How Much Does Laser Cutting Cost for Crafters in 2024?

Created on:

March 3, 2024

Updated on:

March 4, 2024

Written by Kelsey Sergi

How much will laser cutting cost you in 2024 as a crafter?

Laser Cutting is a cost that has to be looked at from all angles, especially if you are a hobby crafter or a small business trying to scale up. From the upfront costs of laser-cutting machines to the cost of materials, electricity, and maintenance costs, there is so much to consider when talking about the total cost. On the lower end, you can get a diode laser for around $1000 without a filter or any flashy extras but that's just the machine cost. On average you are going to be looking upwards of $2500 for a small machine, basic materials, and any add-ons. Let's jump in deeper.

Laser Types and Brands

First, let's do a quick overview of four types of laser cutters that are out there on the market.

Types of Lasers:

The Glowforge Aura laser.

Diode Laser Cutters

Diode lasers are going to be a low-watt laser, I have owned both a 6W and a 10W laser. They can cut thinner materials, engrave, and score. You won't be able to cut things like glass, metal, or even clear acrylic. Honestly, most light-colored materials are going to be hard to work with here. A lot of hobby crafters opt for these because of their smaller size and cost.

CO2 Lasers

These are a high power, higher watt laser, than a diode. You will be able to cut clear acrylic, glass, rubber, brick and so much more. It gives you a lot more range. In terms of engraving, you can do a lot but you will have limits in terms of metals that you can engrave and score. Crafters and small businesses tend to opt for a CO2 laser due to the higher speed, the precise cuts, and the overall laser power.

Fiber Laser Cutters

A laser cutting and engraving metal.

This type of laser has an even a higher powered laser that can cut and engrave most metals and a lot of different materials. So, if you're dream is to do metal laser engraving, then you might want to go in this direction. I want to say for crafters, this isn't the worst option either but I really would suggest this for jewelry crafters over people who want to mostly work with acrylic or wood.

Waterjet Cutter

Also known as hydro jet cutting, you are looking at a high-pressured and high-speed water jet that can cut through a wide variety of materials and do some etching. It is one of the most powerful lasers. If you are a crafter or a small business this might be a bit out of reach but it is quite cool to watch. I would like to call this an industrial laser, but who knows, with technology, we may have these in our craft rooms soon.

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Laser Brands:

There are so many companies out there now, with all different types of lasers, to fit all your specific needs, we will look into some of the top laser companies and the type of laser they can provide for you. This is coming from a crafter who also looks at this as if small businesses are looking to go from just cutting machines (i.e. a Cricut or a Silhouette) to something bigger, with a wide range of what it can cut, and also ease of use. Being user-friendly is huge for me, you don't want to spend $3000+ on a high-speed, powerful laser just to be overly intimidated by it. Let's look at three laser brands:


I would start by saying Glowforge is one of the most well-known laser-cutting machine brands out there today. They have a range of machines from the Aura (which I own) up to their Pro laser which is a heavy-duty 45W laser. Their new laser cutter, the Aura, is a diode laser cutter and comes at a more affordable price than their bigger machines

The glowforge Aura a diode laser with a cost of $1200.

The Aura is just under $1200 without any add-ons, I would always suggest a filter for safety which will cost you an additional $399.

The Glowforge Pro and Performance machines are a bit pricier since they are CO2 laser. The price of the laser ranges from $4,500 to $5,500 with a filter add-on of $1300.

Keep in mind, to use Glowforges premium settings on their online app, you will have to pay a monthly subscription for faster cutting at $50 a month! These sorts of fine details start to add up!

Thunderbolt Laser

This would be the laser company I would go with if I were ever to upgrade (manifesting for 2024) - their price point is going to be a little higher than Glowforge with their smallest laser starting at around $5,500. This laser is a desktop engraver with cutting abilities and has 30W power. Their Nova series, which is a step up, is going to start at $7,400. Now, these machines don't have add-ons, so rotary turners for tumblers are going to have higher prices from $700 up to $1400.


I started my laser journey with the xTool laser company and I am going to let you know, that it caught on fire and is now rotting in my garage. Laser safety is no joke. They are another company that has many different types of lasers and I was gifted the M1 a 10w diode with a cost of $1,099 again does not include any extras like the $800 smoke purifier. Crafters have been raving about the P2 a CO2 desktop laser that has more power and cutting capabilities comes in a price range of $4,500 up to $6,000 depending on the package you get.

So, the main cost of laser cutting to get started is the laser and the average is going to be around $1200 for a lower watt diode (no additional features) and for a more powerful CO2 laser (no extras) you are looking on the low end of $4000. Now that we have looked at the price of a laser cutter, let's jump into the various materials you might use and the costs that they will have.

