How to Choose the Right CO2 Laser Cutter for Home Use
These days, more artists and artisans than ever are trying to find ways to take their work home with them instead of heading to crowded studios or shops. Buying a home laser cutter is a great way for artists who focus on producing customized products to start their own businesses at home, but only if buyers choose the right lasers to meet their needs. Read on to find out how to choose the right CO2 laser for home production.
Buy from a Reputable Vendor
Not all laser cutters and engravers are the same, so it’s always best to work with a reputable, brand-name vendor rated A+ by the BBB. It’s not just about the quality of the machines produced by each manufacturer, although that’s certainly a key consideration. Laser cutters also require ongoing maintenance and occasional adjustments or repairs, so good customer support is also crucial.
Know How to Buy on a Budget
CO2 laser cutters are much less expensive than the fiber lasers used in most industrial applications, and they’re plenty powerful for most home uses. It’s important for hobbyists and home-based business owners to buy within their budgets, though, so choose a company that offers competitive pricing, but don’t sacrifice machine quality. It’s better to take out a personal loan to purchase a decent laser cutter than it is to buy the cheapest one on the market.
Pay Attention to Power
Some lasers are more powerful than others. Power is indicated in wattage, but it only helps to know that if buyers already have an idea of what kinds of projects they want to complete. Here are some examples of applications for machines with different power settings:
- 5W lasers can make light etchings but aren’t good for cutting.
- 40W laser cutters can cut materials up to ¼” thick and offer more flexibility when it comes to design.
- 90W laser cutters are very powerful and can cut through almost any non-reflective material up to a depth of ½”.
Users can adjust the depth of cuts if they’re using machines that are more powerful than they might need, but it doesn’t go both ways. There’s no way to use a 5W laser to cut through a ¼” of metal. It’s best to err on the side of caution and purchase a machine that is slightly too powerful than it is to buy one that won’t meet 100% of the buyer’s needs.
Accommodate Different Applications
Some CO2 cutters only work with sheets of flat material. Others can also cut round or tubular structures. People who plan to use their laser machines to cut or engrave anything other than flat surfaces will need to purchase rotary tools, so make sure the laser cutter can be equipped with specialized tools.
The Bottom Line
The price of CO2 laser cutters is now low enough that almost anyone can afford to buy these specialized machines, but they’re still serious investments. Buyers should take the time to investigate options and ask questions of vendors to make sure their new machines will suit their needs perfectly.