Industrial Electronics

The best laser cutters and engravers for your application

20 March 2019

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When you purchase a laser cutter and engraver, it’s important to understand your industry, applications and materials so you can select the very best laser for your needs. While Epilog provides multiple machines that will work regardless of your material demands, these guidelines have been designed to help you choose the right laser for your particular application.

1) Best laser engraver and cutter for a small business

Figure 1: Zing 24 laser engraving and cutting machine. Specs: 50 W, CO2, 24 in x 12 in (610 mm x 305 mm). Source: Epilog LaserFigure 1: Zing 24 laser engraving and cutting machine. Specs: 50 W, CO2, 24 in x 12 in (610 mm x 305 mm). Source: Epilog Laser

The Epilog Zing 24 is a popular choice for starting a small business because of its compact size and incredible versatility. Many laser-friendly materials (wood, acrylic, plastic and so forth) come pre-cut in 24 in x 12 in (610 mm x 305 mm) sheets, which matches perfectly with the Zing 24’s engraving area.

The laser engraver is powered by a 50 W CO2 laser tube with ceramic components, which balances long life with a low recharge cost. A CO2 laser allows you to engrave and cut the wide variety of materials you will likely utilize as a small business owner, including wood, acrylic, plastic, leather, fabric, anodized aluminum and much more.

Figure 2: Small business owners tend to utilize a wide variety of materials for engraving projects. These canvas wine bags are just one of a virtually limitless number of possibilities. Source: Epilog LaserFigure 2: Small business owners tend to utilize a wide variety of materials for engraving projects. These canvas wine bags are just one of a virtually limitless number of possibilities. Source: Epilog Laser

The Epilog Zing 24 also allows you the ability to add on a rotary attachment for the engraving of glasses, mugs, wine bottles and other cylindrical items up to 5.25 in (133 mm) in diameter.

The engraver is incredibly easy to use and is designed to operate through a print driver. You can set up your graphics in almost any graphic design software, including Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, CorelDRAW, AutoCAD, Inkscape and more. Set your page size to the size of the piece or area you are engraving, lay out your graphics just like you are printing to paper and send it to the laser. You can choose a speed and power setting based on the material you are using.

Learn more about the Epilog Zing Laser Series.

2) Best laser engraver for glass etchers

Figure 3: Epilog Helix laser engraving and cutting machine. Specs: 60 W, CO2, 24 in x 18 in (610 mm x 457 mm). Source: Epilog LaserFigure 3: Epilog Helix laser engraving and cutting machine. Specs: 60 W, CO2, 24 in x 18 in (610 mm x 457 mm). Source: Epilog Laser

The Epilog Helix is a favorite for glass engravers because of the large z-depth of the motorized table. By moving the table down, you can place a large item up to 8 in in diameter on the optional rotary attachment. When you want to engrave a magnum bottle of wine or a large vase, this becomes an indispensable feature.

Figure 4: The 4-in lens elongates the laser beam, providing a longer focal point, allowing you to engrave around a curve on wine glasses and mugs without needing to rotate the glass. Source: Epilog LaserFigure 4: The 4-in lens elongates the laser beam, providing a longer focal point, allowing you to engrave around a curve on wine glasses and mugs without needing to rotate the glass. Source: Epilog Laser

The 60 W sealed metal and ceramic laser tube is an excellent choice for glass etchers, providing the power to run the laser at high speed for engraving.

Add on the optional 4 in lens to engrave a table full of glasses without using the rotary attachment. The 4 in lens elongates the laser beam, providing a longer focal point, allowing you to engrave around a curve on wine glasses and mugs without needing to rotate the glass.

Learn more about the Epilog Legend Laser Series.

3) Best laser engraving and cutting machine for travel

Figure 5: The Epilog Mini 18. Source: Epilog LaserFigure 5: The Epilog Mini 18. Source: Epilog Laser

When you are looking for a small, lightweight laser system for traveling to craft shows, tradeshows and other events, the Epilog Mini 18 is a great choice. Weighing only 70 lb (32 kg), the laser machine can be moved easily and you can add on an optional rolling cart that attaches directly to the laser body and brings the machine to an accessible desk height. Alternatively, you can set the laser directly on a table or filtration unit to maximize space in your workshop or booth.

The 40 W system’s powerful laser tube will cut through up to 0.25 in hardwoods and acrylics in a single pass. Having the laser on display at events adds an instant wow factor to your space, as attendees can watch the laser work on your products. It also lets you offer customization on the spot, adding customer names and event dates to your items right at the show or fair.

Figure 6: Get an instant wow with on-the-spot customization of items such as leather key chains. Source: Epilog LaserFigure 6: Get an instant wow with on-the-spot customization of items such as leather key chains. Source: Epilog Laser

The center engraving feature lets you quickly set up custom jobs right at the laser. Just choose the center point of your object, draw a vector box around the graphic you want to engrave and run the vector job with the lid open and red dot pointer on. This gives you the exact location where the graphic will be engraved. No guesswork or endless measuring means you can run the laser at a show with minimal hassle.

Learn more about the Epilog Legend Laser Series.

4) Best laser engraver and cutter for industrial applications

Figure 7: Epilog Fusion Pro series (pictured is the Fusion Pro 32). Specs (both models): 50, 60, 75 or 120 W CO2; 30 or 50 W fiber; (Fusion Pro 48) 48 in x 36 in x 12.25 in (1219 mm x 914 mm x 311 mm). Source: Epilog LaserFigure 7: Epilog Fusion Pro series (pictured is the Fusion Pro 32). Specs (both models): 50, 60, 75 or 120 W CO2; 30 or 50 W fiber; (Fusion Pro 48) 48 in x 36 in x 12.25 in (1219 mm x 914 mm x 311 mm). Source: Epilog Laser

When looking for a laser engraver to handle more industrial applications, like metal engraving, barcoding and serializing parts, many of our customers look to the Fusion Pro 48 with its dual-source capabilities. The Fusion Pro series can be configured with a CO2 laser, fiber laser or both within one system. The fiber laser adds the ability to engrave directly — with depth — into almost any metal and to change the colors of engineered plastics when engraved. A 50 W fiber laser will quickly create multiple marks on steel, aluminum, brass and more, including etched, polished and annealed marks.

