If you are interested in purchasing a laser engraving machine, you most likely have a list of questions in need of answers. In this post, we’ve answered some common questions you may have when purchasing a laser machine.
1. How much space will I need for a laser machine?
Laser machines range drastically in size, from small desktop engraving machines to large gantry-style engraving machines. As far as space requirements for AP Lazer machines, the largest of our machines require at least an 11’ by 8’ space. If less space is available, our smaller line of machines can fit in an area as little as 8’ by 5’. It is best if your laser engraving machine is in a space that shares a wall with the outdoors for convenient ventilation. Installing a 6” fan will push any fumes or smells from the top of the machine to the outdoors. The AP Lazer should also be near a standard 110v power outlet so that extension cords aren’t necessary, one less tripping hazard is always better. Read more about safety tips.
2. Is a laser machine difficult to learn and use?
A laser machine itself is very user friendly and can be learned quite quickly. Once your design has been created, laser engraving or cutting is as simple as sending a file to a printer. AP Lazer packages include CorelDraw and PhotoGrav, however, you can use whichever design software you are comfortable with.
3. What materials can I cut, engrave and mark with a laser machine?
There is a wide range of laserable materials that can be permanently marked and cut with a laser machine. The ability to transform everyday materials into business opportunities makes a laser machine one of the best investments you can make. Here is a list of common materials that can be laser engraved:
● Granite. Popular applications include personalization of granite memorials, granite counter tops, outdoor signage and flooring.
● Brick and Stone. Applications include, but aren’t limited to: fundraising bricks, stepping stones, retaining walls and landscaping features.
● Glass and Crystal. There are many applications for glass and crystal, some of the more popular include: awards, personalized gifts, interior and furniture design and glass packaging. (Jars of food, bottles for drinks, cosmetic and pharmaceuticals.
● Wood. Applications for wood are quite vast, and include: custom flooring, cabinets, furniture, gun stocks, personalized gifts, business cards, signage, awards and integrating into schools/universities.
● Plastics and Acrylic. Applications include: indoor and outdoor signage, plastic part marking/cutting and architectural mock-ups.
● Metal. Popular metal applications include: metal part marking (tools, machine parts etc.), automotive applications, personalization of firearms, jewelry, metal urns and awards. (coated metals can be successfully engraved/marked, however un-coated, bare metals require a marking compound.)
● Rubber. The most common rubber applications are tire marking, rubber stamp creation and part handles.
● Fabric. Applications for fabric engraving and cutting include fashion design, interior design and textile creation/modification.
A better question to ask is “what materials can’t be modified with a laser engraving and cutting machine”? If you’d like to have your material tested in our applications lab, email us or call 800-585-8617 to speak to a representative.
4. What size of laser machine do I need?
That question is difficult for us to answer, as it really depends on your plans for the laser machine and the largest size material you plan on engraving or cutting. AP Lazer’s patented open architecture provides you with limitless opportunities, but size of machine will ultimately determine the size of material and ease of engraving ability. Generally, bigger is better simply from the standpoint that if you have a bigger machine you have more options and opportunities to engrave larger objects than if you purchase a smaller machine. It’s entirely up to you and which revenue streams you’d like to tap into.
5. What kind of power do I need?
There are many things to consider when selecting the right laser power for your application, as it determines the type of materials you can engrave/cut, the speed at which you can engrave/cut them. Most AP Lazer machines come with a standard 100w laser tube that will satisfy most of your engraving needs.
6. What kind of training is available?
Highly skilled technicians will spend one day to assist you in getting your machine up and running and help you get familiar with the machine. If you are able to follow the step-by-step instructions and have your machine assembled before the technician arrives, this will leave more time for a technician to answer any more detailed questions you may have. Additionally, we offer 24/7 technical phone support and Advanced Training is available should you require it.
7. What kind of warranty is offered?
Claiming that you have the “longest industry warranty” is the thing to do for laser cutting and engraving machines, so we won’t claim it. But, we do urge you to do your research. AP Lazer machines carry a three-year parts warranty, a two-year tube and mirror warranty and the lens is warrantied for one year. When researching machine warranties, the tube, mirror, and lens are particularly important to pay attention to, as most laser warranties count these parts as “consumable items” and cover them from 90 days to not at all. On top of everything we also include a year of technical support and 24/7 technical phone support.
8. How will I pay for my laser machine?
Laser machines can be paid for in a variety of ways, but most commonly are purchased with cash (capital purchase) or by financing the laser equipment.
● Cash. A great option for existing businesses, as any profit that you make with the machine, is 100% yours from the beginning.
● Finance-to-own. Financing a laser engraving machine provides many convenient options to best suit your financial needs. Most financing companies offer some sort of deferment option, which will give you time to get the machine in your possession, receive training, pass the learning curve and generate profits before you write the first check.
Financing allows you to deduct the full amount of the purchase price of your laser in the first year when you utilize Section 179.
● Credit Card. You may pay for your laser machine with a credit card. (3% fee applies).
● Utilize a bank of your choice for the option of standard equipment or business loan, home equity loan, or line of credit. If you are a non-profit or for-profit organization such as a school or university, there are federal grants readily available.
9. How am I going to make money with the AP Lazer?
Making money with a laser machine is essentially up to the owner/operator. AP Lazer machines boast some unique features that will set you apart from other laser machines and give you the ability to make money fast. Realizing the potential and taking advantage of our patented open-architecture is extremely valuable and will provide you with many opportunities. With AP Lazer, you have no boundaries and never have to say “no” to anyone in regards to the capability of completing their job. Your only limitation is your creativity and desire to engrave or cut an item.
● Signage A storefront sign takes about 60 minutes to produce. The material cost should be around $100, the design work was already completed, simply save it as a vector file and send it to the laser. The value of this sign is north of $1000.
● Pet Memorial Products This granite pet urn took less than an hour to produce. The memorial itself is not very big, but the sentimental value is huge. This urn was purchased at wholesale for around $89. Once personalized, it was sold it for $600, that’s a 674% markup for those of you who aren’t mathematicians.
● Fundraising Bricks One AP Lazer customer completed a 1000 charity bricks walkway job and received $30 per engraved brick. This specific job took 12 days to complete, running the machine about 10 hours a day (85 bricks per day). 1000 bricks were purchased in bulk for $600. Aside from electricity and labor costs, the company profited roughly $28k. That’s $50/hour for every hour the machine was running.
We hope to have answered some of the common questions you may have about purchasing a laser machine as well as inspired you along the way. If you have additional questions we didn’t cover, feel free to contact us or give us a call at 800-585-8617