Thinking of Buying a Laser Cutter? Do the Homework First

By | July 6, 2017

Laser, or “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation” is a complicated process that has been harnessed to create cutting tools. Based on Albert Einstein’s theory, laser tools emit light beams capable of cutting a variety of materials. They are routinely used to shape metals, plastic, and wood. Because laser cutters can be built in a range of sizes and types, many small businesses and hobbyists now use them to create products. Many buyers invest in high quality, expensive models, some take a chance on imported devices, and still others learn to build their own cutters.

American Cutters Offer High Quality

US-made laser machines sold by established businesses are normally well made and available in specs to fit almost any need. However, a typical device costs about $8,000, putting it out of reach of many users. There are smaller suppliers that design machines and then have them built overseas. They guarantee the parts and quality but sell for less than many cutters manufactured entirely in the US.

Affordable Imported Lasers Can Eventually Cost a Fortune

Laser devices manufactured in China are much less expensive than US products but can have serious drawbacks. Many are poorly made and do not include reliable support. It can take a long time to get orders. Manufacturers may also build lasers using counterfeit parts. That can cost customers a lot of money if US Customs inspectors spot fake components. In these cases, customs considers buyers to be importers and will make them responsible for storage and attorneys’ fees as well as fines.

DIY Devices Offer Unique Benefits

Building a laser cutting machine from scratch offers important benefits but is a time-consuming project. The technology behind lasers is actually simple, so anyone who can understand instructions can probably make one. A quality result will cost about $7,000, which is not cheap. Still, building a DIY cutter does save some money and is educational. Cutters can also be customized to look and work in any way that their creators want.

It is becoming common for individuals and businesses to use laser cutting machines. Some invest in high-quality models made in America, while others build their own custom devices. Affordable cutters that are made in China are also available but often include counterfeit parts.