Tag Archives: laser cutter

3d laser vs laser

Your Fablab: Laser Machine or 3D Printer?

3d laser vs laser New Learning Possibilities

Walk into almost any school fab lab or makerspace and you are likely to find one or more 3D printers—for good reason. They offer educators a cost-effective way to give students hands-on experience in STEAM subjects. But issues around print speed and uptime are prompting some schools to complement their 3D printers with laser machines, which open up new learning possibilities and have some distinct advantages over 3D printers.

laser cut acrylic

Lasers are up to 500x Faster

Foremost among these is speed. A 3D printer can take up to 24 hours to print a large object, because it works by slowly accreting filament. A laser machine, on the other hand, makes quick cuts from existing material—be it a sheet of plywood or cardboard—to form pieces that can then be assembled. “We made something with our 3D printer that was eight inches tall and it took about 10 hours,” said Alejandro Hernandez, an engineer with the Lennox Public Schools in Los Angeles. “With the laser machine, we can feed in a sheet of plywood and have a chair ready for assembly within 10 minutes.”

Alex Chair, photo courtesy of Obrary.com

Rapid Results

For educators dealing with an entire class of students, production speed is a major issue, especially when the emphasis is on project-based learning. “Speed definitely was a factor in our decision to purchase a laser machine,” said Hernandez. “It ensures that all students have their own projects and their own final result. We wouldn’t be able to do that with larger objects on our 3D printers.”

Larger Than Life Projectslaser cut rocket

Scale is the other significant advantage. The cutting beds of the laser machines used in education typically range from 18 x 12 inches to 48 x 36 inches, but these don’t limit the size of the end product. Students can design large objects—a giraffe, for example—using CAD software and then cut the parts needed from multiple sheets of plywood. “It was really important to us that we be able to do larger-scale projects with the laser,” said Hernandez.

2D Capabilities

Finally, a laser machine offers the ability to do engraving, a 2D skill that serves as an ideal student introduction to STEAM projects. An added benefit is that schools can bring all of their engraving needs in-house, whether it’s etching the school name on PCs, adding student names to sports trophies, or engraving memorial bricks and plaques for fund raisers. “We’ve done engravings on all kinds of materials,” said AleHernandez. “We even did engravings on marble plaques as thank-yous to our school board for setting up the program.”

laser engraved brick

Summary

When comparing 3D printers to lasers, it’s quite hard to label one better than the other. Each have their own capabilities, therefore make a great pair for any makerspace. fablab or school shop.  Although lasers seem to

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laser cutter for acrylic

The Best Laser Cutter for Acrylic

laser cutter for acrylicLaser Cutter for Acrylic

Acrylic is a strong and versatile material that can be used for anything from signage to display cases. Acrylic awards can be laser engraved, and you can even create your own awards with a laser cutter for acrylic.  They are easily one of the most beneficial tools for working with acrylic, as they have many major advantages over traditional tools.

Do you want to streamline your process and start cutting acrylic for your new or existing business? Request more information here.

Traditional Acrylic Cutting Hurdles

Let’s first discuss the cons when working with acrylic with traditional tools. Using a plastic scoring blade limits you to straight cuts and using a jigsaw or router can break the acrylic when working on more intricate cuts. Furthermore, no matter what method you use, traditional tools will always leave your acrylic with a rough frosted edge that you have to flame polish to achieve a finished look. This process is not only time-consuming, but you risk damaging the acrylic.

Advantages of Acrylic Laser Cutters

Now, we’ll showcase all of the pros of working with a laser cutter for acrylic. Lasers cutters make cutting acrylic a breeze and streamline your processes.  A laser cutter for acrylic makes it possible to quickly change designs, as well as produce the same design over and over with perfect results every time. Laser cutters are also easy to use, as they function like a printer. There is also less margin for error; a laser cutter is computer based and works off of X and Y axis.

Many acrylic projects can be completed start to finish with only a laser machine, completing all of your cutting and engraving in one step with complete automation. More importantly, a laser cutter for acrylic is able to achieve extremely intricate cuts with little to no risk of the acrylic breaking.  And, when cut with a laser,  there is no need to flame polish the edges of your piece; this happens automatically as it’s being cut by the laser.

laser cut acrylic

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What is The Best Laser for Cutting Acrylic?

