Congratulations! You’ve decided to start up a new business by utilizing the capabilities of one of the handiest and most useful products today, a laser etching machine.
You’ve made a wise decision, for even on a limited budget; laser engraving can prove to be a lucrative business if you put a decent amount of effort into it and follow some very simple rules.
The single most important part of beginning a new business in laser engraving is that you’re going to be providing a service to customers providing them with something they really want and are willing to pay for. The items you can produce with a laser etching machine are practically unlimited, but they all share one thing in common: they all look more expensive than what you’ll be charging so your customers invariably are going to think they’re getting a good deal using your services.
To begin, choose a laser machine with at least 25 watts of power. That’s about the minimum amount you can spend and still get a good machine that will do what you need. More power will allow you to do your work faster, but if budget constraints are a consideration, 25 watts will do the job although you may take a little longer to accomplish what you want.
Also, look for a machine with air assist. Air assist is critical to protect the laser lens against damage and buildup from dust and debris that you will generate while you’re working. Air assist sends a steady stream of compressed air over the surface of what you’re engraving that’s pointed directly at the point where the laser burns the substrate. This minimizes flare, helps you to see exactly what you’re doing, and allows you to produce a deep and clean engraving. Air assist isn’t a requirement for the jobs you’ll do, but it makes them easier, quicker, cleaner and the results will be a lot better.
The brand of machine you buy isn’t as important as the support you’ll receive from your dealer when you have questions. Cheap machines are easy to find, but quality support when you’re just starting out, is mandatory when you’re dealing with a complicated and potentially dangerous machine like a laser engraver.
Depending on what you’ll be engraving, the next decision you’ll need to make is to determine how big your engraving bed needs to be. Usually, the bigger it is, the better off you’ll be. But a larger size usually means more expense. With most projects, usually 12 x 24 inches will do. Rarely will you need anything larger. New “table top” machines usually come in 12 x 16 or 12 by 18 inches and many times these smaller sizes can restrict your working space enough to be troublesome.
How much money you will be able to make with your new laser etching machine is going to depend on the quality of work you produce and how much effort you put into the business. However, laser engraving can be extremely profitable and anyone who puts in the effort and has the proper skills, along with a little bit of luck, can make laser engraving an excellent choice in today’s business world.
This article was written by Erryn Deane from Needham Laser
Erryn is the digital business manager for The Needham Group of companies, with a wealth of knowledge in laser marking systems, amongst many other things, he has decades of experience in online development, business analysis and management. In his spare time, he likes to find out how things work and looks to improve them, from vehicles to electronics or even musical instruments.