A laser cutter and engraver is, as the name implies, an industrial tool that allows you to use directed energy beams to melt words or patterns into the material of your choosing. There are a lot of different options out there for where you hire or outright purchase one of these units, so it is prudent for you to be equipped with as much information as possible.
If you hire or purchase a laser cutter and engraver without knowing what you need to, you could end up losing time, money and potentially worse if something goes wrong. If you are purchasing or hiring the unit in order to complete an order faster, then you can’t afford to endure a delay and should educate yourself on the technology as much as you can.
Let’s take a look at some important information for using a laser cutter and engraver.
What can you do with it?
A laser cutter and engraver can be used to cut into pretty much any kind of material you can think of such as metal, wood, plastic or glass. There are lots of materials made specifically for this process and they help to minimise wastage.
Also, this process is much better for small objects as the beam is going to be much more accurate in cutting than a physical approach that can deform the material. If you need lots of small, detailed work done quickly, this tool is the only way to go.
It mainly has large scale commercial and industrial uses, but it is also possible to get a small-scale laser cutter and engraver that works on a CO2 system. The machine only needs to be plugged into the USB port of your PC or laptop and it will function the same way a printer does.
How is it different from etching?
Etching is a subset of a laser cutter and engraver machine and the heat from the beam instead melts the matter rather than vaporising it. This is mostly applied to metal materials as they will expand, creating a cavity that is raised. It will also change characteristics in the metal such as reflectivity, contrasting with surrounding material.
Unlike other cutting methods, this process keeps the shape of the initial material you are using, and this makes it ideal for highly detailed objects. This type of machine is responsible for creating serial numbers and logos on a mass scale.
Should you invest in a laser cutter and engraver?
The decision on whether or not to invest in your own personal laser cutter and engraver really depends on what your needs are. If you are running a business and you need to produce a large amount of highly detailed materials, this kind of machine could be the perfect tool that you need to get the job done on time.
Alternately, if you just want the machine for personal use then you could invest in something small that simply plugs into your computer. The scale of unit will easily be able to produce the results you want without costing you too much money.
Tips for buying
If you are going to buy a laser cutter and engraver, keep the following in mind:
- Look for a supplier and manufacturer that have good reputations
- Make sure you compare different offers to find the best price
- Ask about warranties and returns if something goes wrong or if you need a replacement part