Difference fiber laser and CO2 laser for laser engraving of metals

In this blog we will go deeper into the difference fiber laser and CO2 laser for the laser engraving of metals. Because we regularly get the question with which laser you can engrave or mark metals? In principle, this is only with a fiber laser. It has a wavelength that is 10 times smaller than the CO2 and is therefore suitable for engraving most metals. Aluminum, steel, stainless steel, titanium, gold, silver, brass and other alloys that consist of these materials can be laser-etched directly with a fiber.

However, if you treat the metals you can "laser" a metal to a certain extent with a CO2 laser. The metal itself will not actually change color or structure, but the applied surface layer can be removed. Examples are lacquered and anodised materials. Aluminum is available in many colors anodized. It is possible to remove the anodised layer, but the released aluminum will not become shiny but dull gray.

In the photos you can clearly see the result of engraving with a fiber laser or with a CO2 laser. The CO2 can make a white anodic layer somewhat dark, but not much, but paint or anodised layers can be removed well. A fiber laser can produce finer details (higher resolution) so that lines are thinner and it is also possible to apply data matrix and QR codes. Also a fiber laser is faster. For this example, the fiber laser requires a time of about 80 seconds while the CO2 laser requires a thick 20 minutes.

In short, you can not engrave metal with CO2, but you can remove surface layers of metals. If the details have to be small and time for the marking is critical, then MetaQuip recommends testing a fiber laser. MetaQuip offers fiber lasers as stand-alone machines but also customer-specific solutions, from source to complete mechanization. We look with you for a suitable machine that fits your problem, for us the challenge and for you a solution.

Difference fiber laser and CO2 laser on anodised aluminum

fiber laser co2 laser anodized aluminum detail

Left fiber laser, right CO2 laser - higher contrast with fiber laser

fiber laser co2 laser anodized aluminum

Left fiber laser, right CO2 laser - higher resolution with fiber laser

fiber laser co2 laser-anodized aluminum-45deg

Difference fiber laser and CO2 laser on painted aluminum

fiber laser co2 laser-lacquered aluminum

Difference fiber laser and CO2 laser on bright aluminum - result CO2 laser

co2laser-blank-aluminum

Difference fiber laser and CO2 laser on bright aluminum - fiber laser result

fiber laser co2laser-blank-aluminum

More information

More information about the different laser engraving machines and possibilities. Go to the laser engraving machines overview page ...
For more information about metal engraving look go to the fiber laser overview page ...

Difference fiber laser and CO2 laser for laser engraving of metals was last modified: January 5th, 2019 by Coen Lauwerijssen