Are you looking for a new or used laser engraver? Well this guide will talk about all the different types of laser engraver available and will give you the right information and tips to help you get the perfect laser for cnc or laser engraver machine you have been looking for.
First of all, what is a laser engraver and a laser engraver machine?
Well a laser engraving machine or laser etching machine is a machine that uses usually a CO2 laser to cut or engrave parts precisely. This article here covers more aspects of the actual cnc machine.
There is a whole slew of different cnc machines that work in different ways with lasers. There are three main genres of laser engraving machines.
1. X-Y table, laser moves, work-piece stays still – this is where the laser moves in 2 axis, the x and the y axis and laser engraves a stationary object. This is the cheapest kind of machine out there and should be the one you should look for with a laser engraver service provider, unless you need something that requires an extra axis, over a 3d surface perhaps.
2. X-Y table, both the laser and the material moves. This is where the workpiece moves in one axis and the laser moves in the other.
3. Work piece is on a cylinder, much like that of a lathe and the laser moves around the work piece, like a helix. The laser then pulses on or off and engraves while it moves around the work piece.
Laser Wood Engraver
Most lasers can handle any material. A laser engraver for wood would work just as well as a laser engraver for stainless steel most times. So do not be fooled by the marketing, a wood laser engraver is pretty much the same as anything else that uses a laser to etch or engrave. I recommend taking a look at some of the top brands out there first, before deciding on what laser engraver you want.
Some of these brands include Epilog, Trotec and Gravograph. These brands have been around for a while and have a good range, as I have indicated in previous articles. Give them a look and get in touch to see what features you may need and which ones you may not need.
Laser work space size, what size do I need?
The work space size varies with many different engraving machines, they can be small (about 12″ x 16″) to upwards of over 50″ x 50″ for industrial sized machines.
Most companies offer a smaller sized machine and have a good range all the way up to their largest machine. A CO2 laser engraving cutting machine engraver should also come with the right accessories and software.
I recommend checking out the brands above to see what they have to offer first. Also, you will need to decide what work space you will need. Think about what the largest project you will be working on will be. To save on buying a larger machine, you have a few options:
1. Split the work up into smaller peices and then join it back again later.
2. If you only do larger stuff occasionally, then you can just outsource this and get a cheaper, smaller machine with a smaller work space.
3. You could look at getting a hand held laser engraver. This is a smaller laser engraver, but the down side is that you will have to engrave by hand and not rely on the accuracy of a cnc machine.
You will need to look at credentials, the machine that they use, experience and also lead and final project finish times as well as cost. If the engraver has a smaller, desktop laser engraver machine, then that may make things as lot cheaper.
5. Buy a used laser engraver for sale. If you are lucky, you may be able to find good laser metal cutting machines for sale that are used or find a used Epilog laser engraver for sale from someone who is upgrading. To find a laser engraver for sale, try looking around online and on popular forums such as the ‘cnczone’ forums.
6. You could go the diy laser engraver route. There are many different people out there who build diy engraver machines. You can find a whole bunch of tutorials online and a cult like following for people who are dedicated to the diy laser machine or cnc machine.
You should be able to find plans for a mini laser engraver or a small laser engraver, but for larger scale machines, the diy route may not be feasible due to specialized material and parts costs.
Conclusion on getting a laser engraver cutter
While there are a lot of different laser engraver machines for sale out there on the market today, it really depends on your own individual project and budget needs. Use some of the tips above to help you get started in getting a great laser engraver.