Laser cutting machines, or laser engravers as they are often called, are popular customization machines that are versatile, powerful, precise, and ideal for cutting, engraving, etching, or other marking applications.
Modern laser engraving machines are grand tools for anyone from the hobbyist to the professional artisan. The ease of use matches how you use your printer, except you can make intricate and delicate designs to cut/engrave/etch on glass, metal, plastic (acrylics), wood, and other materials.
|Orion Motor Tech|
|Happybuy 80W CO2 Laser Engraving Machine|
|Qiilu 1500mw Laser Engraving Machine Mini|
|TEN-HIGH Upgraded Version CO2 40W|
|Mophorn Laser Engraving Machine 80W CO2|
- 1 The Best 5 Laser Engraving Machines
- 2 Choosing the Right Laser Engraving & Cutting Machine
- 3 How Laser Engraving is Used
- 4 Things to Consider When Choosing a Laser Engraving Machine
- 5 Starting a Laser Engraving Business
- 6 Sectors Where Laser Engraving Services are Most Needed
- 7 Products & Services for Your Laser Engraving Business
- 8 Guide for Choosing the Right Laser Engraving and Cutting Machine
The Best 5 Laser Engraving Machines
Orion Motor Tech Review
If you’re a detail-oriented laser engraving business, this Orion is suitable for engraving on a wide range of materials.
Orion Motor Tech Features:
- Power: 50W
- Engraving Area: 500 x 300 mm (12” x 20”)
- Communications Interface: USB or communications control board
- Image Resolution: Up to 4500 DPI
- Speed Max: 500mm/s
- System Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, 8, 2000, 10 (No iOS)
- Software Compatibility: RDworks/Corelaser (included), Auto CAD, CorelDraw
- Graphics Formats: All popular graphic formats – JPEG, GIF, BMP, TIFF, etc.
The user-friendliness of this Orion laser engraving and cutting machine is one reason it’s so popular. It’s fast and precise with a max speed of 50mm/s, depending on the thickness and kind of material you’re engraving. It easily connects to your laptop via USB for working with graphics and monitoring projects.
This engraver isn’t suitable for metal, but it will mark on treated metals and easily cuts and engraves on plastic, paper, wood, crystal, film, stone, and leather. This machine can focus on the small details since it can engrave characters as small as 1 mm x 1 mm.
Should this engraver be your choice of investment, the package includes:
- The Engraver
- Water Pump
- Water Hoses
- Air Compressor
- Power Cord
- USB Cable and Dongle Key
- Software CD
- Ventilation Fan and Tube
- Laser Tube
- Bearings and Belts
- Accessories: Tube of silica gel, network cable, double-faced tape, and Allen wrenches
This laser engraver offers quality engraving options and features to create excellent products. The even cuts lower the hassle of laser engraving and the quiet water pump allows you to use this machine in smaller spaces.
Happybuy 80W CO2 Laser Engraving Machine Review
While this Happybuy CO2 laser engraving and cutting machine is considered a starter engraver for do-it-yourselfers, it is more powerful than others similar to it. This is primarily a commercial engraver, but it’s also ideal for a business or workshop.
This model has powerful features like these:
- Power: 80W
- Engraving Area: 20” x 28”
- Communications Interface: USB
- Image Resolution: 1000 DPI
- Speed Max: 1000mm/s
- Software Compatibility: RDworks, CorelDraw, AutoCAD, etc.
- Graphics Formats: All popular graphic formats – JPEG, GIF, BMP, TIFF, etc.
This laser engraving machine allows you to work with wood, crystal, rubber, leather, glass, marble, bamboo, plexiglass, and other like materials. Since the engraving area is rather large at 20” x 28”, you can work on small to larger pieces.
Since this machine is pretty heavy, it has wheels on its base to improve its mobility.
Due to the high 1000 DPI resolution, it’s capable of producing exceptional image quality and allows for advanced options to provide shaded and colors on engraved images.
What’s in the box? This product includes the laser machine, USB cable, tubes, Allen wrenches, adjustable clamps, and user manual.
This is an affordable commercial grade laser engraving and cutting machine for artisans and businesses. It is reliable, easy to use, and offer compatibility with the popular graphics software to make creating designs, logos, images, and text easy.
