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View Full Version : Why aren't CO2 galvo laser talked about more on this site?



Jacob John
12-24-2017, 11:50 AM
We obviously hear a lot about the Gantry CO2 lasers in the galvo fiber lasers, but we never hear much about the CO2 galvo lasers. Is it just such a niche section of Engraving and marking that we don't hear about it, or is it just that the CO2 Gantry in the fiber galvo outperform this one so there's not a whole lot of need for it? I do enjoy looking at the Trotec videos they're pretty awesome, but I'm concerned about flare-ups when I watch it engraving wood.

https://youtu.be/7ZdtfTjQ8oQ

Kev Williams
12-24-2017, 5:18 PM
As I'm sure you've read, Jim Patel has a $XX,000 Trotec galvo/C02 Speedmarker collecting dust because, to paraphrase, it's of no use to him-- and it's a really GOOD one.

That's all I need to know about 'em! ;)

Jacob John
12-25-2017, 2:55 AM
As I'm sure you've read, Jim Patel has a $XX,000 Trotec galvo/C02 Speedmarker collecting dust because, to paraphrase, it's of no use to him-- and it's a really GOOD one.

That's all I need to know about 'em! ;)


I did which was a shame to read, but I wonder what type or size materials he's working with that made it redundant? Just about every video I see on them has them engraving cutting boards or something similar. This is all I would really need it for, but you're right, I likely cannot justify the price.

Mike Null
12-25-2017, 11:01 AM
Jit works with paper and cardboard in very high volume. The galvo makes good sense for his application.

Jacob John
12-25-2017, 12:27 PM
Jit works with paper and cardboard in very high volume. The galvo makes good sense for his application.

I looked at a few other videos and they were vs a Speedy on a few different common would items. It obviously blasted the Speedy time-wise, but the engraving quality just didn't seem to be there vs the Speedy.

matthew knott
12-25-2017, 5:35 PM
Iíve got one , made it myself, I fitted the biggest galvos and biggest beam expander I could get which should give the smallest spot size, itís ok for some jobs but our Chinese gantry laser gets much more use these days! Galvo suits 1 micron Lasers as you can get a decent marking area with a small spot size , 10 microns the laser is already at a disadvantage, so itís hard to get a decent spot size.
A galvo co2 can be very useful in some industrial applications but for the kinda jobs most guys would be doing on here they really arenít a versatile tool , think of a formula 1 car , great for F1 races but not much else , an SUV would still do 100 laps but a bit slower , plus it could do lots of other jobs like shopping and taking the kids to school etc .

Mike Null
12-26-2017, 3:49 PM
Sorry for my misinformation. I missed Jit's last post.

Jacob John
12-26-2017, 4:26 PM
Iíve got one , made it myself, I fitted the biggest galvos and biggest beam expander I could get which should give the smallest spot size, itís ok for some jobs but our Chinese gantry laser gets much more use these days! Galvo suits 1 micron Lasers as you can get a decent marking area with a small spot size , 10 microns the laser is already at a disadvantage, so itís hard to get a decent spot size.
A galvo co2 can be very useful in some industrial applications but for the kinda jobs most guys would be doing on here they really arenít a versatile tool , think of a formula 1 car , great for F1 races but not much else , an SUV would still do 100 laps but a bit slower , plus it could do lots of other jobs like shopping and taking the kids to school etc .


Right but for cutting boards and other smaller wood products, is the time savings worth it? My gut says no or others here would be championing these machines. My issue is visual as the images just don't look as sharp for some reason. Good discussion!

Dave Sheldrake
12-28-2017, 10:42 AM
is the time savings worth it?

For cutting wood there is no time saving unless you start looking at 100's of watts for cutting with a galvo. The speed of a gantry laser for cutting is controlled by the power of the tube rather than the optical train, most gantry machines can run faster than a tube can cut anything of any thickness so all you would be sacrificing is spot size and cutting area by going Galvo (I have 4 CO2 galvo's)

Great for engraving wooden items that are quite small though if again you have enough tube power

Jacob John
12-28-2017, 11:54 AM
For cutting wood there is no time saving unless you start looking at 100's of watts for cutting with a galvo. The speed of a gantry laser for cutting is controlled by the power of the tube rather than the optical train, most gantry machines can run faster than a tube can cut anything of any thickness so all you would be sacrificing is spot size and cutting area by going Galvo (I have 4 CO2 galvo's)

Great for engraving wooden items that are quite small though if again you have enough tube power

Right, the same limitations faced by a galvo fiber (small engraving area) affect the CO2 galvos as well. Though Epilog did create a 24"X24" fiber galvo so there's that. But do you really think the engraving image quality is the same? Maybe it's because it creates more burn residue, but the cutting boards engraved image doesn't look as sharp.

Dave Sheldrake
12-28-2017, 6:41 PM
Spot size is a product of focal length among other things Jacob so it's going to be bigger (quite a lot bigger) unless you use a beam expander and even then it's not brilliant. RF Galvo systems are better (better M^2 for starters) but even then that focal length is going to be back to bite you ;)

matthew knott
12-28-2017, 9:36 PM
Donít forget wavelength as well Dave , all thing equal (which I know they are not) the co2 laser will always have a much larger spot than a fibre just because of the wavelength, the lower the wavelength the smaller the spot ,
In order of largest 1st
Co2 , fibre , green, uv
We normally use a 100mm lens in our galvo co2 , it gives us a bigger spot Than a fiber with a 330mm lens !