Obviously, an AP Lazer! You might be thinking “That’s great but what does an AP Lazer offer that other laser machines don’t?” The answer to that lies in the patented design of our acrylic laser cutting systems. Large sheets of acrylic can be heavy, unwieldy, and nearly impossible to work on with traditional laser machines, however with AP Lazer’s open architecture, working with sheets of acrylic of any size is a breeze and you’ll even be able to cut and size your sheets to any size necessary, up to ¾” thick.

laser engraving and cutting machineOur patented design is ideal for users seeking solutions for signage applications. View an interactive demo here. And remember, when using a laser cutter for acrylic, there’s no buffing or flame polishing edges, no ruining material due to an accidental slip of the hand, and unlike other machines, no pass-through system necessary.

Buy a Laser Cutter in 2016, Here’s Why.

buy a laser in 2016

Post Election Laser Cutter Savings

No matter where you stand on the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, one thing is for certain. You deserve a discount (and a laser cutter!) for surviving what many Americans are calling the weirdest and most fascinating cultural and political event many of us will ever witness!

laser engraver sale

Now through December 29, 2016, take $2,017 off the SN4836 Laser Cutter and Engraver.

We’re hopeful for what the future has in store not only for America but your business. Together, we can make 2017 a successful year.

Section 179 Tax Incentive

Thanks to the new guidelines under IRS Section 179 of the IRS tax code, you can now write off up to $500,000 in new equipment purchases on your 2016 IRS tax return, in the first year it is placed into service. Read more details about Section 179 here.

Based on this Section 179 Calculator, cash savings for our laser cutting equipment can be up to $25,346. Now that is a serious incentive!

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Free Shipping

It’s been a long time since we offered our popular free shipping promotion, so claim it while you can! There’s really not much more to say about this one, so onto the next! (On the SN4836 only.)

See it, to Believe it

Dying to see an AP Lazer in action? Come visit us in Lansing, Michigan to spend a day with our team learning about and seeing the AP Lazer in action.

your invited!

The best part? We’ll deduct your travel expenses from your machine purchase.

We are extremely proud of our products and we hope you will be as equally thrilled when you see the versatility, power and capabilities our machines offer. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a visit, email us. (We cover air fare and hotel stay.)

Get Ahead of the Game for 2017

2017 laser cutter

This is the most important reason to purchase a laser cutter now. It beats any sale, promotion or tax incentive available.The sooner you get a laser machine, the sooner you can start making a profit right away! While others are eating Christmas cookies and making paper snowflakes, you can be planning for the success of your business in 2017. A new year means new opportunities and a fresh slate for your business.

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laser engraver gifts

Why a Laser Engraved Gift is the Best Kind of Gift

laser engraver giftsWe all have a special someone in our lives that is hard to buy for. No matter how long you search, the perfect gift can’t found. What do you get someone that already has everything? A laser engraved personalized gift may be your answer!

1. A laser engraved gift shows that you really made an effort

Sure, things like gift cards are extremely convenient when you just don’t know what to get a friend or family member. But they are also one of the most impersonal gifts you can give. When you choose a special gift and then have it personalized with a laser engraving machine it will truly show the recipient that you wanted to give them something extra special.

2. The recipient will never forget you

When the birthday girl goes home and sorts through all of her gifts, your personalized gift will truly stand out among the rest. After all, that is what a good gift is supposed to do, right? Whenever the recipient sees your special laser engraved gift, she will ultimately think of you, especially when they’re making their favorite casserole!

laser engraved glass gift

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3. Personalized gifts are often kept forever

Not only are personalized gifts cherished, they also tend to never go “out-of-style.” A laser engraved gift is something that can’t be re-gifted at the next white elephant Christmas exchange your crazy Aunt Betty hosts. That is unless your name also happens to be Betty.

laser engraved leather

4. A huge selection of items can be personalized

Because a laser engraver can engrave and cut dozens of materials, the list of gifts that can be personalized is virtually endless! Photo frames, keepsake boxes, cutting boards, glass ornaments, leather book covers, electronics, jewelry, and sports memorabilia can all be laser engraved to create an extra special, one-of-a-kind gift.

laser engraved wood chest

5. Perfect for any occasion

A laser engraved gift is ideal for the many occasions that happen throughout our lives. The birth of a child, a baptism, birthdays, weddings, housewarming, anniversaries, promotions and even retirements can all be honored in a special way with a personalized gift. Rest assured, you will never run out of ideas.

Using a laser engraver to provide personalized gifts is an entire market in and of itself. People spend hundreds of dollars on gifts for their friends and family each year and you can tap into the huge profit potential that come along with it!

Interested in learning more about our laser engraving and cutting machines? Email us, or give us a call!

