Five Things You May Not Know a CO2 Laser Machine Can Do

Posted by Travis Richards on May 12th 2022

Five Things You May Not Know a CO2 Laser Machine Can Do

Everyone knows that a CO2 laser machine can cut and engrave. Usually many individuals only think of working with wood and plastic to cut out shapes or engrave pictures/logos into the surface. What most may not know is how many different types of applications that both cutting and engraving actually have. Just add an accessory or a new technique and the possibilities become endless. Listed below are just five of the endless possibilities that a top quality CO2 laser machine can do.  Regardless of whether you are using your laser for a business, if you're a maker, or an enthusiast, these five things can help you push the boundaries of your CO2 laser machine.

1. Did you know you can engrave curved objects with a CO2 laser machine?

Most CO2 laser machines use a gantry system that engraves on the X and the Y axis and so it’s easy to think that the only things you can work with are flat surfaces. Even with the way Galvo lasers focus, you are fairly limited to a flat surface. But with the addition of a rotary attachment, you can engrave on curved objects. When the rotary attachment is attached to the CO2 laser machine and enabled in the software, it overrides the y-axis on the gantry so it rotates instead of moving front to back inside your machine.

With the new possibilities that a Rotary provides for creations, it turns into a must-have accessory for your CO2 laser machine repertoire. Popular objects that are engraved include glasses, wine bottles, tumblers, and more.

2. Did you know you can CO2 laser machine can cut paper?

There is so much that your CO2 laser machine can do with paper. At first, logic would lead you to believe that a laser cutter produces way too much heat and power to cut paper without setting it on fire or completely incinerating it. The truth is, top quality CO2 laser machines may be very powerful tools, but they are very precise and have the ability to be very delicate. CO2 laser machines can cut incredible intricate patterns on thin paper.

This is great for custom greeting cards, crafts, shadow boxes, and more.

3. Did you know you can laser engrave photo images on material?

Your CO2 laser machine doesn’t have to cut through material to create incredible projects. Laser machines are capable of marking material with tiny surface burns that are so detailed and precise that you can recreate images. With advanced laser control software like RetinaEngrave v3.0, there are many options that you can use to produce different effects on different materials. Ultimately, laser photo engraving using a CO2 laser machine can be done on a variety of materials such as wood, tile and even polished stone.

4. Did you know you can make wood bend?

Have you ever tried bending wood? While possible, it is very difficult and takes careful preparation. Good news! When using a top quality CO2 laser machine, there is a cutting technique called "kerfing" that can allow wood to bend and curve. Kerfing removes thin strips of material in a pattern that allows the wood to bend without breaking.

This technique is all done using powerful laser control software like RetinaEngrave v3.0 and is easy to apply to any number of projects. Popular projects that this is used for includes jewelry, boxes, and even purses.

5. Did you know you can create 3D objects?

If you have ever played a video game, you may understand how this works. Many 3D objects are designed using a series of shapes referred to as polygons that when combined in a specific way can turn into a 3D object.

Most material cut by a CO2 laser machine is flat, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. Material can be cut to allow all sorts of stacking, linking and connecting to build just about any 3D object. This can be used to create boxes, desktop organization, stands, sculptures, and more! It’s even a great tool for cosplayers making their custom armors and costumes by “unfolding” 3D digital files into their flat polygon surfaces, cutting them out on their CO2 laser machine, then putting them together in the real world

When you combine techniques and accessories with the core functions of a CO2 laser machine you open up a world of amazing projects. What will you do with your laser cutter?

Do you have questions about anything that we have discussed? 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.