Qiilu 1500mw Laser Engraving Machine Mini Review
If you’re looking for an ultra-affordable, quality, starter machine, this compact Qiilu 1500mW laser engraver is a good investment.
The main features of this machine include:
- Power: 15mW
- Communications Interface: USB and Bluetooth 4.0
- Image Resolution: 550 x 550 pixels 350 DPI
- Software Compatibility: Windows XP, Windows 7, 8, 10, iOS 9.0 and above, Android 4.0 and above
- Graphics Formats: TIFF, JPEG, BMP, PNG, PCX, PCD, and more
- Carving Space is 42 x 42 x 78 millimeters
The Qiilu can engrave or cut wood, plastic, bamboo, acrylic, leather, paper, and other like materials. It is not designed to cut or engrave metal or glass. The small engraving area is most suitable for smaller projects and objects.
Language support includes English, French, German, Japanese, Italian, and Chinese.
It’s good for engraving depth, images, and it can print the 3D gradient effect on soft materials. Its li-ion battery is good for up to three hours on a charge and will work with USB and Bluetooth respectively for communication and connectivity.
Offline operation is also an option with this laser engraver with a power bank and connected Bluetooth. The power bank for this machine is not included in the package.
The machine has power cut memory and automatic positioning option that allows mobile power with a 5V 1A supply that will let it keep carving.
The engraving machine itself is compact, very sturdy, and solid. What comes in the box?
- The Engraving Machine
- 1 Pair of Laser Protective Glasses
- An Allen Wrench
- USB Cable
- A CD (Software/app/Manual)
- An English User Manual
- 30-day money back guarantee
- 3 months replacement of laser head – free
- Lifetime product support
TEN-HIGH Upgraded Version Review
This CO2 laser engraving and cutting machine includes these basic features:
- Power: 40W
- Engraving Area: 40 x 30 cm
- Communications Interface: USB
- Image Resolution: 0.026mm
- Software Compatibility: CorelDraw
- Power Voltage: 110V
- Graphics Formats: All standard graphic formats like JPEG, BMP, GIF, etc.
The Ten-High laser machine is capable of processes like engraving, art, gifts, packing, printing, garments, leather, toys, advertising, and other such tasks.
The materials it is designed to cut or engrave include PVC, plywood, acrylic, solid wood, cortical, leather, density board, paper products, PET, felt, non-woven fabrics, and other non-metal surfaces. It doesn’t engrave into metal, but it will engrave a coat of paint on metal.
This laser engraver supports red light positioning, adjustable laser energy levels, communication monitoring, electric lift system, flame retardant system, and water temp control. It does allow engraving on a round or curved surface if you have a rotary axis attachment not included with the product.
What’s in the package?
- Laser cutting engraving machine
- USB key and cable
- User manual CD
- Double-sided adhesive
- Air pump
- Limit switch
- Exhaust pipe
- Power cord
- Water pump
- Focal length card
This is a nice, lightweight machine for the avid do-it-yourself hobbyist and/or small manufacturer for engraving designs and logos for products. It’s powerful enough to engrave and cut all materials except metal, but it will engrave on coated metallic surfaces.
This device is compatible with Windows computers and uses only the USB cable for connectivity. It doesn’t have Bluetooth or a mobile app. It doesn’t mention being compatible with any other graphics software other than CorelDraw, which doesn’t come with the machine. You will need to invest in CorelDraw if you don’t already use it.
The support for language and software is a bit limited and needs improvement, but this machine performs quite well. With the addition of optional accessories, it allows you to use advanced features not often found on many other laser engraving and cutting machines.
Mophorn Laser Engraving Machine Review
This machine is a CO2, laser sealed tube type laser engraver with these features:
- Power: 80W
- Engraving Area: 20” x 28” (500mm x 700mm) – Unlimited length design
- Communications Interface: USB interface
- Image Resolution: 1000 DPI
- Software Compatibility: CAD and CorelDraw
- 2-Phase Stepper Motor
- Direct Output to Auto CAD, CorelDraw, PhotoShop, plus other major software brands
- Water cooled
- Color Serration
- Speed Cut: 1000mm/s
- Supports Multiple Graphic Formats: BMP, JPEG, DST, GIF, HPGL, DST, AI, and more
- Power Voltage: 110V
This is a powerful, 80W laser engraver that is suited for cutting and engraving a variety of surfaces like leather, rubber, wood, bamboo, marble, crystal, plexiglass, ceramics, and other surfaces.
