There are many different kinds of 3d laser engraving machine for your workshop out there. Choosing the best 3d laser engraving machine or machines for your production line or to serve future clients doesn’t have to be hard.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about these types of engraving machines and also which are the best 3d laser engraving machines out there.
First up, a 3d engraving done with a laser can be absolutely stunning. You are going to have to use 8 bit gray-scale software to create a mock up version of what you want done in 3d.
The 3d laser crystal engraving machine will take this along with the tonal variation and create something from a black and white 8 bit gray-scale (256 different levels between black and white) colored drawing and turn it into 3d using a laser.
The Software Needed for Image Creation
The Best Free Laser Engraving Software
You will need some sort of image editing software to start with. If you are on a budget, go with Gimp. I have used Gimp many times and it is a great free alternative to other more expensive programs to Photoshop.
Because it is open-source, it has a lot of help in development and has become a solid alternative for those looking for quality freeware.
For a more vector-based approach, you can try Inkscape. It is another open source free image editing or creating software. It is a great alternative to Adobe Illustrator.
The Best Paid Software
Adobe makes the best stuff here hands down. As a designer, I am a bit biased here, and it is expensive, but the programs are well worth it for image manipulation and creation.
Creating a gray-scale image in Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator is very straight-forward.
CorelDRAW is also used a lot, and can be a good tool to use with 3d engraving software such as the EngraveLab PhotoPlus Laser Plus which is designed as a companion product to CorelDRAW
Hire a Freelancer Instead
If time is tight and you do not know how to use this kind of software, I recommend hiring a freelancer. I have used Freelancer.com many times before to hire freelancers for projects like this. You can sign up and put out a job. Then you will get a ton of bids and you can go from there.
A simple 8 bit color image for your design purposes should cost no more than $50 USD outsourced to someone in India or the Phillipines. It’s also super fun to outsource a task and have thee results come in if you manage it properly.
The 3D Laser Engraving Software Needed
There are many types of different laser engraving software choices that come with a 3d laser engraver machine. Some machines come with pre-looaded software. Here is a list of the best out there:
CADlink’s Engravelab PhotoLaser Plus and EngraveLab laser – Developed by CADlink. This software is special as it enables the user to generate multiple plates onto one piece of material. PhotoLaser Plus allows for both vector based and raster engraving and is incorporated with CorelDRAW, while the EgraveLab Laser package is more of a standalone laser engraving software package.
KCAM Laser Software – Used by Kern laser systems, custom made. Able to save user settings and read 8 bit color extremely efficiently according to their site. The resolution output is over 11,000 steps per inch which sounds impressive.
Gravograph – GravoStyle5 – Developed by Gravograph. This software is great for both rotary and laser engraving. It is a standalone package for laser engraving and includes both 2d and 3d capabilities. It can be used for general purpose drawing as well as a powerful package for engraving. There is also a great preview tool included within so you can preview everything as it will come out before engraving.
XenTech Global – XGW-32 Laser Engraving Software – Developed by XenTech Global, this software package comes ready to go for both rotary and laser engraving as well. This software comes with a ton of different features including multiple passes for vector or raster based engraving, a notary seal mode and bottom-up raster engraving. Check them out for a lot more information.
Best 3D Laser Engraving Machines for sale
The Xenetech XLT 1325-Laser is a solid entry level 3d laser engraving machine from Xenetech. Travel and engraving speeds from .001 to 150 ips.
The Xenetech XLT 2436-Laser is the larger model from Xenetech and comes with up to 200 watts of power, both air and water cooled.
Gravograph do great laser engraving machines too. Their CO2 laser engraving systems such as the LS100 are great for laser engraving. Their entry model LS100 is rugged and versatile and has an 18″ x 12″ engraving area.
The Gravograph LS900XP is also a solid option and is their larger model for laser engravers. The engraving area for this one is 24″ x 24″ x 9.8″ and the engraving speed can reach up to 4 meters/sec. Gravograph have these laser engraving machines for sale on their site.
For larger models, a company called LaserFox based out of Shanghai seems to have larger scale 3d laser engraving machines. I have never dealt with these guys before, but I have had good experiences outsourcing CNC work to places in China.
The Process for the Consumer
Getting laser engraving starts with the drawing. You can either do this yourself or outsource it. From there, you can either purchase your own machine (not really feasible for a one off) or go to a laser engraver. He or she should have the right 3d crystal laser engraving machine to get the job done.
Remember to communicate exactly what you want, the start time and when the finish time will be as well as the exact pricing. Good Luck!