Laser cutters are an excellent addition to any maker's list of 'must-have' tools. With large working areas, powerful lasers, easy to use software and great online support, laser cutters are a great tool for any maker as they can cut and engrave a wide range of crafting materials. They are capable of cutting a number of materials including leather, wood, acrylic, fabric, paper, cork, cardboard, craft foam, plexiglass, mylar, and styrene. They are also capable of engraving all of the above materials as well as glass, ceramics, stone, and aluminum. Working with the built-in, vector-based software for these cutters, basic operations like vector cutting and raster engraving are clean and easy. With advanced applications, common line cutting, bridge and chain cutting, piercing, and many other operations are possible. There are also models available for every user; the Emblaser 2 is a perfect beginner level laser cutter/engraver, and the FSL Muse has a more robust laser and software for advanced operations and a more diverse material selection. For every laser cutter, we also carry a great selection of Project Wood kits for experimenting and production of crafts.
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About Laser Cutters & Engravers
How much does a laser cutter cost?
Depending on the intensity of the laser cutter's power, its price can vary significantly. The Snapmaker 2.0 A250T starts at $1,499 and has a laser engraving attachment that can cut through paper or thin fabric, but only engrave and mark wood. The FLUX HEXA starts at $8,999 and has a CO2 laser cutter that can cut through wood, acrylic, leather, and even rubber with ease.
What can a laser cutter do?
Like any tool the possibilities are limited by the creativity of the user. Generally speaking, desktop laser cutters can cut through relatively thin materials and materials that are opaque; paper, fabric, cardboard, thin wood, foam, and some plastics are all materials that strong laser cutters can slice through. If you're just looking to engrave, lowering the intensity of the laser through the software will allow you to gently burn in artwork to all the previously mentioned materials, and with some experimentation you can engrave anodized metals (the laser simply strips the color of the metal but the metal underneath is unaffected).
Which is better, CNC or laser cutter?
CNC and lasers have completely different scopes for workshop tools. As the laser cutter doesn't actually touch the material, you can work with very thin or flexible materials without compressing them in a clamp that would be necessary to cut them with a CNC. You can get very fine detail as the dot size of the laser is considerably smaller than most bits you would use in a CNC. Conversely, any sort of 3D work is only possible with a CNC as it has a Z axis to move the cutting bit up and down, which also means it can cut through much thicker materials than the laser cutter would be able to. Each tool has its pros and cons and should be looked at for what it can do for you rather than how well one stacks up to the other.
Can I laser cut glass?
While you can't laser cut glass, with some careful tuning it is possible to lightly engrave the glass, taking on the appearance similar to etched glass. The maximum intensity and the type of laser plays a role in how well the class can be engraved, but cutting glass is simply not an option.
What materials cannot be laser cut?
Reflective materials or materials that cannot burn cannot be laser cut. Metals and glass cannot be cut, but if they are anodized or painted then the coating can be burned off of it for results of varied quality. Each laser also has a maximum thickness it can focus on, so anything past that threshold will not be cut well, if at all.
What metal can be laser cut?
In terms of desktop laser cutters, none. While other machines exist that can cut through metal, they are usually plasma cutters or waterjet cutting systems, as a laser would need to be much more powerful than what you could fit in a "desktop" machine. Metal-cutting laser cutters are generally built on the scale of rooms, rather than desks.