3D printing has revolutionized at-home automated fabrication, and has had a major impact in the maker world. But, as versatile as 3D printing is, it’s not ideal for every scenario. If you want to cut or engrave sheet material, a CNC router or laser cutter is far more desirable. Of those two, laser cutters have become more affordable and easier to use. That’s now more true than ever before, thanks to Etcher Laser.
Etcher Laser recently launched on Indiegogo, and is clearly designed to compete against Cubiio and Glowforge — two of the most noteworthy consumer laser cutters on the market. Etcher Laser comes in two versions: one with a 1.6W laser and one with a 3.5W laser. That’s on par with the incredibly compact Cubiio, but it’s just a fraction of the Glowforge’s 40W. Instead of competing with the power of the Glowforge, Etcher Laser is competing with the price: $499 for the 1.6W model, compared to $2,495 for the Glowforge Basic.
Price isn’t the Etcher Laser’s only selling point, however. Unlike most laser cutters that contain the material entirely within the enclosure, Etcher Laser can be placed on top of the work material. That means you can etch or cut on material of any size, though you can only actually work in the machine’s movement area — a size they don’t actually specify. It’s also worth noting that even the 3.5W laser will have a difficult time cutting through most materials.
Like the Glowforge, Etcher Laser is designed to be easy for anyone to use, and the app reflects that. There is a camera inside the Etcher Laser enclosure, which you can use to position your material exactly how you want it. That camera view can even be used to see a preview of your design before you start cutting. Overall, Etcher Laser looks like a fantastic entry-level laser cutter, but seasoned makers will likely want a laser with more power.
The Etcher Laser Indiegogo campaign is running until December 14th, and has already exceeded its funding goal. The 1.6W model is $499, and the 3.5W model is $749. A special filter is available for an extra $399. Rewards are expected to ship in July, 2019.