If you're looking to invest in a laser cutter, it's essential to equip yourself with the necessary tools and accessories to ensure a smooth and efficient cutting process. Other than the laser, here are some recommended pieces of equipment you should consider adding to your crafting space:
- External Fan: Laser cutters generate a lot of heat and toxic fumes that need to be exhausted safely. An external fan, such as the AC Infinity Cloudline S6, can help improve the air quality in your workspace by quickly and efficiently venting out the fumes. I installed one of these fans and vent out of my window to help keep the machine free from smoke and to help keep the laser cool.
- Digital Calipers: Digital calipers are a must-have tool for laser cutting. They allow you to precisely measure the thickness of your materials, ensuring that your cuts are accurate and consistent. They also come in handy when you need to make adjustments to your designs based on the material thickness. You don't need to spend crazy money on a set, I use a similar type to this one and my cuts and measurements have been accurate enough for my needs.
- Workshop Vacuum: Keeping your workspace clean is vital to prevent any debris or dust from interfering with the laser-cutting process. A workshop vacuum will help you maintain a clean and organized workspace by removing any debris from your cutting area and keeping your laser cutter running efficiently. Again, it doesn't need to be particularly fancy - I know plenty of people use a small handheld vacuum to clean their machines but I have been known to drop the crumb tray and send tiny pieces of wood and acrylic flying all over my floor!
- Protective Gear: Safety should be a top priority when working with a laser cutter. Protective gear such as safety glasses, gloves, and a respirator will help keep you safe from any harmful fumes or debris that may be generated during the cutting process. I tend to use nitrile gloves when staining wood or cleaning the machine to prevent getting gunk all over my hands! Safety glasses are a must when operating a laser, lots of machines have safety switches that stop the beam when the lid is open, but a lot of gantry-style machines don't have an enclosure. Ensure you take every precaution as you only have one set of eyes!
- Spare Parts: Having spare parts on hand is always a good idea. Some of the most common spare parts include mirrors, lenses, and belts. Having these parts available can help you quickly replace any damaged or worn-out components and prevent any unnecessary downtime. Where to buy these will all depend on the machine you have.
While waiting for my next machine to arrive, I'm using a Glowforge. If you're in the UK then getting hold of spare parts can be a bit of a challenge, if you're in the US you can get them directly from the Glowforge website.
If you're interested in buying a Glowforge and are in the US, you can save some money (and I get some store credit!) by ordering through my referral link:
Investing in the right equipment and accessories for your laser cutter will not only improve the quality of your work but also help you work more efficiently and safely. With these essential tools and accessories, you'll be well on your way to creating beautiful and precise laser-cut designs.