I am seriously confused. I'm looking at laser heads for small 3D printer type machines. Basically what I would like to do is replace the filament extruder on my Ender with a laser module.
So Amazoom shows all kinds of laser heads, based on a LED output which on the surface, appear suitable. Other, much more sophisticated systems are also available which offer CO2 laser tubes at much greater cost and size. But for now, LED seems to be the best option.
I cannot make any sense of the "power" claims for these LED laser heads. I see the same gadget offered at 20Watts "effective power" and 80W "effective power". Now this all seems to me to be marketing BS. There is no way these LED modules can develop the equivalent of 80W of CO2 laser cutting power. Facts are obfusicated like the compressor power ratings or LED 'equivalent wattage' I suspect.
I have used Trotek industrial CO2 lasers - 60W and 120W which easily slice through a half inch of acrylic without any problems. But these cheap LED lasers claiming 20, 40 or 80 Watts only seem to be good for light etching on basic materials.
So what is the reality? I would like to find a module capable of deep marking and engraving on soft materials (wood, leather, cloth) but also have the muscle to cut 3mm acrylic.
Do you have experience with the LED and the CO2 systems? Do you have any recommendations for component suppliers? Or are there technical options other than LED for this?