COVID-19 has resulted in the loss of lots of jobs and this has led to a spike in demand for a home-based business. If you have an artistic eye, laser engraving might just be what you need to set up a profitable business. All you need is a good laser engraver and some good laser engraving material and you are good to go!
What is a laser engraving machine used for?
With a laser engraver, the possibilities are endless because you can cut and engrave almost any material. Commonly engraved materials include metal, plastic, wood, leather, ceramic, and glass. You can use the engraver to create intricate designs for either aesthetic value (e.g. jewelry and wall hangings) or for commercial reasons (e.g. barcodes and logos)
What is Laser Engraving and How Does it Work?
Laser Engraving or Laser Etching is a method that uses a laser beam to manipulate the surface of an object. This occurs when the laser creates high heat that will vaporize the material exposing cavities that will form the final image. This process is fast because the material is removed with each thud of the laser.
Basically, there are two types of engraving machines. The first is an engraver that has a stationary workpiece and only the laser moves to achieve the engraving. The second type uses a laser and a workpiece that are both immobile, but galvo mirrors move the laser beam on the surface to engrave or cut the surface.
In the below YouTube Video you will find out how laser engraving works. In your standard graphics software, you can create an image. Then use the print command to send it to the laser. Your image will now be engraved onto the surface of the material of your choice by the laser machine. Numerous materials, including wood, laminate, acrylics, fabrics, paper, glass, and more, are suitable for engraving.
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What Types of Laser Engraving Machines are there?
Diode lasers and CO2 lasers are the two most common types of equipment used in laser engraving.
Diode lasers and LED lights are frequently contrasted. Electricity is used to ignite electrons at a negative/positive junction, ejecting photons as a result. The beam concentrates the photons through the lens before making contact with the substance.
For instance, supermarkets employ diode lasers to read barcodes at the register. Diode lasers used for engraving, however, are more durable than the lasers found in grocery stores, therefore care should be used when handling them.
Despite being the most powerful of its kind, Diode laser engraving equipment cannot cut through all kinds of materials. However, they are quite inexpensive and work well for straightforward laser engraving applications.
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In addition to other gases, a CO2 machine’s laser is produced inside an airtight glass tube that also contains CO2. As the electrical current aggravates the gasses, light is produced. Before reaching the lens, the generated light passes via a variety of mirrors. The lens focuses the laser beam on the desired location before it exits the laser unit and strikes the material.
Typically, CO2 lasers are more potent than diode lasers. They have the advantage of being able to cut through materials that diode lasers cannot because of their power. Unfortunately, these devices are also quite delicate, and if the mirrors or glass tube are harmed, the laser may not function at all. They require significantly more upkeep than diode lasers because of this.
CO2 laser engravers are frequently utilized on materials like leather, glass, porcelain, and wood.
Ideas for a Laser Engraving Business
With the aid of a laser engraver, there is a wide range of products that you can create. Here are just a few business ideas that use a laser engraver.
- Engraving Kitchenware
From bowls, wine glasses, to spice jars, you can mark almost any kind of glassware and add beautiful and unique designs to each to make them more personalized. You could also make kitchen utensils out of wood like rolling pins, ladles, and chopping boards.
- Home Decor
There are various things that you can create for this category using a laser engraver. For instance, simple coasters that are used to hold drinks could be more attractive by laser engraving different patterns or sayings on them.
These are usually made by engraving acrylic but with a laser engraver, it can utilize many materials such as wood, glass, tile, stone, metals, and many more. Laser engravers can also be used to design felt, leather, or any type of cloth. With this, you can create decorative rugs, carpets, pillows, sheets, and blankets.
Laser engravers could also make mementos that are both decorative and functional. For example, it is simple to create a keychain bottle opener with a laser engraver. You could also customize photo albums, photo-engravings, trophies, and statues.
- Letter Writing
Even though acrylic wax seals for postage are no longer used today, there are still those who use it for crafting or special occasions like weddings. Also, laser engravers can make rubber stamps.
For customers, instead of writing their addresses or availing of expensive printing services for their invitations, they could buy rubber stamps that will cost less and look better. It is also possible for you to laser cut paper if that is what your clients prefer.
If you wish to make a bunch of toys for kids, there are many things that you can do. One example is woodcut puzzles. You can make hundreds of them in just a day with the aid of a laser engraving machine.
- Pet Merchandise
One convenient way of making stuff for pets is through laser engraving. For instance, a collar containing a pet’s necessary information can be made in no time with a laser engraver.
- Making Architectural Models
For architects, engineers, or anybody who enjoys the beauty of architectural designs, laser engravers can come in handy to create any kind of miniature models.
- Computer Accessories
If you wish to have a business that focuses on computer accessories like laptop stands, a laser engraver can help you achieve that. You can also make customized mouse pads, memory sticks, iPad cover, etc.
- Signs for Other Businesses
Other businesses could also commission you to make signages for their business. You can engrave on wood, metal, acrylic, or any material for this kind of project. Laser engravers could also be used to make catchy business cards.
- Engraved Jewelry
Working with jewels is a very tedious process especially if you have to deal with tiny pieces. That’s why many jewelers opt for laser engravers as they are very good at handling and manipulating tiny jewels.
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What Are the Advantages of Laser Engraving?
- Non-contact Process
The laser engraver’s beam does not need to touch the material it is working on because it is relying on heat to achieve the desired results. Laser engraving is better than traditional methods because there is no abrasion damage left on the materials.
- Very Efficient
Since you have much control over laser engravers, you can achieve any depth that you like. Also, this tool can be utilized in a number of materials which is important in businesses that make use of more than one material for manufacturing. This makes a laser engraver cost-effective.
- Produces Quality Products
Laser engravers achieve any desired results. They also produce clear, legible, and permanent engravings. This means you can achieve permanent markings on the material. It explains why laser engraving doesn’t wear off even with regular washing.
- Safe to Use
Unlike traditional engravers that often use harmful chemicals and have to be in contact with the worker, laser engravers are connected to computers so people can operate it from a distance.
Laser engravers leave very little waste behind as most are vaporized while the rest is left in the form of dust particles.
A laser engraving machine is a very versatile and functional tool. You can get a lot of different engraved materials using it. Moreover, it is more effective and efficient than using a traditional engraver especially if you are working with small and fragile objects.
An engraver can help you start a profitable business in no time because it is very affordable and easy to use. If you are thinking of starting a laser engraving business, visit our buying guide for the best laser engravers for any budget.