Meta laser cutter

Laser Cutting Tools

Coherent's META and METABEAM Laser Cutters are the most compact, flexible laser cutting tools available for any production shop.

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For more information on anyContact Us of our compact and flexible laser cutters and laser cutting tools, or to be added to our mail list, please use our Contact Us form.

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Coherent's laser cutting tools use computer generated cutting paths to make it incredibly easy and inexpensive for the laser cutter of jobs of any size. No dies or expensive re-tooling is necessary when laser cutting parts, meaning you can increase profits on short runs. With a faster turn-around and lower costs, you'll be able to take on more jobs, be more competitive, and ultimately bring in more customers and generate new business.

META Laser Cutting Tool
The META laser cutter offers the ability to process a wide range of both metals and non-metals.
META laser cutter
METABEAM Laser Cutting Tool
Compact and powerful metal focused laser cutting machine for prototype to high volume manufacturing applications.
MetaBeam laser cutting machine tool
Laser Cutting Tool Production Automation (PA) Options
Production Automation (PA) options designed to enhance productivity in the highest volume production environments.
production automation options for laser cutting
Z-Axis Travel >1000 mm
Auto Focus
Laser Cutting up to 2 mm Stainless
Laser Cutting up to 4 mm Stainless
Laser Cutting up to 30 mm Acrylic
Software Controlled Gas Regulator
Automatic Pallet Exchange
High Pressure Cut Head
Capacitive Height Sensor
Alternative Cutting Optics
Pro Panel HMI Software
Enhanced Vision System
Power Levels Available
Purchase Price

Coherent laser cutting tools use a sealed CO2 laser mounted inside the machine base. The power of the laser varies from 150 Watts to 1000 Watts, depending on the model. The laser beam is directed by a series of mirrors inside a moving Gantry (moving in the Y direction) and then to a moving Carriage (moving in the X direction). The Carriage contains a focusing lens which focuses the beam to an extremely small spot. Most laser cutting occurs where the beam is focused to its smallest size - as small as 0.004" (for some specialized applications, the beam can be even smaller). The focused beam is directed down onto a laser cutting bed which supports the material. After the cutting point, the beam diverges and is dispersed into an enclosed plenum.

The material is held down by vacuum pressure and is typically supported by an aluminum honeycomb surface. The aluminum is only minimally affected by the laser and keeps the material flat while allowing air to flow through. The areas around the material being cut are usually sealed to optimize the vacuum hold-down.

The laser cutting process starts with a design drawn in a CAD or graphics program, such as AutoCAD. These drawings are generally 2D, but include multiple layers used to separate features of the design or cutting operations (such as a “Cut” layer and an “Engrave” layer). The completed design is imported into Laser-Link, which is Coherent's proprietary CAM program.

Laser-Link imports DXF, HPGL, Gerber and AutoCAD drawing files. The geometry is displayed and can be edited or manipulated. New geometry can also be created directly in Laser-Link. The user then selects a layer in the drawing and assigns a setting from a menu-based database of laser settings. This database can be edited and accepts an unlimited number of material settings.

Automatic Digital Registration of printed parts on existing registration marks assures perfect alignment when laser cutting. You can program the system to use up to 10 registration marks, which can be programmed to read crosshairs, printed dots, the edge of the part, or even an area of the printed graphic itself. You will no longer have to try to align parts by eye. With our Digital Registration System, parts are aligned quickly and precisely.

Multiple processes, such as laser cutting and laser engraving can be combined and run together. Because the process is non-contact, the sequence of laser cutting is usually not critical and the parts do not need to be clamped in place. All of our machines contain a range of safety interlocks and warning indicators that protect the user from exposure to the laser beam and protect the machine from damage.

The laser cutting process does create fumes and debris. These are removed from the machine via the vacuum hold-down pump and a secondary duct. The equipment requires an external exhaust fan ducted outside or connected to an air filtering system.