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How a Laser Cutter can Diversify Your Woodworking Business

diversify with a laser cutterDiversify with a Laser Cutter

Diversification is a hot topic among woodworkers. As with any industry, there will be changing trends and evolving technology to meet the demands of your customers. Acquiring a laser cutting and engraving machine can help diversify many aspects of your current business. (Or even, help you start a new one!)  Today we’re sharing five areas where a laser machine can help your business increase profits and customer satisfaction while making you stand out from your competitors.
laser engraving and cutting machine

Add to Your Service Offerings with a Laser Cutter

Excite your clients, new and old, with personalized laser engraving and cutting services. Personalization is a hot market trend that shows no signs of slowing down. Strengthen your relationship with your clients and discourage them from looking elsewhere to have their needs met when you can offer what they want. Items like cutting boards, children’s toys, home decor, furniture all go WAY up in value with a personalized laser engraving is added.

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Diversify your Material Offerings with a Laser Cutter

Although your material of choice is more than likely wood, expanding your material offerings is a significant step to diversifying. The same machine that can cut and engrave wood can also cut and engrave acrylic, leather, and dozens other materials. If you can operate a laser cutting machine, it is only a matter of changing a few settings when you move from wood to a different material. See a few of the materials that can be cut or engraved with AP Lazer here.

laser materials

Increase your Product Line with a Laser Cutter

Due to its accuracy and precision, a laser cutting machine makes it possible to offer a whole range of wooden products you haven’t yet been able to offer. A laser can cut to a thousandth of an inch, making intricate cuts as easy as pie. Think about all of the low cost, high profit items you can offer!

Memory Care Sample Kit

Ready to diversify your business? Download our free Laser Machine Purchasing Guide to learn more.

Pivot as Demands Change with a Laser Cutter

If demand for one side of your business begins to dry up, having something to fall back on means you can pivot your business’ focus to different markets and stay afloat. With a laser cutting machine, you can quickly move from one material or product to the next with little downtime and virtually no learning curve.

Improve Your Bottom Line with a Laser Cutter

With accuracy you won’t find with any other equipment and functions similar to a printer, a laser engraving machine will stream line your processes. Cut and engrave simultaneously in a matter of minutes. Since the wood is incinerated by the laser beam, clean up is a breeze.

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Get into High Profit Markets with a Laser Cutter

brick-engraving

Especially our laser! With an open architecture design, rest assured you can tackle any job. From huge signage, (wood, acrylic and even granite) to custom engravings on furniture pieces, AP Lazer can do what other “boxed-up” laser machines can’t. A larger machine ultimately means more significant profit capabilities, and we promise to deliver that!

Ready to take the next step? Request more information and an expert will be in touch.

Whether you want to diversify your business by adding products, services, new customers and markets to your company’s offerings, a laser cutter will help achieve those goals. Can you think of any other piece of equipment that has that capability? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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laser cut halloween projects

5 Halloween Inspired Laser Cut Projects

laser cut halloween projectsWith Halloween creeping up on us, what better way to acknowledge the spookiness that ensues other than with laser cut and engraved goodies. Here at AP Lazer, we’ve done our fair share of ghoulish things with our laser cutter and engraver… Like the time we laser engraved a variety of candy bars, or that one time we laser engraved a pumpkin.

This year, instead of gorging ourselves on lasered candy bars and pumpkin seeds, we searched the spiderwebs, interwebs and found some devilish items you can do with your own laser cutting machine.

Laser Cut Paper Lanterns

These paper lanterns are perfect for adding a spooky touch to your home or office. You’ll need some black paper, a few sheets of velum and a battery operated tea light candle and a laser cutter for paper to produce your own unique paper lanterns.  Of course with an AP Lazer your paper lanterns can be customized to any design you like!

laser cut paper

Elegant Laser Cut “Masquerade” Mask

These gorgeous masks can be made extremely cheaply and are guaranteed to turn heads whether your Halloween is a black tie affair or a friend’s Halloween house party. This particular one was made by laser cutting acrylic and using a heat gun to mold the flat mask to fit the face. We’re not sure who would really take the time to do this, but it’s super cool none the less and proves that you can use a laser cutting machine to construct just about anything you want.

laser cut mask

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Laser Cut Retro Plane Costume

This project definitely not for those looking for something quick but will certainly get you noticed given the dedication. Designed by Aiden Chopra after a of WWII era fighter plane, this cardboard plane is made of 58 individually laser cut cardboard pieces and designs. An incredibly detailed walk-through can be found here.

laser cut halloween costume

Cardboard Skull Pencil Holder

Thing number 924893 on Thingverse is this mysterious pencil holder created from laser cut cardboard. Add a little hocus pocus to your home office – all the while organizing all of your utensils.

laser cut cardboard skull

P.S If you haven’t read up on the history of Sugar Skulls, they stem from a very interesting South Mexico holiday and tradition. Read about it here.

