How Much To Pay for A Laser Cutter For Sale

If you’re shopping around for a laser cutter machine, you’ve got a tremendous range of options, prices, and companies to choose from… I’ve highlighted a couple key considerations to bear in mind if you’re researching the market for a laser cutter for sale

Laser Cutter for Sale

Laser cutter machine prices vary widely depending on where you buy. You can expect to spend as little as $3000 for a low end no name Chinese import. A high quality laser might cost you as much as $20,000 or $30,000.

Now, if you’re just looking for a home laser cutter machine, there’s not much point to spending more than the minimum. On the other hand, if you want a laser for professional use, you really do have to sit down and figure out what you get for a bigger laser cutter price. After all, it’s no longer so much a question of money out of pocket as it is return on investment.

Finding a laser cutter machine for sale at an incredibly cheap price may actually cost you more than a name brand model if it breaks down or doesn’t do what you want… and don’t be confused by your materials, either. Even if you only want a laser cutter machine for paper, buying higher quality can still be worth it even if you barely need any power.

Why? The difference between a low power laser that’s only good for processing paper and a higher powered laser cutter machine for wood is usually just the laser tube. The mechanics are generally the same. Unless you’re considering DIY or finding a laser cutter on eBay, it may therefore still be worth while to look at the bigger ones.

So, what do you get when you buy a more expensive laser?

Spending more generally means you’re buying from the name brands. Companies like Boss Laser, Epilog, Eurolaser, Universal, and Trotec all charge more… but the systems they offer are, as a rule, much better engineered and much better supported. Some even offer fully modular designs, saving you tens of thousands of dollars if you decide you need a bigger working area but you’re OK with your current laser tube.

In short, they’re faster, higher resolution, more reliable, easier to use, and easier to get help with and get repaired.

Laser systems generally break down into three fundamental building blocks: the laser tube, the beam delivery system, and the positioning system.

The laser tube is at the heart of any laser system. Without a laser, you aren’t going very far. And while even cheap Chinese tubes use the now ubiquitous, maintenance free sealed RF-excited CO2 design, there are key differences between them and higher quality models.

Well engineered tubes can be run at full power for a long time. Cheaper models may mean having to keep a spare or two around in case you get an unexpected failure, or having to run at lower than rated power to preserve tube life. Either way, cheaper tubes mean you end up replacing the tube more often — that takes time, and may require alignment. (Aligning laser systems can be easy, or, with a poorly designed system, it can be a downright pain.)

The second most critical component in a laser engraver is the beam delivery system. The beam has to get from the laser tube — buried deeply in the machine, and hopefully kept nice and cool by a sophisticated air-circulation system — to the point on the material it’s supposed to engrave or cut. Low quality mirrors along the way cost you laser power unnecessarily, cutting the performance of a tube so you get less cutting or engraving ability than you paid for.

last part of the beam path is the most critical. There’s always at least one lens that focuses the CO2 laser beam into a tiny spot. This lens can double your effective laser power depending on the design. At the same time, this lens is also one of the few components that wear out over time. Eventually, dust and smoke particles from engraving and cutting fuse to the lens surface, dirtying it and eventually requiring you to buy a replacement. Better quality lenses last longer, and the best laser systems have air assist jets which ensure dust and smoke can’t find their way anywhere near the lens.

Once the laser beam is on target, it falls to the the positioning system to move it around so that the laser can cut and engrave. The positioning system is a high-precision X-Y movement, which operates under computer control. Cheaply made X-Y movements may have “slop,” and may use lower-resolution stepper motors and feedback devices.

The result is that a cheaper X-Y movement won’t let you engrave fine details nearly as precise, and will introduce errors into detailed graphics, smaller type font and drawings. This isn’t so much of an issue if you aren’t doing sophisticated graphics, or if you have the time and inclination to fiddle with things to get them right.

For a professional shop most laser cutters for sale under $3k wont be a good fit. Being able to place the beam precisely can be absolutely critical. It also helps that better designed movements last longer, as they’re designed to be less vulnerable to the smoke, fumes, and particles flying around the inside of the laser engraver during processing operations.

