Popular Laser Engraving Machines for Sale

X -Y rails for metal engraverIf you’re looking for a laser engraver or cutter you probably already have an ideas as to what materials you want to laser etch or engrave. In many cases the type of material you want to process will dictate the type of laser machine for sale you research. For example if you’re only interested in cutting or engraving small 12×12″ pieces of wood, acrylic or other organic material – than a desktop size hobby laser engraver may all you practically need.

Depending on the type and thickness generally wood engraving does not require a lot of power. The same holds true with most acrylic or plastics. The power for the laser becomes critical when you need to cut through deep material. If speed is not an issue than you can cut through material by commanding the laser software to make a second pass cutting through the material.

On the flip side if you’re looking at an industrial sized laser to process metal such as stainless, soft steel, aluminum, brass, titanium, silver, copper, and other alloys check out fiber laser technology.  Whether that be cutting, marking, or engraving stainless steel or aluminum then you can still us a much higher powered CO2 laser cutter but it doesn’t have the wall plug efficiency that Fiber has.   A fiber laser will both engrave and cut with more efficiency and focused power compared to CO2 laser technology. The spot size for fiber is much smaller and capable of cutting through material without that much power.  A popular laser cutter manufacturing company in the USA that offers affordable engraving machines is Boss Laser but there are other options if you want to spend more money and not concerned about price.

One other thing to realize is that if you only need to mark the surface of the material and not remove or etch into the substrate than you can use a co2 laser to mark most metals that do not have a highly reflective surface through the use of treating the surface with a compound called Thermark or Cermark. This compound after treated to the surface of the metal will bond to the metal leaving a permanent mark. Many part suppliers are looking for a CO2 laser engraver sales for just that reason. Also, you can find co2 marking help here:

By |April 23rd, 2017|engrave|1 Comment

Laser Etching History

laser engraved product(image from exactbuilt.com)
Laser technology has a 30 year history of using co2 power as an engraving tool across an ever growing list of materials.  In that time span, there have been massive improvements in how the machines work to improve the quality of output — and the price has dropped a lot too.

Laser engraving machinery used to be a curiosity seen only in labs and high-end facilities; now CO2 lasers are both wallet and user friendly.  There are even 3D laser engraving machines that create floating 3D images at the push of a button.

Laser Technology Background

Lasers first appeared in labs in the late 1950s.  Between 1953 and 1955, teams led by Charles Townes in the US and Aleksandr Prokhorov in the Soviet Union produced a remarkable device called the “maser.”  Leading physicists of the time claimed it violated the laws of physics and could not work.

By 1959 a Columbia graduate student named Gordon Gould described the “laser” as we know it today.  When Gould filed for a patent, the US patent office turned him down and in 1960 gave the patent to Bell Labs instead.  Now of course, none of them had actually built a laser yet… that honor went to Theodore H. Maiman, whose 1960 ruby laser design took just a little tuning before it could punch holes in metal.

And the laser business was just getting started!

The first laser engravers used a stencil to mask out the beam of a super-high-powered laser.  This was not much of an improvement over acid etching, and carried the key downside requirement of a hulking and phenomenally expensive laser.

The second generation machines were a little better, using a photosensor to scan black and white artwork. They were very much the optical heirs of the engraver’s pantograph. Unfortunately, laser systems were still at the point where they required skilled maintenance on a regular basis. That changed with the introduction of sealed CO2 laser tubes and RF laser excitation.

The combination of sealed glass tubes and RF metal tubes with excitation changed the engraving industry.  Sealed tubes were largely maintenance free and lasted a very long time.  See 40 and 150w laser tubes for sale here.  Combined with Peter Laakman’s RF excitation technology, it was now possible to make lasers that packed tremendous power into a very small package at an extremely low price.  That’s precisely what Laakman did, eschewing the $25,000 “fair market” price that was common at the time and instead selling his systems for $6000 directly to the engraver market in 1988 — taking over the market and making himself a fortune.


Engraving has never been the same since.

Laser Engraving Machine Advantages

Engravers almost immediately discovered the advantages that a laser offered. By engraving with a beam of light instead of tools, there’s no tooling to get dull or wear down.  There are no lateral forces on the work, which prevents damage and deformation. Laser engraving also has none of the frequently replenished consumables of other methods — at most, the optic must be changed every once in a while due to smoke build up.

Compared with other engraving techniques, laser engraving machine marks are permanent, concise, and clean.  They’re also much faster and more convenient than traditional engraving, with much less time to change a design and far fewer limits on material and product.