How to Compare Laser Cutters

As with anything you purchase, it’s important to compare available options. There are a number of laser cutting tools on the market today, and finding the machine that best meets your production requirements is important. When looking for a quality machine, here are things to look for.

General Construction and Engineering

When it comes to construction of a laser cutting machine, the basic elements include:

Size. Every machine is built differently, and the size of the laser cutting machine and its cutting bed is a factor that needs to be considered to make sure that the machine will fit in your shop, and that your parts will fit on the bed. There are 2 main types of laser cutting machine construction available — fixed optics and flying optics.

Fixed optics machines have a laser that remains stationary while the part is shifted along the cutting path via a moving platform. The advantage to a fixed optics machine is that no preventative measures need be taken for laser power from the manufacturer’s end, and the consistency of the cut remains intact. However, there can be problems with acceleration and deceleration of the platform, and materials still need to be clamped down because the part will be in motion. Also, a fixed optics machine will require additional clearance—with a 4 x 4 laser cutting bed, for example, not only will you need space for the machine itself, but you will also need an extra 4 feet of clearance on all sides of the machine.

With flying optics, on the other hand, the part being cut remains stationary while the laser beam is directed by mirrors that move across the cutting surface. Since the parts don’t move in the machine, there is no need for clamping. Machines using flying optics have smaller footprints and are generally more easily enclosed for safety.

Coherent laser cutters are extremely compact, and incorporate flying optics to maintain a smaller footprint. We have taken extra steps to condition the laser to maintain beam quality and power throughout the cut without power loss or variation.

Safety. The safety of your employees is always a major concern, and it should not be overlooked by the design of the machine. Laser safety is regulated in the United States by the FDA. Laser cutters that are classified as Class I Safety are the safest configuration for a laser system. The Class I rating requires such safety features as a fully enclosed system that cannot allow a laser beam to escape and redundant interlocks on doors that turn off power to the laser if a machine door is opened during the cutting process. Laser cutting machines that are Class IV are open machines, so safety equipment must be used in the laser hazard area.

Coherent laser cutters are Class I Safety. They are completely enclosed by a steel reinforced, polycarbonate safety cover, which allows viewing of the cutting area while preventing exposure to laser radiation. It is not required to wear eye production during the normal use of our machine.

Functionality. Different laser cutters will offer different capabilities. Laser  cutters used for engraving (generally 10 - 50 Watts) focus on the engraving of materials, but are not well suited for cutting. Industrial laser cutting machines (generally 1.5 kilowatts and up) cut through thick metals with ease, but are not well suited for cutting delicate or fragile parts. Laser cutting beds come in a variety of sizes, and need to be taken into consideration to make sure you have the right size to fit your parts. Accessibility is also an issue to ensure that your desired throughput can be met.

Coherent laser cutters are extremely flexible, allowing you to kiss-cut, through-cut, and engrave, all in one cutting job on a wide variety of materials. Our laser cutting beds move vertically for focusing and allow a 12” clearance of tall parts or fixturing. The front and rear doors of the machine open up and down to allow a complete pass-through access. This feature provides easy access to the entire cutting bed and allows for factory automation, with either an automatic pallet loader or a conveyor belt going right through the machine.

Overall design. How the machine is actually put together can either enhance or degrade the level of durability over time. Be careful when selecting your machine—make sure to “kick the tires”! Some laser cutting machines are poorly manufactured, with parts that are merely bolted together and have flimsy designs, risking degradation of accuracy and power over time. Others can be unjustifiably heavy and large.

Some machines sold as laser cutting machines are simply lasers bolted on to a router table. These types of machines have several disadvantages that come simply from the fact that they aren’t designed from the ground up to be laser cutting machines. Safety is an issue, as these are generally open design machines that do not offer laser protection. These machines lack motion control and power dynamics necessary to have a flexible machine, often limiting their applications and the quality of the parts being cut.

