Not a Perfect Opportunity

The low power LASER is simply a tool. It is not a career any more than owning a guitar makes one a music star. Buying, owning, operating a LASER engraver/cutter does not endow the operator with graphic skills and creative ability.

Creative people will find interesting ways to use this tool. No doubt about that. The machine is simply not a self contained means to a creative career or business. It can play a part, as any other tool the creative artist may use.

Excuse the mini-rant. Ha! I just rebel a bit when I see the advertising showing “all the things you can do” with your XYZ machine. It’s all true statement, but what it implies is misleading. Buying the machine does not generate latent talent. It does help to expand available talent/ability in new ways.

Marketing of the machine is designed to create sales of the product. Ownership will not produce a flood of folks knocking at your door wanting things engraved. Buy one because you like to do creative engraving. Not because it is a LASER.

For me it is a little of both. Guilty of wanting to “play” with a LASER. I know that “fun” can wear thin in short order. The very low cost of diode LASERs is what “flipped” my “do it” button. A few hundred bucks and I can play with a real LASER. 

I know I can create engraved “stuff”. I own CNC milling machines and a medium size CNC overhead router. I have already produced a lot of engraving for jewelry and woodworking. 

My little LASER engraver is just another tool to master. 

I need to insert a caution statement. 

The LASER is a burning tool. It creates a HUGE amount of smoke and fumes with most operations.

Sawdust in a woodworking shop is the same kind of issue. There must be a plan to deal with Sawdust. There must be a plan to deal with LASER fumes and smoke.

It is not a desk top office or in-home 3D printer. They make invisible fumes, but the LASER makes large amounts of noxious visible SMOKE. Low cost open LASER such as mine have NO SMOKE MANAGEMENT. The user has to provide a solution. I presently use a fan and open garage door. High-end LASER machines have closed cases and built in extraction systems THAT MUST BE VENTED TO THE OUTDOORS or other suitable solution. Expensive add-on filter systems are advertised.

Pure air environmentalist will be marching and demanding you and the “government” should “do something” about all the smoke. If you are of this mind-set, then don’t purchase a LASER engraver. Use sharp edge hand tools for engraving.

The reality is the smoke is no worse than building a very small campfire to make/enjoy some “s’mores”. You just wouldn’t normally do that in the middle of the living room.

PEACE brother!

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