How To Make Money With A Laser Engraver (+21 Product Engraving Ideas)

Do you want to know how to make money with a laser engraver?

A laser engraving business is a creative enterprise that you can venture into — similar to knowing how to make money with a laser cutter, it’s easy to set up, has loads of business opportunities and is very much profitable.

All you need is a laser engraver, product ideas, a medium to sell and you’re good to go.

So if you’re thinking of making money the unconventional way using a laser engraver, read on to find out what it’s all about.

Here’s what I’ll be walking you through today:

  • How To Make Money With A Laser Engraver 
  • How Much It Costs To Run A Laser Engraver
  • Wood vs Steel Engraving
  • What Can I Make With A Laser Engraver?
  • Profitable Product Engraving Ideas
  • Where To Sell Your Engraving Products?
  • Is Laser Engraving/Cutting Business Profitable?

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How To Make Money With A Laser Engraver

how to make money with laser engraving

With that said, the next thing to figure out is how to make money with a laser engraver.

Laser Engraving Business Ideas

There are two main ways of making money with a laser engraving:

  • By offering laser engraving services
  • By selling engraved products

The difference between the two is this — in the former, you receive orders from customers on how they want their products to be engraved.

In the latter, you offer readily engraved products for customers to choose.

Laser Engraving Services

When deciding which laser engraving services to offer, think about your target market.

For example:

  • Corporate
  • Commercial

If you choose to provide corporate services, you’ll be looking at engraving bulk orders such as plaques, medals, awards and stationeries.

On the other hand, commercial laser engraving services include personalized jewellery, like engraved rings and necklaces, as well as unique gifts such as engraved photos, mobile phone cases and rustic welcome signs.

Here’s a quick guide on how much to charge for laser engraving services.

Selling Engraved Products

If you choose to sell engraved products, then you wouldn’t need to invest in a laser engraver.

Generally, an order is placed for specified engraved products such as keychains, coasters and rubber stamps. These products are usually not personalized compared to if you offer engraving services.

Once ready, a price is set and these products will be sold commercially. Examples are engraved souvenirs from a particular city like coasters and keychains, as well as rubber stamps with generic engraving for regular office use.

What Can I Make With A Laser Engraver?

How To Make Money With A Laser Engraver

Once you learn how to make money with a laser engraver, the possibilities are endless.

Which makes you wonder, what can you make with a laser engraver?

There’s a long list of things you can engrave with a laser cutter, but here are some of the lucrative options that you can consider:

  • Personalised Gifts – For Birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s, Anniversaries etc
  • Wedding Favours – If you prefer large scale projects, selling engraved wedding favours is a good option. byBlueRidgeEngraving
  • Household Products – Because there is always someone looking for a touch of personalization to spruce up their home, like cutting boards and bottle openers

Profitable Product Engraving Ideas

There are many engraved products that you can sell and make a huge profit.

Google Data reported an 80% increase in searches for personalized gifts between 2016 and 2018, a number that will only rise, thanks to the growing demand for personalization in gift-giving.

Plus, engraved items and gifts give a personal touch which makes it memorable and leaves a long-lasting impression.

Here are some laser engraving product ideas that you can refer to when you’re stuck thinking about how to make money with a laser engraver:

1. Charcuterie Board

Laser Engraving Business Ideas

Thanks to the rise in awareness of healthy and conscious living, most people prefer to prepare their food at home as it means fewer preservatives and fresher ingredients are used.

A personalized charcuterie board will not only make for a thoughtful gift, but also a rustic addition to dinner parties and family gatherings

2. Jewellery 

how to make money with laser engraving

One of the ways to express love is by giving a piece of personalized jewellery.

Personalized jewellery such as a ring, necklace or bracelet is a great, profitable idea when thinking about how to make money with a laser engraver.

3. Leather Wallet

laser engraving project ideas

Other than wood and metal, laser machines work well on leather surfaces, too.

One of the things that you can engrave and sell for a profit is a leather wallet, an essential piece of accessories.  

4. Compass

Laser Engraving Business Ideas

You might think that compasses are not commonly used, but outdoor enthusiasts find them especially useful on hiking and boating trips.

An engraved compass is a wonderful memento for avid adventurers and is an excellent product idea.

5. Wedding Ring Box

How To Make Money With A Laser Engraver

What’s a wedding ring without its specially engraved box?

An engraved ring box adds significance to a couple’s wedding day, which makes it even more special.

6. Bookends

How To Make Money With A Laser Engraver

The past year has seen the highest increase in the percentage of printed books sold in the US, making bookends a necessity in every home.

