industrial laser cutter commercial professional

The Complete Industrial Laser Cutter Buyer’s Guide 2021

Buying your first entry-level laser cutting machine is all well and good, but there comes a time when you need to level up to something more professional. Industrial laser cutters add a layer of automation, flexibility, and precision that low-end machines can’t achieve.

On a production scale, when replacing traditional methods of cutting and engraving metal and non-metal materials with a concentrated laser beam, you need a machine that’s going to deliver irrefutable products.

And when you choose to do so, the result is an automated workflow, increased productivity, and high-quality cuts. But where do you find these commercially viable machines?

To help sift through the noise, we’ve created our buyer’s guide to industrial laser cutting machines. It’s important to note these may not be the most budget or beginner-friendly machines, but they offer a step-up from those you’d use in your spare time, and instead are perfect laser cutters for small businesses or dedicated hobbyists looking to upscale their laser cutting and model engraving.

Alternatively, this is also a great guide for anyone new to the industry, but not their craft, and who wants to get started on the right foot.

We’ll begin our guide by digging deeper into the different types of professional laser cutting machines and how they work, then explore the top machines on the market!

What Makes an Industrial Laser Cutter?

Not all laser cutting machines were created equal, in fact, there’s quite a wealth of variation.

There’s the obvious in that with professional laser cutters there’s an expected level of quality and efficiency that’s higher than more casual models. So, features like higher power, stronger lasers, more robust hardware, and the ability to work with tougher materials are standard.

But then there’s the not so obvious like the different types of laser cutters, such as:

  • Gas or CO2
  • Crystal
  • Fiber

CO2 laser cutters – and the type we’ll be focusing on today – are the most popularly used and manufactured type of commercial laser cutter. They work by using electrically stimulated CO2, which is produced by mixing together other gases, such as nitrogen and helium. These types of lasers typically give a smoother finish, are more affordable, and can engrave and cut through thicker materials than other types.

Fiber laser cutters, on the other hand, are the more affordable type and work by using fiberglass to amplify a “seed laser” for cutting and engraving. They are more energy-efficient and can cut through reflective metals without the worry of back reflection.

Finally, crystal laser cutters are the toughest out of the three. They generate beams by stimulating emissions inside the crystal, which then amplifies the wavelength into a beam. They offer the highest power and can cut through thicker and harder materials, but at a price. They’re the most expensive and also wear down the fastest.

All in all, CO2 lasers support that perfect middle ground between power and price.

Investing in a CO2 industrial laser cutting machine allows you to produce near-exact replicas of your products, increase your business’s versatility, and automate work, helping boost productivity and you’ll see prime examples of that below in our machine lineup.

The Best Industrial Laser Cutters — Ranked

Now that you know what you’re looking for, let’s take a look at the top industrial laser cutting machines. Our list is ranked by price but also covers the range of applications and features for each machine.

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Snapmaker 2.0 with 4-axis Rotary Attachment: Most Affordable Commercial Laser Cutter

The Snapmaker 2.0 3-in-1 printer may seem like an odd choice to start off our laser cutter list, but we think it’s a worthwhile addition. Developed at a company that holds a true love and passion for Do-It-Yourself inhibitions, this module-styled machine offers access to laser cutting, 3D printing, and CNC milling at an incredible price.

It comes in 3 sizes with cutting areas of 160 x 160 mm, 230 x 250 mm, and 320 x 350 mm. Each kit comes with all-metal linear 3D printing, laser cutting, and CNC carving modules, and while you may think the machine is spread too thin, it’s still managed to pull out all the bells and whistles for laser cutting.

Not only is laser cutting the easiest module to use, but it handles materials like leather, wood, acrylic, and fabric.Our favorite part though is the Snapmaker 2.0 rotary module that adds a 4th axis to the machine and allows you to cut 3D models like statues and engrave round objects like water bottles.

It comes with a removable heated bed and print sheet, which is then replaced with 4 separate aluminum slabs that are fixed to the Y-axis carriage for laser cutting. This helps keep the laser from reflecting off the underside and allows efficient cooling.

The laser cutting module also comes with a built-in camera so it can scan designs, a 1,600 MW blue diode laser head, a dedicated laser table, and auto-calibration for when you switch between modules. Snapmaker also made their Snapmaker Luban software 3-in-1, so it supports each module.

