helps to bypass language barriers because lessons are taught by example rather than spoken or read.

Laser cutting systems can make cuts as small as the laser beam diameter, i.e. 210 microns in the better systems. Material limitations are sometimes an issue. Although the precise definition of “thick” is changing and dependent on material grade, laser cutting on thick polycarbonate substrates continues to be beyond the current systems’ capabilities such that discolorations usually occur. If polycarbonates are too thick for laser cutting, the best technology fit is usually with the high precision optically-registered steel rule die or hard tool cutting systems that can deliver registration accuracy +/-0.1 mm.

For especially long runs with many hundreds of thousands of linear feet the expenses for tooling are insignificant contributors to overall job cost and the delays for making tooling are insignificant, tool-based cutting systems (rotary die cutters, optically registered gap presses, platen presses) will continue to be the cutting method of choice. For such large orders, if dies can be fashioned to reliably handle the required details of part geometries, there is usually little advantage to laser cutting systems because even the highest wattage modern systems are still a bit slower.

A high-end fully featured laser cutting system costs US$250,000+, comparable to the cost of a high precision optically registered gap press. There are no additional costs for tooling however, which makes laser cutting systems comparably lower-priced over its lifetime.

Buyers Beware!—there is a wide range of capabilities in the laser cutting systems one runs into, largely determined by the sophistication of the software engineering employed. This means that you need to test various options thoroughly before you purchase a system.

One way to do that is by providing materials to get samples cut to your specifications and to look at the range of samples provided by manufacturers and the cutting precision they demonstrate. Better yet, it is highly recommended to enlist the contract manufacturing services that are provided by reputable laser cutting system manufacturers. These will not only demonstrate ability to generate the features your applications require but will give you details on expected operating efficiencies and throughput for your applications.

All metals are reflective to CO2 laser beams, until a certain power density threshold value is reached. Aluminium is more reflective than C-Mn steel or stainless steel and has the potential to cause damage to the laser itself. Most laser cutting machines use a laser beam aligned normal to a flat sheet of material. This means that should the laser beam be reflected by the flat sheet it can be transmitted back through the beam delivery optics, and into the laser itself, potentially causing significant damage. This reflection does not come entirely from the sheet surface, but is caused by the formation of a molten pool which can be highly reflective. For this reason, simply spraying the sheet surface with a non-reflective coating will not completely eliminate the problem. As a general rule the addition of alloying elements reduces the reflectivity of aluminium to the laser, so pure aluminium is harder to process than a more traditional 5000 series alloy.

With good, consistent cutting parameters the likelihood of a reflection can be reduced to almost zero, depending on the materials used. However it is still necessary to be able to prevent damage to the laser while developing the conditions or if something goes wrong with the equipment. The 'aluminium cutting system' which most modern equipment uses is actually a way of protecting the laser rather than an innovative technique for cutting. This system usually takes the form of a back reflection system which can detect if too much laser radiation is being reflected back through the optics. This will often automatically stop the laser, before any major damage is caused. Without this system there are risks with processing aluminium as there is no way of detecting if potentially hazardous reflections are occurring.

Note: Always check with the laser supplier that the system is designed for processing aluminium before attempting to cut it. Some other materials, for example brass, may also require the back reflection protection system so it is also advisable to check with the supplier before processing any new material.

Our entry-level unit is the 30 watt Zing 16 and that system starts from just $7,995 (US price only) -- a small investment for such a powerful piece of machinery! You can even lease to own the Zing 16 with payments as low as $150 a month (with approved credit). With a payment as low as $150 per month, you can pay for the system as you make money with the new cutting & engraving services you offer.

The cost of our various laser systems is determined by speed (stepper vs. servo motors), engraving table size, and laser wattage (ranging from 30 watts to 120 watts) and range from $7,995 to $45,000 (US price only).

You can engrave scanned photos, logos, bitmaps, other images, text, and AutoCAD files. Essentially, if you can print it, you can engrave it. To cut, you will need a vector based graphic, such as an .eps or Illustrator file. Keep in mind the higher the quality of the graphic you're working with, the better your engraving results. Vector drawings used for Laser Engraving.
The following vector-based files are also accepted :

• DWG from AutoCAD
• AI from Adobe Illustrator
• CDR from Corel Draw
• PDF from any vector based prrograms
• Raster-based files (jpg, bmp, png, tiff) are acceptable but file conversion charge may apply

Our CO2 laser systems will engrave and cut most non-metallic materials, as well as engrave coated metals. No, one laser does it all! CO2 Laser systems will engrave and cut most non-metallic materials, as well as engrave coated metals. For information on what materials you can engrave and cut, visit our Materials page. The laser can be set to engrave only (Raster Mode), cut only (Vector Mode), or can complete both operations in Combined Mode. The laser knows what portions to engrave and what portions to cut based on line width, which is easily set in your graphic design software.

