Traditional By John Thatch / February 10, 2019 Share Tweet Pin Laser cutters and laser engravers haven’t always been accessible or affordable, but in recent years this has changed. Now, you can create unique customized crafts at home with minimal spending or effort. Whether you’re trying your hand at engraving for the first time, are a seasoned craftsperson or manufacturer, or are a small business looking to upgrade your laser machine, there’s the perfect laser cutter available for your needs.In this article, we’ll provide all the information you’ll need to get started with laser cutting and engraving, as well as recommending the best laser cutters, AIO machines, and laser engravers on the market. 10. Orion Motor Tech Laser Engraver If you work with large or hard materials, the Orion Motor Tech 60 W CO2 Laser Engraving Machine is a fantastic choice.Huge work area for larger projectsPowerful motor handles hard materials with easeOrion’s red dot ensures a high level of accuracyA large work area of 20” x 28” makes this engraver a great choice if you’re looking to work with sheets of anodized aluminum and other bulky materials. You also maintain a high resolution as you scale up without the need for additional expensive lens packages, which puts this machine ahead of other similar models. Orion Motor Tech 60W CO2 Laser... (22) $2,399.99 Buy on Amazon Last update on 2019-02-11 60 W of power makes the Orion strong enough to etch into marble and ceramics, and the built-in air compressor keeps your workspace cool and avoids the thermal shock that can be caused by the high levels of waste heat generated by laser cutters. The powerful motor allows you to engrave to a depth of 3-4 mm with acrylic or wood, and 2-3 mm for harder materials.Orion’s red dot is a simple yet brilliant way of keeping track of your engravings. This is especially helpful for checking alignment when you’re working on an irregularly shaped material and ensures a positioning accuracy of 0.01 mm.This machine can be tough to set up and the manual is difficult to follow, but it’s worth the initial frustration once you get to grips with this engraver. 9. Meterk Laser EngraverMeterk’s 1,500 mW Laser Engraver is our go-to for amateurs looking to create small engravings on phone cases, wallets, wood, and more.A great budget option for anyone new to engravingHighly portable design is great for hobbyistsPowerful battery operationThe price of this desktop engraver makes it one of the best budget laser cutters, and it’s very easy to complete the initial set up. The professional power IC and radiator makes this machine durable so it’ll perform well through a high quantity of jobs. Sale Laser Engraver Printer, Meterk... (45) $119.97 Buy on Amazon Last update on 2019-02-11 The wireless Bluetooth connection means you can use it with your phone without the need to be tied to a data line or a computer, and its small footprint makes it great for portability while ensuring that it doesn’t take up too much room in your workshop. The built-in 6,000 mAh polymer Li-ion battery provides 4 Amp output for high-power cutting, and the fan keeps the head cool and performing well.The 1.65” x 1.65” x 3.07” carving space might be limiting depending on your project size, but if you plan to work on small items such as pens and key fobs it’ll be plenty for you.8. SUNCOO 40 W CO2 Laser EngraverThis easy to use entry-level 40 W CO2 Laser Engraver from SUNCOO is a great option for fast and accurate cutting and engraving.Good work area and material varietyThe laser is fast and accurateUSB connectivity makes setup simpleThe 12” x 8” workspace should be plenty for most average-sized projects, and it’s capable of cutting a wide material variety including wood, paper, glass, leather, and cloth. The fast-working laser engraves at a speed of 0 - 13.8” per second and the stepper motor and water pump keep the operating temperature regulated as you work. SUNCOO 40W CO2 Laser Engraving... (20) $422.59 Buy on Amazon Last update on 2019-02-11 It also comes with a ventilation fan to extract fumes and smoke, making it a good home engraving machine if you don’t have a ventilated studio to work from.USB connectivity makes it easy to set up this engraver with your laptop or desktop, and JPEG, BMP, and JPG image formats are all supported.Software issues are the main drawback of this machine, but it’s totally learnable so shouldn’t stop you opting for it if you don’t mind taking the time to get to grips with it.7. TEN-HIGH 40 W Laser Engraver Best suited for flat, non-metallic materials, TEN-HIGH’s 40 W Laser Engraver is a fast and precise machine for all your creative projects.Fast and intricate engravingCapable of working on all non-metallic materialsSafety features protect you and your designs0.01 mm precision makes for perfect engravings even with the most intricate designs. The high-powered 40 W stepping motor and sealed CO2 laser causes no stress to your materials and allows you to engrave any non-metallic material within its 12” x 8” work area. The exhaust fan, and air and water pump combine with temperature control and a flame retardant system to keep your workspace safe during longer engraving sessions. TEN-HIGH CO2 engrave machine, 40W... (20) $1,510.00 Buy on Amazon Last update on 2019-02-11 This is a hefty machine with a 35 KG footprint, so if you’re looking for a portable or discreet machine you might be better with one of the other options on our list. It’s also not possible to engrave cylindrical and rounded shapes, so only opt for this machine if you want to focus on