Snapmaker truly took on customer feedback when designing the 2.0, creating a new robust hardware structure, a larger work area, and upgraded to a more powerful laser. One quirk the machine has is you cannot be connected to the machine with WiFi and control locally, you have to choose one or the other.

Overall, we think this is a great entry point into laser cutting machines, and CNC as a whole, because of the immense versatility and educational opportunities this machine holds for new users.

snapmaker 2.0 laser cutter with 4-axis rotary attachment

Flux Beamo 30 W: Best Commercial Laser Cutting Machine for Newer Users

Another example of an excellent entry-level professional laser cutting and engraving machine is the Flux Beamo 30W. Starting as a record-breaking Kickstarter in Taiwan, Flux is all about creating digital solutions and bringing design to life, and you can certainly see that here.

Known for its desktop size, Beamo makes laser cutting easy with a desktop app that can perform a variety of functions and allow you to customize the configuration for the tasks at hand. The Beamo Studio software allows you to draw in-app designs and supports imports from design software like AutoCAD and Adobe, and even has a layering system for engraving.

Laser focusing is manual, but it can be made easier with the automatic laser focusing module. It also has hybrid laser technology for faster cutting speeds. It can cut and engrave cardboard, paper, wood, leather, and acrylic, and engrave other harder materials like glass, stone, metal, and stainless steel.

The greatest asset is the machine’s ease of use and affordability for the range of capabilities it offers.

One thing to watch out for is the camera’s blind spot when scanning an image for cutting or engraving. The cutting area sits at 300 x 210 mm, but the camera only scans and views an area of 300 x 195 mm. That leaves 20 mm lost on the Y-axis when designing, however, if you’re able to keep that in mind, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to produce incredible models.

flux beamo 30w

OMTech 70 W (AF1630-70): Best Industrial Laser Cutter for Large Projects

Sitting as the biggest machine on our list, the OMTech 70 W is a beast of a machine, meant for those intending to handle larger projects.

OMTech takes pride in building communities and making its machines accessible, and it does this by providing some serious hardware. With an integrated power supply, the AF1630-70 offers increased speed, performance, and cutting power.

Cutting up 7 mm deep on thick materials like acrylic and plexiglass, and handling others like wood, leather, fabrics, glass, rubber, cork, brick, granite, marble, bone, titanium, and stainless steel it seems like there’s nothing this machine can’t do.

It comes with a 70W CO2 laser tube that boasts an estimated lifetime of up to 8,000 hours of operation. The OMTech 70 W also comes with a RUIDA digital controller that offers an intuitive control panel and digital display giving users complete control over the laser head.

It does have a motorized bed, so it can automatically adjust the bed on the z-axis, and if that wasn’t enough, it has a 4-way passthrough, so you can work on projects even bigger than its size!

Needless to say, the OMTech 70W packs a heavy punch and is ideal for those producing large models or lots of them and need a machine that can stand the abuse.

omtech 70w laser

Glowforge Plus: Best Industrial Laser Cutter Overall

Glowforge is the kind of company that when you go on their website, every single employee has a dedicated introduction on their “about us” page, and “education” and “community” sit at the forefront of their website layout. And you can believe they bring that same genuine enthusiasm to the development of their professional laser cutting machines.

The Glowforge Plus, which sits sandwiched between their Pro and Basic models, gives users the perfect step up into a professional laser cutter. It’s easy to set up and cuts several materials like wood, fabric, cork, sandpaper, mylar, Delrin, paper, plexiglass, leather, and engraves glass, marble, stone, ceramic, and titanium.

This laser comes with a custom CO2 glass laser tube capable of continuous operations and is rated at 40 watts. It can even cut as deep as 12 mm depending on the material.

glowforge plus

The Plus was designed for home and office use and comes with water cooling, a HEPA filter, and an air compressor to blow away debris. It supports 3D engraving, uses motors that can control motions up to a thousandth of an inch for extreme precision, and comes equipped with onboard cameras that can scan and implement designs directly drawn onto the material, giving you unlimited design potential.

It does require a constant internet connection to work, and is not suitable for precious metals, but that’s a small inconvenience for this machine that comes with software compatible across multiple platforms and devices.

The Glowforge Plus truly ticks all the boxes for new and experienced users, but it’s best for those producing intricate and varying designs that really want to unleash their creativity without hindrance.

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