Hobby Laser Cutter: Expand your Hobbies
One of the biggest topics we cover in this blog is the wide abundance and variety of laser cutters and engravers out there. There are many of you who want to invest in a laser to expand your passions and hobbies. While there are many available options that specifically call themselves hobby laser cutters, the truth is that you can use almost any laser cutter and engraver to expand your hobby and take your creations to the next level.
In this article, we will cover some of the important items you need to know before investing in that hobby laser cutter. We hope this will help reduce any confusion caused by some of the advanced terminology and instead gain some valuable insights before making that final decision.
Hobby Laser Cutter: Physical Location
The biggest thing you’ll need to determine before you can purchase your hobby laser cutter is deciding where it is going to be located. Do you have enough floor space that you can fit a larger floor unit? Will your new hobby laser cutter fit through the doorway? What ventilation and power options are available in your workspace? These are some of the questions anyone looking to invest in a laser cutter should consider before beginning.
Take a look at where you’d like to set up your new hobby laser cutter in your workspace. If it is a smaller area that doesn’t have much floor space, then you might consider a desktop laser cutter like one in the Muse series, and if you have enough space to fit a larger floor unit, then maybe you’d like to go with something with higher volume capabilities like the P-Series laser systems.
Figure out what will work best for your location.
If your doorway to the workspace is small, then you may be limited by what size of hobby laser cutter you can fit through that doorway. A larger floor system like the P-Series PS48 or PS36 are too large to fit through a standard size doorway. So if this is the case, then you may be limited to a desktop unit like the Muse Series, or one of the smaller P-Series options like the PS20 and PS24. But don’t worry, if you have your mind set on a larger workspace hobby laser cutter, then the Muse Titan can be a perfect option for you. With its 48”x24” workspace, the Titan is comparable in size to the larger P-Series, but it has a desktop laser form factor that can still fit through a standard size door. As stated earlier, a key consideration is the ventilation in your workspace. Laser cutters and engravers will make their cuts by essentially focusing the laser beam to a point that will burn through the material. This will produce smoke and fumes that need to be properly ventilated for the safety of yourself and those around you. So if you have a built in HVAC system, or if you have a window or garage door that you can run air ducting out of, then you are in good shape. If you don’t have these options, many laser manufacturers offer a fume extractor which will pull the fumes from your system and properly filter out all the harmful fumes and particles.
Hobby Laser Cutter: Materials and Applications
At this point you’ll want to figure out how your hobby laser cutter will be used in your projects. Take a look at all of the materials you are interested in using and determine exactly what you’d like to cut and engrave. When it comes to laser technologies (ie: CO2), there are a few different materials that they either are unable to cut, or they just don’t produce the greatest results. For example, if you want to cut and engrave wood or acrylic, a CO2 laser can be ideal. But if you want to use metals with your hobby laser cutter, then a CO2 laser will not work and instead you should look into a fiber laser or a UV laser. There are also a lot of plastics that produce very toxic fumes when burned that are harmful to both you and your machine (like PVC which produces a chlorine based gas, or ABS which produces hydrogen cyanide). So carefully consider your materials before you purchase your hobby laser cutter.
Need to mark or engrave metal? Consider a Muse Series Fiber or UV Galvo laser system.
Hobby Laser Cutter: Volume
How often will you be using your new hobby laser cutter? Some of the laser cutters and engravers have benefits of higher speeds as well as additional capability to be able to handle sustained workloads and higher volume production. These laser cutters and engravers may be intimidating when you first look at them, but in fact, they run the exact same way that the smaller desktop machines do, and due to their size, they can be easier to maintain due to larger component bays and easier access. And even if you want to start small and work your way into larger systems, advanced larger laser cutters and engravers like the P-Series run the same software as their smaller desktop laser counterparts (Muse Series), so you can easily dive in and continue working when you make that decision to expand or grow.
Consider a P-Series if higher volumes and longer run-times are key factors for your hobby.
Hobby Laser Cutter: Making the Smart Choice
While some laser cutting and engraving machines tend to be marketed toward hobbyists, the reality is that most top quality desktop laser machines aren't exclusively designed for a hobbyist. In fact, every laser system included in the Muse desktop series is not only used by hobbyists and enthusiasts alone. There are thousands of businesses out there that use their Muse desktop lasers productively.
There are also thousands of hobbyists and enthusiasts who use their higher volume laser systems like the P-Series for their personal projects. Just because they are larger with more industrial capabilities, doesn’t mean they can’t feel right at home in a larger space as a hobby laser cutter.
Advanced desktop and high-volume laser systems offer an unrivaled versatility. Many of them can enable you to take your hobby and passions to the next level, at anytime. It's a smart investment with capabilities that can grow as your laser needs grow, whether expanding projects, or even turning your hobby into a business.
Full Spectrum Laser is a leader in easy to use, highly versatile laser cutting and laser engraving machines. Our systems range in size from desktop units and high-volume machines through industrial-grade production equipment. Our machines are running all over the world: from grade schools to National Labs, garage startups and many Fortune 500 companies. Contact us today to learn more.