For under $1000 you can have an A3 or A4 laser-cutter or engraver that can do a lot, even though it’s not going to chew through hardened steel, or even thick wood. Cutting paper or light wood looks to be no problem and engraving a range of surfaces presents no issue at all. Melbourne based, Darkly Labs, has a list of what it can do – although it appears that the finished product may well be even more powerful as they are upgrading the laser.
LazerBlade was another Kickstarter project. It obviously hit a nerve because it has been massively over-funded. I can see why because, for anyone into making, it’s the perfect complement to a 3D printer or the like and even more affordable. As a bonus, Darkly Labs has done a nice job on the industrial design so the unit looks fine. It does come as a kit which is slightly worrisome when you’re dealing with a high-powered laser, but they reckon it takes less than an hour to put together and “assembly is easy, even for a beginner”: I must admit, the pictures don’t show that many pieces to put in the wrong place.
The A3 version of the LazerBlade goes for $750 which, if it lives up to its promise, isn’t bad at all. In fact compared to the industrial cutters on the market, that’s simply very cheap. Thanks to the Kickstarter over-funding the finished product should be even better than originally promised. But of course it will all come down to how the unit actually functions out in the wild: We’ll be watching with interest.