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The difference between 2D laser and 3D laser engraving machine

What is the difference between 2D and 3D laser?

First, laser world is big. According to different laser wavelength, laser is divide into CO2 laser, fiber laser, UV laser, green laser and so on. Different laser types, different applications. Today we talk about CO2 laser and fiber laser.


From application:

CO2 laser mainly for non-metal material, just like wood, leather, paper etc.

Fiber laser mainly for metal material and some plastic, just like SS, CS, brass, AL, and plastic ABS, PU etc.


From laser power:

CO2 laser divide into CO2 laser engraving machine(small power) and CO2 laser cutting machine (big power)

Fiber laser divide into Fiber laser marking machine (from 20w to 100w) and fiber laser cutting machine(from 1kw to 20kw)

From Galvo head:

Whatever it is CO2 laser or fiber laser or other type lasers, there’s 2D laser and 3D laser.

2D fiber laser:

2D fiber laser working area is optional, just like: 100x100mm, 150x150mm, 175x175mm, 200x200mm, 300x300mm. Generally speaking, 300x300mm is the biggest working area. Why its working area is optional?


As we said, for same power, more bigger working area, more weaker of laser beam. That is the reason why we need choose 100x100mm working area if we need deep engraving or cutting thin material. But you can choose 2 lens if it is necessary. When you need only marking on surface, then you choose 200x200mm or 300x300mm. When you need deep engraving, then you choose 100x100mm working area. Changing lens by yourself is not hard.

2D fiber laser application:

2D laser only has X Y axis, there is no Z axis. That is the reason why it max. Can cut or engraving 1.5mm. 1.5mm is the focus depth. During the focus depth, laser beam power almost same. Above focus or below focus, laser power all wil change. When it goes more deep, the focus point will change, that is the reason why it cannot go more deep.



So made a summary of 2D fiber laser application

1. Marking on surface, working area max. 300x300mm  



2. Deep engraving, not relief result, only deep engraving. Working area better 100x100mm, max. 150x150mm


3. Cutting thin soft metal material, just like silver, gold, brass, AL. Working area max. 100x100mm, mainly cut 1.5mm and below.


3D laser application:

3D laser has X Y Z 3 axis, and inside laser head, thers is one mirror which can move according to the focus point changes. So it can keep focus always at the material surface. That is the reason why it can engrave more deep than 2D laser. From Galvo head outlook, we also can see the difference. 2D laser head is small which there only have 2 mirrors, one for X axis direction and another for Y axis direction.


3D laser head is bigger because it has 3 mirrors and Z axis mirror can move, so 3D head is bigger.


Make a summary of 3D laser application


3D laser has 2 types: 3D relief engraving and 3D big working area

We mentioned 2d laser max. Working area is 300x300mm. So 3d big working area can reach 600x600mm or more bigger.

And because big working area always with weaker laser source. So even 3d laser, if big working area, we also cannot make deep engraving, only surface marking, just like the video you watched yesterday.

1. Relief engraving


2. Carved engraving


3. Big working area engraving



2D laser and 3D laser head is different, so software and operation also is different. 3D laser need stl. format file to make 3D work, but it also support dxf. plt. format same as 2D laser.

The last, about fiber laser cutting machine, it mainly for cutting thick metal material. Anyway, we cannot buy one machine and hope it can engrave, cut and everything. Each machine has their features and advantages.

Hope now it is clear for you.


Sherry from BOGONG team