When you think your arts and crafts skills have already surpassed the novice level, perhaps it’s now the time to try laser cutting a.k.a. laser engraving or etching. This craft will allow you to create more challenging projects that you can use for profit, or just to widen the range of your skills.
To start with laser cutting, you need to invest in a high-quality machine first. Choosing one can be tricky, as there are many different brands in the market, each boasting different cutting-edge technologies, quite literally.
But once you get the hang of it, laser cutting will be a breeze, and soon enough, you’ll be creating several functional and decorative items with it. But for now, let’s get you guided on how to choose a machine, and what simple projects you can start with it.
Choosing Your First Laser Cutter
Before racing to any specialty store selling laser cutters, it would be helpful to know how laser cutting works first. You may know laser as a sharp beam of light that has various functions, and that’s exactly the same laser being used in engraving wood or metal. The laser works by amplifying light to the extent that makes it powerful enough to pierce and cut through hard surfaces — like wood and metal — with high precision and consistency.
The power of a laser isn’t comparable to that of a drag-knife or any other manual cutting tool. When one says that laser can cut through thick metal, they mean that it cuts like butter. With such a tool, your etching and engraving projects will generate minimal waste, saving you time from cleaning up.
That said, let’s start on how to choose a machine.
The specifications and features you should look for are user-friendliness, high speed, adjustable settings and focus, high-quality laser tube, 3-D engrave, and emergency functions that automatically stop the machine when an accident occurs. You’ll find out if a certain machine on your mind possesses these specs and features by reading customer reviews, such as Boss laser reviews and those of other brands.
If your budget is tight, consider affordable laser cutters you can find on eBay. But if quality workmanship is what you’re mainly after, then you’d have to pay more.
Easy Laser Cutter Projects
Now that you’re almost ready to create your first laser cutting project, try starting out with these useful items:
- Tabletop Drawer
With a 3mm medium-density fiberboard, you can produce a small tabletop drawer with three compartments. Screws aren’t needed, because the pieces are fit together like a puzzle. You can also sketch unique patterns and lines on the surfaces using the laser cutter.
- Wine Butler
Sometimes, two hands aren’t enough to serve your buddies drinks, so a wine butler will come in handy. It is basically a tool that helps you carry wine glasses along with the wine bottle, so you can serve four glasses and two wine bottles in a single trip.
- Headphone Stand
Tired of tangled wires from your trusty headphones? With a DIY headphone stand, you can finally relieve yourself of that constant dilemma. If you want it more personalized, you can engrave your name on the base.
From a simple case for etching tools to a parts box for screws, laser cutting lets you make various types of storage for your small crafting materials. You may even reconfigure your work just by rearranging the fiberboard pieces.
- Novelty Items
Toys, Christmas tree ornaments, home decor, and other novelty items are also a specialty of laser cutters. Mastering how to make tons of those saves you money and the hassle of store trips!
Those are just a few examples of what you can make with a laser cutter, but you can already tell how versatile the machine and the craft itself are. It gets even more exciting the more you engage in it!