Laser Cut Halloween Cards

Everyone loves greeting cards, but can we all admit that they mean so much more when they’re homemade? Or, in this instance, laser-made! From the spider web to the intricate haunted house, a laser cutter is a great tool to produce such intricate artwork. And, you can produce them on mass; they will be perfect ever time. Good luck creating this look with an X-acto knife!

laser cut paper cards

That rounds up our favorite Halloween items created with a laser cutting and engraving machine. As you can see, there is no limit to what you can create with a laser machine!

Have some wicked ideas for creating laser inspired Halloween goods? Share them in the comments below!

add profit to wood products

How to Add (even more!) Profit to Popular Wood Products

add profit to wood productsA laser machine is a tool every woodworker needs. This single tool can both laser cut wood and laser engrave wood with speed and accuracy you can’t achieve with any other woodworking tools.If you’re a woodworker you are probably familiar with wooden products that are popular among consumers. What you may not be aware of, is that there is a way to add even more profit to these already popular products! How is this, you ask? By offering laser cut and engraved wooden products.

laser engraving wood furniture

Today we’re showcasing seven of the best selling wood products, and how you can add even more profit to each of them with a laser cutter and engraver for wood.

Wooden Toys for Children

Who wants cheaply made plastic toys from across the world when you can give your children hand crafted wooden toys? They are all-natural, timeless, durable and not to mention, no batteries required! As if gift-givers across the U.S. aren’t already spending enough on wooden toys for children, using a laser engraver for wood to add a child’s name to a special toy ramps up the price even more.

laser engraved wooden toy

Laser Cut Wood Signs

The possibilities with wooden signage are endless. Both beautiful and functional, a wooden sign adds a bit of charm to any decor. Many popular sign shops on Etsy offer painted signs; however, you can set yourself apart with laser engraved signage! If you have an eye for fonts and composition, your signs will come out perfect EVERY TIME, thanks to the accuracy of the laser machine.
Bonus: Produce laser cut wood signage for a fresh pinterest-worthy product!

laser cut wood sign

Rolling Pins

This is quite a niche market, but many successful shops are mastering this art! With just a little bit of imagination and a laser engraving machine, one can make the world better, one cookie at a time. The laser engraves deep enough to make a beautiful imprint on pastries, fondants and even play doh. Wood is a natural material and the laser just vaporizes the wood, so this baker’s tool is 100% food safe!

laser engraved rolling pin

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Home Decor – Laser Cut Wood!

The variety of style combined with the laser’s ability to laser cut and engrave dozens of materials makes home decor items a tremendous opportunity for woodworkers. Add personalization, such as family names or anniversary dates to home decor items for a meaningful and sentimental gift. From photo frames and cutting boards to wooden clocks and bookshelves, a bit of laser artwork will turn the ordinary into the extraordinary, check out this laser cut wood clock!

laser cut clock decor

Stands (iPad, book & phone)

Since roughly 92% of the population have cell phones, and 48% own a tablet, it’s no wonder stands for these devices is an attractive product! The flat surface of a stand is a perfect canvas for adding a personalized laser engraving. You could even use the cutting function of a laser to cut out stand on mass! Most laser engraving machines are capable of cutting and engraving simultaneously, making creation a speedy process! Laser cut wood; then laser engrave wood all in one pass!

laser engraved tablet stand

Chests

Whether a chest is used as a keepsake chest, a blanket chest, toy box or a hope chest, this wooden product is one that usually sticks around. Adding a family name, or an inspirational quote to the inside or top of a chest instantly turns a chest into a family heirloom. With 1000’s of fonts to choose from, the possibilities are endless for laser engraved personalization. AP Lazer’s open architecture, two-part design makes engraving on large objects like furniture easy as pie!

laser engraved chest

Gifts for Babies and Children

When a baby is born, new moms and dads are overloaded with gifts for their precious little bundle of dirty diapers and crying at all hours of the night joy. Put those rattles, bibs and burp rags to shame with wooden baby gifts personalized with the sweet baby’s name and date of birth. Wooden baby blocks, nursery decor, and even wooden rocking chairs are all sentimental gifts that can bring you in high profits just by adding a little bit of laser engraved personalization!

laser engraved rocking horse

So there you have it, seven hot wood products with larger than normal profit capabilities with help from a laser cutting and engraving machine. Whether you are a hobbyist or professional woodworker, there are plenty of items not showcased in this article just waiting to be personalized with laser engraved artwork. With the ability to engrave high detailed artwork and intricate cuts, your possibilities are endless!

