laser cutting rapid prototyping

Laser systems for prototyping

and in creative development departments

Published on: 05/29/2017 Author: Bernd Kerbl

Galvo laser systems, usually with YAG or fiber lasers, are already widely used in industrial companies for marking parts or in various production processes. The fact that flatbed lasers can be used just as meaningfully in the industrial environment is, however, less well known. However, these laser devices are increasingly used for prototyping, model making but also for tool marking and in in-house FabLabs.

Flatbed lasers as a flexible tool

Where speed plays a major role, such as in series production, galvo lasers have a clear advantage. However, when it comes to flexibility they are inferior to flatbed systems, because laser devices such as the Speedy Flexx series from Trotec have two laser sources (CO2 and fiber laser) and can be used for marking, cutting or engraving. In particular, they can process a variety of organic materials as well as metals. Thus, they can be used for a variety of tasks, as often occurs in the R&D sector. One example is prototyping and the development of new materials and their processing methods.

Prototyping and marking

If new components or prototype groups are developed, they are often not immediately produced from the original materials, but produced in a different scale or from other materials, such as plastic or wood. These first models show, in the concept phase, whether the corresponding prototype group fulfills the functionality. More and more, flatbed lasers with CO2 lasers are being used to cut the prototype components from the material. The advantage is that the marking of individual parts and the cutting can be implemented in a single pass. Thus, prototypes and individual parts can be marked with plain text or codes, in order to be able to manage them and other possible variants and easily distinguish between them.

Even the tools used for production can be neatly and clearly marked. Here, it is insignificant which material needs to be marked, because the Speedy Flexx series can mark metals and organic materials.

Galvo laser systems for series production

If the components or prototype groups are subsequently produced in series, other processes are often decisive. The series marking is at the forefront, cutting processes are omitted, and a galvo laser system can be better used and integrated into the production line here. Here, Trotec offers a wide range of possible solutions, from standard marking lasers to special solutions.

More information about galvo laser systems

Training workshops and in-house Mini FabLabs

In recent years, the trend has been that more and more flatbed lasers are being used in in-house training centers. The trainees or apprentices should be trained with as many modern and digital tools as possible. They will subsequently become innovators when it comes to new production methods. Here, flatbed lasers are hugely important and flexible tools, which are extremely popular among young colleagues. In addition, there are more and more Mini FabLabs, well-equipped creative centers within industrial companies, which are used to give development departments as much freedom as possible to develop and implement new materials, production methods and all other possible ideas. In addition to 3D printers, CNC milling machines, etc., laser devices are also standard equipment in these creative workshops.

Laser systems for FabLabs

Speedy flexx

Laser engraving machines with 2 laser sources

The flatbed lasers of the Speedy series are the core product at Trotec. The Speedy flexx laser engraving machines are all-rounders and have two laser sources (CO2 and fiber laser), the patented flexx technology. With these two laser sources, even different materials can be marked, engraved or cut in one work step. All this works without having to manually change the laser source, the lens or the focus.

More about Speedy flexx