Home hobbyists and craftsmen increasingly are adopting hobby laser cutters for their creative work. The benefits of using a laser for much of the work involved in carving and engraving are immediately realized through the saving in man-hours on a project. Being able to produce a precision cut pattern or engraving in an hour instead of three enables the craftsman to handle multiple projects far easer. Saving time also frees the hobbyist to handle multiple projects and make the most of one’s work time.
The question then comes down to price and utility. Many persons who plunge into a new hobby have the tendency to look at the kit they want for their shops with “big eyes”. Like the hungry diner who overfills his plate, a new hobbyist can end up buying more than he actually needs. For example, it’s tempting to go for the best quality 60 watt laser currently on the market. It seems to have all the advantages: speed of cutting combined with high cutting power able to carve into the widest range of materials.
The problem is twofold. Such laser cutting devices are quite complex. The degree of expertise required to use and maintain them is somewhat beyond the range of the average hobbyist. Secondly, most of the materials a 60W laser can carve are not what most hobbyists use in their craftwork. The result is that the hobbyist ends up getting literally more laser than he actually needs. Spending more money on a unit one is never going to use to its full potential is not exactly the wisest choice That makes the investment in such an expensive unit a waste of money and time all around.
Now, a simpler 40W laser rig can do quite adequately for most applications the home craftsman has in mind. Engraving and carving in wood, aluminum, steel plate, stone and plastic is well within the capability of such a unit. While not as fast in performing the work as the higher power cutters, the standard hobby laser still does the job far faster than hand tools. Connected to a desktop or laptop computer, the laser can be driven from a control program and executes a design from any standard format graphics or CAD file with ease. So the secret is to shop for the laser providing the best balance between price and utility and then make the best buy for one’s need.