Are you a small business owner or an entrepreneur looking to make a solid difference in the market? Or do you want to add a little something to the gifts that you give to your loved ones? Or maybe you are a hobbyist who wants to customize things and is into stuff like printing and engraving? If you think that your answer to any of the above questions is yes, then say no more and sit tight with us. Because we are going to introduce you to the coolest thing in the realm of personalization and customization: The DIY Laser Engraving Machines.
If you haven’t heard about DIY laser engraving machines yet, you are probably wasting your money on some expensive marking machines. DIY laser engraving machines are making a sound difference for people who want to engrave valuable information about their business or their interest in different stuff. It is because they are not freakishly expensive like other commercial laser engraving machines. Although commercial laser engraving machines like those of HeatSign and Mecco are great in their work but they might not serve the purpose of a small business owner or a hobbyist. Small DIY laser engraving machines are more customizable and can even run on the simplest software or a desktop available.
If you already know about DIY laser engraving, then things are going to get even more excited because we are going to introduce some great machines available in the market. But first, allow us to introduce the DIY laser engraving machines properly.
What are DIY Laser Engraving Machines?
Laser machines that are usually smaller in size and fit in your household without taking up much space are known as DIY laser engraving machines. These machines are not meant to engrave on mass production or batch production lines. Rather, they are designed to engrave on smaller objects and that too individually. They have smaller engraving area and have their own sets of software that run the machine.
These machines are called DIY laser engraving machines because they come packed with every part disassembled. The user has to assemble every part himself by looking at the user manual or guide that comes with these machines. If you’re a hobbyist, you’d love this activity because it sure is accomplishing to build your own machine. Although, things might get tough somewhere in between but you have to pay attention to the guidelines. The end is worth the effort.
Also, in this regard, there are a lot of articles up on the internet that show you how to assemble particular DIY laser engraving machines. Not only do these articles tell you how to do the assembly, but some might give their reviews also. The coolest website is www.instructables.com where different authors put up their work on DIY engraving machines. They guide people on how to assemble the DIY laser machines by putting up the videos of their own work. It’s like project-based working. You might not want to miss this.
Before we go into some sizzling models of DIY laser engraving machines, allow us to instruct you on how to buy the right kind of DIY laser engraving machine and what to look for before buying. Because we don’t want you to strike a dead end when you start following your hobby or interest.
Here we go!
Materials and Volumes:
First off, you need to know your demand. As in, you need to know what type of materials you are going to engrave. If you’re a small business owner, what type of materials do you need your engraving on? DIY laser engravers mostly engrave organic materials like wood, paper, leather, ceramics, etc. So, you need to know your material type first. Then, you need to know the quantity to be engraved. Do you want to engrave in bulks or some hundreds in a month? DIY laser engravers can’t engrave in bulk quantities. For that, you’ll have to opt for commercial machines but since they’re expensive, we might as well not go there.
DIY laser engraving machines are usually solid-state diode lasers. But it is important to know what type of laser do you need as your output. If the software is the brain of the machine, then the laser is the heart of the machine. You need to equally emphasize your research on the type of laser. The engraving speed, depth, quality, and almost every output is linked to the type of laser your machine is producing. Nowadays, solid-state diode lasers produce lasers with output power ranging from 0.1W to 8W. The input power of such machines vary between 40W to 60W. So much of this input power gets wasted in the form of heat because these lasers are operated in a hot state.
Considering that, a good laser DIY engraver must have a good cooling system to make sure that diodes are not affected by heat, a good mounting assembly which would ensure the usage of the machine on almost every type of product, superb lens since it is going to concentrate the laser and a reliable diode.
A lot of DIY laser engraving machines are available on Chinese websites like Ali Baba and Ali Express but don’t go for cheaper or unknown machines. Most of these machines do not use a good quality laser. Beware of the frauds!
The Mounting Assembly:
The mounting assembly of the DIY laser engraving machine includes the frame or the chassis. The frame determines the working area for your machine. It is important to look into it because the size of your product needs to be accommodated by the engraving area of the machine. If your machine has a bigger chassis, it can definitely engrave large products but it is shorter than the size of your product, your machine is of no use. You can keep on engraving on smaller items like rings etc. in this case and nothing more. Some vendors sell the chassis separately, too. The cost of frame or chassis varies from $100 to $300. The choice of the frame might affect the use of firmware so it’s better to take these two sides by side.
