Is it possible to laser engrave in color?
Typically MOPA fiber lasers can perform color engraving but, some diode lasers can also engrave in color.
However, a few things need to be considered before you make your decision.
Which laser can engrave in color?
MOPA fiber lasers can easily engrave in color due to variable pulse width and diversity in wavelength. Laser engraving in color is also achieved by adding layer of transparent colored film to the material before it is engraved. The color is revealed when the laser removes the top layer of the film and exposes the color underneath.
Best Color Laser Engraving Machine
These are the best color laser marking machine:
- OMTech 100W MOPA fiber laser (Best Overall)
- Cloudray JPT M7 (Second best)
- Xtool D1 Pro (both 20W & 40W)
These critical decision-making factors will help you choose the suitable color laser marker after reviewing their performance & comparison at a glance.
|Factors||OMTech||Cloudray JPT||Xtool D1 Pro|
|Laser Output power||100W||60W||20 W (Diode)|
|Marking Area||4.3×4.3 in.||4.3 x 4.3 inches||15.75 x 23.62 inches|
|Pulse Width||2–500 ns||0.8-20ms||0.1-2.5ms|
|Laser Weavelength||1064 nm||1064 nm||450 nm|
|Maximum Marking Speed||7000 mm/s||1200 mm/s||500 mm/s|
|Expected life||100,000 hr.||97,000 hr.||10,000 hr.|
OMTech 100W MOPA fiber laser is a powerful and versatile color laser engraver with a wavelength of 1064nm. It is designed for laser marking, engraving, cutting, and welding of a wide range of materials, including metals, plastics, and ceramics. The laser has various features, including adjustable pulse width, power output, and frequency, as well as a high peak power for increased cutting and marking speeds. It also features an integrated control system for easy control and operation. It is a reliable and efficient laser that offers high performance and value for money.
Cloudray JPT M7 fiber laser is a high–performance, compact, cost-effective color laser engraver but a bit more expensive than the OMTech. Its features an advanced fiber laser source with an output power of up to 7 kW and a beam quality of M2<1.1, plus a high–precision motion control system and a comprehensive software suite. Besides the color laser engraving, Cloudrya can be used for welding and cutting many materials, including stainless steel, aluminum, brass, copper, and many more. The laser is also equipped with a range of safety features to ensure safe and reliable operation.
The Xtool D1 Pro 20W is a powerful and versatile diode color laser engraving machine. This is cheaper than both Cloudray & OMTEch but can engrave in color.It features a 20W laser tube, an optimized optical system, and a unique control system allowing precise and accurate engraving results. The device can engrave on various materials such as wood, leather, acrylic, paper, and fabric. It also supports vector and bitmap images for more creative projects. The D1 Pro 20W is excellent for creating high–quality engravings with a professional–level finish.
Overall, OMTech & Cloudray can be a great choice if you can make the budget flexible. Both would cost you around USD 5000 but will also offer the flexibility of metal marking in color. On the other side, XTOOL is a budget-friendly diode laser that comes under USD 2000 and holds the ability to cut & engrave various materials. However, Xtool can not be used as a laser welding machine.
OMTech 100W MOPA Fiber Laser
The OMTech 100W Fiber Laser Engraver is a powerful and versatile engraving machine for color marking. Its 100-watt laser can engrave a wide range of materials with high accuracy and precision. It can also quickly and accurately cut thin materials such as wood, acrylic, and other thin plastics.
If your budget is small, there are a few handheld laser engravers that act an a fiber laser alternative.
The machine is built with a rugged frame and compact design that allows it to fit in small spaces. The engraver has a large working area of 16“ x 12“ which is large enough for most projects. The control panel is intuitive and easy to use, allowing for quick and easy control of the engraving parameters. The laser power is adjustable from 0–100%, allowing you to adjust the power output to the material being engraved and the desired results.
The OMTech 100W Fiber Laser Engraver is reliable and durable, making it an excellent choice for professionals and hobbyists. The engraver has a built–in laser safety system that prevents accidental injury. The machine also comes with a 1–year warranty and lifetime technical support.
