If you are looking for a laser etching machine, then look no further until you read our guide on the laser etching machine. Below are some solid tips and information on all the different parts of the laser etching machine and also what are the best machines to get for laser etching.
What are laser etching machines and what do they do?
Laser etching machines etch a a variety of different materials using a laser, which is commonly a CO2 laser. These are used in commercial use and a lot for the cnc hobbyist, as they can be custom made rather cheaply.
I have seen services that do laser etching plastic as well as laser etching glass, even laser etching stainless steel is not uncommon for plaques and awards.
What are the best laser etching machines?
The answer to this question all depends on what your project specifications are. Obviously, a good brand name that is affordable is always a good thing. I recommend having a browse at some of the following brands and then working your way from there, picking and choosing which aspects of each machine you will need.
Universal Laser Systems – These guys have as strong selection of 12 laser etching machines. From desktop (16″ x 12″ work space) to larger scale applications (48″ x 24″ work space), there is a solid assortment of engraving machines that are worth checking out here.
They even allow you to choose your desired laser power as well as available accessories such as back sweep and compressed air source. There are just too many machines here and too many applications here for me to recommend a great machine for you, so it is best to check out which one will best suit your needs.
Epilog – These guys also have a solid selection with their smaller ‘Zing Series’ to their larger ‘Legend Elite Series’. Their largest cnc laser cutter, the Epilog Legend 36EXT has a large 36″ x 24″, so not as large as the Universal Laser System’s largest laser machine, but still pretty big. Their smallest laser cnc engraving machine, the 16″ x 12″ work space Epilog Zing 16 makes for a great entry-level model.
Laser Marking Technologies – This company has a lot of larger scale laser cnc machines, in what they call their ‘Cobalt’ series. Definitely worth a look here to compare machines with a larger work space size.
Trotec – A solid range of about 9 laser machines. With a good mix between CO2 and Fiber lasers. They have smaller machines as well as larger machines. Their largest boasts an impressive work area of 59″ x 49″.
Most of the machines from the manufacturers above can be used as a glass laser etching machine or granite laser etching machine. A lot of these machines should be able to laser etch many different materials. The above four brands have a solid range of machines to look at and start from. Of course, there are many other brands out there with different models, so I will leave you to research more on that as we move onto other aspects of laser etching machines.
What features to look for?
Of course, work space size is not the only thing to look for. There are many important features that can make or break a machine. Below are some things that you should consider looking at when considering a new machine:
You will probably be using this kind of machine to etch, cut or engrave a whole range of different products. The possibilities are really endless with these kinds of machines, but you have to make sure that you get a machine that achieves a high resolution. Manufacturers like Epilog make sure their resolutions and quality are the same whether it is their smallest or their largest model.
Bottom line: Always check the resolution that the machine can output.
The software is probably one of the most important aspects. I’m not going to bore you here. You get what you pay for, but there are cheap alternatives. Use Inkscape (a free vector based open source program) for any vector based work and you can even use Linux or Ubuntu as a free operating system on your computer.
You should be able to convert files from Inkscape to DXF files for use on your laser glass etching machine, otr whatever machine you choose to get, pretty easily.
Of course, for more complex designs, and even 3d designs, there is a huge selection of 2d and 3d CAD/CAM software out there to use. Most machines will come with something already, but be sure to check how easy it is to learn as well as how much it will cost to upgrade in the future.
Laser etching machine prices and finding a laser etching machine for sale
Prices range depending on the size and quality of the machine. Smaller machines are obviously a lot cheaper. I can’t give you an exact price, as it depends on which machine and configuration you get.
A lot of manufacturers require you to consult first, as they do not generally have prices up on their websites. Smaller machines can go from $1,500 USD to upwards of $30,000 USD. You will also have to factor in any extra laser etching equipment that needs to go with the machine, such as computer hardware and software.
Trying to find an etching machine, 3d laser engraving machine or 3d laser etching machine for sale can be hard. It is hard to find any of these used. I would suggest looking for a re-certified or refurbished machine or one that does not have a top brand name if you wanted to save some money.
Of course, you can always go to a laser etching service to outsource the work to save money as opposed to investing in a machine yourself, if you think you will not make a good return on investment.
Use our guide above and check out some of the brands above to make sure you get the best laser etching machine out there to suit your individual project needs. With a bit of research and hunting around for different laser etching machines, you should be able to find one that will really be a wise investment for future projects.