How Does CNC Laser Engraving Work?

Laser cutters are used in a growing number of sectors and industries today from prototyping to manufacturing. Used primarily by engineers, designers, and artists to cut and etch into flat material, it's a fast and efficient method of producing high quality and precision objects.

Aside from cutting items to custom specifications, they’re also used to etch designs into work pieces to create intricate lettering and designs in various patterns.

In short, they’re useful tools used by manufacturers and artists as a fabrication tool to bring digital designs into the physical world. 

In this blog, we explain a bit more about what laser cutters are, what they can do, and how you can use them for future signage or object customisation projects for your business, or for gift items specially adapted for your loved ones. 


What is a Laser Cutter?

A laser cutter is a type of CNC (Computer Numerical Controlled) machine, which is controlled via a computer. After a designer or machine operator has inputted a specific design and engraving requirements using digital software, a laser cutter can be commissioned to manipulate a piece of material to achieve the desired effect, whether that’s cutting down the edges to create a different shape or engraving lettering and designs into the surface. 

A laser cutting machine uses a laser beam to cut into or etch into the material, which could be a type of metal or even wood and plastic. They can be used to make many different styles of design and can be used at various stages of production, such as cutting components prior to assembly or adding aesthetic touches to an already assembled unit.

Laser cutters are typically very quick and can finalise a designed part in just a few minutes. Assuming you have the right professionals to create your design and operate the machinery, they can be used as rapid prototype machines that allow designers to quickly render different designs, even at a mass scale.


How Do Laser Cutters Work?

Laser engraving processes can vary slightly based on the type of laser cutter you are using. However, they all essentially rely on the same process of using lasers to cut through or mark solid materials. 

The power generated through a laser will originate from a machine and relay an intense beam of light that comes into contact with a piece of material, like a metal plate. The intensity is centralised at the cutting head where the laser is focused through a lens and narrowed down to an extremely thin, concentrated beam. This beam is used to cut or raster various types of material.

Movement of the cutting head is usually controlled by a mechanical system driven usually by belt or chain. This is also connected with a computer where instructions are delivered based on the specific design you have chosen.

The laser head will then move back and forth over the workpiece so that it can make precise cuts as needed. The process is highly accurate and precise. 


Are there Different Types of Laser Cutters? 

The major difference between different types of laser cutters is the type of laser that is used.

This impacts the type and thickness of material it can cut through. For example, certain metals will require more energy and power to be cut through than others, therefore requiring different power ranges and higher-powered lasers.

Some machines are also more suitable for handling large pieces of material at an industrial scale, as well as handling high volumes of jobs in short spaces of time.


Looking for Laser Engraving Services?

Laser cutting and engraving offer substantial economic benefits to the manufacturing sectors, with the added benefits of combining laser cutting with chemical etching/milling to offer even more creative possibilities.

Ultimately, laser cutting is a precise method of ensuring you get the very highest cut accuracy. At Culzean Gifts, our in-house design team can create custom designs for you or adapt certain items in our range to offer more personalization and custom style, for you or for a loved one. For questions or technical advice about laser cutting, please contact us.

February 25, 2021 — Paul Winrow