The OMTech 100W Fiber Laser Engraver is ideal for a reliable and versatile engraving machine. Its high power, large working area, and intuitive control panel make it an excellent choice for a wide range of projects. The durable construction, laser safety system, and long–term support make it a great choice for professionals and hobbyists.
Why OMTech MOPA fiber laser is ideal for color engraving?
A laser engraving machine can only engrave in color when it typically uses a wavelength of 10.6 microns, which is in the near-infrared (NIR) spectrum.
This wavelength is able to etch away a wide range of materials, including plastics and metals, and can be used to engrave both single–color and multi–color designs.
For example, a 10.6-micron laser engraver could be used to engrave a multi-color logo on a metal sign or etch patterns on a plastic smartphone case.
Similarly, ability of controlled Pulse rate is important for color laser engraving. A pulse rate of between 100 and 600 Hz is typically used for color engraving with a laser engraver.
This pulse rate is used to ensure that the laser beam is quickly and accurately focused on the material to be engraved, allowing for finer details and more vibrant colors.
For example, a pulse rate of 500 Hz will allow for a much finer level of detail than a pulse rate of 200 Hz. Additionally, higher pulse rates can be used to engrave deeper into materials, allowing for brighter and more vibrant colors.
In reference to these, Both the wavelength and pulse rate of OMTech falls under the category that easily engraves differant materials in color.
Here’s an infographic that explains why OMTech MOPA fiber laser would be a perfect choice for color laser engraving:
These are the key highlights of OMTech 100W MOPA fiber color laser engraving machine:
- High power output of 100W with good beam quality. With a 100W fiber laser, you can engrave various materials including wood, plastic, metal, leather, and glass. Depending on the material, you can create intricate designs, logos, text, and images. Fiber lasers are also used to mark items such as serial numbers, barcodes, and QR codes.
- Long–term stability and reliability help the customer achieve a steady return on investment.
- Compact design and low power consumption
- High-speed color marking up to 20,000mm/s. A laser marking speed of 20,000mm/s helps to increase the efficiency of the marking process. It allows for faster throughput of materials, meaning more parts can be marked in a shorter period of time. The higher speed also helps to reduce potential errors and allows for more precise markings. Finally, it enables more complex and intricate markings to be achieved with greater detail and accuracy.
- Supports a wide range of materials such as plastics, metals, and ceramics.
- Wide range of laser wavelengths from UV to NIR. These laser wavelengths can be used for laser-based technologies such as laser cutting, laser welding, laser engraving, laser marking, laser ablation and many more. Additionally, lasers with different wavelengths can be used for applications such as optical communications, optical sensing and medical treatments.
- Wide range of pulse widths and repetition frequencies. It helps to precisely control the laser intensity, which can be used to create different levels of color and depth in laser engraving. By varying the pulse width and repetition frequency, the laser can be adjusted to produce a darker or lighter shade of color or a more or less deep engraving. This allows for greater flexibility and control when creating intricate and detailed designs.
- Can be used for permanent marking, engraving, cutting, and welding
- Real–time monitoring of laser parameters
- Easy to operate with a friendly user interface
- Supports a wide range of marking software
- Low investment and maintenance cost
- CE, FDA, and ISO certification for quality assurance
- Fast delivery and after–sales service
Apart from the vast number of positive sides, OMTech has some limitations compared to other industrial fiber lasers. These are:
- Limited ability to process thick materials.
- Large working space required.
- Low laser power (100W) compared to other industrial laser cutters.
Differences with other OMTech fiber lasers
The OMTech 100Watt Fiber Laser is a high–powered laser that offers increased power output and cutting speeds. It has a maximum output of 100 W and a cutting speed of up to 50 m/min. It also has high-edge quality, a large working area and a compact design which allows for easy integration into most production lines.
Compared to other OMTech Fiber Lasers, the 100Watt offers a higher power output and faster cutting speeds. It also has a larger working area than other OMTech lasers, making it suitable for bigger projects. Additionally, it is more reliable and efficient than other OMTech lasers, making it an ideal choice for industrial applications.
In case you need assistance setting up the OMTech fiber laser, check this video.
Cloudray JPT M7
The Cloudray JPT M7 is a powerful, high–performance color laser marking machine designed to meet the needs of various businesses.
