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Laser Users Rank Necessary Accessories

Awards and Personalization Association member retailers took part in a recent survey to tell Insights magazine which laser system accessories mattered the most to them—and to fill us in on the sanity-savers we didn’t include on our list! Here’s how they ranked the 10 accessories on our list, starting with the most valuable:

Laser Users Rank Necessary Accessories

Survey says … Many “extras” are practically requirements!

Awards and Personalization Association member retailers took part in a recent survey to tell Insights magazine which laser system accessories mattered the most to them—and to fill us in on the sanity-savers we didn’t include on our list! Here’s how they ranked the 10 accessories on our list, starting with the most valuable:

1. Rotary Attachment

Attachments for engraving round or cylindrical objects were rated the most desirable, and survey takers recommended the three-jaw chuck rotary attachment and having a variety of rotary attachments on hand for many uses.

2. Cutting Table/Vector Grid

If the cutting grid isn’t included with purchase, most users add it on when they buy their laser. “Unless you are exclusively engraving with your laser, the vector table is required for cutting,” explained Epilog’s Amy Dallman. “Its honeycomb pattern or slats, depending on the system, allow the laser to completely cut through materials like wood and acrylic.”

3. Fume Extractor

Fume extractors—a heavy-duty step up from required exhaust systems—remove exhaust particles to protect employees and the environment. As one survey respondent said, “I assumed an exhaust blower was a given, not an accessory. If not, a proper blower is No. 1.”

4. Jigs

The right jig lets you mark a bunch of products at once without spoilage from shifting. We specified professionally made and purchased jigs, though homemade jigs are popular. (One user said, “We use a lump of clay for many of our odd shapes!”) Another respondent’s “clamps for odd-shaped items” might also fit here.

5. Compressor for Air Assist

“When hooked up to a compressor, the air assist feature blows a constant stream of air across the cutting surface to reduce flare-ups,” Dallman said. “We highly recommend it when cutting common materials like wood or acrylic, so it’s more desirable to have that at the ready when you take delivery of your system.” She recommends getting this capability when you purchase the system—not trying to add it after the fact.

6. Vacuum Table

A laser’s vacuum table sucks air through a series of holes in the table, creating suction that holds thin substrates in place for engraving and/or cutting.

7. Additional Focus Lenses (for Specialty Uses)

One laser can mark and cut many substrates, but different lenses are needed to provide the best results for very different jobs. A smaller lens will better engrave tiny fonts on a very thin material than a larger lens designed to slice through thick substrates.

8. Third-Party Software

(This category excludes the manufacturer’s proprietary software and Adobe or Corel design software.) Users value programs that add functionality—like processing photos for lasering and nesting software. Manufacturers, take note: One retailer wants their system’s driver software to sync between multiple devices.

9. Risers (Not Made by the User)

Depending on the laser system, risers either increase the vertical clearance to allow you to engrave taller objects or act like a pin table to lift an item off the cutting grid.

10. Pin Table

A pin table raises items up off the cutting grid to improve air flow and help eliminate flashback (when the laser beam cuts through a substrate and strikes the metal cutting bed, which reflects it back and potentially marks the underside of the substrate).

Honorable Mentions

  • 14.4% of responding retailers said a camera system deserved to be on this list. Cameras in the engraving area ensure you can see that your product is perfectly aligned for lasering.
  • 8% of survey takers have seen the light, and they say you really need an internal light in the engraving area, too.

Worth considering:

The following features also made respondents’ must-have lists:

  • Extra focus
  • Great customer support to help troubleshoot. This would be a high ranking must!
  • Sticky mat
  • Inside ring engraver
  • Extend A Plate (this Vision Engraving feature enables you to engrave a product in segments when it is longer than your engravable area)
  • Raised rulers
  • Automatic loader
  • Multiple laser tubes
  • Level

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