A laser cutting machine is perfect for cutting holes, intricate designs, and precise patterns out of thinner materials. Paper, wood, plastics, thin metals, glass, and even fabric can be cut with a laser machine. In addition to large industrial laser cutters, smaller models like a desk top version are also available.
The laser also cuts clean. That means no burnt or ragged edges and very little waste. Designs are scanned or selected from software and programmed into the machine for accuracy. Speed and power settings are also used to control the beam.
A low power setting, for example, allows users to create exquisite wedding and party invitations in great detail without burning the edges of the paper. A higher setting and speed will successfully cut through wood and glass without burning or breaking the material. Fabrics can be cut without being frayed or pulled out of shape.
For first time laser cutter users, such as hobbyists and those who enjoy crafts, reading manufacturer instructions and recommendations is critical to understand the capabilities of the machine. It is wise to practice on scrap pieces of different materials to discover how to adjust settings for desired results. Experiment with a different combination of speed and power settings and have fun learning how to get the most out of the investment.
Not Just for Cutting
Laser cutters are also ideal for etching and engraving. The process engraves deeper than traditional methods for permanent legibility. Scratching the surface, as other engraving machines do, means whatever is engraved can be sanded down, rubbed off, or faded within a short period of time. That is not effective for jewelry, collectibles, firearms, or commercial products. Firearm regulations require deep engraving to prevent serial numbers from being removed. The numbers can be burned off with chemicals or acids, but will not be sanded down easily.
Deeper etching capabilities can result in amazing three-dimensional designs for glass top tables, woodwork, and decor, among a plethora of other finished items. Intricacies are easier to produce, more precise, and faster to complete with a laser than with other etching tools. Those factors can stimulate creativity as users begin to become familiar with laser etching.