Because of its cutting size (500mm x 700mm) and the maximum speed of 1,000 mm/s, the Mophorn laser engraver can cut letters as small as 1.1mm in size. The position accuracy provides the kind of precision necessary for the beginning of a project.
Small businesses that provide personalized and customized items and semi-industrial businesses will find this laser engraving machine to be a powerful and handy tool to have for engraving across materials.
If necessary, this machine has attachments that can be used for functional features such as an up-down work table, red dot function, autofocus, and other functions for special projects.
The most common “what’s in the box” items include a CD user manual, laser engraving software package, air exhaust fan, laser tube, air pump, communication cable, and a water cooling system. The focus optics and three reflect optics are built-in, pre-installed features on this machine. However, components sometimes vary depending on the seller.
It’s likely some easy and fast training will be necessary to learn the basic features and operations of the Mophorn laser engraver and cutter as this will make it easier to use. Setup is quick and easy. Consider the size of this equipment and any other components like a computer you will use for this machine to ensure you have space for it. Don’t forget to factor in the exhaust fans.
Choosing the Right Laser Engraving & Cutting Machine
The common factors to consider include the power, size of the bed, the materials you will use, and your budget.
- Laser cutting machines express power in milliwatts and watts (mW and W). Less expensive, weaker laser engravers range in power between 300 and 1000 mW and are capable of engraving and cutting for applications involving softer materials like leather and wood. They don’t engrave or cut on glass or metal surfaces. Some may cut on coated metal, but not the metal itself.
- Professional and advanced laser engraving machines start at about 20 Watts and go up to 140 Watts. These machines work on the same materials as the cheaper versions, but often also on glass and metal surfaces.
- The bed size of these machines come in a wide range of sizes, so you will want to talk to the salesperson and/or other professionals regarding what you plan to engrave/etch/cut and the size of the pieces you intend to produce.
- DPI is how image resolution is measures on laser engraving machines. The higher end machines will offer 1000 plus DPI, midrange machines 400-600 DPI, and lower end machines up to 300 DPI. This depends on the quality of the images you want for your applications.
Now, for some reviews of laser cutting and engraving machines to help you make the most informed decision and the best investment in this equipment.
How Laser Engraving is Used
Laser engraving equipment, machines, and devices come is a variety of sizes and have a variety of functions across industries. A few of the purposes for laser engraving include the following:
- Manufacturers – Manufacturers produce different types of products such as auto parts, computer components, food and product packaging, toys, and other products. Laser coding and marking are crucial to manufacturers, so they are in compliance with regulations. Marking on products is a way to tracking, monitoring, and identifying them. Barcodes, part numbers, serial numbers, and dates are vital to the supply chain in all industries.
- Customization/Personalization Companies – Customized and personalized products are created for individuals and organizations across the globe. These businesses use laser engraving machines for accurate, precise, and quality engraving. While manual engraving using other archaic devices and processes have a place in some personalization businesses, small to large businesses who provide these services prefer the efficiency, speed, and quality that laser technology provides.
- Home Personal Use – Not everyone that invests in a laser engraving machine operates a business. A few people like to personalize and create things for their own use as a hobby. The good news is that an enjoyable hobby like laser engraving can turn into a profitable business if you want it to.
These are some examples of how laser engraving is used, but the list is much longer in reality.
Laser engraving, etching, cutting, and marking are popular, which makes this a profitable industry. Whether big manufacturers use industrial laser marking machines for marking parts and components, or small businesses that personalize products for individuals, businesses, or organizations, laser engraving gets the job done.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Laser Engraving Machine
Here are some final thoughts on how to go about choosing a laser engraving and cutting machine.
- Technology over brand name – You need to know what technology you want to use before you consider the brand. For instance, Bluetooth, USB, both, or neither.
- Value over brand or price – Price is merely a number. When you buy something cheap, you are likely to just have a cheap laser engraver.
- Product warranty and support – The better the warranty and support, the better customer experience you will have
- Software support – Unless you’re an expert on laser engraving software and compatible software used with this equipment, you want to choose a manufacturer that will take care of you and support your needs
- Compatibility – Windows, Android, MAC or all
- The real cost of beyond the purchase price – Maintenance, availability of parts, cost of replacement parts, etc.
