Laser Cutters: Bringing your Business into the 21st Century

Let’s be honest: is there anything that sounds more out of science fiction than a laser cutter? We know you’re thinking about futuristic laser fights and making these zapping sound effects — it’s OK, really. We’re not judging.

But a laser cutter is also an amazing industrial tool that can help your engraving business really take off! We’re talking increased precision, the ability to engage with higher-quality materials, and ways to make your engravings just the way you want them, without being hampered by the normal limitations of the trade. 

So, are you ready to take your business to the next level, or do you want to be stuck with the old, traditional ways? Time to step into the 21st century, then!

What Is a Laser Cutter, Exactly? 

Good question, let’s start with the basics and work our way up from there. Right now, it’s one of the best tools you can have in your workshop.

They work by focusing a very powerful, directed laser beam that works a set focal length. By pointing the beam towards a material, you can cut it or etch it, depending on what you need. Laser cutters allow a remarkable amount of precision and tweaking compared to more traditional tools.

There are other computer-controlled tools that can do the job of a laser cutter, but they don’t use a blade, which has its own set of disadvantages, they use a beam of light. If you set up your laser cutter to etch or engrave a surface, they can operate like a printer, allowing for scale production of engravings that look exactly the same. It does away with the artisanal aspect of things, but it’s definitely a time saver and allows you to ramp up production of complex, beautiful engravings like nobody’s business!

What Are Some Advantages of Laser Cutting? 

As mentioned above, some of the main advantages are precision, and the ability to ramp up scale. But also, laser cutting uses far less energy when cutting materials like steel and aluminum sheets. Some modern laser cutting machines have approached plasma (which operates at notoriously high temperatures) in their ability to slice through thicker materials.

The edge quality that you get with a laser cutter far exceeds that of traditional cutting machines. The laser beam doesn’t wear out during the cutting process — it maintains a constant cutting and engraving capability.  This greater precision machining can also be leveraged to obtain more complex patterns and shapes without the need for additional tooling. It also achieves this at a generally faster speed than other cutting methods, allowing you to get more, better work done in less time. 

Another great advantage of the laser cutter is that it doesn’t contaminate your workspace with byproducts like other cutting methods. Sure, there might be some dust, but it’s far, far less than any traditional cutting method.

It also allows for even more precise shapes like complex details, a much more smoothed-over edge quality in sheets, box, or plates, as well as the capability to etch small-diameter holes. 

How Much Does a Laser Cutter Cost? 

It depends on what you’re going to be using it for. Laser cutters for hobbyists are generally not extremely expensive; you’re going to be looking at $250 and above, for low-quality laser cutters. But, the price range goes up to over $1,200,000 for a really high-grade, industrial-strength machine. 

Why such a huge price range? First, keep in mind that not all laser cutters have the same power output. The first rule of thumb you should follow is that the more power a laser cutter has, the greater its speed. Another thing that you should pay attention to is the amount of volume, or how much work you will be doing. It’s hard to justify the purchase of an industrial laser cutter if you’re just going to have it lying around all the time. Your need for a smart investment should be the guiding principle here. 

Industrial laser cutters carry a big price tag too. They start at around $250,000 so you’d better have some money in the bank before you even think about starting an industrial engraving business. If you’re thinking about purchasing one of the larger, workhorse machines that come with a workbench, you could be looking at a cost exceeding the fabled million-dollar tag. 

The more you know, the more you can make an informed consumer choice. Think about the volume your business will be handling, and if you’re going to be using your laser cutter day in, day out. If you’ve got the money and are willing to go all-in, then the choice is already made. 

If You’re a Small Business 

But, it doesn’t all have to be quite so serious, if you’re looking for laser cutter for small business, you can find very reliable machines that will allow you to do precise work without putting a mortgage on your house! 

Photo by thowi

Cyndy Lane

Cyndy is business journalist with a focus on entrepreneurship and small business. With over a decade of experience covering the startup and small business landscape, Cyndy has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, insightful and approachable journalist. She has a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners and is able to explain them in a way that is relatable and actionable for her readers.