Are you adding laser engraved personalization to your wood products? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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laser machines for education

AP Lazer: The Ultimate STEAM Machine

laser machines for educationWhat do laser machines have to do with STEAM?

An essential part of how innovation arises from STEAM-based projects is the process of “making”. Making is simply hands-on creation – building a scale model or prototype, for instance – and much of it happens in “makerspaces” or “Fab Labs” (short for fabrication). Makerspaces are today’s new technology workshops guided by STEAM principles. In nearly every makerspace, you’re bound to find at least a 3D printer and vinyl cutter, maybe some Arduino or Little Bits kits, and – if you’re lucky – the ultimate STEAM tool: a laser machine.

AP16_BLOG_STEAM_laserDetail

With the ability to cut or engrave nearly any material, laser machines are truly the greatest STEAM tool on the market. But don’t take just our word for it. In an article for MakeZine.com, California high school math teacher and “Maker Educator” Casey Shea wrote, “If money were no object, the laser cutter would be my No. 1 tool, as it is perhaps the most versatile tool that I have ever used.”

In an article from 2009, by Mike Dean for SouthEast Education Network, laser machines got rave reviews from both administrators and students. Now you know it has to be good if both teenagers and their authority figures can agree on it.

Dark Steel Robotics, a student robotics team at the Academy of Engineering and Design Technology, found their laser machine to be crucial for their work – using it to create prototypes, cut out “numerous complex components”, and add logos to their robots.

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Club president Bryan Uber told Dean, “We use the system for a variety of applications — the machine is necessary for so many of the projects we do.” Regarding placing first in the Boston University Design Challenge, Uber said, “The laser engraver was an invaluable tool during this project.” 

students with laser machineAdministrators from the John D. Rockefeller IV Career Center in Hancock County, West Virginia also had glowing remarks about their laser machine. Instructor of building construction Steve Shannon told Dean the following.

The students are all very eager to learn to use the laser. Not only are they intrigued by how it works, but they also realize the many opportunities that a laser machine opens for them out in the world. Some of them see it and immediately think of how to start a small business using it, while some see it as a useful tool for existing enterprises.”

George Danford, director of the Career Center, told Dean:

“The number of things we could find to use this machine for are countless!

There isn’t a program offered today which hasn’t been changed with the incorporation of technology. This is why we selected a laser engraving system, and it has definitely improved our curriculum.”

Alright, I’m convinced. How can I get a laser machine?

Whether you’re looking to add a laser machine to your school or want to start a community makerspace, the first step of purchasing a laser machine is choosing the right one. We offer five models at AP Lazer, which you can easily compare using this handy matrix.

While the upfront costs of purchasing a laser machine can be difficult to navigate on a school budget, know that with this technology, you get what you pay for, and AP Lazer offers the best technology on the market.

Take for instance young entrepreneur Nurul Syazninabila Mohd Ghazali (aka Nabila). According to Cuts Studio: Laser cutting made cool by Lydia Koh, when Nabila first started her laser cutting and woodworking business, she went with a cheaper machine. It ended up breaking. In six months. Don’t make the same mistake as Nabila and invest in an AP Lazer machine from the start.

With STEAM momentum only continuing to build, some teachers are finding success in grant writing to fund their Fab Labs. And if that doesn’t work, take a page from Shea’s book and show your school how much money they could save by having a laser machine. From no longer needing to outsource campus signage, to easily customizing whiteboards for specific lessons, your school will only find more and more ways for your AP Lazer machine to save money.

Why choose an AP Lazer machine?

As a result of revolutionary engineering by founder Tong Li, AP Lazer machines offer exceptional performance, stability, and efficiency that you won’t find elsewhere. Our technology lasts longer and cuts two times faster than competitors. Our unprecedented open architecture design allows you to engrave items of any size. Look here to see what other features make the AP Lazer difference.

Not only are our machines outstanding, but we also offer the best in customer service. Between set-up assistance, video tutorials, AP Lazer University, and 24/7 phone tech support, we’ll answer all questions and solve any problems.


education discount for laser machineLaser engraving business starter package

Oh, and did we mention, educators get a 10% discount with AP Lazer?

So what are you waiting for?! Contact us today to find out how you can get your hands on an AP Lazer machine.

Additional Links and Resources:
STEM to STEAM
STEAM Education
Engaging Students in the STEM Classroom Through “Making”
Pivot Point: At the Crossroads of STEM, STEAM and Arts Integration
STEAM Funding Endorsed BY NEA
STEAM Ahead: Merging Arts and Science Education
Gaining STEAM: Teaching Science Through Art

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