What’s better than a plain old bookend? A personalized one, of course! Here are some of the ideas that you can build on — engraved letter bookends, exquisite marble bookends and even movie-themed bookends.

7. Coasters

Laser Engraving Business Ideas

Another product that is minimal but can turn a huge profit is coasters.

They are practical, long-lasting and help keep houses clean from coffee mug stains.

8. Tumblers

How To Make Money With A Laser Engraver

Tumblers are conveniently mobile, lightweight and keep drinks warm in the winter.

Apart from the usual coffee or tea, you can also include wine tumblers, as well as tumblers of different sizes.

9. Pen

how to make money with laser engraving

Engraved pens are timeless gifts that never go out of style.

Other than names, you can engrave a person’s profession, passion and minute details which makes it more personable.

10. Plaque

Laser Engraving Business Ideas

Plaques are one of the first things that comes to mind answering the question of how to make money with laser engraving.

It’s no surprise as the prospects are huge. Plaques for commemorating an important life event, remembering a loved one and even home and office addresses.

11. Leather Portfolio

How To Make Money With A Laser Engraver

An engraved portfolio is perfect for securing notepads and journals, making it one of the best products that you can engrave.

12. Cufflinks

how to make money with laser engraving

A pair of engraved cufflinks adds an extra suave for the wearer (and their suit, too).

This is why they are one of the profitable products that you can engrave.

13. Engraved Photo

Laser Engraving Business Ideas

With an engraved photo, you can help customers memorialize their most treasured moments.

14. Cutlery

Laser Engraving Business Ideas

Convenient and eco-friendly, personalized cutlery is another product option to consider. Whether it’s adult cutlery or baby cutlery, they make for memorable gifts.

15. Beer/Wine Glass

How To Make Money With A Laser Engraver

Who says that alcohol glasses cannot be personalized?

Beer mug or wine glass, personalized gifts such as these are sure to appease.

16. Maracas

laser engraving project ideas

These engraved maracas are a (baby) crowd-pleaser.

17. Bookmark

How To Make Money With A Laser Engraver

Quite similar to the bookends, personalized bookmarks take the cake in wooden, leather and metal forms. 

18. Lighter

laser engraving project ideas

An engraved lighter is a handy companion for outdoor activities. You’ll never know when you’ll need them, so it’s another awesome product to include.

19. Dog Tag

Laser Engraving Business Ideas

Keep fellow pups protected with custom dog tags, complete with important details to help them get home safe.

20. Rubber Stamp

How To Make Money With A Laser Engraver

An engraved rubber stamp is not only for professionals but is also a cool craft tool, which is why it is a profitable product that you can sell.

21. Clock 

Laser Engraving Business Ideas

When learning how to make money with a laser engraver, engraved clocks are one of the best products that can yield a high profit.

You can customize the clock to display either Roman numerals, making them look like old-school clocks, or you can engrave important dates which can be given as a foolproof gift.

Where To Sell Your Engraving Products

Laser Engraving Business Plan

Now that you know how to make money with a laser engraver and have a wide range of laser engraving project ideas, it’s time to decide where to sell your profitable engraved products.

1. Etsy 

Etsy is an amazing platform for creative small businesses to showcase their products. 

With over 80 million buyers, you can guarantee that your products will sell. There are many Etsy courses online and tips that you can follow to amplify your sales and expand your reach.

2. Your Website 

If you prefer to sell through your website, that’s possible too. Some businesses prefer to have their own website to fortify their brand and offer a one-of-a-kind shopping experience for users.

All you need to do is set up a website and choose a suitable payment gateway to be included on your site.

3. Social Media 

One of the easiest ways to sell your products is through social media.

You’re already familiar with the signup process, which makes it a lot easier. Additionally, Facebook Marketplace and Instagram Shopping have user-friendly features to promote a smooth and easy shopping experience.

Wood VS Steel Engraving

Plenty of online businesses sell wood and steel engraved products. So why do these two materials stand out more than the others such as leather, acrylic and glass?

Generally, both wood and steel are widely available and are highly versatile, especially when doing business or DIY projects.

But if you were to choose between the two; which one would you pick? Wood, or steel?

CriteriaWoodSteel
PriceCheaper as it is more widely availableSteel is more expensive is it is low in supply has high demand
Easy to Engrave?Wood is easier to engrave as it has a softer surface and it is an easily modified materialNot easy to engrave compared to wood as it is more solid than wood
DurabilityNot very durableHighly durable

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How Much Does It Costs To Run A Laser Engraver?

One of the main concerns that people have when they think about making money with a laser engraver are the initial costs involved.

