Finding a side hustle to earn extra money is a common concern for many people looking to supplement their income. One potential option that may not be as widely known is the business of laser engraving and cutting.
In this article, we will provide a detailed breakdown of the laser engraving and cutting business, which lets you know everything you need to start your laser business and make money with a laser machine.
Can I Make Money with a Laser Engraver?
Undoubtedly, you can make money with a laser engraver. Nowadays, laser engraving is in great demand and being used for multiple purposes. It is an excellent business idea that beginners can start with low investment.
There is a massive market for laser engraving. From making art pieces to marking objects, laser engraving is preferred. People love to have creative, unique, and customized objects; therefore, these machines are a great source of earnings.
1. Start a website to sell laser engraved crafts online
Selling your laser creations online can be a lucrative and rewarding venture.
There are plenty of eCommerce websites to choose from. You can create an account on popular platforms like Etsy, Amazon, and eBay to showcase and sell your laser engraved and cut products to a larger audience. These websites can be a great starting point for your business and help you generate revenue from the outset.
2. Offer custom laser engraving services locally
If you wish to have a physical store, it is a great idea to provide laser engraving services and sell laser engraved products. People can easily order from you and get their personalized items according to their requirements.
3. Create laser-related content and become an affiliate
Another unique idea of earning with laser engraving is to create videos showcasing your laser engraving projects and then upload them to social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook.
People are fascinated by laser engraving and will love seeing your creations. If you're a creative person, your viewers will be impressed by your ingenuity, and your channel will gain more traction. By monetizing your content, you can generate a steady stream of income.
Moreover, after gaining experience in laser engraving and cutting, you can share your knowledge with others by creating informative guides and tutorials.
As an expert in the field, you're well-positioned to give reviews and offer guidance on laser engraving and cutting, which will help you gain credibility and trust from your followers.
Another way to earn through laser engraving is to explore affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is an excellent opportunity to expand your income stream and increase your revenue.
You can promote laser engraving machines and tools on your website or YouTube channel and earn commissions on successful sales.
4. Selling digital laser cut files
Selling laser cut and engrving files is also a popular and lucrative method for making money with a laser engraver.
It involves creating digital designs that can be loaded into a laser control software and used to produce various items such as jewelry, home decor, and other personalized items.
To get started with this method, you will need to have some experience with graphic design software and a good understanding of the capabilities of laser cutting and engraving machines. You can create your designs using popular software such as Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, or CorelDRAW.
Once you have created your designs, you can sell them online through various marketplaces such as Etsy, Creative Market, or your own website. It is important to ensure that your designs are unique and not already available for free online.
By selling digital files of designs, you can tap into a growing market of hobbyists, artists, makers who are interested in using lasers to create their own unique products.
In summary, laser engraving provides many exciting opportunities to earn money. By exploring these options, you can turn your passion for laser engraving into a lucrative business.
10 Profitable Laser Engraving Product Ideas to sell
Laser engraving can be done on a wide range of materials; consequently, the users can make many items and products, and it depends on their creativity. Let’s see some hot-selling and in-demand laser engraving and cutting projects a person can engrave and sell.
1. Engraved tumblers
Engraved tumblers are quite trending these days. People love to carry personalized tumblers to their offices, gyms, and other places.
Tumblers are available on the market, and you can get them in different colors. It won’t take much time and effort to engrave tumblers, but the profit margin is great. But you need a rotary attachment for engraving tumblers on your laser machine.
2. Personalized jewelry
Laser machines can make unique, stylish, and eye-catching jewelry pieces. For instance, you can make earrings, pendants, bracelets, or anything you like. People usually make jewelry items for special occasions, such as Halloween, Christmas, etc. You can also personalize them by engraving names, dates, and quotes.
3. Engraved Photo
An engraved photo on wood looks exceptional. It is one of the preferred gift items for anniversaries, weddings, and valentines. People love to hang such photos on their walls or place them on tables. With your laser machine, you can precisely engrave any type of photo with perfection.
4. Engraved wine glasses
For special occasions, people like to have personalized or engraved wine glasses. It is a good idea to amaze visitors or guests. For weddings, there can be personalized wine glasses as a memorial or souvenir. Glass can also be etched using a laser machine. You get optimal accuracy and an amazing look.
5. Custom engraved cutlery
Laser-engraved cutlery is used for parties, events, and special gatherings. Moreover, some people also like to have special and personalized cutlery sets in their homes. You can engrave wooden as well as metal cutlery.
