Which materials can be cut with the CO2 laser?

Wood, paper, cardboard, plastic, PMMA. And also rubber, leather, metals, and ceramics: the potential applications of the CO2 laser are endless. Perhaps for this reason, among the many different laser types developed over the years, the CO2 laser has become the most widely diffused laser technology for laser material processing applications. The invention of this type of laser dates back to 1964: since then it has been successfully employed in several industrial sectors.

However, despite the wide use of the CO2 laser, there is still a lot of confusion about how the laser can be used. We receive a lot of questions like: Which materials can be cut by the CO2 laser? Can the CO2 laser cut wood? Or Can CO2 laser cut plastic? and still What are the potential applications of the CO2 laser? and so on.

PMMA acrylic Plastic cut laser CO2

In this article we provide you with a list of materials that can be easily cut with the CO2 laser.

The materials that can be cut by the CO2 laser fall into three main categories:

  • Ferrous metals
    • Mild steel
  • Non-ferrous metals
    • Aluminium, titanium, and other metal alloys
  • Non-metals
    • Wood and derivatives
    • Paper and derivatives
    • Polymethylmethacrylate and other acrylic plastics
    • Leather, fabric, wallpaper and similar products
    • Food and plants

All industrial sectors that need to process these different materials can thus use the laser CO2 for a faster, smoother, and more precise cutting process.

CO2 laser cut wood

To go into the details, the following list displays the main application areas of the laser CO2 ordered by industrial sector.

  • Papermaking industry
    • Cutting cardboard boxes
    • Cutting paper and cardboard
    • Stencil cut
    • Decorations
  • Woodworking industry
    • The cutting of any kind, and thickness, of wood, especially Plywood and MDF
    • Inlay fine wood
    • Engravings of any kind
  • Engravings and inlays
    • Laser engraving and cutting methacrylate
    • Laser engraving and cutting leather goods
    • Laser engraving name and number plates
    • Laser engraving and cutting textiles
    • Laser engraving electronic components
    • Laser engraving anodized aluminum and varnished metals. N.B.: the CO2 laser usually doesn’t cut metal but can label or mark them indelibly.
    • Engraving of glass, marble, and stones
    • Inlays on ivory
  • Creation and Customization
    • Laser cutting hollow punches
    • Laser cutting for architectural models
    • Laser cutting plastic, cardboard, or wooden displays.
    • Contour and cut labels
    • Personalizing gadgets
    • Personalizing buttons
    • Material machining for model making

The list above is just a short list of the many different materials that can be processed by the CO2 lasers: there are lots of other materials that can be cut with the CO2 laser. Research on the applications of the CO2 laser is still an ongoing process, of which experimentation plays an important role: only experimentation provides us with certainty about the possible applications. For this reason we invite you to contact us whereby the material you want to work is not presented in the above list. Together we will find you the solution that fits your needs!