Inventables Community Forum

Buying a CO2 Laser?

[Note: Most of the CO2 laser discussions on the forum are 3-4 years old (unless my search was poor) I thought there might be some updated info among members]

Those who have a CO2 Laser cutting machines - which brand models did you buy and would you buy again?

I have an Epilog and yes I would purchase from them again.

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@RussellCrawford Which of the Epilog units did you buy and what was the price est?

The Epilog Legend 120 Watt, 36" X 24". It was around $34,000.

I have access to the makerspace’s Universal lasers. They are 60 watt units that can cut 18 by 32. They too are in the $30K range. They work really well though.

If you are looking in the cheaper range though, the glowforge units work reasonably well. Some of the Full Spectrum lasers are competitive as well. They are nice because they have integrated cooling so you don’t have to have the bucket of water and the pumps etc. Finally the Dremel is nicely packaged as well and is UL listed if you care about that.

I would avoid the K40 type lasers that you buy on Ebay. Those can be hard to operate, have a small working area, and a few have questionable electronics.

I have a Glowforge and couldn’t be happier. Very user friendly once you understand the working area, and how to create designs that work with it. It’s very particular on how it works with SVG files.Raster graphics aren’t an issue, Camera placement helps with putting your design where you want. Get a discount with a referral code. I know where you could find one if you need help.

You can join the forum, just no ability to create a post without being an owner. Might help you decide.

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@RussellCrawford I was looking at the Legend series, Mini 18, Mini 24, and Helix Laser Machines. Which of the series did you get? Perhaps it was an older model, I’m not seeing a 36" x 24" 120W unit.

$30k hmm that makes the Glowforge look like a nice starter unit. I like the Epilog’s but not sure I want to go that heavy on the budget just yet.

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It’s an older model, got it in 2012

Have you made your purchase yet? I’ve spent a couple months researching, comparing models of the home hobby lasers (table top, 45W or less) and have decided on the FSLaser MUSE Core.
I am upgrading from a very light duty laser, the Emblaser Core, a DIY Kit, by Darkly Labs, which retailed at $799 at the time of purchase. For my first laser, it came with LightBurn Software free, which was Mac friendly and it was super easy to use. But it’s been a couple years, and I am ready for more power.

Here’s what I like about the FSLaser MUSE Core:
1.) 45W of power (you can upgrade from the standard 40W) - this gives me the power to cut some pretty heavy material - 1/4" wood and acrylic, and according to the company, it’s capable of thicker.
2.) The Rotary and Riser attachment (the primary plus for me), which I’ve attached here, gives me the option to laser on cylinders, but what i like most about this is with the riser box attaches on the bottom, and you can laser etch some pretty large pieces. You can permanently leave this riser on just for that purpose. The floor inside is adjustable, so if you didn’t have something that thick, you can slide into place and laser as if the riser was not attached. This to me was a huge improvement over most home hobby lasers that just have a ‘pass through’.
3.) The software is refined and robust. I’ve taken a look at the demo, which is browser compatible and it is many steps up from LightBurn and is reminiscent of the Adobe Creative Suite, which I am familiar with.
4.) Dremel LC40 is this laser. Dremel acquired the right to resell this unit, but they simply made it UL certified. Otherwise, it is identical in all other ways.
5.) I’ve had a great experience talking with this company to date. Very friendly and available.
6.) 20" x 12" cutting area.
7.) Price - at a base price of $2749, this can’t be touched. Full disclosure, my cost so far with add-ons is $4894 including shipping.

I am making my purchase with the next two weeks and will update this post once I unbox and have my first run.

I’ve picked up the JTech package to start. Still looking at larger and more powerful laser units. The Muse looks interesting. Question: Did you look at the Grizzly units at all?
Please post about the Muse unit. Really like to know how it is working for you.