This fiber laser uses MOPA technology which results in a controlled pulse rate that helps oxidization of the color so perfectly without harming the material.
Cloudray canhandle large and heavy materials, as well as materials of varying thicknesses and sizes. The machine alsohas a full range of software and hardware features, such as a built–in camera and a touchscreen controller.
Cloudray machine has a robust aluminum frame and is built with the highest quality materials, making it highly durable and reliable. The laser is powered by a powerful 500W pulse laser machine capable of cutting, welding, and marking a wide range of materials. The machine also features a high–precision motion control system, and a dual–actuator system to ensure precise and accurate color laser marking even on thinner materials.
Cloudray has been designed to produce results quickly and efficiently. It is capable of cutting through a variety of materials, including metals, plastics, and wood. The machine is also capable of engraving on a variety of materials, including metal, wood, acrylic, and stone. This makes it an ideal choice for a wide variety of businesses.
This color laser engraving machine also features a number of safety features, including a light safety curtain, a safety interlock, and a safety shield. These features ensure that the machine is safe to use and that the operator is adequately protected.
The JPT M7 is also equipped with a variety of software features, such as a CAD/CAM software, a 3D engraving software, and a laser cutting software. This makes it easy to create intricate designs and to program the machine to cut and engrave with precision.
The Cloudray JPT M7 is an excellent choice for businesses requiring a powerful laser machine capable of producing high–quality results quickly and efficiently. It is capable of cutting, welding, and marking a wide range of materials, and is equipped with a number of safety features to ensure that the operator is adequately protected. Additionally, the machine is equipped with a variety of software features, making it easy to create intricate designs and to program the machine to cut and engrave with precision.
Here’s another color laser marking done with the Cloudray:
Key Highlighting Points
These are the key highlighting points of Cloudray JPT M7:
- Cloudray JPT M7 fiber laser provides up to 7kW of power output, which is one of the highest in the industry. This allows for faster cutting of thicker materials and higher accuracy.
- This fiber laser has an improved power efficiency of up to 30%, which means that it can operate at a lower power consumption while still providing the same level of performance.
- The JPT M7 requires minimal maintenance, which can save time and money over the life of the machine.
- The high-quality components used in the JPT M7 fiber laser provide reliable performance and long–term durability.
- This color laser engraving machine is easy to install and requires minimal setup. It can be quickly integrated into existing production lines without the need for additional infrastructure.
- It’s also a cost–effective option for businesses looking to upgrade their production capabilities. It provides a high-quality cutting performance at a lower price point than other solutions.
Xtool D1 Pro 20W
The Xtool D1 Pro 20W is a great choice for anyone looking to get into color laser engraving. This laser engraver is a great choice for both hobbyists and professionals alike. It has a 20W laser tube, a wide range of settings, and a compact design that makes it easy to use and store. The D1 Pro 20W can also engrave various materials such as wood, plastic, leather, and glass.
When it comes to color laser engraving, the Xtool D1 Pro 20W is a great choice. It can engrave multiple colors at once, allowing you to create vibrant and detailed engravings. It also has a high–precision laser head, ensuring the engraving is precise and accurate. Additionally, the D1 Pro 20W can engrave at speeds up to 2000mm/s, making it a great choice for those who need to get their projects done quickly.
The Xtool D1 Pro 20W is a great value compared to other color laser engravers. It is much more affordable than other models while still providing great results. It also has a low noise level, making it an excellent choice for those who need to work in quiet environments.
Overall, the Xtool D1 Pro 20W is an excellent choice for anyone looking to get into color laser engraving. It is easy to use, has a wide range of settings, and can engrave various materials. Additionally, it is much more affordable than other models, making it a great choice for those on a budget. If you are looking for a reliable and affordable color laser engraver, the Xtool D1 Pro 20W is a great choice. However, you should always consider the difference between a diode laser & a fiber laser, especially if the job is to engrave in color.
- The Xtool D1 Pro 20W laser engraver features a high–precision laser head with a working area of up to 12“ x 12“ and a resolution of 0.0025”, making it ideal for intricate and detailed engraving projects.
