If you’re in the market for a new laser engraving machine, there are many questions to ask yourself before charging the credit card.
How Exactly Does this Machine Work?
A laser engraving machine uses a highly concentrated laser to displace and vaporize the particles on the material as it cuts. This leaves behind the beautiful recessed image on trophies, glass, acrylic, paper, wood and more. The frequency of the laser’s movement is what determines the depth of the engraving. Laser engraving machines are used in many industries such as advertising, leather garments, packaging, models, marble, glass, jewelry and handicraft.
DIY Use or Professional Engraver
If you simply want to make special mementos for family and friends on holidays and birthdays, a less expensive machine may be fine. But, if you want to open your own engraving business, then investing in a higher-end machine will be worth the money. There are several types of lasers on the market including CO2, YAG, green, fiber and many more.
CO2 is a Great First Choice
A general purpose engraver for someone just starting out would be a CO2 laser, because these will cut the most common materials. There are two different kinds of CO2 lasers. The “metal tube laser” is also known as the RF (radio frequency) laser. These are manufactured by some of the best companies in the U.S. Check out reviews for Boss Laser here. The other type is a “glass tube laser” (direct current) which typically come from China. Glass tube lasers can cut material, but don’t do a great job of raster engraving materials. If you decide you want to be in the trophy or plaque business, then this type will not be a good choice. Sometimes these imported models will be less expensive, but you get what you pay for.
How Powerful Should it Be?
To cut a piece of plywood from 2 to 6 millimeters thick, the recommended power is 30W. To cut rubber stamps it requires 60W. It’s important to know what materials you want to work with in order to buy a machine with enough power. Buy as much wattage as you can afford. It’s always better to have a little more power than to have to go back over materials several times to get the right cut.
Company Reputation is Important
Before we talk about finances, it’s important to choose a company that backs their laser engraving machine with customer service and support. Especially if you decide to take up this endeavor as a professional. Broken equipment means no earned income. A good manufacturing company should be able to provide references of customers who have had their engravers for 3 to 5 years. If the prospective company won’t provide a reference list–move on.
Let’s Talk Numbers
By now you should have a better idea of how you want to use your new laser engraver, and what materials you want to engrave. It’s recommended to go with a U.S. manufacturer of laser engraving machines for better customer service and support. A brand-new quality laser engraver can start at a few thousand dollars and go anywhere from $50,000 or more depending on the specs and accessories. Buy the best machine you an afford and have fun! The design ideas are only limited by your mind.