Close Up on the Laser Cutter Price

There are quite few different types of laser cutters, such as desktop laser cutters, CNC laser cutters, wood laser cutters and acrylic laser cutters.

Desktop Laser Cutter

A desktop laser cutter can sit right on your desk or a table, and it works just like any other type of small laser machine. You simply set up your laser cutter, water pump, exhaust, software and then scan an image to your computer. Next, just let the desktop laser trace the image’s pattern. The desktop laser cutter price is on the low end. Usually the price can be less than $3,500. Desktop laser cutter What makes most desktop laser cutters unique compared to professional or industrial sized laser cutters is cannot cut certain depths of material. As an example a 40W desktop laser engraver will mostly be used to engrave or etch and will cut up to 1/4″ wood. Most desktop cutters are typically designed to be used by small businesses or hobbyists.

CNC Laser Cutter

A CNC laser cutter or router price can be on the high end. Prices usually start at around $10k depending on the size and power capabilites. CNC machines can cut an route many different types of materials, such as stainless steel, mild steel and aluminium. This is one of the main differences between CNC laser cutters and desktop laser cutters. Products such as a metal gate or sheet metal are usually cut with a CNC laser cutter or fiber laser. Finished products are usually of very high quality and cutting things on a CNC laser cutter is very cost efficient.

Wood Laser Cutter

A wood laser cutter isn’t just for cutting wood but many refer to it that way. Prices are depending on the size and depth of wood needed to cut or engrave. Most sign companies use a laser cutter wide enough to process a sheet of plywood. And so it is designed to engrave designs into most types of wood which is good news if you need a specific type of wood for your project.

There are many different types of things you can cut using a wood laser cutter. Some of these things include wooden knick-Knacks, rubber band planes, rc boats and planes or basically any type of wood gear toy or model.

Acrylic Laser Cutter

Again, often referred this way but a CO2 laser cutter handles acrylic with ease. It can engrave and cut right through acrylic leaving very smooth, sharp edges. In fact acrylic is one of the best materials to process with a laser cutter. The laser cutter price again depends on your engraving or cutting space needed and the CO2 tube power along with the power supply. If you want to create just acrylic signs, letters, and gifts than minimal power will be necessary.

Laser Cutter Price

You may be wondering how much a laser cutter costs, but there are a few factors that play a major role in how much you will pay for a laser cutter. One of the main factors is the size and power of the laser cutter you need for your unique project or business. A desktop laser cutter tends to be less money than a CNC, or fiber laser cutter used for metal. Buying name brands may give you an easier to use machine but long term costs and replacement parts can’t be purchased on the open market. Expect to pay a premium for replacement parts.

Condition plays a big role in a laser cutter’s price. You can find scratch and dent units. I’ve found some very newer units at Boss Laser that only have minor dents in the cabinet for a great price.

The size and power of the machine will also play a role in price. The more powerful the machine is, the more money it will cost, and the bigger it is, the more it will be in general.

Not many people realize this but there are different types of lasers, which means that one laser cutter machine may have a stronger more powerful laser than another laser cutter machine, even if the machines are in the same category. For example, a 60W wood laser cutter will have a slower cutting and engraving speed compared to a 100W wood laser cutter. It is important to realize this because knowing what type of laser or knowing how much power (in the form of Watts) you need can help you determine the right machine you need based on the laser application or projects you need or want to perform.

Basically, prices can vary greatly. You can expect to pay anywhere from $300-$12,000 for a laser cutter, regardless of what type of laser cutter it is.

Laser Cutters For Sale

There are many different types of venues to research should you decide to buy a hobby or professional or industrial laser cutter. You can buy directly from manufacturers overseas, which is one of the MOST EXPENSIVE ways long term to buy laser cutter machine. Cheap can be expensive when it comes to laser machines. Nothing wrong with imported machines but from experience its best to purchase one through a U.S. company that already knows, understands, and warrants the machine. There are a lot of unknows when buying direct from China beginning with shipping, replacement parts, service (usually low quality and hard to understand) and CO2 tube power.

