Laser cutting machines are finding their way into the domestic market. They have steadily been filtering their way down to the ordinary home hobbycraft shop, the classroom, and a wide variety of small professional businesses engaged in detailed cutting and fabrication work. This is because lasers can perform the same work as cutting and drill-based tools with much greater accuracy in rendering a finished design. And as lasers have been developed for these markets, and the technology refined, costs predictably have become much lower over time and can only continue to fall. This makes them a very reasonable alternative to standard mechanical tools. The cost of a single laser unit may be a bit on the high side for a single tool, but it replaces several tools on the workbench in the process because of its flexibility in application.
Boss Laser machines, among the most common brand to be found on the market, are capable of cutting a wide variety of materials and thus are perfect for multiple uses. Sign engraving is one such application. A good cutting laser can render designs in wood and acrylic, and cut inlays and letters to be affixed to blank surfaces to produce several different types of signage. Precision engraving in wood, leather, acrylic, and metal plate is well within the capability of a standard CO2 laser, requiring only minor adjustments for the particular material.
Engraved glass is among the most popular of gifts to give anyone and rendered far better with a laser than with ordinary engraving tools, where a slip or too great a pressure with the tool can ruin the work. This makes the production of finely engraved crystal and glassware possible even for the home hobbyist. A wider variety of precision cutting and engraving applications than was previously possible for the home shop are now quite feasible, especially with PC connectivity running the laser like an ink printer.
The only remaining questions to answer is whether the purchase of a laser is the right choice and finding the best value in terms of price and utility. Most persons don’t need the most powerful rigs for their purposes, and a good basic unit is often more than adequate for most usages. It all comes down to the basic issue of need rather than want, and making the best choice for the budget at hand.