How to Buy the Right Laser Processing Tools

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Fax machines aren’t the most advanced technology in offices, anymore. Thanks to the recent explosion of tech innovation, businesses around the world have access to outstandingly useful tools, including virtual reality headsets, 3-D printers, and (potentially most useful of all) laser cutters.

However, because this tech remains relatively new, many businesses are making serious mistakes in their buying practices. Rather than evaluating equipment based on abilities or reviews, they are opting for the cheapest models available — and suffering greatly for it. To avoid taking the same route, you should use this guide to buy the right laser processing tools for you.

Know What You Need

Just like you wouldn’t expect a consumer-grade inkjet to adequately meet the needs of a mid-sized company, you shouldn’t assume that all laser processing tools can do the same work. Some lasers are well-suited to intricate, detail work on thin, soft materials; other lasers are calibrated to perform unfussy marks, cuts, and welds on sturdier stuff. Before you begin shopping for laser tools, you must know what your business needs.

To start, you might ask yourself some questions such as:

  • Do you feel competent with laser tech? Are you experienced with laser processing technology, or are these machines brand-new to you?
  • What will I use my laser to produce? Are you making tools for your business or generating products to sell to customers?
  • What materials will my laser process? Are you cutting acrylics for 3M electronics, paper designs for invitations and cards, wood for carpentry projects, or something else?
  • How often will I use my laser? Will the machine be working 24/7, or do you expect only occasional use?

There are two dominant features of laser processing machines you should consider first:

Size. Typically, larger laser tools are advisable because they not only allow you to produce larger projects, but they allow you to produce an increased number of smaller projects at one time. You can also procure laser machines with adjustable beds that move up and down, so you have more control over the size of your project.

Power. A strong laser is more capable of cutting through harder, denser, or thicker material than a weak laser. Stronger lasers tend to be faster and more precise, as well.

Finally, while you are evaluating your laser requirements, you should consider the availability of customer support. Because lasers are large, complex machines, you will likely need occasional assistance setting up, maintaining, and using your laser tools. Companies with extensive websites and accessible help lines are prudent for first-time laser processers.

Make a Budget

As is the case with most advanced machinery, the more you can spend on your laser processing tools, the higher quality tools you will receive. That means less expensive laser machines might contain the most effective elements for laser processing all materials. Still, there are plenty of affordable laser machines, especially if you are willing to consider pre-owned models. In many cases, you can upgrade components in older devices to improve their performance as necessary. Ultimately, you should evaluate your business’s finances before you dedicate any amount of money to laser tools.

Peruse Your Options

Though laser processing equipment has only recently become widely available, it comes in astonishing variety. Even ignoring the various sizes of machines, different lasers boast different power sources, cooling methods, and more. For example, gas lasers were the standard for decades, but newly developed solid-state lasers tend to be more efficient, more powerful, and more precise. It is impossible to detail each and every option here, but it is vital that you perform research on the various types of laser machines before you settle on what your business needs.

Opt for Services

No matter what type of laser you ultimately require, it is imperative that you purchase a machine that comes with a strong warranty. As mentioned before, laser processing equipment tends to be complicated, and it is likely that various components will demand replacement or service during the lifetime of the device. Company warranties help alleviate the costs associated with malfunctioning or otherwise defective machines.

Finally, you should secure proper training for use of your new laser tool. Many laser equipment manufacturers offer courses to help new owners avoid major mistakes in laser operation and maintenance. By becoming educated about your laser machinery, you can ensure your tool remains functional for years to come.