There are also U.S. retailers that sell all upper scale laser cutter machines where the price can
begin at $8,000 for a 30W machine. Realize that replacement parts can’t be purchased on the open market so like repairing a luxury car the same is true with buying from retailers like Trotec, Epilog, Universal, and other laser companies.

What They Don’t Tell You About a CNC Laser Cutter

Laser cutters are used to make precision cuts into materials such as wood, plastics, acrylic, metals, and glass, among other things. Laser cutter are used for a wide array of applications in a myriad of industries and specialty areas. However, these machines are most commonly used an industrial settings, whether it is paper laser cutting, metal laser cutting, laser etching or laser engraving.

CNC laser cutter

When the laser cutting machine first started the cutting process was manual, where the swivel arm had to be directed along a set path by a person. These days, the CNC machine, or a CNC laser cutter, makes the laser cutting process automated. The CNC laser cutter can be broken down into three main components, these are: a controller, the laser and the surface. The controller is the main entity of a CNC machine and it is usually a computer that is driven by purpose built software. The software that runs the entire unit is the most important part of the machine as it determines the material that the machine can cut, the speed of the cutting process and the temperature that the cut will take place at.

Is Epilog Laser Cutter Worth It?

There are a number of laser cutter machine manufactures out there. Which is why purchasing a good laser cutter could turn out to be a daunting task at best. The confusing process will lead most people toward going for the well-known higher priced name brands, like the Epilog laser cutter or even Trotec or Universal laser. The BIG negative that most buyers never realize until its too late come when its time to buy replacement laser parts. Just like the part prices for luxury cars are high the same can be said of name brand laser machine parts. Most of the replacement parts are proprietary and can be up to 10 times the cost compared to buying a machine where parts can be bought on the open market.

If you’re willing to pay for the above there is no doubt that Epilog Zing laser machines represent some of the best laser cutters on the market. If you have the money to spend on these machines, however, they are the better alternative to purchasing straight from China (not recommended regardless the price) or building your own DIY laser cutter.

Step Up to A Metal Laser Cutter

The metal laser cutter can be run by any of the three power sources, these are: C02, Nd (which stands for Neodymium) and Nd-YAG (which stands for Neodymium doped Yttrium Aluminum Garnet). The power source you use for your machine, firstly, depends on the type of machine you have, and secondly, depends on the thickness and durability of the metal you are going to put through the cutting process. Cutting with a metal laser cutter is the easier because there is not much that can go wrong with the cutting surface, unlike cutting with a wood laser cutter, plastic laser cutter, paper laser cutter or an acrylic laser cutter. Many industries use a fiber laser for its efficiency cutting sheet metal whereas a higher powered CO2 laser is better suited for metals over 5mm.

Home Laser Cutter

If you are looking to get into a laser cutting hobby you will want to look around for a smaller desktop home laser cutter. The engraving areas will be smaller in size than the industrial laser cutting machines, but can handle the cutting of just about any commercial material except for cutting metal. I recommend buying a laser cutter thats bigger than a 12×12″ engraving space…in other words if the laser cant cut a 12×12″ rectangle you will be too limited and will be upgrading in the near future. Most of the home laser cutter machines on the market are C02 powered, which means that these machines are meant for use in light scribing, etching and engraving and cutting up to 1/4″ wood.

Laser Cutters for Sale

When you are looking to buy your first laser cutter it is important to do your homework. Also, you may not want to go for a brand new cutter right from the start. If you are starting a new business or a new hobby, you will want to keep costs down. This is why going for a second hand laser cutter, or looking for laser cutters for sale, is your best bet. One thing to keep in mind, when going with a second hand cutter, however, is that they will not last forever. They are meant to get your business or hobby started before you decide to go with a new cutter for extended reliability.

Laser Etching Machine

A laser etching machine works in the same manner as a laser cutter. These machines are made up of the same components as the cutters (controller, laser and surface), and are run or powered by the gasses mentioned above. The only difference is that these machines’ lasers are applied at a lower heat setting so as not to completely cut the object being etched. Maintenance and calibration of these machines, especially the laser and the swivel arm, (and the software if you use a CNC machine) are of utmost importance, because anything wrong with any part of the machine can wreak havoc in your project and cost money if the machine etched too deep or too shallow.

