A fiber laser engraver produces a laser beam by pumping extremely intense light through fiber optic cables doped with ytterbium, which helps release the energy as photons. As the photons exit the fiber optic cable, a laser beam is created.
With a 20-30 watt laser power level, engraving depth is typically between 0.3 and 0.5mm. With a 50-100 watt fiber laser engraving machine, its engraving depth can be between 0.6 and 1.5mm.
Engraving depth will depend on the material type and bear in mind maximum engraving depth could take a long time. With a 20W Fiber Laser Engraver: 0.5mm on carbon steel could take 30 minutes up to one hour depending on design. Below you will find more information on which materials are compatible with Fiber Laser Engravers.
Which Materials are compatible with Fiber Laser Engravers
Fiber laser engraving does not work well with all materials. For example, most transparent polymers cannot be engraved with fiber laser engraving techniques. Instead of engraving them, the beam just passes through and engraves the table.
In addition, organic materials, such as wood, clear glass, leather, clear acrylic, and other fabrics would not be ideal for fiber laser engraving due to their transparency to the 1062nm wavelength.
The following is a conservative list of materials that are commonly used with fiber laser engravers.
- Stainless steel
- Carbon fiber
- Carbon nanotube
- Metal plated ceramics
- Inconel metals
- Engineering Plastics
Deep Engraving with a Fiber Laser
Deep metal engraving with a fiber laser requires power. If your laser does not have the right level of power, your machine will not be able to engrave things deeply enough. A laser might also wear out or break down faster than usual because the demands placed on it are too high.
A 20W or 30W machine should work fine for you if you are just looking to make permanent marks that will last a long time. However, if your engraving depth requirements are deeper than average, you will need a 50W or 100W machine.
You can adjust for variables such as resonator set-up, beam expansion, mode structure, and focal length based on how deep or shallow you want your markings to be. Another important issue to consider is that the laser power and processing area should be matched for best results.
How to choose the best processing area for a Fiber Laser Engraver
- The size of the specific marked objects and the size of the marking range.
- The precision of the processing and the overall matching of equipment are necessary.
- The focal length is related to working distance. However, focal length is not equal to working distance.
You should not choose a larger lens due to the perception that bigger is better. That is not true. If you only increase the scanning area, there will be many problems.
When the spot size increases, the distortions increase, so the laser power density decreases rapidly, and the working distance increases. This results in a loss of laser energy, making precision machining impossible.
I have done some tests and the below configurations achieved the best results:
- 20W Fiber Laser Engraver: Laser Processing Area of 110 x 110 mm
- 30W Fiber Laser Engraver: Laser Processing Area of 175 x 175 mm or 200 x 200 mm
- 50W Fiber Laser Engraver: Laser Processing Area of 200 x 200 mm or 300 x 300 mm
- 100W Fiber Laser Engraver: Laser Processing Area of 300 x 300 mm
In conclusion, if your main application is surface marking and not deep engraving then the 20W will be the best option. If you want increased speed then a 30W is the way to go. If you require high efficiency and deep engraving then go for the 50W or 100W depending on your requirements.
Check out our buying guide: Best Fiber Laser Engraver for You