flat materials.6. Sunwin 7 W Desktop Laser EngraverIf you’re a beginner with a creative streak, you won’t be disappointed by Sunwin’s 7 W Desktop Laser Engraver.The large work area is ideal for sizable projectsGood for beginners who want to get creativeSupports multiple materials as well as greyscale designsThe 19.7” x 25.6” engraving area is suitable for larger projects such as homemade signs, and there are no engraving height limitations which gives you more flexibility with your creative projects. This model’s laser cuts through tougher materials nicely, and the low-noise motor can work continuously for up to two hours. SUNWIN 50X65cm 7W Desktop Laser... (3) $609.00 Buy on Amazon Last update on 2019-02-11 The low-light positioning and freedom positioning functions make it great for amateurs, and it supports greyscale engraving so you can get creative with pictures and text. A wide range of materials are supported, including wood, bamboo, leather, rubber, and acrylic. Metals and ceramics are also supported with if painted first.This DIY kit requires a lot of assembly, so if you prefer more of a plug-and-play design this model might not be for you.5. QIILU 1,500 mW Mini Laser EngraverThis 1,500 mW Mini Laser Engraver from QIILU is a great desktop option that offers high resolution and great connectivity for a low price.Easy to set up and useWell-priced for novices and hobbyistsGreat connectivity optionsThe setup of this mini engraver is easy for novices to get to grips with, and the price makes it a viable option for anyone wanting to try out engraving for the first time. The frame positioning of this machine makes image positioning easier than with some of the higher-spec models, and the weak light allows you to engrave without creating messy excess residue. Sale Qiilu 1500mw Laser Engraver Printer... (16) $119.99 Buy on Amazon Last update on 2019-02-11 You can engrave all the softer materials you might want to work with, from wood and bamboo to rubber and leather, but it’s not really designed to tackle metals and ceramics. There’s no need for a computer and the Bluetooth and USB connectivity makes it ultra-portable.The small workspace might be limiting if you have larger projects in mind, but there’s always the option to upgrade to a more professional model once you get to grips with the basics.4. XYZPrinting Da Vinci 1.0 3-in-1If you’re looking to 3D print as well as engrave, the Da Vinci 1.0 3-in-1 from XYZPrinting is one of the best hybrid entry-level machines on the market.Hybrid design gives you three functions in oneAluminum print bed prevents warpingWireless design is easy to useThis 3-in-1 hybrid printer, scanner, and engraver is the best and most affordable machine for beginners. When it comes to the actual engraving (it’s an upgrade on the original unit), the aluminum print bed distributes heat evenly which decreases the chance of your material warping. You can work with a fair few materials such as cardboard, leather, and wood, but harder materials aren’t catered for. Sale XYZprinting da Vinci 1.0 Pro 3in1... (101) $771.21 Buy on Amazon Last update on 2019-02-11 Wi-Fi connectivity negates the need for any cables and works with your smart devices if you prefer to go without a laptop or desktop. Calibration is very easy, too, so you’ll be up and running in no time.With regards to this machine’s two other features, dual-laser 3D scanning captures your object without distortion and takes as little as five minutes to complete the job. Your scans are fully editable, too, allowing you to scale and reposition to give your prints the exact finish that you’re looking for. You can also access XYZPrinting’s online gallery for more 3D models if you don’t have your own unique design in mind.The main issue with this 3-in-1 is actually the scanner as it can struggle with any objects that it deems to be too complex. But, if your main uses will be printing and engraving you have nothing to worry about.3. SHUOGOU 15 W laser AS-5 Carving MachineThis 15 W laser AS-5 Carving Machine from SHUOGOU is small, powerful, and the perfect choice for your first cutting and engraving machine.Portable and powerfulCovers a huge range of materialsIncredibly easy to set up and useThis mini engraver is extremely portable and is aimed at hobbyists over professional workshops and specialists. The mid-sized work area (5.5” x 7.87”) is pretty decent considering the machine’s small footprint, and the laser is powered by a 15 W motor to power through your projects. Sale SHUOGOU 15W Laser Engraving, High... (10) $549.99 Buy on Amazon Last update on 2019-02-11 Covers a huge variety of materials including stainless steel, stone, plastic, and wood. It’s worth noting though that if you’re working with transparent or reflective materials you’ll need to paint the areas that are to be engraved first.Ease of use is a major selling point with this machine: all you need to do is connect it via the USB cable and install the software, then you’re ready to start engraving. The manual is super helpful too, so if this is your first engraver you won’t find yourself frustrated with hours of tedious setup.Unless you’re looking for a larger workspace, there’s nothing negative to be said about this portable powerhouse.2. SnapmakerThis compact 3-in-1 engraver from Snapmaker is a fantastic option for creatives looking for a small but durable machine.Compact footprint is great for smaller spacesEasy to use and switch between functionsDecent workspace, speed, and precisionThe main selling point of this machine is that it’s a 3-in-1 so it can