A CO2 laser machine is a versatile tool for any hobbyist or business to do laser engraving and cutting.
What makes CO2 lasers different from other lasers like diode lasers is their higher power and ability to work on a lot of materials.
This article lists and reviews the best CO2 laser machine available in 2023.
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Best CO2 Laser Machines in 2023
1. OMTech K40 CO2 Laser
OMTech DF0812-40BG is a K40-type laser with a work area of 12" x 8" and a footprint of 31.9" x 19.7" x 9.8."
It has an enclosed setup. The acrylic shield on the door provides a view of the cutting or engraving job and protects you from direct exposure to the laser beam.
Also, the LED strip lighting in the work area helps you better see the process.
If anything goes wrong, you can quickly turn off the machine using the emergency stop switch.
OMTech K40 is powered by a 40W CO2 laser tube with a rated lifetime of 2000 hours. You can get replacement tubes directly from OMTech.
It uses 3 mirrors to position the beam path and is aligned out of the box, allowing you to start the job in less time.
The mirrors are hot-glued in place and won't easily shift their alignment, but if you plan to change the mirrors or tube later, it'll be an issue.
On its work area, there is a vented level board. It helps with smoke clearance and minimizes dark burns on the cuts.
With the vented level board installed, you'll only be able to achieve a 0.5" Z-height on the machine, but when you remove the level board, a Z-height of 2.5" is possible.
The machine transmission uses belt drives, and it can achieve a maximum speed of 1,182 ipm. When performing cutting operations, the speed will drop further.
It has a digital readout display near the E-stop switch that shows real-time output power and temperature readings. It helps you keep track of its performance.
OMTech DF0812-40BG is compatible with many upgrades like rotary roller, water chiller, air filter, motherboard upgrade, etc.
It works with LaserDRW, CorelDraw, and CorelLaser software. To work with LightBurn, you'll have to upgrade the machine with their K40+ motherboard.
For the machine, OMTech provides a 2-year warranty, and for the laser tube, a 6-month warranty.
You can reach out to them through different emails listed on their website. Also, they have active community pages on various social media platforms.
You can enroll in their demo room program to try out the machine before purchasing. Anyone can join it, but you'll have to register in advance.
40W CO2 laser module with red dot pointer
Multiple upgrades and 2-year manufacturer's warranty
2. OMTech 60W CO2 Laser
The OMTech 60W CO2 laser machine is a cabinet-type machine with an on-wheels configuration.
It weighs 331 lbs and has a footprint of 47.24" x 34.25" x 36.61". Its work area measures 20" x 28" x 11".
Even if you use a honeycomb work bed, you'll get a 10" Z-travel.
Its two-way pass-through feature allows you to slide in workpieces longer than its work area.
The 60W CO2 laser on the machine can work on materials like glass, cardboard, paper, rubber, leather, stone, acrylic, etc.
Its laser tube has a rated lifetime of 2,000 hours. The actual lifetime will depend on your applications.
If you frequently run the machine at full power, its lifetime will reduce.
OMTech has a list of laser settings for different materials on its website.
The 60W machine has belt drives along the X and Y axes. The transmission is supported by aluminum rails to be more rigid and stable.
Along the Z-axis, the machine is motorized and has autofocus capability. OMTech also has another variant of the same machine without autofocus capability.
The machine is equipped with an RDC6442G Ruida controller with touch controls. It allows you to run the machine offline without having it connected to a computer.
With the machine, OMTech provides a license for LighBurn software. It is paid software compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux-based computers.
You can also use RDWorks, CorelLaser, and LaserDRW software to work with the machine.
OMTech sends the machine with most of the parts assembled. You'll have to assemble the rest. You can put it together in an hour.
For the 60W machine, OMTech provides a 2-year warranty, and for the laser tube, a 6-month warranty.
For queries, you can reach them by phone or email. They also offer a demo room program to see the machine's capabilities before buying.
Large work area of 20 x 28 x 11 inches.
It is covered under a 1-year manufacturer's warranty
3. Laserbox Rotary CO2 Laser
Laserbox is a 40W CO2 laser machine from Makeblock, and the Laserbox Rotary is their bundled package that comes with a rotary attachment.
Makeblock also offers the machine as a bundle having a rotary attachment and a smoke purifier.
I recommend the rotary bundle because it allows you to work on more creative projects by adding a rotary module, and it costs less than the bundle with a smoke purifier.
You only need a smoke purifier when working in an apartment setting where you can't freely vent out fumes, as that might cause discomfort to your neighbors.
Laserbox laser machine has a desktop configuration and has a footprint of 37.72" x 20.79" x 10.55". The overall weight of the machine is 105 lbs.
It has a work area of 19.69" x 11.81," and it can house workpieces of up to 3.54" thickness. If you are using their honeycomb workbed, then you'll only be able to work with 0.87" thick workpieces.
The rotary accessory can house 3mm to 70mm in diameter cylindrical workpieces.
