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Laser Engraving Equipment: A Complete Buyer’s Guide


When planning to take a business to the next level, nothing can get the job done like laser engraving. From adding details to metal or even signatures to wood, these extra touches can take a business and its products to the next level. However, before adding specialty touches, a business must find the right equipment for the job. This buyer’s guide will help business owners find the best equipment for their company.

What is Laser Engraving?

Before purchasing laser engraving equipment, it is important to understand what laser engraving is. The art of engraving has been around for many centuries. Even in early human history, there are stones and pottery that have designs engraved into them for decoration or even identification.

Engraving is basically the art of etching a design into another material. Intricate designs were created by slowly chiseling details into the chosen materials. In the middle of the 15th century, artisans would engrave designs or even pictures on metal to print designs on paper.

Today, engraving is used for a variety of materials to create many different designs or styles. With laser engraving machines, these designs are more precise and intricate. The designs are also easier to put where needed without taking days, weeks, or even months to create one piece.

Laser engraving simplifies the process. Users can simply create the image or words to be engraved and have the laser cut it directly into the material. This process allows users to create an array of artwork with little more work than pushing a button. Upon completion, users have a clean and beautiful engraved item.

The actual process of laser engraving is non-contact. Users use software to create the image they want engraved and then place the material to be engraved within the machine. An optic assembly then moves over the surface of the material in a sweeping motion to create the image. The laser is focused and precise to create the exact image that was designed in the software on the material using the intense heat of the laser.

Not only will the laser create the exact image desired, but it will also engrave the image at the precise depth the user enters. This precision ensures a perfect image without going too deep and damaging the material.

When planning to purchase this equipment for a business, business owners should consider the various aspects of the type of work they will be doing. Knowing what exactly is needed to be performed by the equipment will help greatly in choosing the best machine or machines to get the job done.

What Materials will be Engraved?

The type of material to be engraved should be considered when deciding on a system. If planning to cut metal items, a more powerful laser may be necessary. A lower-wattage laser tube may be necessary if planning to use the machine for paper or cardboard.

If planning to use a higher-wattage laser, other considerations are needed. The higher-wattage tube will allow for increased speed and efficiency in producing engraved items on heavier materials. However, a stronger cooling system will also be necessary.

Some plastics also emit harmful fumes while being engraved. If this is the case, a more powerful extraction system may be necessary. Business owners may also need to consider a better fume filtration system with their machines.

The size of the material is almost as important as the type of material. If planning to engrave smaller items, then a smaller system will accommodate those needs. However, if planning to engrave larger items, a larger bed will be needed to hold those materials. Spherical objects to be engraved may require a rotary attachment to ensure precision when engraving around the object.

What is the Budget for the Equipment?

Budget can be a major factor when considering the best equipment. Engraving machines are not cheap. Small hobby engravers can cost about $2800, while more professional systems average about $7800. Added equipment and designs can increase that price dramatically. For those working with a smaller budget, refurbished machines may be an option.

When planning for a new system, business owners should also factor in costs for maintenance and repairs over the lifetime of the unit. Ensuring the new system comes with a warranty can help with unexpected issues with the system. However, proper maintenance is a must to ensure the system lasts its lifetime.

Software and Training

When dealing with a reputable company, the software will be included in the purchase order. Many companies will also provide the setup and installation of the software to ensure it is ready to go. The company may even provide training materials or offer personal staff training. However, there may be other software products that could help with the process.

Even though the system will provide software to use the system, it may not offer much in the way of design options. Fortunately, there are a variety of software products available to help. For example, CorelDraw and Adobe Illustrator offer a plethora of design tools to create the perfect image for any product.

Training is also necessary when first installing a laser engraving system. Lasers can be destructive and dangerous. In addition, these systems are quite expensive. Improper training can lead to serious damage to the system as well as potential injuries to workers.

All safety protocols should be reviewed, and proper procedures followed with every use of the system. Providing thorough training on the machine, as well as basic laser safety training can be beneficial for the business.

Other Considerations

There are a variety of other considerations business owners should review before making this purchase. For example, these machines can be quite large and in various shapes. There should be room to place the system as well as room to disassemble and reassemble when necessary.

Ensuring there is room for the extraction or filtration systems as well as space for the computer and the users of the system. Some of these systems can be quite heavy as well. The flooring should be able to support that weight.

Before buying, business owners should also determine if the system comes with shipping and installation. These are valuable services that can be quite costly if not included. Speaking with the company directly can help identify any additional costs early to prevent future surprises.

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