- This laser engraver has a maximum speed of 1000 mm/min and a minimum speed of 0.5 mm/min, allowing you to quickly finish your engraving projects.
- Thia laser engraver is designed with user–friendly software and an intuitive interface, making it easy to learn and use.
- The Xtool D1 Pro 20W laser engraver can engrave and cut a wide variety of materials, including wood, paper, leather, plastics, acrylic, and more.
- The Xtool D1 Pro 20W laser engraver is one of the most affordable laser engravers on the market, making it ideal for hobbyists and professionals alike.
- It is expensive compared to other laser engravers.
- It has a limited engraving area of 300mm x 200mm.
- It is only able to work with a limited selection of materials, such as wood, paper, plastic, leather, and some thin metals.
- The software for the engraver can be difficult to learn and use.
- The engraver has a slow engraving speed. 6. It has a limited laser power output of 20W.
- It has a low engraving precision of 0.01–0.02mm.
How is Xtool D1 Pro different from its earlier versions?
Xtool D1 Pro 20 Watt Laser Engraver is an advanced laser engraving machine that sets itself apart from other Xtool laser engravers. It uses a 20 watt laser to engrave and cut materials at high precision and speed. It can engrave and cut a variety of materials including paper, cardboard, wood, plastics, rubber, leather, glass, stone, and metal. It also has a variety of features that make it stand out from other Xtool laser engravers.
The Xtool D1 Pro 20 Watt Laser Engraver has a larger engraving area than other Xtool models, allowing it to engrave larger pieces or multiple pieces at once. It also has higher engraving speeds and higher accuracy than other Xtool models. It is also equipped with an Auto Focus system that ensures the laser always focuses on the correct spot for optimal results. It also features a 2.4–inch color touch screen for easy operation and monitoring. Finally, it can be used with various software, including CorelDraw, Inkscape, and AutoCAD, for more design options.
xTool 40 W is already released
The xTool D1 Pro (40W) revolutionizes color laser engraving with its powerful 40W laser module and upgraded software package. It allows users to create vivid, multicolored designs on various materials, making it an excellent choice for artists, designers, and businesses looking to create unique products and promotional materials. The machine’s ability to engrave with high precision ensures that even the most intricate designs are accurately reproduced in stunning detail.
The xTool D1 Pro (40W) is a game-changer for those looking to invest in a laser engraver for color marking. Its impressive power, precision, and color engraving capabilities make it an excellent choice for artists, designers, and businesses alike. Despite its higher price point and a slightly increased learning curve, the advanced features and improved performance justify the investment for those seeking a versatile and efficient laser engraving machine.
How xTool D1 Pro (40W) Differs from the Earlier xTool D1 Pro:
- Enhanced Power: The new xTool D1 Pro (40W) boasts a powerful 40W laser module, a significant upgrade from the previous 10W version. This increased power allows for faster engraving and cutting speeds, improving overall productivity.
- Improved Precision: With a more accurate and stable laser beam, the xTool D1 Pro (40W) offers superior engraving and cutting precision compared to the earlier model. This ensures that your designs are faithfully reproduced down to the smallest detail.
- Upgraded Software: The xTool D1 Pro (40W) comes with a revamped software package that offers more advanced features, including color engraving capabilities. This software upgrade makes it easier to create stunning, multicolored designs on various materials.
- Faster Engraving & Cutting: The 40W laser module provides a significant boost in engraving and cutting speed, reducing project completion times and increasing efficiency.
- Superior Precision: The improved laser beam accuracy ensures that your designs are reproduced with the highest level of detail and quality.
- Color Engraving Capabilities: The xTool D1 Pro (40W) can achieve impressive color engraving results on various materials, opening up new creative possibilities for artists and designers.
- Wide Material Compatibility: The machine is compatible with a broad range of materials, including wood, leather, acrylic, fabric, and anodized aluminum, making it suitable for various applications.
- Higher Price Point: The upgraded features and increased power of the xTool D1 Pro (40W) come with a higher price tag compared to the earlier model. However, the enhanced capabilities justify the investment for serious users.
- Slightly Increased Learning Curve: The new software features and advanced functions may require some additional time for users to familiarize themselves with the machine.