Dave Sheldrake
12-29-2017, 6:16 PM
I guess the best way to sum them up (for me) is *interesting fun things* with a use,just not too many of them :) ...that's the reason I hate 445's Matt, the dam things should be banned, tiny potential spot size, huge photon energy, high power density and cheap enough that idiots can buy them :(

Jacob John
11-22-2018, 2:30 AM
Donít forget wavelength as well Dave , all thing equal (which I know they are not) the co2 laser will always have a much larger spot than a fibre just because of the wavelength, the lower the wavelength the smaller the spot ,
In order of largest 1st
Co2 , fibre , green, uv
We normally use a 100mm lens in our galvo co2 , it gives us a bigger spot Than a fiber with a 330mm lens !

That's not very encouraging considering the one I looked at, and wanted, has the 300mm lense. I'm still interested in one, strictly for engraving, but I'm still afraid of the loss of detail on an 11.8" x 11.8" engraving area. The videos and pics I see show a lot of detail, even within that focal range, but it's still a concern. The one I looked at is a Synrad 60 watt (RF tube), but I'm not sure if it has a beam expander. How would I know that?

Kev Williams
11-22-2018, 12:10 PM
I would think the detail would be much improved over any gantry machine, if what I've seen galvo mirrors can do is any indication! Last week Had to engrave some mold pins ID#s in an area less than .020", I got the numbers to .017" tall with my 150 lens and under 20x magnification, they were perfect. Beam spot diameter would be the main limitation on a C02 galvo.

Jacob John
11-24-2018, 5:02 PM
I would think the detail would be much improved over any gantry machine, if what I've seen galvo mirrors can do is any indication! Last week Had to engrave some mold pins ID#s in an area less than .020", I got the numbers to .017" tall with my 150 lens and under 20x magnification, they were perfect. Beam spot diameter would be the main limitation on a C02 galvo.

Right, the spot size increases which affects the detail, right? I'm still leaning toward the galvo because I won't be cutting, won't be engraving large items, and they are faster. I'd love to build my own, I'm really curious how Matt did it.

Jiten Patel
11-26-2018, 5:41 AM
Hey all,

Yes our speedmarker CL is collecting dust. We started out with that machine and it worked for a while but was seriously under powered. 30w isn't powerful enough to cut card clean and required multiple passes which created a soot problem. We then bought the Speedy 400 which was comparable speedwise as the 30w was under-powered and could cut much finer detail and super clean with the added benifit of cutting wood and acrylic. We are now looking at getting a new co2 galvo but this time with all the bells and whistles. Full automation, cameras and a whopping 200w pulsed co2 laser which puts out a peak power of 600w. We are talking to the company to build us a turn-key solution so should have something finalised in the next few months. This new machine is an absolute beast and to give you a comparison, we ran a cutting file on our s400 - run time 48 minutes. On this new machine 2 minutes. Another file took 11 minutes on the s400 - this was cut down to 15 seconds!

Jacob John
11-26-2018, 11:52 AM
Hey all,

Yes our speedmarker CL is collecting dust. We started out with that machine and it worked for a while but was seriously under powered. 30w isn't powerful enough to cut card clean and required multiple passes which created a soot problem. We then bought the Speedy 400 which was comparable speedwise as the 30w was under-powered and could cut much finer detail and super clean with the added benifit of cutting wood and acrylic. We are now looking at getting a new co2 galvo but this time with all the bells and whistles. Full automation, cameras and a whopping 200w pulsed co2 laser which puts out a peak power of 600w. We are talking to the company to build us a turn-key solution so should have something finalised in the next few months. This new machine is an absolute beast and to give you a comparison, we ran a cutting file on our s400 - run time 48 minutes. On this new machine 2 minutes. Another file took 11 minutes on the s400 - this was cut down to 15 seconds!

That's awesome, Jit! You need to upload a video when you get it so we can see it in action. For cutting, a CO2 galvo just doesn't "cut it", but how about strictly engraving? That's all I'm wanting to do. Want to sell the 30w? :)

Jiten Patel
11-27-2018, 4:23 AM
Jacob,

A CO2 galvo does cut it - it cuts amazing as long as you have enough power to keep up with the speed. No point having all that speed when you don't have enough "umph" to cut through things. Now 600w will solve that!

The system we are building is based using this laser-source - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lY2eTI-eHDI


Happy for you to take the galvo off my hands - where are you based - if you're happy to take a trip to London I'm sure we can work something out!

Jacob John
11-27-2018, 10:52 AM
Jacob,

A CO2 galvo does cut it - it cuts amazing as long as you have enough power to keep up with the speed. No point having all that speed when you don't have enough "umph" to cut through things. Now 600w will solve that!

The system we are building is based using this laser-source - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lY2eTI-eHDI


Happy for you to take the galvo off my hands - where are you based - if you're happy to take a trip to London I'm sure we can work something out!

Man, it's crazy looking at how intricate that laser cut that card. I don't know why I'm so much fonder on my fiber galvo, but I love watching it work. Same with that CO2 galvo. I forget you're in London, I'm across the pond in good ole Houston, Texas! That would be quite a trip for a laser, though my wife would love it! 😆🤣

Jacob John
11-27-2018, 11:13 AM
Hey there Jit, sent you a PM.

Jamie Valentin
01-03-2019, 12:44 PM
Jacob,

Do you now own a galvo? I wasn't sure if I was your reading your sig to mean that you do. If so, what do you think of it now?