Laser Cutter vs CNC?

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Which one should you choose?

If you decide you want a Glowforge after reading my article, use my referral link & save $500 off a Pro, $250 off a Plus, or $125 off a Basic & I’ll get credits too at no extra cost to you. I have plenty of YouTube videos showing what this amazing machine can do!

What Kind of Work will You be Doing?

So, you are looking into getting a CNC or a Laser Cutter. Hard decision right? A lot of people ask the question, “What is better?”. Honestly that has a very unique answer depending on the person who is asking. What kind of work will you be doing? Thick material? Thin material? Do you need to get product out fast? I am lucky enough to own both machines & in this article I will give you my honest opinion. I will tell you what is easiest to use, pros & cons, etc.

What Size Material Will You be Cutting?

If you are wanting to make precise, small items FAST, the laser cutter definitely wins on this one. I made the above image with my laser cutter. You will get your pieces lasered to the size you want. You can also do small items on the CNC, but the laser cutter is my #1 choice for precise, small pieces. Wanting to use large/thick material? CNC definitely. One of my main items I make and sell with my CNC is a bath tray. That is shown in the image below. I cut out a wine glass holder, iPad holder, & tea light candle slots, then I stain it and give it a nice finish.

What is More User-Friendly?

For the average person, the laser printer is way more user friendly than the CNC. I jumped right into the easy laser printing program, but I had to do a lot of research on how to run and program my CNC. My laser cutter centers itself, while the CNC needs to be centered manually depending on your piece. You need to buy a CNC touch probe to make it easier.

CNC Touch Probe

Getting Set Up

Once again, the laser cutter wins on this one. I just plugged in my laser cutter, attached the filtration system & could start right away. The CNC on the other hand I could not. You should always make a wasteboard before cutting with your CNC. Now and then you may put in the wrong cut settings and accidently cut through the bottom of your machine. The wasteboard is there to keep your machine nice and you can easily replace it if you’ve had too many mistakes. The wasteboard is time consuming to make. You need to also put threads inside the holes so you can clamp down your material.

What Do I Recommend?

Both machines are very amazing and are capable of creating amazing things. For me, my Glowforge laser cutter wins for sure. For you, it could be different. I enjoy not having to center my machine and not having to clamp my materials down. It is a lot more quiet (not silent, but quieter than my CNC) . It also takes up less space and is cleaner. If you are someone who wants to cut out thick pieces though, get the CNC. I have the Shapeoko 3XXL . Make sure to buy a remote control to make things easier with your CNC!

Remote Control

Which one are you going to choose? Don’t forget to use my referral link if you choose the Glowforge! You will save up to $500! Below I will list a few photos below of some of the items I have made with both machines. Goodluck with whatever machine you choose!

Glowforge Items

CNC Items

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