This budget-friendly entry-level laser engraver is a great way to express your creativity.
Laser cutting and engraving machines have been available for some time. But only recently have small, portable laser engravers been affordable for the masses. The LaserPecker LP2 is an easy-to-use, compact engraver that enables you to create impressive, intricate and permanent designs on a wide range of materials, including wood, leather, metal, glass and plastic.
Manufacturer: Shenzhen Hingin Technology Co.
Model: LaserPecker LP2 (Basic model)
Made in: Overseas
Warranty: 1 year
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The LP2 is available in four different configurations including a Basic model – that consists of the engraver unit, a carriage, a protective shield, a USB cable, protective goggles, ruler, wood and metal practice pieces and an operation manual.
The Suit model adds a roller attachment that includes two magnetic rollers (that conveniently store under the roller), an adapter (to attach the roller to the engraver unit) and silicone rings (to prevent objects from skidding when placed on top the roller).
It takes less than 5 minutes to assemble the unit thanks to a clearly written operation manual. You control the LP2 via Bluetooth and a downloadable app using your mobile device or connected to your computer.
The laser emitter has to be 110 mm from the surface of the item you’re engraving. You can set the required distance one of three ways (as outlined in the operation manual). All three ways are quick and easy. I typically use the protective shield when feasible, as it has a small fan that pushes smoke out the back of the unit. A button on the base of the carriage enables you to raise and lower the engraver in 1mm intervals (by tapping the button) or continuously (by long-pressing the button).
The LP2 is powered by a 450 nm NICHIA diode laser rated at 5 watts. The laser beam burns a spot on the target that is a mere 0.05 mm diameter – or .002″ (1/500″). While you can engrave on just about any material (except highly reflective materials) you can also cut up to 5 mm (just over 3/16″) deep. Along with images you can engrave text.
The Basic LP2 can engrave images up to 100 mm by 100 mm (just under 4″ square). However the roller attachment that comes with the Suit model enables you to engrave images up to 2000 mm long (though still 100 mm wide) and also engrave cylindrical objects.
Setting up an engraving job is quite easy using the LaserPecker app. You can engrave designs stored in your mobile device’s image gallery, directly from your device’s camera or from the free clipart provided by LaserPecker. You can also create text blocks (in either a normal, sans, serif or monospaced font and bold, hollow or title style), barcodes, QR codes or simple free-form drawings. When you import images you can choose from five visual presets – pencil, G-code, bin, gray and seal. After you’ve selected your preset you can do some minor editing to clean up the image.
You specify the project width or height (up to 100 mm) and the LP2 automatically calculates the corresponding dimension.
You also select the type of material (from a drop down list), the power level (up to 100%), depth of cut (up to 100% – the maximum 5 mm depth) and number of passes (up to 50 for each job). The defaults are 80% for the power level, 10% for the depth and a single pass.
The settings you choose will vary depending on the type of material you’re engraving. Processing time will take longer for more intricate designs, higher power levels, the deeper you set the cut and the number of passes you select. Increasing the power level and depth of cut can also cause burning around the edges of an image or text. You really do need to make some test runs at various settings to get the right look for the particular material you’re engraving.
All the models include safety glasses that prevent laser light from reaching your eyes. As well, before the LP2 starts engraving it displays several prompts reminding you to install the protective shield, inspect your work area and put the safety glasses on.
On oak ply the little fly at 80% power and 18% depth shows some burning, but overall a very clean engraving. It took roughly 11 minutes to engrave.
While the protective shield has a built-in smoke extractor fan it doesn’t incorporate a carbon filter, so smoke spreads through the work area. If you’re engraving wood that can result in a lot of smoke – I found it necessary to do the engraving near an open window with a fan directing the smoke outside.
Text comes out incredibly clean and crisp. The text below, which is 90 mm wide, took 1 minute 30 seconds to engrave at the default settings.
The video has been sped up 10x:
If you want to engrave long material should purchase the Suit model that includes the roller attachment (you can, however, purchase the roller separately). With the dual rollers positioned upward you can engrave cylindrical stock (wood turnings, bottles, tubes, pens and the like). With the unit upside down (the dual rollers positioned downward and the two magnetic sliders installed) the roller attachment can glide across material for up to 2000 mm (78″). It’s best to do this on fairly smooth material so the roller attachment doesn’t bump off course.
The LP2 is aimed at hobbyists, crafters and woodworkers who don’t need to produce large scale engravings. It’s small and portable enough to be used just about anywhere. You can run the LP2 straight out of the box (though it does take some testing to get the best settings for different materials). If you’ve ever though of giving engraving a try, this is definitely a viable option for you to consider.
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