handle 3D printing, laser engraving, and CNC milling. The compact footprint of this machine is great if you have limited workspace, and the aluminum frame is stable and durable. Snapmaker 3-in-1 3D Printer (3D... (5) $799.00 Buy on Amazon Last update on 2019-02-11 It’s easy to switch between the three modes and the LCD touchscreen and comprehensive software makes this model as appealing to beginners as it is to experienced creatives. You can also pair it with third-party software including Cura and Simplify 3D if you prefer.The 200 mW laser and adjustable spindle speed are easy to operate and deliver excellent speed and precision. The engraving area of 4.9” x 4.9” is plenty of space for smaller projects and it can handle all the usual soft materials.There’s no support for reflective and transparent materials, though, so some people might find this a little limiting, and there’s definitely a steep learning curve to be tackled with this machine.1. Mophorn 100 W Laser Engraving Machine If you’re a professional engraver looking for your next machine, Mophorn’s 100 W Laser Engraving Machine will give you the power to get the most out of your creative ideas.Unlimited length for your materialsFast, precision engraving over a wide variety of materialsCompatible with a wide range of software and file typesThe workspace is an impressive 35.4” x 23.6” but the front/rear double doors mean that you can work on any length of material for greater flexibility with your projects. Mophorn Laser Engraving Machine... (3) $3,898.99 Buy on Amazon Last update on 2019-02-11 With regards to materials, you’re pretty much covered for whatever medium you like to work with, including glass, marble, wood, and rubber. A 1,000 DPI resolution delivers spectacularly intricate designs whichever material you choose to use.The hefty micro-stepping motor works at speeds of up to 39.37” per second and the driver can handle a wide variety of files including HPGL, BMP, and GIF. This machine is also compatible with various software including CorelDraw, so the process will be familiar to pro-engravers. Because of the pro-grade spec of this model, it’s not cheap and it can be tricky to configure if you’re new to engraving. But, if you’re serious about your trade, neither of these negatives are likely to put you off.How Does Laser Cutting Work?Laser cutters do exactly what you’d expect: they use lasers to cut into materials. They do so by using a powerful and accurate laser beam to melt, cut, burn, or vaporize your chosen material to leave a visible design of your choosing.The process happens when a current passes through the machine’s laser tube and the resulting beam bounces off a partial mirror and points through a focal lens in the machine head. The laser follows lines dictated by a vector file, cutting as it goes until your design is complete.What to Look for in a Laser Cutter or AIO Machine:Hybrid – Some models offer 3D printing and scanning as well as laser engraving and cutting, so if you’re interested in trying out a variety of manufacturing processes this can be a cost-effective way of doing so.Budget – Are you wondering, “How much does a laser cutter cost?” Well, they vary hugely in price from a couple of hundred dollars to way up in the thousands. Whether you’re a pro or a novice will likely guide your spending, but you can still get a lot of quality and functionality for a relatively low price.Setup – Some machines require a full DIY setup which can be time-consuming and frustrating if you’re new to laser engraving. If you’re unsure, go for a plug-and-play design instead.Laser type – CO2 lasers are the most common option and are relatively cheap and extremely efficient. Neodymium lasers are more intense which makes them more suitable for tougher materials such as metals. Fiber lasers are similar to neodymium lasers but are easier to maintain.What Can You Create with a Laser Cutter?If you’re tempted to purchase a laser cutter but you’re not sure what you’ll be able to make, the only real limitation is your own creativity. You can create laser cut jewelry, ornaments, and even home furnishings, and you can engrave materials to make your own personalized signs. You can also engrave pretty much anything you can think of, including wallets, jewelry, and key fobs.With regards to materials, different machines are capable of working with different mediums. Generally, you’ll be able to choose from wood, acrylic, leather, paper, and cardboard. Some machines can also work with reflective and transparent materials such as metal and glass, and stronger materials such as ceramics and marble.How to Design for Laser CuttingThere are plenty of templates available online for engraving and cutting, or you can create your own designs. If you choose to design original pieces you can use 2D or 3D software, but it’s more common for laser machines to be compatible with 2D technology so double check your chosen engraver before you make your purchase.Adobe Illustrator is a fantastic 2D paid-for tool, but there are plenty of free options such as AutoCAD, too. If you’re going down the 3D route, Solidworks and Autodesk Fusion are both worth checking out.ConclusionLaser engraving and cutting machines are complex and varied, so there’s no one ideal model to suit everyone. There are many products on the market to choose from and they all have their own unique selling points to cover a huge range of applications and requirements, so you’re sure to find the ideal one for you.Which engraving and cutting machine do you swear by? Let us know in the comments.