I have HS-CL30 30W CO2 Laser Marking from HeatSign with a laser spot of 0.07mm.Very high speed marking and engraving,it can work 24 hours non stop,i have it almost 15 months and no maintenance at all till now. Some other specifications:

Power output of 30W
Marking Area: 110mm x 110mm (additional options available)
Working Speed: ≤9000mm/s
Engraving Depth: ≤0.3 mm (per material)

20,000 hours working life
I work mostly on wood,plastic,leather,some packaging…

I am planing to buy dot peen machine type HS-DE01 of course from the same manufacturer because they offer you top quality for the money you spent there + good support. If someone is interested you can learn more at to check their laser marking and dot peen marking machines but also and other types of marking machinery.

buy a cheap K40…learn, read, watch videos. then build your own. easy, and many,many have done this.
i built a 400x600…SPT 45W laser…using K40 controller…scorchworks software…have had 2 years now.
working perfect…$1500 to make.

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Hey all! I’m looking for a CO2 laser engraver under $10,000. Any suggestions?

If you can tolerate having to be connected to the vendor… The Gloforge lasers are a decent value. They have a good support community, parts availability etc.

I like CO2 lasers that have the tube cooling included in the unit so that you don’t have to have a separate chiller or a 5 gallon bucket of water under your table. The units that do this are the Gloforge, and the FLUX lasers like the BEAMO and the BEAMBOX PRO. The Dremel has a separate chiller, but it is well integrated. The Dremel is the only one that is UL listed.

Going higher end, you can look at things like the Universal Lasers. These are very expensive new, but older used units may be below 10K. These have metal housed, radio excited tubes which have better control and longer life. The downside is that when you do have to replace or refurbish a metal tube it is expensive. Despite this, if you are going to be cutting day in and day out, this is the way to go.

Despite the Activated Carbon filters laser companies want to sell you, don’t go that route; vent the laser outside using a dryer vent type installation.

When I set out to buy laser cutters, I was literally shocked by the prices. Thousands of dollars! So I started a search to find the a suitable C02 laser cutter for cheap. At first I thought I’d buy something for under a $1000. But as I was just a beginner I wasn’t ready to put up even that. So I started hunting for a laser cutter under 500.
There were so many youtubers who were advising against buying the cheap Chinese ones.
So I found Orion 40W! A magnificent device! I bought it for less than $300 almost a year and a half back. You’ll still be able to find it for less than $500! Great value for money.

Hi Everyone, we are in the laser engraving business and have always had a couple of Epilogs in our arsenal - found them to be extremely reliable, economical and easy to maintain. The laser source is long lasting and easily swapped out for maintenance - should you need it. (we ran ours daily and put a lot of hours on it). The laser is a metal cartridge rather than a glass tube.


I also bought an OMTeh’s laser engraver! But I bought a 80W one because I wanted a huge engraving area.

A great example of a heatsign CO2 laser marking machine which has four key points when it comes to the reputation

  • precision
  • versatility
  • performance and
  • long-lasting

i wiould go this route…worked for me for 4 years.
i bought a k40 laser on craigslist, brand new…dude didnt know how to use.
all the free software was on-line, and to this day works perfectly…no bugs to deal with.
then i built my own. zly tech for the 2020 extrusion, upgraded platform from light object, 45W spt c02 laser from light object (still works today) upgraded mirror lense kit from cloudlaser. its 600x400. software is inkscape or gimp, and scorchworks. all free. used some parts from k40, made others from my cheap ender 3 printer. using cheapo k40 m2 nano control board from old k40.
learn on the k40…then build your own…was intimidated at first…but watching guys build their own…it’s not that hard.
my golfing buddy was impressed, and gave me a task of making self adhesive power requirement labels on 2-color stock from rowland plastics…
they turned out great. i get 10 on a 12x24 sheet. $15 a label. do the math. no pressure. saving him $10 a label. made template on inkscape, just input values, and let er go…
btw…built machine for around $1200…

Before I started working with Inventables I did a ton of laser reviews. Here is a big post that goes into lots of the ones already mentioned on this post.

Full Spectrum has actually discontinued the 2D version (my top pick) but I have the 3D and it’s great (just pricey).

Glowforge is great as well, you can’t use other software with it though so you’ll be locked in there.

If you want a budget option check out OM Tech, they are a US based supplier of a lot of the Chinese import lasers you’ll see on eBay. I have a couple of their lasers as well and they’ve been great.

And a quick disclaimer: this isn’t an official Inventables stance, just from Brandon someone who likes to make stuff in his garage!