What Can You Do With a Small Desktop Laser Cutter?

A laser cutter is generally used for laser cutting, wherein the user of the machine initiates the process of cutting an object or a piece of material. Laser cutting is used in many different industries around the world for industrial purposes, however, it is also very widely used by hobbyists and smaller businesses. The process starts with a controller, usually a computer that controls the laser’s speed and heat.

The controller of the laser cutter comes in both manual and automatic (which is called a CNC machine, where CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control).A CNC machine can work in two ways. The most common CNC machine has the laser attached to an automated arm that hovers over the object to be cut. The arm will guide the laser along a predefined path, cutting through the given material until the end product is achieved.

Desktop Laser Cutter

The second type of CNC machine keeps the laser in a stationary position and, instead, moves the material under the laser (with the laser being stationary). Both manual laser cutter machines as well as CNC machines, or automated machines, come in many different sizes and can cut into or through just about any type of material. Additionally, progress in the industry has brought 3D laser cutter machines to the market.

DIY Laser cutter

The best type of DIY laser cutter out there is the 3D laser cutter. 3D laser cutters work in the same way as the traditional type of laser, mentioned above. Like the traditional laser cutter machines 3D lasers are powered by one of three gases, C02, Nd (which stand for Neodymium), and Nd-YAG (which stands for Neodymium doped Yttrium Aluminum Garnet). C02 powered 3D lasers are the weakest of the bunch, which means they are the cheapest and the most popular. They cut through all materials including metal, wood and glass and can achieve low powered cuts with shallow etches. Nd and Nd-YAG 3d lasers are the most powerful, offering perfectly manicured edges and deep etches in projects that require high pulse control and extreme heat.

The biggest difference with 3D lasers and the traditional 2D laser cutter machines is that the 3D lasers are attached to a swivel arm that circles the material or object to be cut. These lasers can create perfect 3D images etched into any shaped glass, metal, wood, or plastic. 3D lasers are also most commonly used to create intricate ornaments and figurines out of a solid piece of material, like a block of wood.

Acrylic Laser Cutter

The power source that you use to power up your laser cutter depends on the type of material you are looking to cut into. While you can cut all types of material with the weakest laser, the C02 laser, there are certain materials that require a little more power. However, when it comes to the acrylic laser cutter you will want to treat the process in the same way you treat wood or plastic laser cutting. Wood, plastic, acrylic and heat do not go well together. Which is why you will want to keep the temperature of your acrylic laser cutter as low as possible. This is something you will want to keep an eye on, however, because if you set it too low you will end up with an untidy cut that does not make it through the material correctly (which could resemble a tear). On the other hand, if you turn the heat too high, you edges will get burned or melt away and wreck your project.

Laser Cutter Machine

There are 2 different types of laser cutter machines on the market, namely, the 2D and the 3D. The 3D laser cutter machine is used, typically, in the industrial arena. The technology has proven itself very handy for cutting rounded pipes and molding for houses, offices and other types of buildings. 3D laser cutting makes it possible for manufacturers to get a perfect cut and a perfect fit every time they need it, for just about any application.

Paper Laser Cutter

A paper laser cutter requires a very low source of power and is mostly used in the greeting card industry for scribing, etching, edging, perforating and grooving.

Laser Cutting Wood

When you are laser cutting wood you need to make sure that your processing speed is set high. However, the heat of the laser needs to be set low. There are some considerations to keep in mind however. If your processing speed is set too low you risk burning the edge of you cut wood, which will also happen if your temperature is set too high. On the other hand, if your temperature is set too low you will end up with uncut or untidy edges.

Cheap Laser Cutter

If you are new to the industry you will be looking for a small cheap laser cutter. There are a number of Chinese manufactures importing laser cutting machines that are marketed as being cheap, but in reality they are not. They may be less expensive in retail price, but they will cost you more in the long run due to shipping and customs fees as well as recurring maintenance costs and parts that they seem to always make you buy. I would strongly urge you buy a smaller desktop hobby laser thats imported through a US company who has already serviced and can added a tremendous value in support long term. You pay a little more but still a lot less than buying a laser cutter from a U.S. manufacturer.