Laserbox uses a class 1 laser that's comparatively less hazardous than other laser machines. So Laserbox is safe to use in a home setting or classrooms for educational purposes.
CO2 glass laser tube onboard Laserbox has a rated lifetime of 6000–8000 hours, which is about 3 times higher than what the Monport 60W laser provides, but offers comparatively lower power.
Laserbox has a wide-angle camera facing the work area. It allows you to preview the work area on the software.
It has an AI tracking feature integrated into it. If you draw something on a workpiece and place it in the work area, the machine will automatically scan the design and cut along the drawn lines.
This is a helpful feature for getting quick cut-outs without using a computer. Unfortunately, the AI has a ≤5mm visual position error range. Meaning the cuts won't be exactly over the drawn line.
Laserbox uses sensors on the lid and inside the machine for safety. They help detect lid open and close, work area temperature, etc.
To control the machine, you need to use Makeblock's Laserbox software. It is compatible with computers running Windows and Mac OS.
Makeblock offers a 12-month warranty for the Laserbox Rotary machine. For queries, you can contact them through email or online form.
4. FSL Muse Titan CO2 Laser
Muse is a series of CO2 laser machines from FSL (Full Spectrum Laser), a US-based laser machine manufacturer.
Under it, Muse Titan is the largest and most powerful machine they offer. Its work area measures 48" x 24" x 3.5".
It has a desktop configuration with an enclosed design. The machine's overall footprint is 66" x 33" x 14," and it weighs about 176 lbs.
It has a motorized Z-axis, meaning the machine can drive the laser head up or down to set the focus, and with the mechanical sensor onboard, Titan can automatically set the laser focus.
You can customize Muse Titan and the services you get with the machine by choosing the options FSL listed on their website.
Following is the list of choices FSL offers.
|Tube Type||75W, 90W, 100W|
|Camera||3D Camera (+$1,500)|
Time of Flight Camera (+$2,500)
|Water Cooling||Integrated Cooling (default)|
Radiator Water Chiller (+$400)
Refrigerated Active Cooling (+$600)
|Air Assist||Air Compressor (+$200)|
|Ventilation||4" Exhaust Fan (+$250)|
FSL 300 Fume Extractor (+$3,000)
|Lenses||Muse 1.5" ZnSE Focus Lens (+$150)|
Muse 2.5" ZnSe Focus Lens (+$150)
Muse 5" ZnSe Focus Lens (+$150)
Muse 1.5" + 2.5" ZnSE Focus Lens Special Combo (+$250)
|Rotary||Friction Rotary (+$1,500)|
|Services||Shipping Insurance (+$100)|
2-year extended warranty (+$600)
Truck Lift Gate (+ $75)
At its base price, Muse Titan comes with a 75W laser tube, integrated water cooling, RetinaEngrave software (valued at $1500), and a 1-year warranty.
If you require a more powerful laser, you can opt for their 90W or 100W laser upgrade.
The machine, by default, comes with a standard 2" lens which is good for rough engravings and cutting.
If you want to engrave intricate details on workpieces, you'll require a small lens. FSL offers a 1.5", 2.5", and a 5" lens as upgrades.
You also get a honeycomb table in 3-pieces to cover the machine's large work area.
Note that they don't provide any water pump, exhaust fan, or air compressor with the machine, but if needed, you can choose them as an upgrade.
The machine has an LCD touch screen display on its top right corner. Using it, you can navigate through job settings and choose jobs to run offline. Interestingly, it also displays a virtual E-stop button.
You can control Muse Titan through the RetinaEngrave v3.0 software. It is a browser-based software that you can access by entering the IP address of your machine.
Not that both the computer and the Titan has to be connected to the same WiFi for them to connect.
FSL provides a 1-year warranty for the Muse Titan laser machine. You can contact them through phone, email, or online form.
5. Trotec Speedy Series CO2 Laser
The Speedy series of laser machines from Trotec is a good choice for serious hobbyists and businesses wanting to work with various materials.
Trotec offers these machines with a CO2, Flexx, or Fiber laser. The CO2 versions of the machine are available in the following configurations.
|Speedy 100||Speedy 300||Speedy 360||Speedy 400|
|Footprint||40" x 30.8"||44.5" x 37.1"||48" x 32.6"||56.2" x 37.5"|
|Work area||27.2" x 13.6"||31.3" x 17.3"||35" x 23.6"||43.1" x 27.4"|
|CO2 Laser power||30W - 60W||30W - 120W||60W - 120W||60W - 120W|
Depending on your chosen machine size, you can get laser power anywhere between 30W and 120W.
Speedy series of machines use OptiMotion technology to automatically optimize the speed of the job based on the material used.
All machines under the Speedy series have an enclosed setup and an on-wheel design that allows for easy movement.
Unlike other machines, these machines don't use a mechanical autofocus sensor. It uses an ultrasonic sensor that works using their SonarTechnology.
The machines have an LCD screen, and there are some control switches and an E-stop switch nearer to it.
