For some a desktop CO2 laser cutter is a means to simply engrave or cut basic materials to serve their personal artistic hobbies. The output is typically very good in terms of engraving detail. For another group who professionally deal in wood work, the laser cutter for wood applications is very useful in their profession. In this case quiet a bit of time and research goes into acquiring the laser itself as well as investigating the company behind the laser. Now, if I were to recommend anything to someone researching the laser market: Don’t just look at the laser itself – look at the company and their support. So, read old and new reviews, talk to their support, ask how long they have been in business. Like my mom used to say, “An ounce of pevention is worth a pound of cure.” It only takes a little time to review the company behind the product.
Uses of the Desktop CO2 Laser Machine/Cutter
People utilize laser cutters to cut materials quickly and cleanly. Items such as fabric, leather, acrylic, plastic, and wood are common for co2. Although you can’t cut metal with a co2 wavelength due to the reflectivity of the metal. You can use them to cut and engrave organic products though. Other materials that you can use with the machine include Corian, rubber, cardboard, foam, cork, stone and synthetics. It’s also possible to cut a small DIY puzzle or model from a piece of wood using the laser cutter for wood. Depending on the chosen machine, you may need to hold your materials when working.
Benefits of the Laser Cutter for Wood
The Laser Machine/Cutter comes in various sizes and this means that both individuals and businesses can make use of them. The people who use the machines are drawn from different industries. You can use the machines with just a little education, some patience and protective equipment. Whether you are a hobbyist or a professional, you can use the machine to cut and engrave different materials and this is a plus because you will not have to buy a new one for all the materials. They output from the job is usually impressive with intricate details and shading. You can cut plastic and acrylic into different shapes such as attractive snowflakes. The machines are ideal for cutting decorative materials such as brick, marble, granite or ceramic to create intricate artwork to serve as an outdoor mural or kitchen back splash.
Laser cutters can make things much easier for people who like to engage in leather work or fabric design creatives. You can create some of the moist beautiful pillows and make varsity letters and numbers from scratch using the laser cutters. You can make merit badges for your kids as well with the lasers. Once a person gets used to using the machine they can go a step further and engrave on glass or mirrors to make party favors or nice gifts. Skilled users can make their own awards and models, do 3D engraving and engrave on round services.
Where to Buy a CO2 Laser Machine
High end machines like Epilog are impressive and can design and produce in good detail. But, consider that top end machines may be more than what you actually need. After learning of all the benefits of the desktop CO2 laser machine, one might naturally want to buy it and start working. At this point, many people are taken back since they don’t know where to get a decent machine. Do not look at Ebay for buying any laser cutter. The price can allure you but don’t give Ebay or Chinese lasers a second thought. Its far better buying a machine from an online USA shop or a regional or local retailer. Regardless of the shop you choose, you should buy through US based companies and not from overseas online sellers. Staying home is best since you will not have to deal with issues such as time difference, lack of competent support and a poor quality machine. The above problems are common for people who buy the desktop CO2 laser machines directly.
When looking to buy a laser wood cutter, you should avoid low end, sketchy outfits that are normally characterized by loose operations, few employees and shoddy machines. Buy from a US based company with a good reputation and ongoing support system that you can verify. It should also have a good option for refunds, good tech support and warranty. Buying directly may not offer you those options. Some foreign companies do not have legal documents for operations and often land into trouble with the law causing delays to their customers. Reading reviews should help you come up with a good company to use. Its wise to consider user reviews from multiple sources before buying any equipment. For example you can check out CAM Five reviews as a resource for fabric cutting machines or Full Spectrum Laser for smaller laser machines.
How to buy the correct Desktop CO2 Laser Cutter
Consider Overall Utility and Price
To truly benefit from a desktop CO2 laser cutting machine, there will be a need to invest heavily up front and not just money…you need support who has expertise in operating, troubleshooting, and maintaining the machine. Against this background, you should be very sure of how you are going to be using the laser cutter for wood. Most modeling jobs require the laser cutter to have 40 Watts. If you need more cutting power and speed, you can go for the 50 to 60 Watt laser. You, should, however, be ready to pay more for the more powerful machine. The materials that you will be using on the machine matter as well. It is important to choose wisely as your needs may change over time.
Using the right software is important if you are using laser cutting. The software interfaces with your graphic design software and hobby laser cutter. Although some machines offer an interface that also acts as a graphics software as well. It is, therefore, important that you get a capable interface that can work with the best graphics programs in the market – or the one you use. Some companies just offer their customers drivers for the programs with no interface to use as they work. On the other hand, again other companies will also offer you an interface to use so that you will not have to make your design in a separate graphics application. Some of the more popular graphics applications available include Photoshop, AutoCAD, and CorelDRAW.
Size of Engraving Area
The engraving area is the part you will use for cutting and defines or limits the size of material you can cut as well as the parts/models that you can make. In most cases, a cutter will have a larger materials area as compared to the cutting area. This is however, relevant only if you want to etch designs or photographs into plastic, or blocks of wood. You should look at the workable area if you want to build models or parts. There are variations according to brands and you should get the largest according to the price that fits your budget. Most hobbyists go for 14″ x 15″ space.
The CO2 Laser Tube
Another consideration to have in mind is the Desktop CO2 Laser Machine/Cutter which is like the heart of the machine. This is where everything happens and people measure its power in watts. While having more watts is important, you should give importance to the make and quality of the CO2 Laser Tube. Since it does most of the work, it wears out fast. You should, therefore, choose the laser wood cutter with the sturdiest CO2 laser and you will use it for a long time without any problems. Lasers that entail more wattage will also make it possible for you to cut denser and thicker material. They cut with additional precision as well.