Today, I want to share with you some of the most popular items you can typically find on the market, and what to expect when buying them.
By far, one of the most popular items sold in the laser engraving space is wineware, primarily glasses or metal tumblers. You'll find a variety of styles, shapes, and prices, but most are vacuum-sealed - double insulated types of drinkware for hot or cold beverages.
A few things to avoid are drinkware with foam bottoms as much as they use screws to hold the inner and outer layers together. Sometimes your screws can get rusty, so try to avoid those if possible, otherwise, most tumblers on the market will do just fine for your needs.
Coasters made of stone, marble and even cork also seem to be very popular items that people like to buy. I make a lot of these myself for businesses to resell to clients. They are easy to make with a laser, and generally, a laser engraving business should be able to engrave your business logo or monogram with your last name.
I tend to do a lot of these with stone, but be aware that stone is not always perfectly flat so there may be some blemishes, although it does a good job of keeping the table from getting wet.
In most cases, you should expect a price point of $10-30.
Keychains can also be made with most lasers if the business knows how to make templates and designs. You'll find them mostly made of wood with metal key rings, they range in size from 1 inch to 4 inches, and come in different shapes, round, rectangular, etc.
Because of their size, they're a little more difficult to manufacture, and it's more expensive to buy "one-off" than to mass-produce them.
Pricing generally ranges from $2 to $6, and if you can, I recommend sticking to basic shapes like circles, which are more popular than the others I've made here.
Maps where you live tend to be the best sellers, at least for my business here. You'll find them in all sizes and even layers, and for anywhere from $20 to $300 or more, depending on what you like.
The most popular ones right now are the smaller 8" x 10" that I mostly offer, people love them because they make great decorations in someone's home or office.
12" x 16" is the second most popular size with an average price of about $85.
I recommend you use a road map to look for them as they are easy to identify compared to a terrain style map and make sure it is painted or stained.
I know some companies offer limited edition maps, meaning they will only make a select number of maps and then stop, I do this with some of my maps.
I also get a lot of requests to engrave items like guns, knives or metal objects.
The thing to remember is that not all lasers are created equal, in fact there are 3 types of lasers and they all function very differently.
Diode lasers, like the ones you see advertised on social media, are low powered, typically between 2 and 10 watts, and are mostly used for engraving balsa wood, maybe some plastic or leather.
CO2 lasers are more powerful and can engrave and sometimes cut things, ranging from 10 to 120 watts. These industrial style lasers will be the most common type found in shops, and they can cut and engrave just about anything, except metal.
Fiber lasers, designed to do all of the above, can also engrave metal, although they are the most expensive to purchase and are found in about 36 percent of engraving shops.
Some other requests I get are to engrave tiles, bricks, and sometimes glass, depending on the job.
You'll find that most laser engraving shops will take you for custom work, and the ones that can't tell you either because they don't have the right equipment or they don't have the time to do it.
Custom work will also be much more expensive to produce, so I recommend that if you want to customize something, try to make it in bulk, like Christmas decorations.