Difference between Diode laser & Fiber laser
Though, we are recommending Xtool as one of your choice for color laser engraving but, you should be aware of the differences that exist between a diode laser & a fiber laser.
The main difference between diode laser and fiber laser in terms of color laser engraving is the wavelength. Diode lasers produce a wavelength of 808nm while fiber lasers produce a wavelength of 1064nm. This difference in wavelength has several implications when it comes to laser engraving. Diode lasers are best suited for engraving on lighter materials such as wood, plastic, or paper. Fiber lasers are better suited for engraving on darker materials such as metals, stone, and glass. The wavelength also affects the amount of power needed to engrave a given material, with fiber lasers requiring more power than diode lasers. Additionally, fiber lasers have a higher beam quality which can lead to finer detail in the engraving.
The bottom line is – This Xtool can engrave in color but will not have vast compatibility like the OMTech & Coudray
Suitable materials for color marking
Fiber lasers are perfect for color marking on materials such as titanium, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, cobalt chrome, brass, and anodized aluminum. These materials are able to absorb the laser energy and create a color change in the material.
For example, stainless steel can be marked with a black, brown, or blue color. Titanium can be marked with a gold, yellow, or green color. Aluminum can be marked with a purple, pink, or yellow color. Anodized aluminum can be marked with a black, red, or white color.
Materials such as wood, paper, and plastic are not suitable for color marking with a fiber laser because they do not absorb the laser energy and will not create a color change.
Fiber laser settings for best results
When using a MOPA fiber laser for color engraving, achieving the best results requires a careful combination of software settings and laser parameters.
The following recommendations will help you obtain the most vibrant and accurate color laser engravings with your MOPA fiber laser.
- Pulse Width: The pulse width greatly influences the color produced during the laser engraving process. Shorter pulse widths produce brighter colors, while longer pulse widths create darker colors. For a wide range of colors, adjust the pulse width settings between 10 ns and 200 ns.
- Power: The laser power determines the intensity of the engraving. Higher power settings can lead to more vibrant colors, but may also cause damage to the material if set too high. For optimal results, set the laser power between 30% and 80%, depending on the material and desired effect.
- Frequency: The frequency of the laser pulses affects the color quality and saturation. Higher frequencies can produce more consistent colors but may require more passes. Optimal frequency settings range between 20 kHz and 100 kHz.
- Scan Speed: Adjusting the scan speed can affect the color saturation and uniformity. Slower scan speeds allow for better color saturation, while faster speeds may result in uneven colors. For optimal results, set the scan speed between 300 mm/s and 1000 mm/s.
- Hatch Spacing: Proper hatch spacing is crucial for uniform color distribution. Tighter hatch spacing can result in more consistent colors, while larger spacing may lead to uneven color distribution. Adjust hatch spacing between 0.02 mm and 0.1 mm for the best results.
- Overlap: Ensure there is sufficient overlap between each laser pass to prevent gaps or uneven color distribution. A recommended overlap setting is between 30% and 50%.
Mistakes to avoid that could destroy color markings:
- Excessive Power: Using too much power can burn the material, damaging the color markings or causing inconsistent results.
- Incorrect Pulse Width: Selecting an incorrect pulse width can lead to poor color outcomes or an inability to produce the desired colors.
- Inappropriate Frequency: Setting the frequency too low or too high can result in uneven colors or weak color saturation.
- Insufficient Overlap: If the overlap between each laser pass is not sufficient, there may be gaps or uneven color distribution.
- Inadequate Hatch Spacing: Improper hatch spacing can lead to uneven color saturation or cause the engraving to appear distorted.
Our laser engravers have been specifically designed to provide the best color laser engravings, ensuring the perfect balance of software settings and laser parameters for optimal results. Invest in our MOPA fiber laser engravers and enjoy high-quality, vibrant, and accurate color markings with ease.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the typically asked questions about color laser engraving:
How long does color laser engraving last?
Color laser engraving is a modern technology that uses high-precision laser beams to create detailed and vibrant designs on various materials. The durability of color laser engraving depends on a variety of factors, such as the material, the quality of the engraving, and the environmental conditions.
