So you are looking at getting laser glass cutting done with a machine? Well laser glass cutting with the right machine is actually pretty easy.
Below I will take a look at some useful tips to look for when trying to find a good laser glass cutter and also help you out by identifying what the best laser glass cutting machine is.
Best brands of laser glass cutting machines (in no particular order)
Epilog Laser – I have mentioned these guys before. Epilog has a solid line up of different machines for Co2 laser glass cutting as well as glass laser cutting for many different sizes. They have a great comparison chart on their website.
There are 3 different series, the starter, legend elite and the FiberMark industrial series. They have Fiber as well as Co2 lasers for their different types of laser cutting machines.
Sizes range from 16″ x 12″ to 36″ x 24″ and come with features such as drop down doors and high speed servo motors. Their share range and options make them a definite place worth checking out.
Trotec laser – Trotec is also a solid brand. They have 3 specific laser cutting machines that are definitely worth a look, the Speedy 100, 300 and 500. They range from a work area of 24″ x 12″ to 49″ x 28″. The laser cutter speedy 500 even has a cool little animation to watch if you want to see it in virtual glory.
Universal Laser Systems – These guys have a very impressive and solid range. They have 12 laser glass cutters, from desktop to free-standing, they have a very good range. One of their machines even comes with multi-wavelength which sounds pretty cool. Sizes for Universal’s machines range from 16″ x 12″ to 48″ x 24″.
RMI Laser – Made and supported in USA, these guys also have some good laser machines, the only downside is that they are laser marking machines, not cutting. So they are a lot smaller and will not be able to cut large panes of glass.
Laser Cutting Tempered Glass
The only way you will be able to cut tempered glass is with a cnc laser cutting glass machine. If you try yourself without a laser, you will have to de-stress the glass, a process called annealing. This means you will need a craft oven and you will have to heat up the glass to 900 degrees F.
To avoid doing the above, you will need a solid laser machine to do the job. If you can not get a machine, another thing you can do is outsource the task. So you can outsource the work to a cnc operator who operates a laser cutting machine that can cut glass. Check out the manufacturers above that I have recommended to make sure you get something that will do the job properly.
Outsourcing may be the way to go as it is a lot cheaper than buying a laser machine up front. Also, you are always limited by size depending on the kind of machine that you have. So outsourcing may be even more of an option if you don’t have the budget or space for a machine that will do all your tasks. Below is my guide on successful outsourcing:
Outsourcing your glass cutting with laser technology
Yes, outsourcing your work can be a daunting process, especially the first time. This can be true especially for glass. It is super fragile and expensive, so transporting it is also a factor too. Below are some helpful hints to get you outsourcing your glass laser cutting efficiently.
First of all, always make sure you call around and get some quotes with different people. Each place will have different laser glass cutting machines, so will vary on price, as each machine and the software that goes with it will vary a lot in price, so that cost is offset to the consumer usually.
Take a look at previous examples of work and possibly ask about different clients they have had in the past. Always ask to see some examples by saying you want to see the finish on a product. Check to see how smooth the cut is without any polishing done to it.
Specify exactly what you want and the price. Laser cutting of glass is expensive and will cost a fair bit, so do not expect a really low price. Go with something reasonable knowing that the finish is very important.
Look at different cutting/etching options. Some machines may cost a lot more, but provide a better finish. If you do not need accuracy or specific finish, then you may be able to get away with outsourcing to a cnc operator with a cheaper glass laser cutting machine or laser etching machine. Ask to see what laser they have, I recommend a Co2 laser glass cutting machine over other lasers.
Buying a used glass cutting machine
Going used is a good option, but in this niche can be very hard. It may be a lot easier to get other cnc routers, but laser glass cutting machines are very hard to come by. This is because the technology is rather new, so older machines get outdated easily. I have seen some machine auction sites that we have discussed in previous articles that may be worth a look.
Good luck on finding the best glass cutting laser machine!