Laser Cutter Machine: What to know before you buy
Have you been looking for a laser cutter machine, but don’t quite know where to begin? You’ve probably seen a lot of different information and opinions that vary drastically, so it is very understandable if you are confused. There are several key factors that you need to consider before you make your purchase. In this article, we will outline those factors so you can make an informed decision on getting the laser cutter machine that will fit your needs.
Laser Cutter Machine: How will you use it?
The first thing you’ll want to do is figure out what you want to do with the laser cutter and engraver. You probably already have an idea for what you’d like to do with your laser cutter machine, or a specific workflow that will benefit from one, but there’s a few things that you should understand and consider first.
Look at your workflow and consider all the possibilities for your laser cutter machine, and examine the possibilities and look beyond your initial ideas and see how you may expand with a laser. For example, let's say you are going to be engraving on small plaques and objects, so you decide that the 20x12 workspace of a Muse Core laser cutter and engraver or a PS20 laser may work just fine for you. However, in the future you might grow into larger projects such as doing special engravings on furniture or signs. Those might not fit inside one of the units mentioned so you might be better off starting with something like a Muse Titan laser cutter and engraver or a PS24 system.
Laser Cutter Machine: What Materials will you use?
You’ll need to consider all the materials that you would like to use inside your laser cutter machine. There are materials that work in one type of a laser cutter machine that may not work in others. So gather a list of all your materials that you’d like to use so you can make sure the laser cutter machine you get will be able to work with them.
CO2 lasers work great with engraving and cutting organics (like wood, paper, and leather), as well as plastics. This is the most common laser type, since these materials are readily available, and they work well with most paint and glues. The power options for quality desktop CO2 lasers will typically begin at 40 watts (W), and can range all the way up to 150W or even higher. Understanding your materials that you are going to use will help you determine how powerful your laser needs to be, as well as how large of a workspace you need to have. Please note: If you want to work with metal in your laser, then a CO2 probably won’t be the best choice, and you should probably get a Fiber or UV laser system instead.
Fiber lasers are going to be the best option as a laser cutter for metal. These are more specialized machines, so you’ll be a little more restricted with what you can do. These lasers do not engrave or cut what the CO2 lasers can cut, just like the CO2 lasers will not cut or engrave on metal. If you want to engrave metals, then the 20W or 50W galvo fiber would work great. The power you need will be determined by the depth you want your engraving.
If you’re looking for an industrial-scale laser cutter for metal, then you can get something like a Kilowatt Flatbed Fiber which cuts metal like butter. These lasers are the size of a large truck and do have a higher price point, however they can deliver a strong return on investment (ROI).
Another popular type of technology is the UV laser. These lasers won’t really cut any materials (with exceptions such as MDF), but they will mark on virtually any material you have. These look like a Fiber Galvo at first glance, but they are significantly faster and capable of marking very fine details. UV Lasers are ideal for marking but keep in mind they will not be able to cut most materials or make deeper engravings.
Laser Cutter Machine: What Size?
You’ll want to examine exactly what you want to do with your laser cutter machine and understand the sizes that you will need to accommodate that, and consider the space you have available to fit a laser system. The P-Series begins with a 20"x12" work space, and goes all the way up to a 48"x36". These lasers are also equipped with a front and a rear pass through door, which will allow you to engrave much longer materials. So if you have something long, but not too tall, you can still work with one of these units.
The P-Series only consists of floor units, so if you only have desktop space, then you should probably consider a Muse Series laser cutter machine. The Muse Series CO2 lasers have either a 20"x12" or a 48"x24" workspace option. These lasers feature a patented removable floor so the size of material you are able to cut or engrave is pretty much limitless.
If you are working with the Muse Fiber or the UV galvo lasers, the work area is going to be much smaller, and is determined by the lens that you use. Working areas will be anywhere between 4"x4" and 12"x12". These machines are specifically desktop units, so you will need a desk or counter space to set them up.
If none of those options work for you, and you need something much larger and more industrial, then you may need to look at the MC Series flatbed lasers. You can get these with either a CO2 laser tube or a Fiber source, and they start at 4 feet by 8 feet. Because these machines are so big, they will require a large warehouse space or garage to fit. Just make sure the space has proper ventilation, since these units are usually not enclosed.
Laser Cutter Machine: Putting it all Together
This list contains all of the basic information that you need to know before deciding on which laser cutter machine to get. With one of the widest ranges of lasers in the industry including the Muse Series and the P-Series we truly do cover the "Full Spectrum" of Lasers. If you are still not certain what to get, you can contact our sales team to make sure you get exactly what you need.
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.