k40 laser cutter engraver

Are you in the market for a K40 laser cutter, but feeling overwhelmed by the myriad of options for these affordable 40W machines?

Whether you’re a hobbyist, a small business owner, or a DIY enthusiast, I’ve meticulously researched and evaluated the top K40 laser cutters on the market to bring you the ultimate list of recommendations.

The Vevor K40 Laser Cutter is the best choice for most users due to its affordability, impressive performance, and ease of use. With a high-precision stepper motor and 300mm x 200mm engraving area, it delivers powerful and accurate engraving for the vast majority of hobbyist projects.

Elsewhere, the Orion Motor Tech K40 has an integrated cooling fan for better ventilation and lower noise levels, while the more expensive Z Zelus K40 boasts professional laser cutting quality for more advanced users.

In this guide I’ll share my hands-on experience with all the popular choices, comparing them across everything from affordability and performance to ease of use and versatility – so you can make the right choice.

The Best K40 Laser Cutters and Engravers

Vevor K40 Laser Cutter 

Vevor K40 laser cutter

Pros

Cheap and impressive.

Very easy to use.

Can be used for a variety of different projects.

Cons

Like most K40 lasers, only compatible with Windows operating sytem

The Vevor K40 Laser Cutter is an example of a big CNC brand getting in on the K40 laser act. This is one of the cheapest yet most impressive K40 lasers on the market. 

The 40W CO2 laser tube has a high-precision stepper motor and a wavelength of 10.6um, so it provides powerful and accurate engraving. The positioning accuracy is 0.01mm, while the integrated power supply increases the response speed, cutting power, and overall performance. It also helps to extend the laser tubeā€™s work-life for increased durability. 

We like that it comes with a stable clamp to work with irregular-shaped objects, while you can use the level board for flat surface workpieces. Thanks to the 300mm x 200mm K40 laser cutter bed size, you have room to engrave most medium-sized products. The machine engraves at a speed of 1-300mm/s and cuts at a speed of 1-10mm/s. 

This engraver is very easy to use, as you can quickly start and stop with the TTL level controls. It has a USB port for connecting to your laptop or desktop, while the upgraded control panel has a clear and intuitive LCD screen. This engraver is compatible with the CorelDraw laser software and supports Windows operating systems.

You can use this Vevor machine for a wide range of different K40 laser cutter projects, such as creating art gifts, garments, advertisements, and seal engraving, to name just a few. 

Orion Motor Tech K40 Laser Engraver  

Orion Tech K40 engraver

Pros

Works with a variety of materials.

Comes with a red-hot guidance feature, helping you understand where to best place your product.

Integrated cooling fan, providing lower noise and better ventilation.

Cons

The mirrors are difficult to align.

The Orion Motor Tech K40 Mini Laser Engraver is one of the most popular K40 laser cutters on the market. 

Like the Vevor K40 machine, this laser cutter has a versatile 300 x 200m engraving service equipped with a stability clamp and level board, so you can work with products of various shapes and dimensions. 

This means you can create a wide variety of different projects using this K40 laser engraving machine. Whether youā€™re working with stone, wood, leather, plastic, glass, or any other compatible material, the Orion Motor Tech K40 offers high-quality engraving.  

One of our favorite things about this machine is the new red-hot guidance feature. This is a pointer that clearly indicates engraving points and marks the machineā€™s path to identify positioning sizes, making it super easy to understand where to best place your product. 

This K40 laser engraving machine also has a new control panel with updated digital controls and an LCD display, so you can easily view and adjust the power volume with touch controls. Another nice feature is the integrated cooling fan, which provides lower noise and better ventilation to help your laser cutter last longer and perform better. 

A nice bonus feature is that the Orion Tech K40 laser engraver comes equipped with 4 detachable wheels at the bottom, so you can easily move it and then remove the wheels when you start working. 

Z Zelus K40 Laser Engraver 

Pros

Quality parts and good laser cutting quality.

Easy to set up and start using.

Easy to monitor thanks to the LCD display.

Cons

Instructions that come with the machine are basic.

This is one of the more expensive K40 laser engravers produced by a popular CNC manufacturing brand. However, it has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon, which indicates that itā€™s well worth the price.  

Users have praised the quality of the included parts and the laser engraving quality, as well as the secure packaging in which the machine arrives. Several reviewers have also commented on how easy this cutter is to set up and start using, so itā€™s a good choice for beginner engravers.  

This machine has an up to 3mm cutting thickness and like the Orion model has red dot guidance to help you easily identify positioning sizes. 

The Z Zelus K40 laser engraver is equipped with a dual 300m x 200mm platform for engraving both regular and irregular-shaped products, so youā€™re not restricted by the shape of materials.  

Thanks to the upgraded LCD display control board, this machine is easy to use and monitor. It displays the water temperature and laser temperature in real-time, and it also has a new emergency stop switch for improved safety. 

You can work on a whole variety of different tasks and projects with this Z Zelus 40-watt laser cutter engraver. From woodworking, textile cutting, and sign making, to industrial prototyping, trophy engraving, and jewelry marking, the possibilities really are endless when you use this high-quality model.