Coherent laser cutting machines’ rigid and lightweight structure is composed of precisely machined and heavy gauge steel and aluminum components, welded together to provide the utmost in durability and performance.

Linear Encoders vs. Rotary Encoders

Encoders maintain the positioning of the cutting head, ensuring accuracy over the entire laser cutting bed.

Rotary encoders are used in conjunction with mechanical ballscrews to infer positioning based on number of turns the ballscrew makes. Linear encoders use an optically based ruler based on the XY axis of the machine. The downside to ballscrews is that they will begin to wear the instant they are put to use. Grit and dirt can get into the ballscrew, which will also affect performance, and dust created when cutting parts will accumulate within the ballscrew, adding to the wear. Because positioning is inferred with a ballscrew, it is much less precise than actual positioning with a ruler where accuracy and repeatability is absolute. In terms of manufacturing (both material cost and labor), rotary encoders are significantly less expensive than linear encoders. But in the long run you will incur added maintenance and repair costs that you will not encounter with linear encoders, which are very durable and do not degrade or lose accuracy over time.

All Coherent laser cutters use linear encoders to provide greater accuracy at all speeds, better reliability, more precise positioning and lower total cost of ownership. The encoder strips are completely sealed, preventing smoke or dust from interfering with accuracy.


When it comes to laser cutting, the general rule of thumb is that lower powered machines will not achieve the same level of speed as a higher powered machine. Thicker materials may also result in slower performance, depending on the complexity of the part and the range of power employed. Many variables can lead to the differences in speed, and it is a good idea to understand each of these depending on what your goal is for purchasing a laser machine (so much so, that we have a page you can refer to dedicated solely to laser speed). Some companies will claim extremely high speeds, but do so without taking into account any of the numerous factors specific to your part that could cause variations in their claim.

If throughput and speed are important to you, be sure to get accurate times based on your particular application. Ask for real world sample parts to be cut and compare cut times and quality of parts from various vendors. Our laser cutting machine is designed to offer you the optimum in throughput and quality. Please contact us if you would like us to test your materials for times specific to your parts.

Range of Capabilities

Different laser machines have different capabilities, and these capabilities will vary based on laser power and basic design. Laser machines under 100W specialize in engraving, marking, and converting rolled material for consumer packages. Laser machines between 100W - 500W have a broad set of applications, from through-cutting and kiss-cutting to marking and engraving. Laser machines over 1 kilowatt specialize in heavy industrial use for sheet metal cutting.

Coherent's laser cutters range from 100W to 1 kW, allowing for a wide range of applications and materials. State-of-the-art motion control provides extremely high precision, even at the highest cutting speeds. The power is adjusted according to the material being cut, allowing engraving, kiss-cutting, the cutting of complex parts, and unparalleled flexibility. High performance, ease of use, safety features, and reliability are among the many reasons why we are the leading industry choice for laser cutting machines.

Customer Service

The relationship with your vendor will be critical to the success of your purchase. Evaluate the company’s integrity via references, visits to the site, telephone conversations, emails, and other correspondences. Check out the relationship they have with the laser manufacturer (the most expensive and important part of the machine). Look at the track record of the company, both in regards to sales support and service support. What is their support policy? How much ongoing service will they provide you after the purchase? Get references, and learn about overall customer satisfaction—because ultimately, that is what you are trying to gain.

Coherent offers a wide range of customer support—from online to phone to in-person visits—and will be happy to provide you with references at your request

WARNING: Be aware of job search related scams. Cyber scammers have been posting fraudulent job openings for Coherent on several internet job sites. These positions include acting as "Regional Representatives." These scammers ask job applicants to wire money to individuals in foreign countries. DO NOT DO SO. Coherent does not ask job applicants to wire money to anyone. If you are either the victim of this scammer or if you have received a request to send money to anyone in connection with a Coherent job, please file a formal complaint at, which is the website maintained by the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership of the FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center, and Bureau of Justice Assistance.

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