- Engraving speed helps you reduce costs that you can pass on to your customers and you can produce higher volume
It’s vital that you know what you need in a laser engraver before you invest in one, regardless of your budget. Your budget should be adhered to, but not at the expense of investing in a lesser machine than you need or that will cost you more over time.
Now that you have some valuable information about the top five best laser engraving and cutting machines, you will find the following of interest if you want to start a business. There is also a detailed guide that will expound on how to choose the right laser engraver.
Starting a Laser Engraving Business
If you’re interested in starting a laser engraving business, here are some tips for getting started.
- A Plan – You need a business plan no matter what kind of business you’re starting. Things you must consider when starting a laser business include a budget for overhead and supplies and equipment, payroll if you’re hiring employees, a marketing budget and plan, a location for your business, a website and blog, and other like factors that cost money and time. It’s important to know how much money you’ll need before you start your business because you may require a business loan if you haven’t saved enough to get started.
- Products – Choose your niche; your products that you want to engrave, cut, mark, and/or personalize to sell to consumers or business clients. You can make all kinds of things and personalize things with a good CO2 laser engraving machine like the Orion or the Ten High machines mentioned in the reviews. What you can make, personalize, and create using a laser engraving machine will be discussed later. First, decide what material(s) you want for your business, then you can find the right laser engraver for your business.
- Equipment – Naturally, you will need a laser machine like one of those in the reviews. That should be the biggest investment you make when you are starting a small laser engraving business. It’s a business you can start with a relatively low investment. You can also choose to rent or buy your laser engraver, but it’s recommended to buy unless you don’t have a budget for it. You can start out renting, but it’s wise to save up to buy your own machine.
Many entrepreneurs are starting laser engraving businesses in their homes and selling items they create on websites, to retail stores, and to consumers via an e-commerce website. Some rent or buy a building so they have a business outside their home. Where you get started is up to you and your budget and plan.
Sectors Where Laser Engraving Services are Most Needed
When considering a laser engraving business as a means to make an income, it’s important to know who will benefit from your products and services. The laser engraving market is vast and encompasses a large scope of industries like corporate organizations, branding and advertising agencies, religious organizations, and other companies. Here are some specific industries that will always need these services.
- The Government
- Manufacturers and Distributors
- Corporate Organizations
- Insurance Companies, Banks, and Financial Institutions
- Sports Organizations
- Real Estate Contractors, Developers, Brokers, Agents, and Owners
- Political Parties
- Printing Press
- Branding & Advertising Agencies
- Celebrities and Public Figures
- Television Stations
- Research and Development
- Local Businesses and Entrepreneurs
Almost all businesses and organizations need some kind of laser engraved product at some time or another. Don’t forget about personalizing products for individuals, because that can also be a large market for you.
Products & Services for Your Laser Engraving Business
The laser engraving industry is popular, but not oversaturated. Many people think they need a large investment or a lot of creative talent to go into this business. However, virtually anyone can start and operate a laser engraving with a relatively low start-up cost.
You might be surprised at the products, services, and niches you can provide with a laser engraving and cutting machine. The following will discuss a few to help inspire you.
- Weddings – The wedding niche is huge, popular, and wildly profitable. With a CO2 laser machine, you can cut wedding invitations with paper or wood. Bride & Groom glasses and gifts are popular as well. Custom and personalized items and services for engraving and etching wedding items can get you started or expand your existing laser engraving business.
- Jewelry – Laser cut jewelry is a popular niche. However, there is a lot of that on the market right now, so you will need to be creative enough to make unique pieces. Another way to profit from laser engraved jewelry is to offer personalization on wedding rings, bracelets, ID bracelets, medical alert bracelets, and other personalized jewelry products.
- Awards – Engraving corporate awards is a laser engraving niche that works for almost everyone. Trophies and plaques are the most common types of awards. Paper certificates are normally printed using a regular ink printer, but there is some creativity in producing wooden certificates as a keepsake. Since recognition is a crucial part of the corporate world, and one of the only ways they can show their appreciation for their employees, this is a good niche. This niche can expand into school awards as well.