Investing in a new computer is a great way to make sure you’re getting the most out of your new laser equipment. Why? Because today’s software requires a lot of computer processing speed and memory to function properly. A good computer won’t make a huge difference in how your laser runs, but when compared to a slow computer it will save untold amounts of time and frustration setting up the artwork that you “print” to the laser. Many users do not purchase new computers for use with their new laser because their current computers are perfectly adequate. There’s no magical cut-off that makes a computer too slow. If you’re comfortable with the performance and speed of your current computer, there’s probably no reason to purchase another one. The following recommendations are just options to consider if a new computer is necessary. A new computer doesn’t have to be expensive to work well! Even many of today’s lower-cost computers work well for laser applications. As long as you don’t buy the cheapest computer you can find you should be fine. One thing to avoid is the Intel Celeron processor – while they are good processors, and will work with the laser, they don’t process graphics with the speed most laser users desire.

Operating System: All new Epilog lasers are designed to work with all versions of Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7,8, and 10 operating systems.

The Fusion Laser Series is also compatible with Mac operating systems OS X 10.7 and higher. Read more about our Fusion Mac Driver here.

RAM (Random Access Memory): 512 MB is recommended. RAM is kind of like short-term memory. It’s fast, readily available for the computer to access and makes time consuming tasks go much quicker if you have lots of it. Most users won’t notice a difference if they add more than 512 MB to their system, but almost all uses will notice the speed difference that 512 MB provides when compared to 256 MB (256 MB is essentially the next step down from 512 MB).

Processor Speed: A faster processor will allow you to do more tasks in less time. While it’s not necessary to purchase the fastest processor available, you’ll want either an AMD Athalon processor or an Intel Pentium IV processor (do not purchase a computer that is using an Intel Celeron processor – they’re too slow for graphics applications). Processor speeds are always improving, but processor speeds of about 2.0 GHz or faster are a good place to start.

10/100 Network Interface Card (NIC): All new computers have a 10/100 network connection as standard equipment. As well as allowing multiple computers to be linked together in a network, this technology also allows direct printing from the computer to the Epilog system. Epilog supplies a network Crossover cable with each laser system that allows one computer to print to a single Epilog system.

20-30 GB Hard Drive: This is the permanent memory in your computer. Many users feel that you can never have a large enough hard drive, but for most laser applications 20 or 30 GB’s is going to be adequate for years of storage. Luckily, most computer manufacturers put at least 20 GB drives in new computers these days. When in doubt, buy bigger than you think you might need. It’s so inexpensive that it’s worth the peace of mind to have it available.

The Zing 16 and 24 have a static table weight of 50 lbs (22.7 kg) and a lifting table weight of 25 lbs (11.5 kg).
The Mini 18 and 24 have a static table weight of 50 lbs (22.7 kg) and a lifting table weight of 25 lbs (11.5 kg).
The Helix 24 has a static table weight of 70 lbs (32 kg) and a lifting table weight of 30 lbs (14 kg).
The Fusion 32, Fusion M2 40, and FiberMark Fusion have a static table weight of 200 lbs (90 kg) and lifting table weight of 100 lbs (46 kg).
The FiberMark has a static table weight of 200 lbs (90.7 kg) and a lifting table weight of 80 lbs (36.3 kg).

Repeatability is the capability of the machine to maintain tolerance from part to part which is +/- 0.0005" (0.0127 mm).

For 1.0 Millimeters Stainless Steel,
O2 Cut :- Cutting Data for 1000 Watts – 273 inches/min
Mode: Continuous Wave.
Feedrate : 7 meters/min., 273 inches/min

Accuracy is the ability of the machine to locate to a fixed mechanical position and manufacture parts to a specified tolerance in a controlled production environment such as +/- .01" (.254 mm) over the entire table.

Yes! Personalization and customization of products is in high demand. Adding a laser engraving service to your current operation is an excellent way to reach possible new customers as well as offer a valued service to your current client base.

If you know how to use graphic design software, you can be up and running in minutes! There is no proprietary software to learn so you can use the programs that you are already familiar with to make the transition into laser engraving as smooth as possible. It will take a bit of trial and error to learn what speed and power settings to use with different materials, but we include a comprehensive guide with your system that has recommended speed and power settings for various materials with which you will be working.

• CO2 : 10.6 - 10.7 Microns
• Fiber : 1060 - 1070 Nanometers
• Nd-YAG : 1060 – 1070 Nanometers
: 1053 – 1064 Nanometers

CO2 Laser : 10,000 – 20,000 Hrs Sealed Tube Life
Fiber Laser : 45,000 Hrs Life
Nd-YAG : 20,000 Hrs Life

Cutting: Thin sheets of polycarbonate can be cut with our CO2 laser systems, but the material tends to discolor when heated by the laser beam. The thinner the sheet you are cutting, the better the cutting results you will obtain. Engraving: Most colored polycarbonates can be marked with our FiberMark metal and plastic marking system.

Hydrogen Chloride and Vinyl Chloride (mostly found in PVC and other man made materials) are hazardous to the life of your laser system. Engraving and cutting these materials can cause irreversible damage to your machine, so determining the components of your cutting and engraving materials is extremely important. Materials, such as Kydex, contain PVC.

