Purchasing a laser engraver is a major decision for individuals and businesses. The machine is sophisticated and it uses an extremely powerful laser to do the engraving. It is like a 3D printer and can perform the work efficiently. Therefore, there are certain factors you need to consider before making a purchase.
With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to determine which machine is right for you. In this article, we will help you understand how to choose the right laser engraver.
What is a laser engraver and how it works?
As the name suggests, it is a digitally controlled device that engraves patterns on materials. It is a method of subtractive manufacturing that uses a laser to alter the surface of an object. This process is primarily used to create images on the material that are striking at eye level.
To achieve this effect, the machine uses a laser to generate intense heat to evaporate the particles on the material for engraving. This will expose the cavities in the material, creating the final image. Laser marks the surface of an object. You might want to watch this video to learn how a laser engraver works.
This method is very fast because the design is created as the laser moves. Additionally, the frequency at which the lasers move over the engraved object determines the depth of the marks they create.
There are many types of laser engravers. One has a stable workpiece where the laser moves alone (or vice versa). Some machines are designed for cylindrical items. There are also machines where the workpiece and the laser do not move, but some galvanometers move the laser on the surface of the object while engraving.
Laser engraving is different from mechanical or other traditional hand engraving methods. Mechanical machines are used to mechanically carve materials like diamonds and extremely hard objects. But laser machines use heat energy from a laser.
The machine has strong versatility, high precision and fast speed. Compared with the traditional manual method, the laser method makes the effect quite delicate. It has more advantages that make it a good alternative to traditional and other methods.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Laser Engraving Machine
Here are the factors to consider when purchasing an engraving machine.
1. Types of carving materials
The materials you use will determine which laser engraving machine to buy. There are various materials for carving. They include metal, acrylic, paper, plastic and wood. Not every piece of equipment is suitable for all types of materials. So choose one that is compatible with your artifact.
Also, the area to be engraved is also important. Some devices work on large areas, while others only work on small areas. Also, you need to decide whether you want to use the machine for home DIY or professional use.
Spending this much money is not a good decision when you want a machine for personal and family use. However, if you want to use it for your business, it is worth investing in a device with the best efficiency and performance and powerful laser power.
There are many factors that affect machine accuracy. Here are the most prominent ones:
In general, square devices are more accurate than compass types.
The more powerful the spindle of a device, the more accurate it will be.
The level of proficiency and technique used by the technicians in assembling the machine determines its accuracy. Better running machines will have higher accuracy.
The device has two transmission modes: rack drive and screw drive. The drive type affects the accuracy of the machine. Generally, screw drives have a higher precision class than rack drives.
This is a key factor to consider when buying a machine. You need to know how often your equipment requires maintenance. You also need to check if it is something you can do yourself or you will have to hire a technician.
Knowing whether a piece of equipment is easy to repair or maintain can be complicated. It can even cause downtime for your business. In case of difficulty, you may need the assistance of a technician, which will incur additional costs. So look for equipment that is easy to repair and maintain.
4. Replacement parts
You'll want to check that the unit has replacement parts readily available in case something breaks down. No matter what you buy, it's a machine, and it's going to break down one day.
Also, no matter how meticulous you are, there will come a time when you will need to replace certain parts. So make sure you have easy access to the parts, otherwise you'll be waiting months for them to reach you.
5. Your budget
This is one of the most important factors when buying an engraving machine. This is because your budget dictates the type of machine you can buy. While the price of a machine should not determine its quality, your budget is an important decision factor.
If you want a device that can engrave on different materials, you should expect to spend a lot more. There may be cheaper options, but they can use more energy and electricity and get expensive over time. So, make sure to take these factors into account when setting your budget.
Prices for engravers vary. Factors that affect its price include laser type, engraving material, engraving area and laser power.
What can you do with a laser engraver?
You can use the device on almost any type of surface - glass, leather, wood, plastic or metal. You also get a variety of engraving materials. Also, it is very effective compared to traditional methods for smaller objects such as jewelry.
Additionally, there is little chance of the material being deformed or damaged, and you can apply the technique to fields as diverse as fine arts and medicine. There are many industrial applications for this device, but you can still use it at home. An example of a home engraver is a CO2 laser system. You connect it to your computer's USB port and it works just like your home printer.
You can use this device in the following industries:
Advertising: Engraving two-color boards, acrylic, signs, crystals, trophies, authorization letters, etc.
Glass: pre-engraved sandblasting film, shadow, glass background wall, glass screen, etc.
Marble: Engraving images and creating decorative paintings (engraving, then hand-painting, then framing).
Jewellery: Gold carving and making of jade and gold pendants.
Handicrafts: Carve text and exquisite patterns on shells, marble, leather, bones, ivory, bamboo, wood, etc.
Leather garments: engraving complex text and graphics on fur, fabric, artificial leather, and synthetic leather. Engraving on clothing, gloves, home decor, hats, shoes, handbags, cars and toys.
Packing: lettering plastic board, die-cutting board, double-layer board, plastic board, etc.
Models: Make aircraft models, architectural sand table models, etc.
Benefits of Using a Laser Engraver
A major benefit of this method of engraving is that the laser beam does not physically touch the material. Instead, it relies on the heat generated by the laser to get the job done. This method is called a non-contact method.
This gives it an advantage over traditional methods because it does not leave tool marks that can eventually damage or deform the surface of the machined part or material. The laser targets only a portion to vaporize, leaving the surrounding area untouched.
The device focuses on user and consumer safety. Since it replaces manual methods involving the use of hazardous chemicals, the device prevents workers from operating in such conditions. It works together with the computer; therefore, you can operate it from a distance.
3. Environmental protection
Since no chemicals are used, lasers are environmentally friendly compared to other methods. It achieves this not only during the sculpting process, but at the end of the process as well. It leaves a small amount of waste as a large part is evaporated. Unlike hazardous waste, the waste left by lasers is usually in the form of dust particles.
4. High efficiency
The process is so efficient that you can switch between different materials and depths to get different results. It also works well when you consider maintenance costs and longevity as they are lower than traditional methods.
Some recent equipment can do engraving and marking at the same time. The two are very similar, but the marker marks the surface; it doesn't go deep. You may want to check out our list of the best laser engravers to see which one is right for your business or personal use.