One more thing to notice here is to account for the mating of the frame and the driver. Your frame must be perfectly compatible with the dynamics of your firmware or driver. Otherwise, the discrepancies lead to malfunctioning of the whole operation.
While using the DIY laser engravers, the firmware gives you two options. One is to use the built-in firmware and do everything according to that driver. The other is to find an engraver that works best with your particular software. This gives you the freedom of creating something while not being restricted in the boundaries. This option has a great edge over the first one. It lets you import your work from modeling software like CAD or Adobe. Although, the built-in software is always cheaper but if you’re someone who likes roaming freely, you might want to go for the second option.
While this point might not be important for some users, it may not be discarded completely. You need to know how a particular engraving machine is going to connect with your system. Some machines offer a wired connection while others offer a Bluetooth connection. It all depends on your working area. If you want to work in a less messy situation, opt for the machine wireless connectivity. And if you don’t mind any wires, go for machines with wired connectivity.
Now that we have given you an idea about important things to look for in a DIY Laser engraver, let’s list down a few of the best options that we came across:
If you’re looking for an aesthetic laser engraver and that too within a price range of $200, try giving this mini beast a look. This mini laser engraver called Cricut Explore Air 2 Mint offers a great sleek design that makes it look like a printer. It can work with a lot of materials but the obvious constraint is metal. But the good thing is that it can work with organic materials like leather, cardboards, foils, ceramics, etc.
This fully loaded DIY laser engraving machine can be connected directly to your computer. It saves you the hassle of setting it up like ordinary engraving machines. It also gives you an option to connect it directly with an Android phone or an Apple device running an iOS. With a weight of over 18 pounds, this laser engraving machine comes in three colors and comes preloaded with its own software. All you have to do is to set it up for work and see it doing wonders. You can easily buy it over the Amazon.
More often than not do we talk about engraving on metallic and non-metallic items. In doing so we ignore another most commonly used material which is wood. To cater to this, we present you BobsCNC E3 CNC Engraver Kit which shows that you want to be a little more serious about your engraving.
It’s not a desktop engraving setup rather a DIY machine that uses a rail system having X and Y axes. The firmware of BobsCNC includes Java-based application which allows you to connect this machine with Windows, Linus, Mac and Raspberry Pi. This increases the portability of this device since it doesn’t require you to use a desktop only. It engraves wooden products like no other laser engraving machine.
With a weight of over 26 pounds, this engraving machine offers you an area of 25x25x19 inches which is fairly enough for a DIY laser engraver. Not only that, it is Amazon’s Choice recipient as well.
It would have been wrong to not mention any desktop DIY laser engraving machine. For that, we decided to include Endurance’s Diode Laser engraver which is also a DIY laser cutter. With a wavelength of 445nm, this DIY laser engraver boasts a high-quality blue diode laser. The power output of this laser is either 2.1W or 10W which is basically a range of minimum and maximum. The materials that this machine can engrave on include ABS plastics, organic materials like wood, paper, cardboard, leather, and acrylics, etc. You can log on to Endurance’s website to find out the complete range of materials that it can work on. With a weight of around 74 ounces, this desktop DIY machine offers an area of 12.2×9.84×5.91 inches. It comes preloaded with its own software which is stored in a USB flash drive. The USB flash drive is included in the list of parts that comes along with this machine.
The engraving and cutting speed varies for this machine. The average engraving speed is about 0.8-2 inches per second whereas the cutting speed is relatively slow i.e. 0.1-0.25 inches per second. The compatible software is GRBL and AS.
Now that you have a fair idea about the points to look for in a DIY laser engraving machine, you can easily look for a good machine on your own. All you have to do is to focus on the points mentioned in this article and you’ll be headed in the right direction. If you want an editor’s tip, try looking for machines based on the mounting assembly and the software. These two points can surely make a difference while looking out for a good DIY laser engraving machine.
Try your luck. Become a better professional in your business and look for a DIY machine right now. Engrave your information and make a difference in the market by standing out. Complete your hobby by searching out creative machines like mentioned above and start your journey from today. Because we know for sure that you’re not going to get bored because of this hobby any time soon. With the levels of customization and innovative work, this certainly is a great hobby and a choice for entrepreneurs.