Material Safety Data Sheet
A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is designed to provide you the proper procedures for handling or working with a particular substrate. These documents contain the elements used to make up the material and will indicate whether or not it contains elements that are potentially harmful to your engraving system.

• Zing 24: 5.25" (133.35 mm)
• Mini 18: 3" (76.2 mm)
• Mini 24: 5" (127 mm)
• Helix 24: 8" (203.2 mm)
• Fusion m2 32: 10.25" (260 mm)
• Fusion M2 40: 10.25" (260 mm)
• FiberMark 24: 4" (101.6 mm)
• FiberMark Fusion: 7.5" (190.5 mm)
• 3-Jaw Chuck Style Rotary: 6.5" (165.1 mm)

It depends on how fast you want to go, what shape your cutting, how precise your XY stages are, how well your laser controls the spot size and high cost of machine means higher accuracy.

The kerf refers to how much of the material the laser takes away when cutting through. (the width of the groove made while cutting.) This varies from material to material and is also dependent on the laser beam tolerance i.e. the width of the beam. All our machines have a very fine tolerance.

Our general tolerance is +/- 0.2mm depending on the material thickness.

Glossary: Accuracy and Repeatability. Accuracy is the ability of the machine to locate to a fixed mechanical position and manufacture parts to a specified tolerance in a controlled production environment. Repeatability is the capability of the machine to maintain tolerance from part to part.

Class I Safety. Laser safety is regulated in the United States by the FDA. Class I is classified as the safest configuration for a laser system. The Class I rating requires such safety features as a fully enclosed system that cannot allow a laser beam to escape and redundant interlocks on doors that turn off power to the laser if a machine door is opened during the cutting process.

Class IV Safety. This is an open machine, so safety equipment must be used in the laser hazard area.

CO2 Laser. Gas lasers that use carbon dioxide as the lasing medium. CO2 lasers are offered in either sealed or flowing gas configurations. Sealed CO2 lasers are generally under 500 watts and are less expensive to operate.

Dross. Dross is recast molten metal at the back or bottom of a laser cut metal part. Dross is controlled by manipulation of cut parameters like assist gas pressure (the gas jet blowing co-axially with the laser beam during the cutting process.)

Edge Quality. The level of quality the edge of a part has when immediately removed from the machine. When we talk about thickness of material we can cut, we are talking about what we can cut with excellent edge quality that will generally require little or no additional polishing, sanding, or deburring.

Engraving. To carve or etch a design or letters into a material. The laser engraving process can be either Vector (line following) or Raster (scanning with the laser turning on or off to create an image).

Flying Optics. The part being cut remains stationary while the laser beam is directed by mirrors to a gantry that moves at high speed over the part.

Gantry. A mount for the laser consisting of a bridge-like frame designed to move along a set of tracks over an XY table.

Galvo-based Laser System. Galvo systems direct a laser beam by a fast moving mirror (similar to a signal mirror reflecting sunlight). Galvo laser systems are generally suited to cutting thin materials in a relatively small field. Thicker materials will tend to burn and have non-vertical cut edge. Because these mirrors and the servo motors that drive them are very tiny, they have very little mass and can be moved at high speeds and stopped very quickly.

Gas-Assist. Assist gas is a gas jet blown coaxially with the laser beam to assist and improve the results of the laser cutting process. The type of gas will depend on the application, but the most commonly used gasses are Air, Nitrogen and Oxygen. Assist gas works by either increasing or decreasing the vaporization effect of the laser energy and conveying the waste gas and molten material down and out of the cut.

Gimbal. A contrivance, consisting of a ring or base on an axis, that permits an object mounted in or on it to tilt freely in any direction, in effect suspending the object so that it will remain horizontal even when its support is tipped.

HAZ – Heat Affected Zone. The Heat Affected Zone is the cut edge of the part and that area of and into the part that has been chemically or cosmetically affected by the concentrated heat of the laser cutting process. An important goal in laser process development is to find cut parameters to minimize the Heat Affected Zone.

Kerf. The width of a groove or cut made by a cutting tool.

Linear Encoder. Linear encoders are optically read high precision “rulers”.

Precision. The ability of a measurement to be consistently reproduced.

Rotary Encoder. An encoder is an electrical mechanical device that can monitor motion or position. A typical encoder uses optical sensors to provide a series of pulses that can be translated into motion, position, or direction. Rotary encoders are based in the actual motor, and use pulses to determine its position.

Servo Motor. A Servo is a small device that has an output shaft. This shaft can be positioned to specific angular positions by sending the servo a coded signal. As long as the coded signal exists on the input line, the servo will maintain the angular position of the shaft. As the coded signal changes, the angular position of the shaft changes.

Throughput. The number of quality finished parts produced per hour. Generally throughput consists of cut speed, acceleration and other process parameters.

YAG Laser. Solid-state lasers that use the element Neodymium (Nd) diffused in a crystal of Yttrium-Aluminum-Garnet (YAG) as the lasing medium.