When creating a design or pattern for laser cutting, you can use either 2D or 3D design software. Laser cutters essentially function like an average 2D inkjet printer but come with drivers that allow the laser cutting machine follow specific designs. While these specific drivers are highly common in 2D design software, there is less support from 3D software.
Graphic design software like Adobe Illustrator and free drawing tools like AutoCAD are ideal 2D programs for laser cutting technology. But 3D software like Solidworks, Autodesk Inventor, and Autodesk Fusion can also be utilized to create certain types of designs and patterns.
As laser cutting becomes more accessible and affordable, we’ve seen a major shift in the consumer market. What was once a tool strictly for industrial purposes, you can now find laser cutters in schools, maker spaces, small businesses, and even homes. Here are a few of the most popular desktop laser cutter manufacturers on the market.
Home/Desktop Laser Cutter #1: Orion Motor Tech
If you’re looking for a high quality laser cutting machine that can fit on your desktop, look no further than the Orion Motor Tech laser cutter. This compact machine offers an engraving/cutting area of 300 x 500mm. This laser cutting machine has a resolution ratio of 0.001 in 0.026mm/4500DPI, and operates at a maximum speed of 500mm/s while engraving and 80mm/s when cutting.
What set the Orion laser cutter apart from others is the user-friendliness and low price of around $450. The Orion laser engraver operates with a 50W water cooling laser tube and high-precision stepping motor. You can utilize a variety of materials, including plastic, leather, stone, crystal, and more. However, beware, if you decide to buy the Orion laser cutting machine, there are other components you will likely need alongside it. This includes a CO2 laser engraver, smoke pipe, smoke fan, water pump, power wire, USB cable, and USB dongle key.
Orion also offers a 40W CO2 laser cutter at a reduced price. You can check that out here.
Home/Desktop Laser Cutter #2: Makeblock
Makeblock’s LaserBot is a desktop laser engraver developed on an open-source platform. This minimalistic home laser cutting machine is equipped with 1.6W 445nm high-power solid-state lasers. This is ideal for the tinkerer looking for a cheap laser cutting machine than can be fully adaptable.
The LaserBot includes a simple H-shaped structure made from high-precision anodized aluminum alloy. It is also Arduino compatible and can engrave up to 0.1mm. This laser cutting kit allows you to build up your machine, giving a first-hand look at the laser cutting process. Priced at around $350, this laser cutting kit is a bargain for makers with a fair amount of time on their hands.
Home/Desktop Laser Cutter #3: CNCShop
This desktop laser cutter from CNCShop is for someone looking for a larger machine that isn’t afraid to pay a pretty penny for quality. This laser engraver and cutter is powered by a 130W CO2 sealed tube, and also comes with a USB interface. You can use a variety of materials with this laser cutter, including wood, leather, rubber, bamboo, plexiglass, marble, and more.
The CNCShop laser cutting machine has a maximum cutting size of 1400 x 900mm and a max speed of 1,000mm/s. While sizable, the laser cutting machine offers a position accuracy of 0.01mm. Additional parts can be added to modify the machine, such as red dot function, up-down worktable, autofocus, and more. However, this 400kg laser cutting machine will require a lot of space to operate, and therefore is best suited for a small business or ambitiously sized workshop. You can purchase the CNC Shop laser cutter for around $3,000.
Home/Desktop Laser Cutter #4: Epilog Laser
Epilog has a vast product line consisting of different size laser cutters, from desktop to industrial. You can start off with their Zing Laser Series, which is their entry level desktop laser cutter range. The Zing 16 and Zing 24 are both considered low-cost and high-quality machines. The 16 is estimated to cost just under $8000. Find out more information on their massive range of laser cutter on the Epilog website.
Home/Desktop Laser Cutter #5: Full Spectrum Laser
Recognized as one of the most affordable laser cutting manufacturers, Full Spectrum can put a capable machine in your home or office for under $5,000. Hobbyists and makers would be intrigued by their Muse Laser Cutter (starting at $5,000) and Hobby Series Laser Cutter (starting at $3,500). Find out more information on their low-cost laser cutting machines on the Full Spectrum website.
Home/Desktop Laser Cutter #6: Chinese Imports
If you’re on a tight budget and don’t mind owning a product without a name brand, you might want to look into importing a desktop laser cutter from China. A quick search on eBay or Alibaba will net you a wide range of imported product. While you can probably find yourself a home laser cutting machine from China for less than $500, it’s definitely worth shelling out at least $1000 to ensure that you’re receiving an adequate machine. These are ideal for tech-savvy users who don’t mind upgrading and modding the night away. While the bundled software leaves much to be desired, the low price point makes it hard not to consider the option of importing from China.