- Business Cards – Every business owner needs business cards. It’s essential even in this day of digital technology. Business owners even upload their actual business card onto their website to get it out there. Business cards can be engraved using a laser engraving machine across materials like wood, acrylic, and paper.
- Signage – Wood is a common material for laser engraving signage. The rustic look is popular, and wood is eye-catching. If wood isn’t what the customer wants, you can also offer stone, metal, or acrylic signage when you have the appropriate laser engraving and cutting machine.
- Spice Jars – You can engrave/etch on glass using a laser engraver, therefore, you can make spice jars with recycled bottles, or specialty bottles customers like. On top of that, you can even personalize them to the customer.
- Dog Collars – A good niche is in the pet products industry. People love their pets just like their own families and will provide for them in every way. A dog collar with a metal clasp is often a great surface for engraving if you have a fiber laser machine. You can put the pet’s name, birthdate, fur parents’ phone number, or other information they want on the collar. It’s classy, smart, and makes pet parents feel more secure.
- Leather – Since you can engrave leather using a CO2 laser engraving machine, the leather niche is a good choice. Leather purses, attaches, briefcases, wallets, and other leather goods can be engraved with whatever custom or personalized text or images a customer wants. You can also create your own line of leather goods with designs you create and sell them to customers who don’t want personalization.
- Stones – Have you seen the painted stone trend? You would be surprised at how that boosts the laser engraved stone craze. People use engraved/etched stones to mark their garden, in fairy gardens, in terrariums, as paper weights, and for other decorative and functional purposes. Most CO2 laser engraving machines work on stones.
This is just a small sample of the products and niches of the laser engraving business. There is no reason you can’t come up with your own ideas and be as creative as you like. Many products are created by accident when an artist is trying to create one thing that turns out to be different from what they imagined. It can work to your advantage.
Guide for Choosing the Right Laser Engraving and Cutting Machine
Generally speaking, laser engraving machines are a subset of laser marking machines. Laser marking, coding, engraving, cutting, and etching are all performed using laser technology designed to perform each of these tasks.
Some laser engraving machines can do it all, while others are good for specific types of laser engraving, like etching or marking. Not all laser cutting machines can cut metal, for instance.
Some of this kind of equipment is useful for marking or engraving and cutting on wood, acrylic, some stone, plastics, and glass, but will only scratch the surface of a coating on a metal surface. Therefore, if you need something that will engrave metal, you would look for an engraver with that ability.
Laser engraving machines come in desktop models that some people use in their homes or garage workshops, while industrial laser machines need more space to do the job in manufacturing on larger items.
Let’s start by discussing the different types of lasers.
Types of Laser Engravers
- CO2 lasers process engraving and cutting an electrically stimulated mixture of carbon dioxide gas. These laser machines are used on non-metallic materials and most kinds of plastics. CO2 laser engraving systems are the most popular and used machines due to their high efficiency and excellent beam quality. CO2 lasers are used to process wood, paper, glass, foils and films, stone, leather, acrylic, plastics, and textiles.
- Fiber lasers offer an extremely focused beam, which results in a higher intensity over the CO2 devices. These are solid state machines that use glass fibers for beam generation that are energized with pump diodes. Fiber engraving systems are well suited for marking on metals with applications such as annealing and engraving. They are also used for high-contrast plastic marking. One of the things that makes fiber laser technology popular is long service life (25,000 laser hours) and virtually maintenance-free machines. Fiber laser machines are mostly used for plastics, coated metals, and metals.
- Crystal lasers are also solid-state machines like fiber lasers used mostly for marking and they are also pumped by diodes. The most common types you will see in this category of laser machines is the Nd: YAG and the Nd: YVO. These machines do not offer the same long service life and they require more maintenance and are often replaced after 8,000 to 15,000 laser hours. They are more expensive to operate, but they have their place for efficiently engraving, marking, and cutting on metals, plastics, coated metals, and ceramics.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Laser Systems
Now that you have some information about the types of laser systems for marking, engraving, cutting, and etching, it’s time to learn what to consider when you are choosing one suited to your needs.
The following will go into more detail about choosing a laser engraving machine from what was covered in the introduction.
The materials you intend to engrave, cut, or etch are important to what machine you choose. As noted in the types of machines, if you’re planning to work with only non-metals, like plastics, wood, acrylic, stone, textiles, leather and such, CO2 laser systems are ideal.
