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How Do I Choose My Laser System's Wattage?

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How do I choose the correct wattage laser for my needs?


The power of the laser source is measured in watts. Depending on the machine you are considering you will have power options for your laser source that range from 30-120 watts for CO2 laser tubes. Generally speaking, lower power CO2 laser tubes will be able to process the same materials, with the same detail and quality as higher-power laser tubes, but higher-power laser tubes will allow you to 1) cut deeper in a single pass, and 2) engrave faster in some materials.

  • Cutting performance: the following are the minimum power ratings we recommend for cutting into materials like wood and plastic:

    1. 30w – 1/8” (3-4mm)

    2. 40w – ¼” (5-6mm)

    3. 50/60w – 3/8” (10mm)

    4. 75/120w – ½” (13mm)

      These values can vary significantly due to different types of materials, different focal lenses, alignment of optics, etc. This is only a very basic estimate. Please be sure to refer for a sample list of some of the materials that can be cut/not cut.

  • Engraving speed: Depending on the materials you are engraving, you will see increases in speed with higher wattage laser tubes. When engraving a material like wood at 100% power, you would see the following changes in speed used to achieve the same depth depending on the power of your laser tube:

    1. 30w – 20% speed

    2. 40w – 30% speed

    3. 50w – 40% speed

    4. 60w – 50% speed

    5. 75w – 60% speed

    6. 120w – 90% speed

These values will not be true for all materials. With a material like anodized aluminum, for example, you would run your 30watt machine at 100% speed, so having a higher power laser tube in this case would not yield any additional benefit in this material. We recommend speaking to an Epilog representative to help determine the power of laser tube that will best fit your specific needs.


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74618 Created on: Jun 08, 2016
Date updated: Jun 08, 2016

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