You can use their Trotec Vision technology to preview the design with the workpiece for a camera-assisted job setup.
Trotec offers customized services to their customers under their TroCare package. Trotec is also known for providing customized machines to its customers.
You can contact them and ask for a setup that works for you. For queries, you can reach them through email or phone.
They also allow potential customers to visit their showroom in Plymouth, the USA, for demonstrations.
6. FLUX Beambox CO2 Laser
FLUX Beambox is a 40W CO2 laser machine from FLUX, a Chinese manufacturer.
It has a desktop configuration. Its footprint measures 32.6" x 26.3" x 8.5" and it weighs 88 lbs.
The machine provides a work area of 15.7" x 14.7" x 3.1" that is suitable for hobbyists' projects.
If you want a larger work area, Beambox has a Pro version available. It also comes with a 50W laser.
The 40W laser will be good enough for cutting thin workpieces and engraving most materials. It can engrave at a maximum resolution of 1,000 DPI.
As per FLUX, with Beambox (40W), you'll be able to cut materials of the following thickness.
Beambox has an in-built camera facing its work area. It allows you to virtually preview the design with the workpiece to align the engraving correctly.
It also has autofocus capability, so you wouldn't have to set the focus before every time you run a job.
The LCD touchscreen provides the ability to control various laser parameters and job settings, without the need to connect a computer.
Beambox offers WiFi and ethernet connectivity options. You need to link the machine to their Beam Studio software to control it.
It is free software. You can download it from their website. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux OS systems.
Beam Studio can work with PNG, JPG, DXF, SVG, AI, and PDF files.
The Beambox laser machine comes preassembled. All you have to do is unpack and connect it with the software.
However, you might need to assemble any accessories you ordered with the machine.
FLUX offers a 1-year warranty for the Beambox laser machine and a 3-month warranty for the laser tube.
You can contact them through their website by submitting a support request.
7. Glowforge Pro CO2 Laser
Glowforge Pro is a 45W class 4 CO2 laser machine. It is the most powerful laser machine provided by Glowforge.
With a footprint of 38" x 20.75" x 8.25," it has a benchtop design, and it weighs around 55 lbs.
The pass-through door on Glowforge Pro separates it from other laser machines on this list. It allows you to process sheet materials of any length.
Its work area measures 19.5" x 11," and it can house up to 2" thick materials. If you use the pass-through feature, you'll only be able to slide through 1/4" thick workpieces.
The laser module on Glowforge Pro has a focus spot of 0.008"-0.025". This allows it to achieve an engraving resolution of 1,000 DPI.
With Glowforge, you can work on various metal and non-metal workpieces to make many creative projects that sell.
The machine has two cameras, one for previewing the work area and the other for autofocus.
You have to clean this camera for the autofocus to work properly. If not, then the fume stains will cloud the camera causing malfunctioning of the autofocus.
Unfortunately, in terms of upgrades, Glowforge Pro is not as versatile as other machines on this list. They only offer an air filter as an upgrade. Also, the machine doesn't support a rotary attachment.
Glowforge has a large community that's very active on its forum. A lot of useful discussions and troubleshooting tips are shared by users from all over the world.
Considering the direct support from Glowforge, they provide tutorials, documentation, and other services for their customers.
For the Glowforge Pro machine, they offer a 12-month warranty for US customers and a 2-year warranty for UK-based customers.
Luckily they provide good customer service. For queries, you can contact them by phone or email.
More a more detailed review, check Glowforge Pro Review.
Final Thoughts - What can you do with a CO2 laser?
With a CO2 laser machine, you can cut, engrave, etch, and mark various materials.
Non-metal materials cover a large portion of materials processed on CO2 lasers. Some of the most worked materials are
You can use the materials to craft many creative projects like image engravings, signboards, coasters, puzzles, invitation cards, ornaments, key chains, table lamps, rubber seals, customized glassware, and many more.
The laser beam from CO2 lasers doesn't interact well on bare metal surfaces. So to engrave or mark on metal surfaces, it has to be anodized or coated with paint.
When working with CO2 lasers, you must always follow laser safety protocols and wear laser safety glasses when operating the laser.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is better CO2 laser or fiber laser?
The better option for you between CO2 and fiber lasers will depend on the material you plan to work with. CO2 lasers are the best for working with common materials like wood, glass, acrylic, leather, etc. If you are more into cutting and engraving metal workpieces, then a fiber laser will be your best bet.
What is the maximum thickness laser can cut?
An entry-level laser can cut a maximum of about 2" - 3" thick materials. It depends on the laser power and the focal length of the lens used on the laser head. If it has a longer focal length, the laser beam will stay focused for a longer distance. This efficiently transfers the heat to a greater depth and allows to make deep cuts.
How much does a CO2 laser machine cost?
A standard CO2 laser machine can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $15,000, sometimes even more. The purchase cost depends on the machine's features, accessories, and software packed with the machine. Most of the time, machines having similar configurations from different manufacturers are priced differently.
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