Choosing the Right Laser for at-Home Crafting

Lasers are opening new doors in virtually all industries, from mechanical engineering to healthcare. With cutting-edge developments continually arising, the potential applications to come are endless. Some of the most interesting opportunities, though, are those being made available on a smaller scale. With the technology now widely available, at-home craftspeople can enjoy laser precision in their own basements or garages.

What Can Lasers Be Used for?

Though lasers can be used for countless purposes, most at-home hobbyists and career-driven people use them in crafting and design. They’re the perfect tools for engraving wood, bringing ornate patterns to life before your eyes. Acrylic jewelry, ornaments and home decor are also popular applications as this material is versatile, long-lasting and relatively inexpensive. Metalworking likewise takes on an entirely new form with laser tools at your disposal.

Which Types of Laser Tubes Are Available?

Lasers are divided into two categories: direct current and radio frequency. In direct current versions, parallel beams of electricity are sent through a glass tube, charging a mixture of gases within until enough energy is built up to produce a discharge. Radio frequency lasers use radio frequency to charge gases in a metal tube. Both offer high-quality performance.

Which Laser is Best?

Though each type of laser has its own benefits, choosing the best one depends on several factors. If you’re looking for a more affordable laser tube, DC would be the way to go. That being said, RFs last as much as five time longer but come at a higher initial price. For finely detailed engraving and etching, RF lasers tend to offer greater precision; however, they can produce slightly rough edges on materials like acrylic. Still, this is usually barely noticeable and can easily be wiped away with fine-grit sandpaper and buffing materials.

Overall, both types of lasers offer impressive performance. Beginners and those who don’t plan to spend a lot of time on their crafting efforts may want to go with DC lasers as they come with a smaller upfront investment. More experienced and dedicated craftspeople might benefit more from an RF laser. Either way, you’re bound to be astounded at what you can do from your own at-home workstation.