Many people underestimate the size and importance of the engraving industry. In fact, the market for engraving services throughout the United States is worth more than $1 billion every single year!
However, the engraving industry is on the cusp of a technological revolution. The advent of laser engraving now allows for much more efficient engraving at lower costs. Soon engraving machines will be commonplace, similar to home printing machines.
But what is a laser engraver, exactly? And what can laser engraving machines do? Read on to learn all about these powerful tools and the advantages that they can provide!
What Is a Laser Engraver?
A laser engraver is a powerful tool that enables the user to engrave images, graphics, and or text onto a long list of common materials. They work fast and precisely to create high-quality engravings with minimum help from the user.
As technology continues to progress, laser engravers are getting more affordable and higher quality in the products that they create. More and more people are considering getting their own laser engraver for their home business or hobby. But there are a number of things that you should consider before purchasing any laser engraving machine.
Who Should Buy a Laser Engraver?
It’s really quite simple. Lasers engraving systems can engrave or cut materials cleanly, accurately, and quickly with very little set-up time. The results are also easily repeatable for just a few pieces as they are for larger production volumes. So, whether you are a hobbyist, small business, or a fabrication company and you need the above-mentioned qualities, a laser may be right for you. There are many different lasers of varying sizes and feature sets to choose from within a broad range of price points. You can find laser engraving systems for a few thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Affordability is a relative thing, but rest assured that you will probably be able to find something that suits your budget.
Who Can Learn to Use Laser Engraver Machines?
Another of the great things about laser engravers is that they do most of the work themselves. That means that they are extremely simple to use. In other words, practically anyone can learn to use them.
Once the design is fed into the system, the laser will automatically engrave the desired image, text, and or graphic onto the work material. That means that you do not need especially steady hands or any other skills to make a laser engraver work for you. You will need a basic understanding of how to use your computer and possibly the graphic design software to create the design you wish to print, but you do not need to be an expert in these areas, you just need to know enough to get the design to your engraver.
What Materials Can Engraving Machines Work With?
Laser engravers can be extremely powerful. At the same time, they have an incredible amount of control over the energy that they output to create extremely precise engravings. The end result is that you can use laser engravers both on robust materials as well as sensitive materials depending on what type of laser you have.
Fiber Laser engraving is popular for metal. You might use this on jewelry, name tags, or other gifts made of metal.
Co2 Lasers are used mainly for plastic, leather, glass, wood, and other softer materials. At the far opposite end of the spectrum, you can also use a laser engraver on paper. This technique can make for unique and striking designs for invitations, art, and other paper products.
Additionally, you can use laser engraving on glass. Traditionally, engraving has been reserved for other materials because the process would inevitably shatter fragile glass. However, laser engraving allows you to create precise images on the glass as well as on other materials.
Additionally, you can create precision engravings in plastic and rubber material. The lasers in modern laser engraving machines are so precise that they can engrave images into plastic. On the other hand, you should also know which materials you should not use a laser engraver on. For example, you should not use laser engravers on PVC plastic. This special kind of plastic can create dangerous fumes when treated with a laser. These particular fumes are corrosive and can damage the laser system itself even when used with fume extraction.
What Size of Laser Engraving Machine Do I Need?
If you are going to engrave smaller items, then a small laser engraver should be sufficient, these are sometimes called the desktop model and used by hobbyists and craftsmen. However, if you are thinking of starting a business, then you should probably get a larger, more durable laser engraver. The power of your laser determines how fast and deep you can cut, so keep this in mind when purchasing one.
However, even if you have the occasional large item to engrave, you can always use a professional service for that. For that reason, you might want to buy a small laser engraver and then use a professional service if you have only occasional larger jobs to do.
Where Should I Put a Laser Engraver?
This is something that you should probably figure out before you actually order your laser engraver. If you don’t have the right kind of place for it, then you should find a way to create one before you actually buy an engraving machine.
Of course, you will need enough space for your laser engraver. It will also be helpful if you have some extra space around where you can keep materials and have a place to put things on, such as a workbench for packing items. However, it is even more important that you have the right kind of ventilation. Laser engravers can create fumes throughout the engraving process. It is important that these fumes are constantly whisked away while you are working. Unless your engraving machine is outside and has plenty of fresh air, which is highly unusual, then you will need to either install a fume extracting vent or order a filtering fume extraction system, which is our recommended route to solve this problem. The right laser fume extractor can let you place your laser engraver almost anywhere you need it.
Enjoy All of the Benefits of Laser Engraving Machines
We hope that you were able to take away something helpful from this brief article on what a laser engraver is and what exactly it can do for you. Although it can take some time to accustom yourself to new technological tools, success often goes to those who are quickest to take advantage of changes in the technological landscape.
To learn more about laser engravers or where you can find quality products to manage laser fumes, feel free to reach out and get in touch with us here at any time!