If you plan to cut, mark, or engrave metal, the fiber system is a better investment. If you intend to work with metals, this type of engraving system is better on the budget and provides superior efficiency and speed for the process.
Crystal laser systems aren’t suitable for the small to medium sized business owner due to the higher costs of buying, operating, and maintaining them. However, crystal laser systems could improve in the coming years, so keep your eyes open for new tech.
The choice in type of laser machines is ultimately up to you, but these are good guidelines to follow.
What you plan to do with your laser engraver is important before making an investment. Many laser systems offer a feature that allows you to adjust it for up to two or three functions.
In other words, you can cut, mark, or engrave/etch with one machine. Others are dedicated to one kind of process like marking, cutting, or engraving. Whatever you choose, ensure that the speed, effectiveness, and type of laser engraver aligns with your needs.
Common sense tells you that a big machine will take up more space than a medium, small, compact, or desktop model. Bigger laser systems are also more expensive to buy, maintain, and operate. The laser system you choose should be compatible with your workspace.
Space has little to do with the quality of the machine, but with air compressors and venting being part of the safety protocol, you need to ensure you have ample space for your machine. Also remember to consider the weight of the machine if you’re using it on anything other than a ground floor. It can matter if your floor cannot withstand the weight of your machine.
The working area of the laser system is important because if you buy a smaller desktop device, you will limit your working area to produce small items. If you’re working on items that are larger than 12 inches, you should consider a larger system that has the appropriate engraving/cutting area for your projects.
Industrial laser systems can have a very large working area when cutting or engraving on things like runs of linoleum and such.
The power of the laser is crucial to what you’re processing. Low powered lasers are best for MDF or acrylic, while wood and plastic require more power for a smooth, fast, precise cut.
When choosing the power of your laser source, always ask questions about what the machine will cut at that level.
Laser engraving technology is known for its precision, but that also depends on what you’re processing and what machine you are using.
A laser that isn’t powerful or fast enough isn’t like to provide the precision you want from your products.
The faster you can produce customized and personalized products for business and individual clients, the more you will reap in profits.
Efficiency is crucial in this industry, so ensure that you’re investing in an efficient machine that allows you to deliver quality items as fast as promised.
Everything we do is in the details, but with laser engraving and cutting, the details are imperative to creating intricate designs and quality images.
Never skimp on a laser engraving and cutting machine that could cost you in the long run. Don’t sacrifice quality for price.
There is a reason we don’t just look at price when investing in equipment like this, or anything we buy. The goal is to get the most for your money when choosing a laser engraver, whether it’s for business, personal, or hobby reasons.
Value is the whole package – Price, features, cost of maintenance and parts, tech and product support, and anything that is important when making this kind of investment.
Another factor to consider in the value of a laser engraving machine is whether or not you can afford to maintain it. The initial outlay of purchasing is a one-time ordeal, but maintenance lasts for the life of the machine. The consumables on systems like crystal lasers can become a burden.
For nearly any kind of equipment or technology you buy today, the warranty is important. Try to leave behind the mindset that a lower priced laser system with a long warranty is the best value.
Those cheaper laser engravers are often made with used or aftermarket parts that will need replacement often or that will cause serious problems when you’re producing items. Be watchful about the price versus warranty ideal and look for what is the best. Find out where they get the parts and whether they are used or new.
Energy consumption may be at the bottom portion of this guide, but it’s not the last consideration for choosing a laser engraving system. How much energy will the system consume and how much will that cost you during production?
Calculate your power consumption not only to monitor your electric bills, but to learn more about the efficiency of the machine. The efficiency has a direct correlation to power consumption.
For instance, laser engraving machines that are designed for light work are between 25 and 50-Watt systems. However, laser systems that cut metals and steel are as high as 500-Watt systems. The difference in energy consumption is substantial.
These are the main factors to look at before making an investment in a laser engraving and cutting machine.
The laser engraving and cutting industry is constantly growing and evolving. Laser engraving businesses must grow and evolve alongside of the industry to create and provide products and services that people want. The audience for laser engraving products is quite large and has no age or other demographic limitations.
If you read the above reviews, do your homework, and follow the tips and advice in the guides here, you will have success in choosing the right laser engraving machine, which will help you be successful in business.