What can I make with a laser cutter?

A laser cutter, as you might suspect, is a machine that uses a laser to cut or engrave materials. It can be used with a variety of substrates, including wood, plastic, and metal. Because they’re so versatile, you can make any number of interesting products and designs with them. 

In this post, we’ll answer some common questions about laser cutting, and take a look at some exciting laser cutting design ideas to inspire you! 

Easy laser cutter projects:

Laser engraved coasters are a very good project for beginners.
Wooden puzzles for kids are also a great starter project…
…as are simple signs, house numbers, and key chain designs:

More advanced laser cutter projects:

As your confidence grows, you can take on more ambitious projects! Here are some awesome ideas:

3D puzzles and interlocking designs
Wall-mountable and desk clocks
Leather coasters
Awards, plaques, and trophies
Personalised phone cases
Leather cut products
Ornaments, decorations, and trinkets
Etched glass products
Intricate metal signs, wall hangings, inspirational quotes, and photo frames

What can be done with a laser cutter? As you can see, almost anything you can imagine! You can find thousands of laser cutting designs and pictures online, and there are many forums and social media groups for you to join and swap tips and laser cutting project ideas. Many hobbyists will also share the templates and vector files they have created so others can give their designs a go.

Making money with a laser cutter 

The real commercial potential of laser cutters lies in their ability to create bespoke, customised, and personalised objects. On the smaller end of the scale, this means you can create unique one-off gifts for individual customers, like personalised phone cases, journals, photo albums, or house number signs. 

On the larger end of the scale, there’s the potential to create hundreds of branded corporate gifts for large businesses, or even for the retail sector. As with any business venture, knowing your market and figuring out how to scale your offering is the hard part – with practice and perseverance, the creation of the laser cutter designs themselves becomes quite simple! 

What software is used for laser cutting?

There are many different software programs that can be used for laser cutting. Some of the most popular include Adobe Illustrator, AutoCAD, CorelDRAW, and InkScape. There are also some free online laser cutting software programs that you can use. 

Essentially, any program that allows you to create vector files will work for laser cutting. This file then acts as a blueprint the machine can follow. 

How do you design something for laser cutting?

Generally, it takes a little bit of trial and error when you’re new to laser cutting – so don’t worry if you don’t get it right straight away! It’s best to start with small, simple shapes to get a feel for the process before moving on to more intricate designs and larger projects. You also need to consider the type of material, how thick it is, and whether you want to cut right through the material or just mark the surface. 

Laser cutting materials to consider for your next project 

What are the best materials for laser cutting? 

Primarily, this depends on what laser cutter machine you have. Hobby lasers don’t have particularly powerful lasers, but they can still work with a surprising range of substrates, including wood, cardboard, paper, acrylic, fabric, and rubber. 

Climbing up the ladder, you find the commercial laser engraving machines, and finally fully-fledged laser cutting machines. With these, you’re able to cut right through tough materials like acrylic and metal. And if you add a rotary device to your laser, you can also work on curved objects like wine glasses and bottles. 

All our laser cutting machines for sale come complete with a detailed manual and laser cutting materials list for easy reference. 

What materials cannot be cut by a laser? 

Because lasers generate heat, it’s a very bad idea to try and cut anything that can give off potentially toxic fumes. These include any artificial leathers containing chromium, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyvinyl butyral (PVB), and polytetrafluoroethylenes (PTFE /Teflon). 
If in any doubt, rather give us a shout and we’ll let you know what the best materials for laser cutting with your particular machine are.