Laser Engraving By Computer

Computers have had a dramatic effect to laser engraving.  With a computer, it became possible to draw designs on a PC graphics program and then simply print or feed to an engraving machine with little to no intermediate steps.  Eventually, lasers became compatible with industry standard software and graphics formats, so users had the freedom to choose their design package of choice.  The software used to drive a laser became much more user friendly as well.

Today’s computer driven laser systems are very easy to use. The engraver is connected to the computer as if it were a printer.  Some specialized software is installed on the computer, which (in larger shops) is usually dedicated to the laser. Vector graphics or illustrations are generated using a suitable program on the PC, and then sent to the engraving system with a ‘print’ command.

The relevant speed, power, and resolution controls are either edited using the driver software on the computer or with the laser’s front panel controls.  Most lasers do not require the newest and fastest computers to run, as the computational demands are minimal.  If you have any doubts, the laser manufacturer can help you choose a computer that will work best with your system.

Laser Safety

Lasers are an extremely intense light source classified as a source of radiation by the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH).  As their use in cutting and engraving organic materials might suggest, you do not want to put your hand in the way of a laser beam. Both manufacturers and users of laser systems have certain regulations to comply with.

Manufacturers have to build safe equipment, appropriately decorated with warning labels.  Users have to understand the hazards and proceed with suitable caution.  Users should also be aware of possible fire hazards associated with vaporizing wood using a ray of heat. Having a fire extinguisher close at hand is a good way to protect your laser investment should a combustion event occur.

The laser also uses high voltage internally.  To avoid problems, it’s best to be mindful of this when doing any maintenance or work nearby.

Lastly, a laser engraving system requires good ventilation.  To ensure a pleasant breathing environment for users of the laser as well as any visitors or neighbors, be sure to install a good exhaust system.  The laser may have specific requirements in this regard.  If so, expect the necessary blower to be louder, bigger, and more expensive than those you may be used to — and for good reason.

When working with certain materials and laser processing the fumes produced can both damage the laser optics as well as the lungs of the user.  Therefore, it is essential to understand just what happens when you laser process a particular material.  Caution is an excellent watchword and the original manufacturer’s recommendations are generally a great guide.

Laser Applications

Laser engraving equipment today is very versatile.  Many industries make use of lasers.  For engravers, common uses of their laser might be:
– Plaques and awards
– Labels
– Advertising specialty items
– Tags
– Craft items
– Signs
– Stationery and greeting cards
– Scrapbooks
– Stencils
– Flexible circuits
– Gaskets
– Gift items
– Rubber stamps
– Woodworking
– Photography and picture frames
– Memorabilia and point of sale displays

For laser engraver reviews you can see Epilog, Trotec, Universal,  Full Spectrum Laser, Laguna Tools, or even review CamFive.

By |September 6th, 2014|engrave|0 Comments

Higher Education Utilizing Laser Cutters

Back in my day, during high school we attended shop class and learned how to use basic wood working tools to carve and cut wood with instruments and hand tools.  Today its amazing to see more and more schools, universities, and other tech schools and even libraries take advantage of laser cutting machines.  The reality is that laser cutters for schools  and educational institutions is growing in popularity.  It offers students the ability to work with graphics programs and laser technology in a simple and typically safe environment.

You wouldn’t think of laser cutters being found in libraries but we’re finding it more and more prevalent inside of more and more libraries and learning institutions open to the general public.  Of course there is money to be made but the benefit is that for as little as $20 an  hour you can rent a CO2 laser engraver or cutter as opposed to paying tens of thousands.

Most industries today could probably make use of  a laser machine in some way shape or form regardless of what niche their business serves.  “Most people and industries are still not aware of the benefits of laser machinery”, says Jackson a service tech at Boss Laser.   “They may have heard or even seen a laser but since they’ve really only become popular within the last decade for small business and hobbyist most still dont understand the technology.

High schools and Universities are well aware of the learning benefits of these machines.  Not only do students learning the mechanics but they also get to learn how to utilize a graphics program that interfaces with the machine.  One such company Boss Laser says the great thing with laser machines is that the learning occurs while the students are having fun.

As an example today, Rice University recently purchase large platform laser cutters and have been able to rent to students on an ongoing basis.  If students want to stay on top of modern industry and technology laser cutting is going to have to become more and more part of our learning curriculum. We can teach it in theory but practicing and working with laser cutting technology will win them over for life.