Buying a laser cutter in the US and other parts of the world can be demanding, especially for first-time buyers. You must understand the type of materials you are engraving, know what laser you can afford, and find a company that offers training and technical support for their machines. Below are five tips for buying the right laser engraving machine.
1. Consider Your Budget
Acquiring a laser engraving machine made in the USA that you can not afford will leave you in long-term debt. Your budget is a determining factor in the size and model of the laser machine you can purchase. While the cost of the device does not indicate its quality, your budget is only a significant decision-making factor.
If you are looking at owning a laser cutting machine that can engrave on various materials, you should expect to spend a little extra money. There may be less expensive options, but they may not come with a complete package, or they may consume more energy and power, making them much more expensive to maintain.
2. The Type of Materials You Are Engraving
Engravers working with metals, stainless steel, plastics, wood, leather, glass, etc., will need different laser engraving machines. For instance, an engraver that needs to cut thicker materials should opt for a CO2 laser since it delivers faster initial piercing times when compared to Fiber lasers.
You should also consider the area you are working on since some engraving machines can work on large spaces while other laser cutters can only work on smaller areas. Depending on your needs—professional or personal—it would be a bad idea to purchase a professional laser cutter instead of a hobby engraving machine for personal use and vice-versa.
3. The Level of Accuracy
After looking at your budget and knowing the type of machine you want to purchase. Different factors influence the accuracy of an engraving machine, including the following:
Square laser engraving machines are proven to be more accurate than compass types.
- The more the spindle power of a laser cutter, the more accurate it will be.
- The process a technician uses when manufacturing the machine determines its accuracy.
4. Laser Maintenance
This is a crucial factor to consider when purchasing an engraving machine. You need to know whether maintaining the laser engraving cutter is something you can do by yourself or hire an expert technician. It is a total waste of money, time, and effort to buy an engraving machine that you will discard a few years from when you made a purchase.
Many people focus more on the price of an engraving machine than its quality, cost of ownership, and longevity. Consider buying a laser cutter as a long-term investment, not a quest for the cheapest device on the market. Weigh the actual cost of a laser not just by the cost of ownership but over its total working lifetime, which should be about ten years for a good laser.
5. Look at Company’s Support Guarantees
When choosing a company to purchase laser engraving machines from, it is important to go with an organization offering high-quality laser systems, excellent training, and accessible technical support for their customers.
If you are in the United States, buying a laser engraving machine made in the USA should be a priority. Speaking at her interview with SA Laser, Amanda, a satisfied trainee who spent only 4 days acquiring laser engraving skills, said, “it was really important to me to have a US-based laser company, that way, they will be with me throughout my process.”
SA Lasers is the leading laser machine manufacturer and trainer in San Antonio. Amanda went ahead to share how she gathered the skill at SA Lasers to engrave on various material types.
Whether through calls, live chat, emails, or even on-site, ensure that your chosen laser company has reliable technical support available if something is wrong or needs troubleshooting by having someone who can answer your questions efficiently.
After figuring out your budget, customer support, and all the important properties you need from your device, you should go ahead and look at the engraving machines’ relevant specs. If you are working with metals or reflective surfaces, you need to get a fiber laser cutting machine. However, if you work with nonmetals, go for CO2 laser engravers.