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HomeCNC Laser Cutting MachineCNC vs Laser Engraver | What You Need To Know Before Buying!

CNC vs Laser Engraver | What You Need To Know Before Buying!


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Should you buy a Laser Engraver or CNC Router? Which one is worth it? In this video I will be comparing a laser engraver and a CNC router to find out which one will work best for your situation. Having woodworking and practical experience with both, Ryan goes over the Pro’s and Con’s of a laser engraver and a CNC and which one you should buy.

Cost – 0:43

Space/Footprint – 4:21

Skill Level Required – 6:02

Capabilities – 8:50

Overall Opinion – 11:04

Founded in 2020 Cuttin It Close is the educational platform of Drapela Works we look to provide value and insight on various wood related projects and techniques. Through training videos, CNC router techniques, unique projects, and practical applications, we hope to share our knowledge in the woodworking field and CNC Routering.

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  1. Ok so if I want to do this from my home, I have plenty of space. But feel like I should stick with the laser engraver, but I want to do parts for guns, some on metal and some on wood, what machine do you recommend for me to look Into??

  2. Thanks for the insight. I didn't really think about the programming side of the CNC machines. I come from a family of machinists, my father was a master tool and die man that did everything on manual machines. He had a small shop in the basement and I spent many a night running parts with him so I can run a manual lathe and mill. My brother is an incredible CNC machinist and he used to sell CMM machines for a couple of years. He now runs the quality department at a big job shop down south. I am in Michigan but I could pick his brain on the G-code or whatever language the CNC uses. I did a little over a year on a brand new Mazak lathe at a CNC shop I was working at but I was just a button pusher and dimension checker. I didn't even have to compensate for insert wear on that Mazak. It was sweet and fast as hell. That vertical turret freakin whipped back and forth. It spit out parts fast. I couldn't take just standing, resting my hand on the parts door waiting to check 1 out of 25 parts dimensions and that lathe could keep .0005 tolerance with no problem. We made medical parts for Stryker Medical on that new lathe. It was possibly the most I had ever watched the clock waiting for my 12 hrs of hell to be over everynight. I went back to construction. I should have toughed it out in hindsight. 2 back surgeries.
    The Laser's like the Epilog (which I am leaning towards for doing inlay) is just basically like printing. The only thing I do not like about the Epilog's is there isn't a way to pass material through the cabinet allowing to say do inlay on a long piece of material. I have a molder and my father in law has a portable bandsaw so I am drying my own lumber so I want to machine custom interior trim/casing/base etc. I would like to be able to inlay let's say a door casing and have it tie into the baseboard and have it travel around the entire room. How's that for a challenge. I think the Glowforge has the ability to pass material through the cabinet but that machine seems like it is a little too light duty for cutting inlay for hours on end.

  3. When talking about the materials you can cut with the laser, you didn't mention wood and the fact that there are so many sizes of laser machines, some with pass-throughs, which allow you to cut/engrave very large pieces.

  4. Thank you so much for making this video. We run a printing production shop and added laser engraving a few years ago. We have a decent size CO2 laser and a fiber laser (which is so much fun engraving and cutting metal!) and are looking at adding a CNC so that we can engrave signs and other small wood items. Thank you again!

  5. I wanted to look at the machines, their work and features….
    but I was looking at one guy. Almost 20min.
    not even on his tables.
    but I want to hear about the cnc and see it.
    I don't want to see a man.
    Ps. at least take a beautiful assistant in the frame…

  6. GREAT VID! I am hooked on your vids. Few questions. PROGRAMS! What type of software are you using? Have you run into different problems using different equipment or is all your equipment the same? What about people sending you files? Can you use or convert any type of files?
    As I have been looking into both CNC and Laser some companies address the software they use (proprietary or open market), the Cost, Upgrade Cost, etc. What have you ran into and what's your thoughts?

  7. im really confused on which one to buy. im only a hobbyist and want something that can cut acrylic (for now). im not doing a business with this machine. i want an easy system to i can be up and running in on time. im looking to make speaker brackets for my car. i am doing a full build for my sound system. i have a healthy budget for one of these machines so its gotta do everything i need. the only issue i have so far with the laser is that it doesnt seem to cut thick acrylic so well. i think the desktop laser cutters are 40watts and they can do only 1/4 inch max i believe. at times i would think ill be doing 1inch or more thick pieces. whats your advice for me?

  8. This video came at just the right time for me I am looking to get a 5 *10 CNC but due to long lead time I was thinking of a laser which I can get immediately, thanks for all the great info keep the videos coming .

  9. I recently purchased a Snapmaker 2.0 A350 to get into learning the differences in world of 3D printing, laser engraving and CNC milling. The problem I seem to keep running into is the software it comes with. I was easily able to find 3D printer slicers since 3D printing is huge these days. As you said laser engraving is extremely simple. My issue comes with the CNC. I've watched many videos of people's CNC machines doing these amazing things the Snapmaker software couldn't dream of doing.
    What would be good software that is good for tool paths? I'd like to find something that I can learn with on the Snapmaker but then apply the same methods when I get a more industrial CNC machine. My approach is if I'm going to spend the time to learn something I'll start at the top tier then trail and error my way to perfection.

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