But before we talk about costs, let’s take a look at what it is and the types of lasers available in the market.

A laser engraver (or laser cutter, marker, etcher) is a man-operated machine that functions by removing a part of a material (such as wood, metal, acrylic and leather) to create a specific pattern.

These brilliant patterns can be created by using particular laser machines which are material-specific. The machines have distinctive functions, so you need to make sure that it’s suitable for your chosen surfaces.

Types Of Lasers For Engraving

how to make money with laser engraving

The two types of engraving lasers are a: 

  •  fiber laser and
  •  CO2 laser

You may also notice other types of lasers such as a  UV laser and green laser, which are commonly used for marking or cutting.

Fiber Laser

This type of laser is highly versatile, as it can be used on different types of surfaces, including metals, plastics and coated metals. 

The light beams of fiber lasers are directed through a fiber-optic cable, which produces first-rate results at a much faster speed.

In addition, fiber lasers are a budget friendly option.

 With lower electrical consumption and efficient power usage, operating the machine will be easier on your pocket (and bills).

Apart from engraving, fiber lasers can also be used for laser marking and cutting, which is a plus point if you’re planning on expanding your business in the future.

With that said, fiber lasers are more suited and accurate when engraving thinner objects. Plus, the technology for fiber lasers has yet to accommodate its efficiency for other materials.

CO2 Laser 

A CO2 laser is specially designed for non-metal surfaces such as acrylic, wood, glass, paper, plastic as well as textiles and fabrics. Contrary to a laser fiber, the CO2 laser uses heat to help shape patterns and create images on the targeted surface.

Price-wise, it is among the most affordable laser types in the market. However, the energy consumption of a CO2 laser is nearly double compared to a fiber laser.

Additionally, when it comes to metal surfaces, the metal has to first be treated prior to contact with the laser as it may not produce a desired and precise outcome otherwise. 

What To Consider When Buying A Laser Machine?

How To Make Money With A Laser Engraver

Consider these 3 things when making your initial investment:

  • Material – Different lasers interact individually on various surfaces and materials, so you must plan the surfaces that you’ll be working on before buying a laser machine
  • Market – If you are looking to target clients in the corporate market, a bigger budget is needed to fulfil the demands. On the other hand, a smaller, niched down market such as gifts will require a smaller budget
  • Durability – Even though laser machines are built to last, there’s no harm in doing a double-take before you seal the deal on your ideal machine.
  • Support – Operating an upscale, valuable machine involving lasers with complex functions comes with a set of struggles. That’s why having reliable customer support at arm’s length can be very helpful in navigating through them.

Now that you have an idea on how to choose a laser engraver, back to the real question.

To put it simply, the cost of running a laser machine depends on the type of machine

This is because different machines consume different amounts of power, which also influences their efficiency. A 20-watt laser machine is more efficient in energy consumption compared to a 60-watt laser machine.

For example, if the electricity rate is 25 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), the estimated rate of using a laser machine at 100 watts for five hours would only cost you 12.5 cents.

If this is the case, the estimated cost per month is $3.80 and $45.66 per year!

(Rate is calculated using RapidTables)

Is Laser Engraving/Cutting Business Profitable?

In 2019, the market for personalized gifts was valued at $26.3 billion, and the number is expected to increase.

This is proof that the laser engraving business is highly profitable, as there is a high demand for personalized gifts.

Laser Engraving Business Plan

Starting a laser engraving business may seem daunting at first, but with anything else in life, having a plan helps you to build a solid foundation for your business and set you up for success.

Here are steps you can take to start your own laser engraving business:

  1. Start by researching the different types of tools needed. I would recommend this book written by a highly experienced laser engraving business owner.
  2. Sign up for a laser engraving course. Online learning platforms such as SkillShare and Udemy offer beginner-friendly courses on laser engraving.
      
  3. Invest in a laser engraver of your choice (and engraving software).
  4. Start engraving and selling!

Examples Of Laser Engraving Businesses

A quick scroll through Etsy would show you a lot of laser engraving businesses with hundreds and thousands of sales per month, which is living proof that a laser engraving business is profitable. 

Check out these Etsy shops for inspiration and motivation:

Final Thoughts

To sum up, knowing how to make money with a laser engraver is a golden opportunity for you to start your own profitable business.

From choosing the fitting laser machine to selecting your niche market and selling your services, you’ll be covering your initial investments in no time.

What’s more, planning ahead and learning from experts is an excellent way to keep yourself on track in building a profitable business.

How To Make Money With A Laser Engraver (+21 Product Engraving Ideas)

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