You can make wooden coasters using plywood. There are tons of designs available for free. Get them and cut the desired coaster. Moreover, you can also engrave marble coasters using a laser machine. You can engrave any pattern or name you like.
These coasters are used for special occasions and events. People also buy special designs for their homes.
7. Engraved charcuterie board
An engraved charcuterie board just adds more beauty to the presentation of your appetizers. Hotels have personalized boards according to their business. Similarly, there can be personalized boards for weddings, birthdays, and other occasions.
A laser machine can engrave these boards with perfection. You can get boards from the market and engrave them as you like.
8. Dog Name Tag
Laser etching on metals is permanent; therefore, people prefer metal-engraved name tags for their pets. Pet tag blanks are easily available, and you can etch them using your laser machine. These are frequently bought items in online stores.
9. Engraved pens
Personalized pens are suitable for gifts. People give these on special events and occasions. Companies also give these pens to their visitors, employees, and customers.
Metal pens can be etched and personalized using a laser machine. You can make a logo and write names on the pen. Moreover, you can also make personalized boxes using your laser machine.
10. Engraved bookmarks
For readers, a bookmark means a lot. For such people, there can be personalized and special bookmarks. You can cut and engrave wooden or metal bookmarks using a laser machine. These are quite unique and attractive.
Where to Sell Your Engraving Products?
There are many marketplaces and options where you can sell your laser engraving products. Here are some of the best you can try.
Etsy is one of the best marketplaces where people can sell laser cutting and engraving items. From cake toppers to expensive items, almost everything can be sold.
You can even sell your SVG, DXF, or other laser-cut designs and vector files to generate passive income. It should be your first choice because the audience on Etsy is perfect for your business.
Amazon is the next place to sell laser engraving and cutting products. But keep in mind that you need to sell something unique, useful, and suitable according to the audience. If you can grab customers from Amazon, it will boost your revenue in no time.
3. Facebook and Instagram
Facebook and Instagram are ideal for new business owners. The best thing is that you can boost your post and videos and get more orders, likes, and shares. With paid advertisements, there are more chances of sales. Your page audience will grow gradually, and you will get better ROI with time.
You can also sell your laser engraving products on your own website. But creating a website and managing it is a bit difficult. It requires investment and a lot of effort. However, you can earn better using your website because you don’t need to pay hefty commissions on the products.
5. Local Store
It is better to get in contact with the local sellers in your area. People visiting the store will get exposure to the items. You can also open your own store and start selling your laser items.
6. Trade Shows
Trade shows are perfect for selling laser items. There is a massive audience, and you can grab many customers in one day. If there is any trade show in your area, you should not miss it.
How Much Do I Need to Start a Laser Engraving Business?
Beginners need a straightforward answer to how much they need to start a laser engraving business. For establishing and running such a business, you need to keep various expenses and costs in mind. Buying a laser machine is not enough; there are other expenses involved as well.
1. Laser engraving machine cost
The first thing that you need to buy is a laser engraving machine. The cost of the machine depends on the type of laser engraver. Typically, three types of laser engraving machines are commonly used for business.
- CO2 laser engraving machines
- Diode laser engraving machines
- Fiber laser engraving machines
Diode laser engraving machines are the most pocket-friendly machines on the market. These can engrave as well as cut various materials. For small businesses and beginners, diode laser machines are the best.
The initial investment for buying the machine is in the range of $700-1200. An excellent quality laser machine can be bought in the said range.
CO2 laser engraving machines are a bit costlier than diode laser machines. But small businesses can still have these machines and earn money. The typical cost of a CO2 laser machine is in the range of $3000-4000. However, the lifespan of a CO2 laser is much less (about 6000-8000 hours).
Fiber laser engravers are quite costly. It can cost you around $6,000-15,000 or even more. But these machines are capable of cutting and engraving metals, and they last for a long time.
You can decide on a suitable laser engraving machine according to your budget.
After buying laser machines, there are extra expenses involved. You need to buy certain attachments according to the requirements of the business. For instance, if you want to engrave cylindrical objects, such as tumblers and wine glasses, you need a rotary attachment for that. It will cost you $100-200.
You also need to buy a panel to protect the surface of the table. Honeycomb panels are mostly used for engraving. It will cost you $100-150.
Another thing you need is the air assist. Some laser engraving machines do not have an air assist, so you need to buy it separately. An air assist is necessary because it blows away the hot smoke and improves the efficiency of the laser machine. It will cost you about $100-150.
