The Science Behind A CO2 Laser27 Feb 2018
A CO2 laser machine is an extremely versatile tool that is popular among manufacturers, artists, and hobbyists. It can cut or engrave a wide variety of materials with quality and precision and very little waste of material. While it's not necessary to understand the physics that underlies laser technology, anyone who uses a laser machine or is considering purchasing one should have some idea of how it works.
The main components of a CO2 laser machine are an energy source, a gas-filled tube with mirrored ends, and a gas mix of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and helium. Actually, only one end of a laser tube is truly a mirror. The other end allows a small amount of light to pass through. Another important part of a laser cutter is the bed, or cutting surface. The bed determines the size of material that can be cut. Some beds are adjustable on multiple axes and some are not.
When electricity passes through the gas-filled tube, the nitrogen molecules in the gas mix become energized. They in turn excite the CO2 molecules, so that the majority of molecules in the gas are in an excited state. Since helium is one of the noble gases, it remains cold even in the presence of heated molecules. Light is produced when nitrogen comes in contact with helium and releases its energy in the form of light.
Once the light is produced, it starts bouncing back and forth between mirrored surfaces and increases in intensity. Once it reaches a certain degree of intensity, it is able to pass through the partially mirrored end of the tube in the form of a powerful and concentrated beam of light. Laser light is in the infrared range and can't be seen, but it has the power to cut into metal, glass, or wood.
When choosing a laser cutter, most people consider several factors, including the size of the bed, the power or wattage of the laser, and of course, the price. Lower-powered lasers are most often used for etching, while a 100 watt CO2 laser tube can do deep engraving, and a 150w laser tube can cut through a range of materials. Tubes come in different materials and levels of quality. The cost of replacing laser tubes should be taken into consideration when evaluating the overall cost of a machine. Check out this site for more information about laser tube price.