What’s the difference between a plotter laser and a galvo laser?

Laser Q&ACategory: Laser QuestionsWhat’s the difference between a plotter laser and a galvo laser?
Serena Staff asked 6 months ago
1 Answers
Jordan Staff answered 6 months ago

Galvo lasers are available with either CO2 or fiber laser sources and the primary difference is the way the beam is directed from the laser source onto the material.
 
With plotter lasers the beam is directed over the work area via X and Y axes using a series of fixed mirrors, whereas with galvo lasers the beam is directed by only 2 small but very fast moving mirrors. Each have their advantages depending on the application.
 
Plotter lasers offer much larger work areas, they can cut thick materials with straight edges and starting prices are typically more affordable than galvos.
 
Galvo lasers are generally restricted to smaller work areas up to approximately 300mm x 300mm but they offer far superior marking speeds (sometimes up to 75x faster than plotters), finer control of laser marking parameters to achieve a wider variety of results, the ability to deep engrave metals (fiber laser only) and much more flexibility when it comes to automation and integration.