Fiber Laser Etching Intricate Designs in Slow Motion

Laser expert Alexander Sellite of Laser Everything explained to Wired how a fiber laser works to etch intricate designs in a matter of seconds using slow-motion footage. Essentially the laser is hot enough to carve through metal but poses no danger to humans or other beings.

This is called a fiber laser, and it can carve super intricate designs into any metal, in just seconds. The laser is essentially getting so hot, the metal is just vaporizing away, like a hot knife through butter. Despite the laser’s ability to cut through titanium, you’ll be surprised to discover waving your hand in front of the laser does absolutely nothing. Fiber lasers simply aren’t the right wavelength to interact with organic materials at these energy levels.

Sellite talks about the different stages involved: pulsing, ablation, cleaning, black marking, and color marking. He also notes the different materials used and the speed at which the laser moves to attain different results.

These illustrations are drawn so rapidly, you can only see them sweeping across the surface with slow motion, and the pulses are so fast that even the highest speed cameras have trouble capturing them. Depending on the material used, the laser can react differently. For example, color is only possible on steel, whereas, this aluminum can only be marked white.