We use laser cutting in many of our open source projects and products, for example to cut acrylic enclsoures and LED diffusers. Over the last several years we have been using a 60W Universal laser cutter at a local manufacturing space. Our use of the laser cutter has been steadily increasing and one of our goals this year has been to invest in a laser cutter. Having access to a laser cutter on-site will speed up design time and also expedite orders, particularly those with custom parts.
Earlier this year we built a CNC Router using a kit from CNC Router Parts (Part # CRP2448 2' x 4'). After initially looking at some of the commercial laser cutters available and the prices, we decided to go ahead and also build the laser cutter from kits. In addition to the cost benefit from making a DIY laser cutter, a custom-made instrument also allows for greater control and flexibilty.
The laser cutter we have opted to build will use an 80W laser and have a 900 mm x 600 mm cutting area. It is based on two kits from Lightobject: a frame kit (LSR-CSE960KIT) and matching XY Stage Kit (LSR-XLE9060XY). We plan to use LinuxCNC for controlling the laser cutter (same as with our CNC router and mill). The total estimated cost of the laser cutter is approx. $4,200 - $4,500.