How does color laser engraving work?
Color laser engraving can be done in various ways. MOPA fiber laser engraves in full color due to having a controlled pulse rate and variable wavelength. However, you can still make color engravings through manual assistance. You need to engrave using CO2 laser and then apply spraying, brushing, or rolling colorant which can be typically a powder, but can also be a liquid or even a paste
What are the common mistakes in fiber laser color marking?
Typical mistakes in fiber laser color marking includes – Not Adjusting the Focus, Not Selecting the Right Laser Power, Not Cleaning the Marking Area, Not Aligning the Laser Head Properly and obviously not testing it before you begin.
How do you laser color stainless steel?
Stainless steel van be engraver in color by using a MOPA fiber laser since they have the ability to control the wavelength of the laser which helps in creating oxidization of the metal. Nowadays fe diode lasers can perform color engraving such as (xTool’s D1 pro) but their productivity is way below than the MOPA fiber lasers.
Color laser engraving on plastic | Considerable issues
Color laser engraving on plastic is a process that many companies use to create highly detailed and vibrant images on plastic materials. However, there are several challenges that must be addressed when engraving on plastic.
The first challenge is the difficulty of finding a laser engraver that can engrave in color. Most laser engravers are limited to black and white engraving, making it challenging to achieve the full range of color desired in a plastic engraving. Additionally, purchasing a laser engraver capable of engraving in color can be prohibitively expensive.
The second challenge is the difficulty of achieving the perfect color combination. Plastic materials have a wide range of color depths and contrast that can be difficult to capture accurately. Additionally, the laser’s intensity and the engraving process’s speed must be carefully calibrated to ensure that the desired design is achieved.
The third challenge is the difficulty of achieving consistent results. Plastics can be difficult to engrave, and the material differences can lead to inconsistencies in the final product. Additionally, the laser engraving process can cause heat buildup and warping of the plastic material, resulting in inconsistent results.
Finally, the fourth challenge is the difficulty of creating a design that lasts. Plastics are susceptible to fading and discoloration over time, which can cause the design to become dull or distorted. Additionally, the heat generated by the laser engraving process can cause plastic to degrade, resulting in a design that fades over time.
Color laser etching on Stainless Steel
Color laser engraving on stainless steel can be a difficult and intricate process because of the strong reflective properties of stainless steel. The surface of stainless steel reflects a significant amount of the laser beam, making it difficult to achieve a consistent and high–quality engraving result. Additionally, the heat generated by the laser beam can cause distortion and/or discoloration of the stainless steel, making it difficult to achieve accurate, precise, and consistent engravings.
Due to the reflective properties of stainless steel, color laser engraving must be done with very high power settings, which can cause the laser beam to bounce off the surface of the metal, leading to inconsistent results and potentially damaging the material. The high power settings also cause the metal to heat up quickly, which can lead to distortion and discoloration of the metal. Additionally, the intense heat generated by the laser beam can cause the metal to warp, making it difficult to achieve precise and consistent engravings.
In addition to the technical challenges of color laser engraving on stainless steel, there are also considerable issues related to the cost of the process. it requires a specialized laser engraving machine and highly trained personnel, both of which can be expensive to acquire and maintain.
How does the MOPA fiber laser make the job manageable?
MOPA lasers are good for color laser marking on stainless steel because they offer greater control and flexibility than other lasers. MOPA lasers can produce various colors on stainless steel, including white, yellow, red, blue, and black. Additionally, the laser beam can be modulated to create various patterns, including text and logos, which is ideal for branding or decorative purposes.
MOPA lasers also offer a high level of accuracy, making them ideal for creating intricate designs such as barcodes or QR codes. Finally, MOPA lasers are very efficient, meaning that they use less energy and generate less heat than other types of lasers, making them ideal for laser marking applications.
Know more about MOPA vs Fiber laser here.
These are the best color laser engraving machines to help you create beautiful, high–quality engravings. With its advanced technology, robust build quality and long–lasting performance, this machine will surely deliver superior results and will serve you well for many years to come. Whether a professional or a hobbyist, this machine is the perfect tool to help you create beautiful pieces.