Price of Laser Materials

This is going to have so many various factors like size, if you're using finished or raw materials, brands, and quality. So let's look at some typically used materials and get some general ideas on pricing.


A piece of green acrylic made by Glowforge.

Acrylic is one of the materials I see used in the craft industry the most for cake topper sticks, custom signs, QR codes, keychains, etc. So what does acrylic set you back? Remember if you have a diode laser, your cutting area might be smaller and you cannot use light, clear, or translucent acrylics but a sheet of 12x12 black thin acrylic is going to range from as low as $5 a sheet up to $13 or more. For something thicker and bigger you are looking at $20-30 for one sheet. The stuff isn't exactly cheap! When you get into clear or translucent (mirror or glitter), you are going to be spending $9 up for 12 inches and thin. Of course, you also need to take in factors like shipping and what is needed for your project. Average 12x12 price for thin acrylic sheets we will say $6.50.

Wood and Veneer

A piece of hardwood.

There are so many different factors that come into play when talking about wood and veneer. There are going to be higher costs for nicer woods, and of course, you need to make an informed decision on how you want to work your craft. On the low end, basswood can cost you $20 for a pack of 10 sheets but that's not going to be the highest quality. If you are going to be making detailed works of art, like signs or home decor, you will be looking at a much higher overall cost. Wood is also hard to put a price on because it fluctuates with the market.


If you are going down the route of metal engraving and cutting then you are going to have to look around for competitive prices. With some research, I have found that stainless steel sheets can be found as low as $15, and jewelry blanks can be bought in bulk on Amazon for around $20 but let's be real here, we want quality control if we are selling nice products. I would think, you would buy these cheaper items for testing your designs and the engraving area but for selling you will be looking at a much higher cost (or not!) Who am I to judge?

​Maintenance and Operational Costs

You have to keep in mind that these lasers are going to require more than just the initial investment of the machine. Laser cutter costs include maintaining your machines and also day-to-day operations like electricity and your hours put in.

Machines used regularly for a small business are going to require regular cleanings, filter changes, and new lenses which can add up. Plus you need to keep in mind your hourly rate, you don't want to be creating a beautiful product and paying yourself next to nothing for your hard work. There is so much that needs to be considered on top of just the initial cost of the machine for you to be successful in your small business.

A stack of laser cutting materials.

Real Life Scenario and Cost Breakdown

Let's say I want to start a small business with my laser cutter making acrylic cake toppers and QR code signs.

Cost of Machine: Glowforge Pro: $5,500 plus tax so rounds up to $6,250

Cost of Filter plus one extra change: $1,500 plus tax so round up again to $2,200

Cost of Initial Materials (10 large sheets of acrylic): $200 plus tax

The total comes to: around $8700. Now a lot of these laser companies have payment plans for the machines which means you don't need to have this money up front but how do you know what to price your product? We are going to just base it off of material, overhead costs (electric, space/rent), and your time.

If a cake topper stick takes 2 minutes to cut and you can make 130 of them on one sheet then the cost of each stick is $.15 plus electric plus your time. So per hour you can make 30 sticks for $4.50 and add on your time (the one hour - because of laser safety please don't leave a high-powered laser beam unattended) and electric. I would want to make at least $20/hour and my electricity might be small maybe $.75 for the hour but this will depend on where you live. To cover your costs and make $20 per hour you can charge $.85 per stick and if you want to bump up the engraving price you can make even more! So how many cake sticks would you need to sell to pay off your machine price? You would need to sell 10,235 sticks with a production time of around 341 hours or forty-two working 8-hour days (which isn't that bad!) You could essentially pay off your laser in a little over a month.

Now this scenario was niche I will say but I wanted to put it into a crafter's perspective. Is the cost of a laser cutter something you want to take on? It's a huge investment with a lot of factors to think about. I think that moving from a craft cutting machine up to a high-precision laser is an incredible business move that hopefully one day I can do. The intricate designs they can make and the cutting process are just incredible.

In conclusion, you can expect the laser cutting cost is going to be expensive and a big investment for a lot of people and crafters. If you are ready to take the leap into busing a laser then do a lot of research, be prepared for maintenance, and crush your goals! You have to consider your own needs and what will work best for you are your business. I have come to the overall finding that whether you are a laser craft artist or a cutting machine crafter - crafting and art get costly but if you love what you do then none of that should matter. The easiest way to do something is just research and then get started, a laser cutting machine could open up doors for you that you never thought possible.

Stay crafty!

Kelsey Sergi - the owner and crafter at Dinosaur Mama.

Hi crafters! I'm Kelsey and I am here to bring you new original craft projects and free SVG files for your cutting machines every week!

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