3. Raw Materials
You need raw materials for engraving. You can buy objects, such as pens, tumblers, lockets, and rings. You might also need solid wood pieces, plywood, acrylic, and other materials. So, it is better to keep this cost in mind.
4. Electricity Cost
Laser machines consume electricity. Depending on the wattage of the machine, you will have the electricity bill. Diode laser engravers have the lowest wattage compared to other types. While buying a laser machine, make sure to check the wattage of the machine to get a better idea of the electricity expense.
Is a Laser Engraving Business Profitable?
Yes. let's do the math together to see how much money you can make with a laser engraver and whether a laser engraver is worth it.
In the example below, an xTool user got an order of 170 laser-engraved tumblers, earning him $2,635 to easily reimburse the machine cost.
Laser engraving tumblers: 170 units
- Laser engraving software: Free (xTool Creative Space）
- Purchase price of a tumbler: $10
- Engraving cost: $1.5
- Engraving duration for 1 unit: 20min
- Labor cost($40 /hour): $13
- Marketing cost(social media sites): Free
- Retail price of an engraved tumbler: $40
- Profit per unit: $15.5
- Total profit: $2,635
With a more powerful machine, like xTool D1 Pro(20W), the engraving speed is even faster(400mm/s), shortening the engraving duration, thus slashing your labor cost!
Additionally, you can pay over time with Affirm starting at $109 per month if you cannot afford the full price now.
Best Laser Engravers to Start a Business
1. Diode Laser Machine—xTool D1 Pro
xTool D1 Pro a is a high-accuracy and affordable diode laser machine for beginners and small businesses.
xTool is a laser engraving brand designing, manufacturing and selling laser engravers and cutters to users around the world. xTool D1 Pro is a very compact machine that you can keep at your home over a small table. It empowers the user to engrave and cut materials with high accuracy and speed.
The most important thing about xTool D1 Pro is its fine laser. The laser spot(10W) has minimal dimensions of 0.08 x 0.06mm. It ensures ultimate precision and fine details while engraving. It makes fine and clear lines on the object and reduces burn marks.
There are four diode laser modules of 5W, 10W, 20W, and 40W available. The user has the choice to select any module he likes. The 40W module is the world’s most powerful diode laser module on the market. For example, it can even cut an 15mm basswood sheets with just one pass and at the speed of 400mm/s.
D1 Pro can engrave solid wood, plywood, leather, glass, steel, ceramics, paper, and acrylic.
In addition, there are other accessories available, such as the honeycomb panel, air assist, and rotary attachment. Users can also buy risers to increase the height of the laser machine and engrave bigger objects.
D1 Pro is beginner-friendly, and anyone can use it without any hassle. The software is pretty simple, and it is also compatible with LightBurn, which is the preferred software by professionals.
Currently, it is available for $599.99 (5W module) and $699.99 (10W module). Surprisingly, it is available with affirm, and buyers can pay as low as $64 per month. It is ideal for beginners to start a laser engraving business with minimal investment.
2. CO2 Laser Machine—xTool Laserbox Rotary
Laserbox Rotary is a powerful and innovative CO2 laser machine from xTool. It is also ideal for small businesses, home projects, DIY works, art & craft, etc. The size of the machine is like a desktop printer, so it can easily be used at home.
The features of xTool Laserbox Rotary set it apart from other machines on the market. It is an extraordinary machine with a lot of advanced features. It has a live preview camera that shows engraving live on the computer screen. You can align and position the design easily using the camera.
It is equipped with AI focusing that focuses the laser automatically. It detects the thickness of the material and type of material to focus on the object accurately. Surprisingly, the machine can extract the image from any object. The extracted image can be modified and used for engraving.
xTool Laserbox Rotary can laser engrave wood, acrylic, glass, leather, cardboard, paper, metal, stone, rubber, food, and fabric. Therefore, the users have a wide range of materials to use for creating products. Moreover, it is also compatible with rotary attachment, so it can also engrave cylindrical objects.
The machine is available for $3,699. The amount can be paid with affirm as low as $129 per month.
Laser engraving is a great business, and users can earn a handsome amount by making products through engraving and selling them online. It is an easy and quick source of earning that can start from your own home and with a little investment.
There is a wide variety of products that can be made, and we have highlighted many of them. A laser engraver empowers you to make anything you like; brainstorm ideas, and implement them using the machine.
Simply put, laser engraving is a profitable business. Beginners can choose to start earning from their homes. We have also selected some of the best laser engraving machines to help our readers in making the right decision. Choose a suitable machine according to your budget and business idea and start earning.