Figure 8: Engrave 2D, data matrix, UPC or any other type of barcode with a Fusion M2 40. Source: Epilog LaserFigure 8: Engrave 2D, data matrix, UPC or any other type of barcode with a Fusion M2 40. Source: Epilog Laser

Engrave 2D, data matrix, UPC or any other type of barcode with the Fusion Pro series. You can etch barcodes onto metal tags to affix to your machinery or even place an entire piece into the laser using the large 48 in x 36 in x 12.25 in (1219 mm x 914 mm x 311 mm) work table of the Fusion Pro 48. Engrave one custom item or multiple pieces at the same time.

The Fusion Pro series’ 5G acceleration and 165 IPS engraving speeds provide the fastest engraving in the industry, while the built-in IRIS Camera Positioning system allows precise placement of artwork on screen in seconds.

Learn more about the Epilog Fusion Pro Laser Series.

5) Best laser engraver and cutter for makerspaces and schools

Figure 9: Epilog Fusion Pro series (pictured is the Fusion Pro 32). Specs (both models): 50, 60, 75 or 120 W CO2; 30 or 50 W fiber; (Fusion Pro 32) 32 in x 20 in x 12.25 in (812 mm x 508 mm x 311 mm). Source: Epilog LaserFigure 9: Epilog Fusion Pro series (pictured is the Fusion Pro 32). Specs (both models): 50, 60, 75 or 120 W CO2; 30 or 50 W fiber; (Fusion Pro 32) 32 in x 20 in x 12.25 in (812 mm x 508 mm x 311 mm). Source: Epilog Laser

The Epilog Fusion Pro 32 is the smaller option in Epilog’s top-of-the-line Fusion Pro laser series. It features a large work area that is ideal for your users’ projects, letting them fit pieces up to 32 in x 20 in x 12.25 in (812 mm x 508 mm x 311 mm) on the engraving and cutting table.

The Fusion Pro series uses Epilog’s easy-to-use print driver that lets you set up your file in any graphics software and prints it over to the laser in just a few easy steps. There is no complicated proprietary software to learn, so training new users on the laser takes very little time. In fact, many users are amazed that they can turn on the machine and be running their first laser project in just minutes.

The industrial build of the Fusion Pro 32 is ideal for schools and makerspaces that need to be assured that their equipment is always up and running, withstanding your users’ variety of skill levels. The entire machine is built with a modular design concept so when you do have a problem, a quick call to technical support is all it takes to have the problem diagnosed and the needed part overnighted to you. You can follow simple instructions to replace any part in the system.

This eye-catching T-Rex head was laser-cut from cardboard. Source: Epilog LaserThis eye-catching T-Rex head was laser-cut from cardboard. Source: Epilog Laser

The Fusion Pro series offers a variety of useful features that will help your users create their projects quicker and easier than with other systems. You can use the Fusion Pro’s display panel to change the speed and power settings on the fly to find the perfect settings for the material you’re working with. When your users finish a project and have leftover material, they can use the Fusion Pro’s handy direct print feature to run the laser directly from the machine’s control panel. They can simply cut off their excess material so the next user will have a piece ready to run.

Learn more about the Fusion Pro Laser Series.

6) Best laser engraver and cutter for woodworkers

Figure 10: Epilog Mini 24. Specs: 60 watt CO2 24 in x 12 in (610 mm x 305 mm). Source: Epilog LaserFigure 10: Epilog Mini 24. Specs: 60 watt CO2 24 in x 12 in (610 mm x 305 mm). Source: Epilog Laser

Woodworkers tend to look for a variety of features, such as low price, easy job setup and generous laser wattage. This Epilog Mini 24 checks all of the boxes, with an included Vector Cutting Table built into the system and a laser tube capable of cutting through 0.378-in wood in a single pass. Flip up the rulers on the engraving table to quickly remove the engraving task plate and place the honeycomb cutting table in the machine.

Figure 11: Woodworkers tend to look for a variety of features, such as low price, easy job setup and generous laser wattage. Source: Epilog LaserFigure 11: Woodworkers tend to look for a variety of features, such as low price, easy job setup and generous laser wattage. Source: Epilog Laser

Good exhaust will be important to any woodworker, so attach a strong exhaust fan to the back of the laser’s 4 in port to remove smoke and fumes from the work area. By hooking up a small air compressor to the back of the machine you can also make use of the Mini 24’s built-in air assist feature that will blow a constant stream of air on the work surface, keeping down flames when cutting through thicker woods and providing the best edge quality possible. When you are finished cutting your project, remove the handy crumb tray and easily dispose of any pieces that have fallen through the cutting table. High-resolution engraving is very important to a woodworker, and the Mini 24 provides Epilog’s famous engraving quality. With resolutions up to 1,200 dpi, you won’t find a machine on the market that can engrave graphics this detailed at such high speeds.

Learn more about the Legend Laser Series.

Which laser is right for your application?

You’ll want to take a look at your specific needs to find the model that will best fit your situation. We always recommend setting up a live one-on-one demonstration with one of our worldwide distributors. They can teach you how easy it is to use the laser and help you find the right machine size and wattage to fit your budget. Fill out the form to request a brochure and sample kit to see what you can start making with your own laser machine from Epilog Laser!



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