Galvo fiber lasers are different from the more common CO2 laser etching machines. The galvo fiber laser machines are smaller and more compact than a typical gantry style CO2 laser cutter and engraver, and they are able to mark and engrave metal, stone, and polymers unlike their CO2 counterparts. There are larger fiber lasers out there, like the flatbed fiber laser system that has a 4’ x 8’ workspace, that quickly cuts metal just like butter. The smaller galvo fiber laser machines, which are usually less than 10% as powerful as the flatbed industrial laser cutters, will usually only mark and engrave the material.
What is a Galvo Fiber Laser?
Galvo fiber laser engravers can quickly mark and engrave very fine details. The name “Galvo” is short for Galvanometer, which in layperson terms just means that it has mirrors that detect and redirect the laser beam into the focus lens at high speeds. The lens focuses it to a very fine point that can mark details so small you’ll need a microscope to see them.
From a form factor standpoint, there are different types of galvo fiber laser machine options. As an example, the Muse Fiber Galvo and the Muse Pandora look very different on the outside, but they have the same components and system inside. The Pandora is an enclosed version of the Muse Galvo Fiber laser, helping to increase safety by enclosing the workspace and also reduce the risk of dust leaving the enclosed area. This makes it ideal for clean work environments like those in the medical field and ISO clean room manufacturing. Even though it is an enclosed unit, the versatility is not limited. For instance if you need to work on larger work areas, the floor is removable so you can attach larger focus lenses. There is a motorized table option that the Pandora will attach to in order to aid in focusing with the floor removed.
Introducing UV Lasers
From a technology standpoint, there are other types of galvo fiber laser systems. One is a UV Laser machine. A UV laser with a 355 nanometer source like the Muse UV laser has a spot size that can be focused down to 3 times smaller than a fiber laser, and it has a shallow absorption depth in most of the materials out there. Basically, it is one of the most precise laser machines currently offered, and can mark on pretty much any material. There are even some materials, like Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF), that a UV laser can cut and engrave (which it can do better than a CO2 or Fiber laser system).
Aside from precision and versatility, UV lasers can also be very fast. They can be three times faster than some galvo fiber lasers, and up to 30 times faster than a standard gantry style CO2 laser system.
Versatile Features for a Versatile Laser
Many top quality galvo fiber laser systems will come with standard features that are designed to improve the user experience and productivity.
As an example, the Muse Galvo Fiber lasers all come standard with a 7” touchscreen. This provides a live video of your workspace, access to the jog and control functions, and access to many other software and hardware settings.
Just beneath the touchscreen is an entire computer that controls the laser system. You can access the software by direct connection or network connection. Because this software is hosted on the laser itself, it means you don’t have to download anything onto your computer, and you can access it from multiple devices as long as they are on the same network. But most importantly, there is NO INTERNET REQUIRED to use the laser system. The only time the internet is required will be for system updates. This software is extremely versatile and easy to use. We host a version on our website that is fully functional without being attached to any lasers, so you can go try it out for yourself.
In addition, top quality galvo fiber and UV lasers might feature a 3D camera. This can very valuable. For instance, the Muse Galvo Fiber and UV lasers have a camera designed to help determine the distance between a lens and the engraving surface so a motorized z-axis can automatically focus to the right height. It's also possible to use the 3D camera to capture a workspace into the software to easily place a project.
Customize and Accessorize
Top performing Galvo Fiber lasers come in a variety of power options. For the Muse Galvo Fibers, this ranges from 20W to 50W, and the Muse UV laser comes in 2W and 5W options. If you are uncertain which power to go with, we have you covered. Check out our video on the fiber power options and how to decide what will fit your needs.
Being able to accessorize your Galvo Fiber laser machine to meet specific needs of today and tomorrow is extremely important and can lower cost of ownership over time. With the Muse Galvo Fiber laser series there are rotary options available that allow you to engrave round objects such as cups or rings. There are also multiple lens options available that allow you to change the size of your workable area and the depth you can engrave on a single pass. You can even use a special lens on the Muse UV laser to make subsurface engravings up to 4” deep into a block of glass. These options can be easily added as laser needs change.
This article covers some of the most common and noteworthy features that are available in a Galvo Fiber and UV laser lineup. There is so much more that these productivity machines are able to do, and if you’d like to know more, our laser experts are here to help. Feel free to contact us at any time.
Full Spectrum Laser is a leader in laser cutting and laser engraving systems. Our systems range in size from desktop units and high-volume machines through industrial-grade production equipment. Our machines are running all over the world: from grade schools to National Labs, garage startups and many Fortune 500 companies. Contact us today to learn more.