STARTING YOUR LASER ENGRAVING JOURNEY
A laser engraver can be used with a vast variety of project materials, ranging from wood, acrylic, and leather all the way up to things like powder coated mugs or glasses. Laser engraver project ideas don’t stop there. You can combine materials and elements to make one-of-a-kind, custom creations. The only limit on laser engraving ideas is your imagination.
WHAT KIND OF MATERIALS CAN I USE WITH MY LASER ENGRAVER?
While my main interest area was wood, I quickly found myself trying out a variety of materials such as acrylic, faux leather, glasses, and powder coated mugs. My goal was to purchase many different materials to test out because I wasn’t sure where my passions would lie when I started. I tried everything that I could because the best way to learn is through trial and error. My laser engraving ideas and projects all contain various types of woods, specialty acrylics, and anything that has different finishes on it.
Even if I didn’t have a project in mind right away, I would keep a spreadsheet of all the different suppliers, materials, thicknesses, and prices so if I liked something (or wanted to try something else), I knew exactly where to get more of it. This is very helpful if you have a lot of ideas for your laser cutter projects and don’t know where to start.
Some laser engraving ideas and designs that make great laser engraved projects:
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST TIPS YOU HAVE FOR NEWBIES?
First off, don't be afraid to test things out and make mistakes! It happens to all of us. Keep a list/ document/ blog post with detailed photos and descriptions of your issues, along with ways that you have tested and overcome them. This is how we all learn and grow.
Don't rush into selling your laser engraver projects. Learn your laser machine, your materials, your settings, etc. Test your products out and make sure they hold up. Otherwise, if you jump in too soon and your products fall apart, that won't look good on you! You can also start off by making laser engraved gifts for people to gain feedback. I was testing and learning for two months before I sold anything. This also goes for things like your fasteners, glues, and anything that is used in conjunction with your product. When you are ready to sell, I suggest booking a meeting with a business specialist or an accountant to get all of the legal stuff situated. They will know what will work and what protections you need based on your individual laser engraving business ideas.
Keep a spreadsheet/ manage your materials and inventory. It helps to keep note of your suppliers, the materials you purchase as well as the prices and settings that you like. Keeping this information handy also helps you price your laser engraved products fairly for customers. If you are tech-savvy, you can also build your own formulas. I use airtable to keep track of all my materials and then have custom-built formulas that link to other tables. Hopefully, I can share more in-depth info on my project management in another blog!
Most importantly, have fun and be a part of the laser engraving community! Post your laser engraver projects, ask for advice, and have fun with it. We all start somewhere, and the best way to get into the world of lasers is to dive on in!