What is a K40 Laser Cutter? 

A K40 laser cutter is essentially a term used for affordable engraving machines with 40W power. Theyā€™re not restricted to one manufacturer or even design, although most do look very similar, with a simple rectangle box design and a blue-colored base. 

K40 laser cutter

K40 laser engraver machines rose in popularity as a much more affordable alternative to the more expensive laser machines that cost thousands of dollars. They were originally Chinese imports which allowed people to pick up a high-quality laser engraver for around $300. As weā€™ve already touched on, the ā€œ40ā€ in K40 comes from the fact that these machines use 40W power. 

While most machines still come from China, theyā€™re now also manufactured and shipped from other locations, including the US. K40 laser cutters are slightly more expensive these days, usually starting from $500, but overall theyā€™re still a much cheaper alternative than other laser engraving machines.

K40 laser cutters are intentionally very basic, which is why theyā€™re particularly popular with people looking to customize, modify and upgrade a laser engraver. These arenā€™t ideal for just plugging in and starting engraving right away.

For general purposes, we have a ranking of the best laser cutters and engravers

For example, your K40 laser engraver will at least require some tuning before you use it. This will firstly involve leveling the laser tube to allow water to flow normally. Leveling the tube will also make it easier to clean and align the mirrors for more accurate cutting.

Youā€™ll also need to level the K40 laser bed so that the focal point remains consistent during engraving. 

K40 laser engraving

This means that Chinese K40 laser engraver machines are more popular among hobbyists who like to tinker, rather than professionals. 

K40 Laser Cutter Bed Size 

K40 laser cutters have an engraving area, also known as bed size, of 300m x 200mm. This provides enough room to work on most medium size projects, such as drinking glasses, leather wallets, and so on.

K40 Laser Cutter Uses & Applications 

A K40 laser cutter essentially has the same uses as any other type of cheap laser engraver. They can be used on a wide variety of different materials, such as glass, bamboo, wood, acrylic, plastic, stone, and leather, though they canā€™t be used on metals. If youā€™re looking to engrave metal, youā€™ll need to use a specialist metal laser engraver, or a more powerful fiber laser engraver. 

This means you can work on a whole variety of different projects for a laser engraver. For example, many hobbyists use them to engrave personal items like jewelry or to create home decorations, but the possibilities are endless. 

However, unlike with a standard ready-made laser engraver machine, the quality of work you can do with a 40-watt Chinese laser cutter depends a lot on the amount of tinkering you do. So, letā€™s now take a look at what exactly upgrading a K40 CO2 laser engraver looks like. 

K40 Laser Cutter Upgrade & Modification 

All K40 laser engravers come with the same fundamental parts – a CO2 laser tube, a focus lens, stepper motors, a coolant pump, an exhaust fan, and a control board with a power supply – and all of these can be upgraded. 

The first upgrade that most K40 laser engraver owners make is by putting in a better focus lens, as this will allow you to make deeper or more accurate cuts, depending on the lens you buy. 

K40 laser cutter upgrade

You could also get rid of the standard coolant pump and replace it with a water chiller, which will lengthen the working time and lifespan of your engraver. This is a simple but fairly expensive upgrade. 

The most challenging and expensive upgrade you can to a K40 laser is changing the CO2 laser tube. The machines come with a 40W tube, which is in fact a 30W tube with a max output of 40W. You donā€™t actually want to reach the max output, as this could damage the tube. If you upgrade to a true 40W tube with a max potential of 50W, youā€™ll see much higher performance from your laser engraver. 

You can also upgrade the control board. This is another difficult modification, but the control board determines how easy a laser is to use and how reliable it is, so thereā€™s definitely room for improvement on what youā€™ll initially receive. 

K40 Laser Specs 

Hereā€™s a full list of the specs you’d expect on a standard K40 laser machine.

However, bear in mind that these are the specs of the basic kit you receive when you get a 40-watt laser cutting machine, and some can change depending on if you make a K40 laser cutter upgrade. 

Dimensions 27.95ā€³ x 19.7ā€³ x 9.84ā€³
Cutting depth 1 – 3mm 
Cutting area 300 x 200 mm
Laser type CO2 Laser 40-Watt (rated 30-Watt) 
Average lifespan 1,000 hours
Case Folded sheet metal 
Linear system Aluminum linear rails with a belt-driven v-wheel carrier 
Motion Stepper motors 
Cooling system Water pump 
Recommended operating temperature 15-25 ā„ƒ 
Connectivity USB 
Onboard controls Partial 
Engravable materials Wood, glass, stone, ceramic, leather, paper, cardboard, plastic, acrylic, fabric, marble, cork, rubber, adonized aluminum
Cuttable materials Wood, leather, paper, fabric, leather, cardboard, acrylic, cork, rubber
Software 40 Whisperer, LaserDraw, CorelDraw 
Operating systems Windows, Mac, Linux 
File compatibility JPG, PNG, SVG, PDF 
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Alan Lewis

Alan is an expert CNC writer who has provides product reviews, guides, and comparisons for CNCSourced.

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