Laser Beams and Neon Dreams

Laser Engraving is the new “Hobbyist Side Gig” with OMTech Lasers out of California

I would be lying if I didn’t say “I already own one of these” because, in fact, I do. It wasn’t an impulse buy either. I’ve seen what the Omtech Lasers can do. I’ve watched as friends with their hands on one of the larger units engrave 40 leather nametags in under an hour.

Anyone can talk about product output though – the “proof is in the pudding” for many and I’ve got to say I’m not disappointed. I picked up a refurbished 350 lbs standalone 60 watt 20 x 28 inch auto-focusing laser cutter (for less than $2500). With the help of my friends we got it rolled into our workshop and cutting like a dream.

I wish they made me one.

It came with a basic little “Chiller” that was an aquarium pump and bucket and a standard compressor that offers a little help with “Air assist” but I slapped grabbed a small Pancake air compressor to upgrade the “Air Assist”. In addition to that I picked up an “Quiet Inline Fanfrom Omtech to help with ventilation.

This wasn’t my first rodeo either. Back when I was a wee boy in the 90s I was raised in a junk yard. I was taught how to hammer steel wheels back into place after heating it up with a torch and marking it after a spin. I’ve purchased industrial lathes and “turning” tables, sheet metal benders, forklifts, grinders, drill presses and much more. Because of that I’ve had my fare share of experience with machines. Usually, a learning curve and safety that if not followed could be serious. These machines: Some online Courses from the manufacturer, watch the work while it etches, and the manual is all you’ll need to get started.

“What can a Laser Engraver or Cutter do for me?”, you might ask. That’s a good question! However, we all know an artist out there that could use this to put their artwork on pretty much any surface you can imagine. From wood and acrylic with the CO2 Lasers to metal shim with The Hybrid and lastly metal over 1.5mm with Fiber Lasers. Omtech’s “Polar Desktop” unit can cut the soft stuff and etch the hard with the right preparation, power output, and speed.

If you’re looking to go a little deeper, OMTech has a solution:
The OMTech Pro Hybrid. It’s like something out of Science Fiction for the Laser Cutting Enthusiasts. We’re not just talking laser CNC we’re talking the ability to cut, with a CO2 Laser, 1.5 mm of Stainless Steel depth at 150 Watts of power, with a 35mm x 55mm workspace and built in Chiller and Industrial Inline Fan. That might seem like a lot of “Technobabble” but to me, looking for an alternative to an “Entry Level Fiber Cutter” it’s a pretty sweet deal and they even offer financing on this puppy.

We really are getting to the point where we, as hobbyists, can start doing more! Laser Engraving is just a small step into a much bigger world that was pretty much out of reach but now it can be on the far wall of the living room by the window!

-Loremaster R.A.G. Rankin