Beyond reasonable doubt, laser engraving machines have proven themselves an essential and indispensable device for craft production and other engraving needs. More specifically, a desktop laser engraving machine has paved the way for broader adoption of laser technology. Moreover, portability and affordability are fast becoming the trademarks of a desktop laser engraving machine. Thus, both professionals and hobbyists can afford to purchase a desktop laser engraving machine without breaking the bank.
Nonetheless, it is not enough to want a desktop laser engraving machine; you must consider some critical factors before purchasing one. Nowadays, desktop laser engraving machines are tailored for different operations. We’ll explain these functions so you can learn about the best type of device for you before heading to the market. If you are a hobbyist, professional crafter, or woodworker looking to add laser engraving to your repertoire, this is a must-read article.
We’ve arranged the buying factors below in no particular order of importance, so feel free to rank them according to your needs.
Factors to Be Considered
Firstly, you must ask yourself what you need a desktop laser engraving machine for and be sure of its ability to perform such a task. You can clarify your doubts by first considering the materials you wish to engrave; wood, metal, glass, plastic, rubber, leather, etc. Hence, you must check the desktop laser engraving machine to be sure it can properly engrave your material of choice.
Secondly, a desktop laser engraving machine is known for portability, meaning it has limited working/engraving area. This implies that your workpiece must fall within the workspace of your chosen desktop laser engraving machine. So be sure your frequent projects will fit into the working area before purchasing. This information is usually clearly stated as part of the specification of any desktop laser engraving machine.
Lastly, are you buying as a hobbyist or a professional? Professionals may likely prefer a large working space over what the conventional desktop laser engraving machine may offer. But understand that the larger it is, the more money you have to spend.
Numerous factors contribute to the overall accuracy of any desktop laser engraving machine as follows:
- Transmission Type: Some desktop laser engraving machines are equipped with lead screw drives, while others have rack gear. Usually, the lead screw drive is considered to give better accuracy than rack gear. This factor has huge effects on the speed and, therefore, the desktop laser engraving machine’s accuracy.
- Assembly: The skill of whoever assembles the machine matters a lot too. If parts are not well fitted and secured, then surely the machine’s accuracy is bound to be below par. Thus, proper assembly translates to smooth running and, in turn, better accuracy.
- Mode of Engraving: Does the desktop laser engraving machine use a square or compass engraving method? From experience, the square engraving technique is more accurate and precise than its compass counterpart.
If you have been dealing with any machine at all, you should know how essential maintenance is to any machine’s performance and longevity. A desktop laser engraving machine’s maintainability cannot be overlooked; it is very integral and crucial. As you take the step to buy your desktop laser engraving machine, inquire about the frequency of maintenance procedures needed. Some could require weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly maintenance.
Asides from this, you should clarify if you can carry out the maintenance procedures personally or need to hire a technician. Remember that the level of difficulty encountered during maintenance will affect your business if you are a woodworker or crafter. Longer downtimes will take their toll on your business and require the additional cost of paying the technician.
In essence, always look out for easy to maintain desktop laser engraving machines when purchasing.
Availability and Access to Replacement Parts
In the long run, parts will wear out no matter how much care or maintenance is given. It is somewhat safe to say that there is absolutely no desktop laser engraving machine that won’t break down; thus, access to replacement parts is essential. Asides from periodic-preventive maintenance, when there is a broken part that needs to be replaced, then the availability and quick access of the parts becomes critical.
The implication of this is that you should purchase a desktop laser engraving machine within your locality with affordable parts in case of replacement. Buying from overseas sometimes will imply you have to wait for weeks or, in extreme cases, months before receiving replacement parts.
This is by far the most crucial factor that you are likely to consider as you prepare to purchase a desktop laser engraving machine. No doubt, your budget determines a lot — the machine you can afford, the functions it can offer, the accuracy it delivers, and so on. However, a high-priced desktop laser engraving machine does not always equate to superior performance. Some devices are simply overpriced because they don’t include the premium features you would expect.
The price range of desktop laser engraving machines varies based on the manufacturer, laser power, the engraving area available, and the laser type. If you take a peek at desktop laser engraving machines by OMTech, you can see their prices are more affordable than similar competitors. They manage to offer the same premium features you would expect from a quality laser engraver.
You should also contemplate details like its compatibility with your computer, design software, power consumption, depth of penetration, warranty, and general aesthetics. You might also need to add accessories to help you execute specialized laser processes like engraving on cylindrical objects, so consider your needs and the machine’s compatible accessories as well.
If you’re a professional looking to customize your signature products, a desktop laser engraver is a significant investment that can help drive new revenue and increase customer satisfaction. Depending on your workload and income stream, the machine should pay for itself soon enough.
If you’re a weekend workshop warrior, a laser engraver is a high-tech tool that opens up a new world of clever customization to advance your creative capabilities. It’s sure to bring you plenty of fascinating weekend projects as you master the art of laser engraving.