How Deep Can a 100W CO2 Laser Engraver Cut?

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100W CO2 Laser Engraver: How Deep Can It Cut?

Hobbyists and businesses looking to craft unique products from wood, leather, or metal will need a proper laser machine to get the job done. Not every tool will be able to cut and engrave all materials with uttermost precision. The choice of equipment can make all the difference in creating art or wasting materials, time, and resources.

A 100-watt CO2 laser engraver cutting machine is a logical option when it comes to choosing industrial machines for cutting and engraving different materials. Considering it can engrave wood, plastic, and some metals, a 100-watt CO2 laser engraver makes a versatile tool suitable for various applications. But the question is, will this machine be good for you and your business?

A 100-watt CO2 laser engraver makes a big investment, so it's essential to determine its capabilities before the purchase. This article will tell you everything you need to know about the depth of cut and other important characteristics of a 100-watt CO2 laser engraver. 

What Are the Cutting Capabilities of a 100W CO2 Laser Engraving Machine?

The most significant factor to consider when choosing a laser cutter and engraver for your business or home is the laser power. When it comes to the 100W CO2 laser engraver, the name itself indicates its power. But what about the cutting capabilities? 

Let's take the 100-watt CO2 laser engraver from OMTech as a reference. This machine can cut as deep as 10 mm on multiple nonmetallic materials such as glass, wood, leather, acrylic, rubber, and even granite. 

This CO2 laser engraver & cutter comes with the following specifications:

  • A maximum engraving speed of 23.6 in/s
  • A cutting speed of 15.75 in/s
  • Focal length of 2 inches
  • An easy-to-use control panel

 Safety features include auxiliary equipment like the air pump and automatic shutdown. 

Pro Tip: If you're looking for a laser engraver for metals, we suggest using OMTech's Fiber Laser Cutting Machine with fiber laser power. A CO2 laser is not as effective on reflective materials.

Factors Affecting the Depth of Cut

While the 100W CO2 laser engraver has cutting capabilities of 10 mm on various materials, different factors can affect the depth of cut. 

Material Type and Density

Materials with a thicker density, such as ceramics and glass, will require higher power settings to increase engraving depth. It's good to note they will also shorten your laser's life due to the prolonged use of high-power settings.

Let's see how different materials affect the depth of the cut in more detail: 

Wood and Plywood 

OMTech’s 100W CO2 laser machine is a popular choice of equipment for cutting wood and industrial marking. However, different types of wood can affect the depth of the cut. This is because really thick wood does not fully absorb the laser beam, resulting in a shallow cut.

For example, when using plywood, which typically consists of at least three layers of wood, an ideal thickness is no more than 10 mm. Otherwise, avoid using a 100W CO2 laser engraver and cutter with plywood thicker than 10 mm. 

Acrylic and Plastic

Plastic and acrylics are popular engraving materials, but not all of them will provide the same level of versatility. For example, plastics with a microporous surface are easier to cut through as they don't require as much surface area removed. This will result in a cleaner and deeper cut.

As for acrylics, a 100W CO2 laser engraver can cut a thickness of up to 0.7 inches (20 mm) but no more than this, as it will negatively affect the depth of the cut.

Leather and Fabric

When it comes to textile cutting, leather is generally a tough fabric and is challenging to puncture. While a 100W CO2 laser engraver will be good enough to get the job done with optimal results, we don't recommend opting for a too-thick piece of this material. 

Other fabrics like fleece and cloth are less resilient and will not affect the depth of the cut as much. 

Paper and Cardboard 

When engraving and cutting paper, consider going for thicker material. Too thin paper can tear easily and burst into flames under the laser cutter. An ideal paper thickness for a CO2 laser engraver & cutter is 0.07 inches (2 mm). 

Laser Power and Intensity

Alongside the material type and density, the power of the laser engraving cutting machine will influence how deep you can cut. With OMTech's 100-watt CO2 laser, the lowest laser setting is 10%, which is 2-3 mA (milliamp), and the highest is 100%, which translates to 28 mA. A higher laser power paired with slower speeds on thicker materials like wood or glass will help achieve clean, deep cutting. On the other hand, textiles, paper, and plastic will require lower power with higher speeds. 

Focal Length and Beam Width

The focal length and the beam width of a laser engraving cutting machine affect how deep the laser cuts. Here's how.

The laser engraver machine has a focus lens that focuses and directs the laser beam powered from the laser tube onto the material. The width of the laser beam that passes through the lens will influence how deep the machine will cut and how well it will execute the design details.

Wider beams result in deeper, bolder designs, while smaller beams are great for finer details. Beam width also influences the speed of cutting. For example, wider beams have greater coverage, which means they work faster.  

Focal lens length also affects how deep the CO2 laser machine cuts. For example, shorter focal lengths will result in finer resolution, which is great for small details but will result in a shallow cut. Longer focal lengths won't help achieve finer details but will result in a deeper cut.

Power and Speed Settings

Using the most efficient power transmission of the 100W CO2 machine will guarantee optimal results and affect the depth of the cut. Ensure, therefore, that you always set the correct power and speed on your machine depending on the material underneath. Correct settings will help you achieve better product quality, prolong the machine's lifespan, and keep you safe. Remember, incorrect speed and power can result in fire from combustible gases when cutting plastics.  

Multiple Passes and Layered Cutting

When you cut through very thick materials or multiple layers, you are at risk of material not absorbing the laser beam. In this situation, it could help to be patient and make multiple passes over the same area.

Thicker or delicate materials that don't like a lot of heat at once benefit from this method. 

Achieve Optimal Results With the Best 100W CO2 Laser Engraver

A 100W CO2 laser engraver and cutter can be an excellent addition to any DIY or professional workspace operating with a variety of materials. Now that you know its qualities and how to use its features and settings, you can decide whether a 100W CO2 laser engraver is the right tool for your needs. 

If you are ready to take your hobby or small business to the next level, OMTech is here for you. Contact us today for more details and learn how our 100W CO2 laser engraver and cutter can help you handle your most demanding engraving and cutting projects.