If you do a lot of laser cutting, you may want to get a laser cutter for your home. There are a huge range of possible options. In addition to looking at price and online reviews, here are some decisions you need to make.
1. Hand Engraver or Computer Powered?
You can buy a small hand engraver. That's shaped like a pen and allows you to do all kinds of decorative engravings but not a lot of cutting.
Alternatively, you can opt for a computer powered engraver. That looks similar to a computer printer. It does both cutting and engraving, and you create the designs with a program such as IDRAW, AutoCAD or a similar one.
Then, you need to ensure that your laser cutter or engraver works with the materials you tend to use. For instance, some laser cutters work on wood acrylic, plastic and fabric, but they don't work on metal. Generally, for a cutter to work on metal, you may have to go up a degree in quality and cost.
Remember to read the small print as well. Some machiners cut different materials than they engrave.
3. Carbon Dioxide, Neodymium or Neodymium Yttrium-Aluminium-Garnet?
These are the three main types of lasers for cutting. CO2 lasers work for most home cutting and engraving needs. However, if you want a very high level of energy or the ability to bore through metals, you need a neodymium (Nd). Finally, the neodymium yttrium-aluminium-garnet (Nd-YAG) lasers also offer high power for boring and engraving, and you can also use them for welding.
4. Glass or Ceramic Tubes?
Then, you need to decide which encasing you prefer for your tube. Glass tubes are durable, and they create a perfectly round laser shape. However, some people prefer ceramic tubes because they don't get as hot as glass. They are a more effective insulator.
5. Cooling Method?
Finally, speaking of heat, you need to look into how the laser cutter is cooled. Cooling these machines with water jets has long been a popular option, but that's not the only way forward. You can also get air cooled laser cutters.
These cutters are designed in a way that promotes air running through the components. That naturally keeps the equipment cool and you don't have to worry about adding water or maintaining any parts that contain water.
To help hone in on the right laser cutter, start looking at some options and more importantly find online demos or work samples created by those particular cutters.