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With laser technology advancing over time, it’s hard to keep up with all kinds of modern and innovative technology. Besides, you can’t expect to explore, understand, and master the usage of all kinds of laser technology and machines, especially when all of them are used in different industries and for specific purposes. However, does that mean you can randomly use and invest in any kind of laser technology and master it in a few days with the basic instructions? Certainly not! In fact, with the different laser technologies being more advanced and focused on performing specific specialized tasks, it’s important for professionals to understand how these machines are operated in the best way possible.

Keeping that in mind, one trusted and currently used laser technology today is the galvanometer laser. While the term Galvo laser may be commonly used and heard by many in the field, it doesn’t mean that any novice or random individual can handle the technology. In fact, to achieve the best galvanometer laser engraver outcomes and ensure efficiency and safety, understanding the concept, structure, and working of the Galvo laser is crucial. So if you’re curious to explore more about that and become a professional at using the galvanometer laser – here’s everything you need to know!

What Is Galvo Head or System?

As the name suggests, the Galvo head is certainly the head, i.e., a part of the Galvo laser. Hence, before we talk about the head structure of the Galvo laser, let’s first understand the concept of the galvanometer laser itself. 

The galvanometer laser of Galvo laser is an electromechanical instrument that is used to deflect a light beam with the help of a mirror. Simply put, this mirror is set in this laser machine in a way that it senses the electric current. So when the laser is processed, the Galvo system of this laser uses the mirror structure and technology to move the laser beam in the desired direction (according to the engraving requirements on different products).

This change in direction is managed with the rotation and adjustment of the mirror angles on the laser system, which are all set in the boundary area of the project. This laser is mainly used for the purpose of achieving fast-speed engraving results along with finely detailed marking and engraving outcomes on all kinds of products.  

How Does A Galvo Laser Head Work?

Although the whole system of Galvo laser serves in the efficient outcomes of laser marking and engraving offered by this laser system, each of its components and its setup is also independently crucial for the outcomes. Speaking of that, the Galvo head or the laser scanning head of the galvanometer laser engraver is the most fundamental component of the Galvo laser system.

Whether it’s the engraving or marking process, this head ensures the ideal outcomes of each task. With the help of the Galvo head, the entire device deflects the laser beam that is occurring from the main source. Moreover, the Galvo head moves this beam along the X and Y axes, as per the engraving and marking requirements. 

What Is the Difference between Galvo and Field Mirror?

Since the mirror is the most crucial part of the Galvo laser’s structure and overall system performance, it’s important to understand the difference between a Galvo mirror and a normal field mirror before you consider using one.

Galvo Mirror:

Starting with the Galvo mirror, this mirror serves as an ammeter that includes every time it senses an electric current. The mirror gives this indication by deflecting a light beam through the mirror. This beam of light that is projected on a scale becomes a long massless pointer in the Galvo laser system. While the technology and system of the Galvo laser system and the Galvo laser have advanced and improved, but the concept and development of the Galvo mirror for detecting electric currents were first practiced by Johann Christian Poggendorff in 1826.

Field Mirror:

While the Galvo mirror today serves as a crucial part of the Galvo laser system, it has long been identified and used for electric current detection in laser technologies. As compared to this mirror, the field mirror has a different working and characteristic. This field mirror or the right mirror is known to be a less advanced addition of a mirror in any laser system. Moreover, the usage of this field mirror is to identify when the electric field strength of the laser beam is the same in all the directions during the engraving or marking process.

CO2 Galvanometer vs. a CO2 CNC Machine?

As we know that the CO2 laser technology is an ideal option when it comes to engraving or marking non-metal items, i.e., wood, plastic, etc. Yet, choosing the ideal type of CO2 laser is also crucial when you’re using the laser technology to achieve high-quality and lasting engraving and marking outcomes on non-metal products. Here, the two common CO2 laser system options you can choose from include CO2 galvanometer laser and CO2 laser CNC machine.

