Carbon dioxide, fiber, what type of laser do I need?

by:Lxshow     2021-07-20

CO2 and fiber lasers are the most common types of lasers used for material processing, including laser cutting, laser engraving and laser marking. This overview introduces materials suitable for CO2 lasers and fiber lasers with powers less than 200 watts. It also introduces links to resources to help you determine the best laser system configuration to meet your requirements.

CO2 laser processing materials

The focused energy of CO2 lasers below 200 watts is mainly used for processing organic materials, but it can perform some processing on inorganic non-metallic materials. By using special optics to obtain a sufficiently high laser power density, CO2 lasers at these power levels can also mark certain metals. The following are CO2 lasers used in the following processes and materials:

CO2 cutting and marking/engraving

For cutting with a power of 150 watts or less, the actual maximum thickness of many organic materials is limited It is .125 inches (3.2 mm) to 1.0 inches (25.4 mm). This limit varies greatly depending on the density and composition of the material. It is also possible to cut some low-density foam materials with a thickness of not more than 2.0 inches (50.8 mm). The maximum cutting thickness and processing speed are largely affected by the applied laser energy, so it is recommended to use a larger power (75-150 watts) to process thicker materials or increase productivity.

The following materials are suitable for CO2 laser cutting, engraving and marking:

Plastic products







Composite materials (if metal or other inorganic matter content is small)

CO2 Marking/engraving (no cutting)

It is possible to mark or engrave many materials with CO2 laser energy of less than 200 watts, because there is enough laser energy for obvious surface interaction, but there is not enough energy to penetrate Material to be cut. Generally, if a material is inorganic and heat resistant (will not melt or has a high melting point), it cannot be laser cut with a CO2 laser with a power rating of less than 200 watts.

The following materials are suitable for CO2 laser marking. In some cases, they can also be used for shallow engraving:




Steel and titanium (surface marking)

It is difficult to mark with CO2 laser because metal will reflect or conduct most of the laser energy away from the focus. In order to make the laser power as low as 25 watts, it can mark the surface of steel and titanium, the Universal Laser System (ULS) developed and obtained the patent of the patented high power density focusing optics (HPDFO™), by focusing the laser energy to a significantly higher The small focus size for focusing is unmatched by any standard optical system. Concentrating the laser energy into a smaller spot can significantly increase the power density to overcome the energy loss of reflection and conduction, thereby achieving steel and titanium marking. Learn more about HPDFO.

Fiber laser processing materials

Fiber lasers with a rated power of 100 watts or less are mainly used for marking/engraving metal materials. The shorter wavelengths of fiber lasers (compared to CO2 lasers) can be more effectively absorbed by metals. The advantage of fiber lasers with metal is that they can mark more metal types, penetrate below the metal surface, and have faster marking/engraving capabilities than CO2 lasers with similar power ratings. Fiber lasers are also used to mark the surface of certain plastics. The filler of these plastics absorbs and reflects the energy of the fiber laser.

Fiber laser marking/engraving

The following materials are suitable for fiber laser marking, and in some cases, suitable for shallow engraving:

Metal (large Most types)

Plastics-including black acetal, black acrylic, black PTFE and other plastics with laser receptive additives, fillers or pigments. For most of these, it is not organic plastics that absorb and react with laser energy, but rather pigments, fillers, or other additives that react to fiber laser energy.

Fiber lasers are also used to selectively remove thin metal coatings on substrates (including glass and PET plastic films) that are not affected by the energy of the fiber laser.


The choice of the laser you choose depends largely on your processing requirements.

Before deciding on the configuration, please consider all the materials that are important to you now and in the future. You can use our online tool to help configure a laser system with the correct laser source to meet your material processing requirements.

You can also contact us by phone, email (, online chat or web form to solve your material handling problems. We will help you determine the best laser configuration according to your requirements. This is our contact information.

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