Laser cutters and engravers come in so many shapes and sizes these days that it can be extremely confusing to figure out what will work best for your individual needs and applications. Sometimes you’ve got really large scale projects that need to be cut or engraved, but you don’t have a large enough workspace. Sometimes you are looking for industrial-scale output with a laser that can handle repetitive projects quickly and accurately. Whether you have encountered some of the challenges listed above, or you just know that you need a large format laser cutter and engraver, this article will help give you perspective so you can make an informed decision.
What is a Large Format Laser Cutter and Engraver?
Large-format typically refers to an expanded or enlarged version of the typical size of that product. In this case, we are taking that term and applying it to CO2 laser cutters and engravers. Both the Muse Series and the P-Series laser systems have standard sized laser cutting and engraving machines in their lineup, as well as some large format laser cutter and engraver options.
Large Format Desktop Laser Systems
The most common desktop laser machines, like the Muse Core and 3D Autofocus, are considered standard sized CO2 Laser cutters and engravers. Both of these machines are based on the same platform, and have a laser-able work area of 20 inches by 12 inches. This workspace size would be considered a typical sized working area for cutting and engraving most projects.
These two machines are great if you are limited on either your physical location or even the budget you have for purchasing a laser system. Since they are desktop units, they can be easily installed in almost any room or workspace (as long as there’s adequate ventilation), and they are super easy to move from one location to another.
Sometimes you’ll have a project that will be larger than the workspace that will fit inside one of these standard laser machines. If this is the case, and you already have one of these machines, or if your budget won’t allow you to purchase a larger unit, there might still be options that will enable your laser machine to be able to cut and engrave on a larger scale. It is possible with the Muse Series desktop laser systems. One option with Muse is using the included patented removable floor. You can remove the floor from your machine, set the laser on top of your larger sized item that needs to be cut or engraved, then use the reference markers in the RetinaEngrave Software to break the design down into smaller pieces and you are good to go. Another option for cutting or engraving on a larger scale is to use the newest version of the optional Muse rotary riser combo accessory which incorporates front and rear passthrough doors so you can engrave longer materials without having to lift and place your entire Muse onto the material.
If you find you have a little more budget to work with, then a large format laser machine like the Muse Titan will be the more convenient option when it comes to large format projects. The workspace inside of a Muse Titan is 48 inches long by 24 inches deep. This will expand your capabilities and efficiency significantly compared to most standard CO2 laser cutter and engraver models.
Should you find that you still need to work with even larger materials, the Titan has built-in passthrough doors on the front and rear of the chassis, and it also has the patented removable floor like in the Muse Core and 3D Autofocus models mentioned above.
If you know you are going to be working a lot with larger projects and materials, then a large format laser cutter and engraver like the Muse Titan is the perfect fit. Not only does it have a larger working area, but it also comes with higher power options (75W, 90W, 100W) compared to the standard (40W, 45W) of advanced desktops. This added power will allow you to cut thicker materials and more deeply engrave at higher speeds.
Large Format Industrial Laser Systems
If you find that you need to complete work at a higher pace, perhaps at an industrial scale with an increased demand for quicker turnaround times, then you will probably be looking at high-volume floor units like the P-Series lasers. These laser systems come in a wide variety of sizes and power options, and work great in an industrial warehouse environment. Advanced desktop laser machines can work in some of these situations as well, but when a floor-unit with higher volume capabilities is needed, then the higher-volume industrial lasers may be your ideal choice.
The four models of the P-Series laser systems can be split in half to include two standard size laser systems and two large format laser systems. The PS20 (20” x 12”) and PS24 (24” x 16”) both offer a smaller size work area with an overall smaller footprint and would be considered a standard size laser system, where the PS36 (36” x 24”) and PS48 (48”x36”) offer much larger working areas along with a much larger footprint.
Just like previously discussed with the Muse Series laser systems, the P-Series laser systems have features that allow for expanded working areas beyond their internal capacities. All four of the systems offered in the P-Series come standard with front and rear passthrough doors that give the user the ability to engrave much larger projects onto longer materials. However, they do not have the same patented removable floor like the Muse desktop machines, so they are limited to an extended y-axis only.
Smaller desktop lasers can offer expandability via features, such as on the Muse with the removable floor and passthrough doors, and they are a more budget friendly option. But if you have less constraints in either physical space or budget, then the larger systems like the Muse Titan and the PS36 or PS48 high volume laser machines will be the much more convenient options that will allow for much faster turn around on large-scale projects.
So to sum it all up, the increased capability of the large format systems is definitely worth the extra money if your requirements demand it. But if your needs or budget doesn't match the large format machines, then advanced desktop sized laser cutting and engraving systems could be ideal. They still have the capability to work on larger projects, you’ll just be potentially restricted with a slower overall process.
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.