Recently, my husband and I started a blog about laser engraving. The interest was sparked when we were looking for our wedding bands back in 2015. We got fascinated by the technology of laser engraving on metal. The more we talked about it, we noticed a shared passion and decided to go for it. Right now, we run the blog which basically educates internet users on using a laser engraver to customize their products. Although we are focused on developing the blog for now, we’d definitely love to start a laser engraving business in the near future. This read delves into the art of personalizing products using this ingenious technology.
Laser engraving at a glance
As the name suggests, laser engraving is, well, making engravings using a laser machine. This is basically a piece of equipment that utilizes a laser beam to melt, burn, or vaporize the material. As the heat is applied to the material, it changes its color and creates a striking contrast with the rest of the material. The result is a permanent marking which is called an engraving.
Before placing your material on the laser machine, you’ll have to create the layout using graphic software. The most common ones include AutoCAD, Photoshop, Inkscape, and CorelDraw. Once you have the layout, send it to the laser, set the parameters and start it up. That’s the short version of it but it is what the process entails, really. There are different types of lasers in the market with the common ones being fiber and CO2 lasers.
Laser engraving is preferred over other marking methods because it is a non-contact process. What this means is that it reduces the risk of deformation and mold damage. It is also very precise, fast, and accurate compared to traditional methods such as mechanical engraving and stamping.
Does it pay?
Before jumping into something new, doing a cost-benefit analysis is a necessary step. This goes for both online and offline opportunities. Laser engraving can be highly profitable if you play your cards well. The truth is that people love personalized items. Businesses are always pushing their brand to the masses. They use customized cups, coasters, key holders, and pens to do that. Personalized jewelry items are always sought after. Homeowners don’t mind having their photo frames customized. All you have to do is buy the item, customize it and sell it for a much higher price to fetch huge returns.
Laser engraving has huge profit margins for the right go-getters. The input costs are a laser machine, computer, and the material. A good laser machine might set you back a little but it is a one-time cost. Other input costs include business registration and branding. Electricity is one of the main production costs. The good thing about this business model is that you can do it from home is you have a spare room. Else, you can rent some space elsewhere, install your engraver and make some money.
Obviously, you have to master the craft. No way around it. You have to learn how to use a laser engraver creatively and effectively. The products need to stand out. Lucky for you, there are myriad sources of information online that can help you with that. All you need to know is the right parameters to use for different materials. This takes trial and error but if you stick with it, you’ll refine the skill. Secondly, like all business models, laser engraving depends on sales and marketing to succeed.
What you need
To get your business going, you need a few things:
· A laser engraver: like mentioned before, there are different types of laser engravers in the market. On average, you will part with $5,000 to $10,000 for a good professional laser engraver. However, if you are low on budget and don’t handle big projects, you can get away with a laser engraver for under $500. If you can, purchase a quality and high-end product with great features. Here’s a guide that can help when choosing a laser engraver.
· A computer: you need a computer to run the graphic software. A basic machine will do the job just fine as long it can handle the software.
· Material: a laser engraver can work on various materials – metals (aluminum, titanium, steel, gold, silver), acrylic, plastic, wood, glass, stone, cork, leather, bamboo, and more.
· Artwork: this can be a design, text, numbers, photo, etc.
There’s massive potential for aggressive business enthusiasts in laser engraving. If you are looking for a great idea that guarantees results, consider going that route. Do your homework, write a business plan, study the market, and see if it’s right for you.
Alice Cheptoo is a chemical and process engineer, wife, mother, blogger, and freelance writer. She’s passionate about anything tech, ministry, cooking, and family life. Her blog laserengravingtips.com seeks to educate people on using a laser engraver to personalize items.