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 engraver.
In This Article
- Can I Make Money with a Laser Engraver?
- Where to Sell Your Laser Engraved Products?
- How Much Do I Need to Start a Laser Engraving Business?
- Is a Laser Engraving Business Profitable?
- Best Laser Engravers to Start a Business
- 10 Profitable Laser Engraved Products to Sell
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.
Here are some ways to make money with a laser engraver:
1. Sell Laser-engraved Products 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 laser 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 fascinated by laser engraving 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 engraving 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 and cutting provides many exciting opportunities to earn money. By exploring these options, you can turn your passion for laser engraving into a lucrative business.
Where to Sell Your Laser Engraved 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. Craft Shows
Craft shows are perfect for selling laser made items. There is a massive audience, and you can grab many customers in one day. If there is any craft 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 entry-level small businesses and beginners, diode laser machines are the best.
The initial investment for buying a diode laser 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 these machines are more powerful, allowing small business owners to process more materials and improve their productivity. The typical cost of a CO2 laser machine is in the range of $3000-6000.
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.
Check here for more xTool user stories of making money using a laser engraver.
Best Laser Engravers to Start a Business
xTool D1 Pro: Powerful and Affordable Diode Laser Engraver
Our list starts with a diode laser, xTool D1 Pro. Well, it can be thought of as an entry-level machine considering its 5W base variant. However, it comes in 3 more laser modules: 10W, 20W and 40W. The 40W module is currently the most powerful diode laser on the market.
Its 20W and 40W xTool Pro are ideal for small businesses as that much power can handle a range of materials. You can engrave leather, wood, opaque acrylic, cardboard, glass, stone, stainless steel, plated metal and painted metal.
Build-wise, the D1 Pro is quite compact and weighs around 5.5 kg. You can easily carry it for those craft shows. Plus, it’s durable too; the all-wheel steel shaft is built to last up to 100,000 slides.
Speaking of productivity, it (20W) can engrave at 400mm/s. So, you won't have trouble completing your orders. Compared to other engravers on the market, it is 55% more quick and efficient in engraving jobs. With that much speed, there’s no comprise on accuracy either. Its motion accuracy is 0.01 mm.
In terms of inner space, you get a 430 by 400mm spacious working area. This much area is sufficient for handling any craft in size of A3 sheet or close. You may expand it to 936 x 432 mm by getting the xTool extension kit.
Apart from engraving on flat surfaces, D1 Pro can handle rotary engravings too. However, you will need to buy our 4-in-1 rotary engraver, RA2 Pro to get these tasks done. Coated tumblers, rings, and hydro flasks can be engraved too.
It is an open laser diode, so we recommend using it with the xTool D1 Pro enclosure. To keep you safe, the machine has a couple of sensors, like a fire detection alarm to alert you when a fire erupts and a gyroscope sensor to halt the machine when it's titled during operation.
With this long list of features, the machine requires the least investment. Its 5W module starts as low as $399. The 20W comes at $1,199 but you can get it in monthly installments, ($75/month) with Affirm.
xTool D1 Pro Business-Friendly Features:
- Weighing just 5.5 kg, it’s ideal for on-the-go business
- Comes in a range of switchable modules to cater to different business needs
- Engraving speed up to 400mm/s, 55% faster than other engravers on the market
- Supports the industry-favorite laser software, Lightburn
- Spacious and expandable working area to handle more crafts
- Supports rotary engraving
- Most affordable, start as low as $399
xTool P2: Powerful CO2 Laser Cutter for Small Businesses
xTool P2 is a powerful 55W CO2 laser cutter. Being CO2 laser, it can handle all those non-materials and thicknesses that diodes couldn’t. Moreover, since CO2 laser has high absorption efficiency on acrylic and wood, you can expect it to be 6x faster than the D1 Pro (20W). Overall, it can achieve a max. engraving speed of 600 mm/s.
Want to get a closer look at what’s going on inside? It has a dual 16MP camera setup. One is a close-range camera, which moves with the laser head and focuses on a particular object that’s being engraved. The other panoramic gives a live preview of the whole operation.
Another highlight of the machine is its batch engraving. Place objects inside, it intelligently identifies the shapes and gives you a preview of what to engrave on each. This feature is super handy if you need to engrave, for instance, multiple name tags or key chains at once.
The inner processing area of the machine is 600 x 308mm. The good news is that’s extendable with the automatic conveyor feeder. The passthrough allows you to engrave materials as long as you want; there are no caps.
It can do that rotary engraving with xTool RA2. But what it does more is the curved surface engraving. Have an uneven surface to engrave? Place it inside P2. It creates its 3D models, adjusts focal length, and engraves. The results are as clear as on the flat surface.
Wood may get burnt marks with laser. P2 addresses this with its built-in air assist, which not only keeps the work area clean but also makes your wooden crafts free of churring. No more post-cleaning, after the use of P2.
Being enclosed, it’s extremely safe to use. No fumes escape that enclosed design, plus the laser filtering lid keeps your eyes safe without the need for safety goggles. The machine turns off automatically if your kids or pet opens it accidentally during operation. To fully secure it, get our fire safety kit, which can even put off fire automatically.
xTool P2 Business-Friendly Features:
- Supports batch engraving to engrave multiple objects at once
- Can engrave long wood boards with the passthrough slot
- 6 times quicker than a diode laser
- Supports curved surface engraving
- Put on a small laser show with its live preview
- Extremely safe enclosed design
- Supports the industry standard, Lightburn
xTool F1: Fast and Portable Laser Engraver
xTool F1 is the quickest and most portable laser engraver on the list, an ideal option for small businesses. It can engrave up to 4000 mm/s, thanks to the advanced Galvo technology it uses. Its speed is comparable to those large fiber laser machines, we see in the industries. Yet, it’s available in compact size.
Apart from speed, its accuracy is also unmatched. It can engrave with an accuracy of 0.0019 mm. It’s super light, weighing just 4.5 kg. Moreover, its handheld design lets you carry it anywhere, anytime. Be it craft fairs, pop-up events, or on-site engravings.
Its key highlight is the diode laser but it does have a 2W IR module to precisely engrave on metals and plastics. So, it is a twin laser machine, which can engrave glass, leather, wood, acrylic, paper, rock, ceramic, plastic, aluminum, gold, silver, and platinum.
There’s more. Just like P2, it can batch engrave with much more processing speed (10x compared to others). This brings down the production time to minutes from hours. Also, it has got blue light preview. Press the preview button and you can see how the engravings would look on the surface.
The machine is fully enclosed, so you don’t have to worry about fumes. With its built-in exhaust fan and purifier, you can safely use it in any public space without polluting the environment.
xTool F1 Business-Friendly Features
- The fastest portable diode laser available; it can engrave at 4000mm/s
- 10 times quicker than other laser engravers
- Can engrave plastics and plastics with the 2W IR module
- Brings down production time with quick batch engraving
- Can preview the results before engraving
- Built-in air purifier and exhaust to keep the environment smoke-free
- Compatible with Lightburn
- Perfect match with xTool P2 for increased productivity and broader materials
10 Profitable Laser Engraved Products 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 products 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.
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.