Is it possible for me to laser engrave my stuff at home?
April 1, 2008 11:36 AM   Subscribe

Would it be possible to buy a laser engraver to engrave my they do here and here?

I'm really interested in laser engraving, potentially as a hobby, and potentially to make some money on the side. What basic tools do I need in order to get in to laser engraving? How much might a startup kit cost? Where should I shop?

The machine EngraveYourTech uses works kinda like an inkjet this potentially the sort of thing that we'll be able to buy at Circuit City in 5 years?

Thanks MeFi
posted by josh.ev9 to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Laser engraving and laser cutting are (at the low end at least) done with the same device. They start at about $7000 for something for the home, and get more expensive the more cutting-power you need.
posted by -harlequin- at 11:41 AM on April 1, 2008

The school district I used to work at had an Epilog engraver in its high school tech lab. It was totally awesome. And totally expensive (if i recall around $50,000, but it was one of the larger freestanding units big enough to etch a laptop,etc). Of course the cost will come down as technology advances, but WHEN it comes down (to an affordable level).. is a great question.
posted by jmnugent at 11:43 AM on April 1, 2008

Yes you can. Not cheap though. So you probably don't want to go this route. You won't be able to buy them in 5 years for home use -- they just don't have that much utility. What would your mom do with one of those cluttering up the back hall closet.

What you need are some friends in art school, tech school, or in the engraving biz. Then you meet them there on the weekends and rock out your projects. You need to test your materials first though to make sure you're not going too deep / hot.
posted by zpousman at 11:44 AM on April 1, 2008

If you're handy with code and tools, I've also seen a project online where a guy converted used two flat-bed scanners to provide the X and Y motion for a laser, and so built his own engraver cheaply.

Note that the laser out of a DVD-burner is strong enough to visibly engrave some things, so that's a mere $30 test-laser to see if your rig works, before splashing out on a bigger laser.
posted by -harlequin- at 11:48 AM on April 1, 2008

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