With both these CO2 laser systems comprising of the same system, yet, a different type of structure and working, the outcomes of these laser machines can differ a bit. For a clearer idea on that, let’s explore a few factors that make both these CO2 laser technology systems different from one another:

· Different Outlook:

The first difference in both these systems is the outlook of both the machines. While both of them use the CO2 laser system, the machines can be different in their size and overall design. The only common factor in both these Co2 laser technologies is the presence of a CO2 glass tube or a CO2 metal tube as the power source. 

Other than that, the main structure which plays the most important role in cutting the materials is different in both these machines. While the laser tube of the Galvo laser is right in the head of the machine, the CNC laser has the tube located at the back of its main structure.  

· Cutting Abilities:

Another huge difference among both these CO2 laser systems is their ability to cut thick materials. Here, the Co2 Galvo laser can’t cut thick materials with great accuracy and high quality due to the design of its laser head being located at a large distance from the material itself. In contrast, the CNC laser system’s head is located at a 3cm distance away from the material. Hence, the Galvo laser may not be an ideal option when cutting or engraving thicker items like wood or acrylic.  

· Speed Difference:

Another huge difference between both the CO2 galvanometer laser engraving and the CNC laser machine are their cutting and engraving speed. Here, the Galvo laser has a speedier performance due to the presence of two small servo motors that run mirrors inside the head of this laser machine. In contrast, the CNC CO2 laser machines use stepper motors that move the entire laser structure and the head of the machine together. All in all, this makes the Galvo laser’s performance more accurate and faster than the other system. 

Galvanometer Optical Scanners Selection Guide

Other than the head and entire structure of the Galvo laser present in the galvanometer laser engraver machine, a few additional aspects of the structure of the Galvo laser are also present in the machine.

Among these important structural components, another crucial part is the galvanometer optical scanner of the machine. This galvanometer scanner or the Galvo scanner serves as a motorized mirror that is mounted on the Galvo laser system.

This mounted mirror and the system of the laser are used to operate laser-beam steering and scanning need while engraving any kind of product. 

These mirrors present on the structure of the galvanometer laser engraver are an ideal addition to the laser’s design that helps in moving the small laser beams faster during the engraving process. Not just that, but these mirrors or Galvo scanners also add outstanding accuracy and precision to the machine’s performance during the engraving process. 

The presence of the mirrors or Galvo scanners mainly comes with heaters and temperature sensors designed and equipped alongside the scanners. With the help of this design, the temperature stabilization is maintained; while ensuring that throughout the engraving process, the temperature of the Galvo laser remains constant.

Moreover, this effective design also enhances the long-term stability of the machine and its outcomes on any kind of product – even in conditions when the ambient situations keep on fluctuating. With that being said, it’s easier to consider that the Galvo laser consists of a stable structure that maintains a stable power and performance in all kinds of unstable working environments. 

The Types and Applications of Galvo Scanner:

While it’s obvious that the Galvo scanners are another crucial part of the Galvo laser, it’s important to understand the different types of mirrors and their application on different types of materials to understand which ideal configuration should be purchased with the common wavelengths and laser powers coming with the Galvo laser structure overall. This includes:

  • Gold – Gold coatings are ideal for applications requiring high reflectance in the NIR and IR regions. The performance of gold mirrors comprises 96% reflectivity from 750 – 1500nm.
  • Silver – Silver-coated mirrors offer the highest reflectance in the visible-NIR spectrum (450 nm – 2 µm, Ravg >97.5%) of any metallic mirror as compared to other mirrors. Moreover, this type of mirror also offers high reflectance in the IR (2 – 20 µm, Ravg > 96%) and offers the best outcomes in low humidity working environments.  
  • CO2 – in these types of lasers, Silicon is used on low to medium power systems. With copper being superior in its thermal conductivity, it is used for very high-powered systems. Moreover, Molybdenum is mostly used in dirty environments where durability and repeated cleanings are required during and after performing every engraving process.
  • YAG – For these types of high-power lasers, the ideal mirrors that offer the best engraving result are the high reflectivity Ultra-hard dielectric coatings wavelength mirror for 1064 and 532 nm.


This is all to our short guide on the galvanometer laser engraver machine. Let us know what information was the most interesting and new for you!