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Which K40 Laser Cutter should I buy?

Yeah, this was me when I started looking for k40’s. Which K40 Laser Cutter should I buy, Where should I purchase it from how much should I spend? Yeah my mind hurts

If you are asking yourself the question Which K40 Laser Cutter to buy, see the below comprehensive guide I’ve written a guide to purchasing your first K40 Laser Cutter if you are new to the market.

For starters, it’s probably best you have these questions ready before you open your wallet

Where are you planning to be using your K40 Laser Cutter?

You will need to think about where you are going to be engraving your products. Due to the hazards associated with using a K40, it’s recommended to use your machine in a well-ventilated area, such as a garage or workshop. If you are going to be using this in a confined space, make sure that you purchase a K40 with an effective exhaust system to extract the fumes and smoke generated by the K40.

What are you going to be engraving?

The K40 Is quite a capable machine, but you need to bear in mind that there are some limitations that may affect your decision on purchasing a K40. If you are wanting to be cutting materials with your K40, expect to have difficulty with materials such as steel and hard metals.

Below Is a rough outline of the capabilities of a Co2 K40 Laser Cutter from my experience.

MaterialEngraveCut
Plywood YesYes
HardwoodYesYes/Limited
SoftwoodYesYes
Aluminum YesYes/Limited
Paper/cardboardYesYes
CorkYesYes
ClothYesYes
LeatherYesYes/Limited
Stone/GraniteYesNo
AcrylicYesYes

How much are you willing to spend on your K40?

Let’s be clear. The K40 is cheap. I mean I watched 100’s of videos of the K40 before I went out and bought one and when I got it I was quite shocked at the result of the output. That’s not to say it was easy from day one. It took me about 2 weeks of “Crapping my Pants” that I was going to electrocute or blow myself up, but in general, I was amazed at the quality of this machine. I did toy with the idea of getting one of those little cube desktop machines for like 100 bucks, but I kinda wanted this to be a bit more of a serious hobby, rather than to just show my mates I know how to burn wood

How much is a K40 Laser cutter?

You’re going to be looking at around $370 – $500 USD for a stock machine with Free Shipping

Depending on whether this hits your budget or not, it might be better to look more into the higher-priced 50W laser machines which will touch above the $1000-$1500 USD mark but will be better off in the long run if you plan to do production runs or start a business with your machine

What features will you need?

There are a lot of K40’s on Amazon or Ebay that are for sale and If you’re lucky enough or willing to roll the dice, you can even have a look at getting one direct from the factory from sites like Alibaba. Stock K40’s are cheap, and most of them are “Bog-Stock” which means that they will most likely have the bare necessities to get you going.

You want to make sure when you make your first K40 purchase that you have all the necessities included with your K40 before you hit the “Buy-It-Now” Button

  • Water Pump
  • Exhaust System
  • Correct Power plugs/converters (220v/240v)
  • Analog/Digital preferences (do you need digital or analog system)

Digital or analog?

K40’s come with Analog or Digital Displays. Whilst my first purchase was a digital display, I would only have one recommendation as to why I purchased a digital display for my K40 Laser Cutter…..accuracy. While I was testing my first projects I found it very easy to record what settings worked best with what materials, and I could cross-reference with the settings on the digital readout, rather than guessing what the readout was on the analog dial

Experiment 1 ❌❌❌

Speed 100mm/s – Laser Power on digital readout :25
Result : Laser Engraver burned too deep and caused a lot of burnt edges around the engraving area

Experiment 2 ✅✅✅

Speed 100mm/s – Laser Power on digital readout :10
Result : Laser Engraver had very little burn but still looked good with a final result being near perfect

I know this might sound like a super basic concept, but this was a good way to experiment and get the correct settings for your specific machine.


Further to this, Creating a spreadsheet is a great way to document your settings if you are looking at doing small production runs so you don’t have to fiddle around with your machine when you need to get the job done and dusted

Digital K40 readouts are great for recording K40 Laser Settings for later quick input and changovers.

Are you looking at making money out of this or is it just a hobby for now?

Knowing this before your first purchase is essential.

Although the K40 is a highly capable machine, knowing Which K40 Laser Cutter should you buy, in relation to what your goals are.

Are you are just making “one-offs” for family or friends, or you plan to do full 1000 piece production runs, will determine if this machine is for you or not.

My experience with a stock K40 is that it’s not really designed for mass production runs. A project that I worked on was a wedding invitation of 200 pieces. It was a highly detailed wedding invitation. To get the quality I wanted I ran it at a speed of 100mm/s with an engraving area of about 200x150mm. I quickly realized after the first run which took 15 minutes that this project was not viable with a stock K40 Laser Cutter

To create 200 of these would have taken me up to a week to complete based on the default speed of the K40 Laser Cutter

15 minutes x 200 invitation = 3000 / 60 minutes = 50 hours

50 hours / 8 hour days = 6.25 days to engrave, and that’s without any screw-ups in between or changing wood etc.

My verdict with this scenario is that the K40 just isn’t really designed for projects like this, unless you have lots of beer, pizza and a ton of time on your hands

Here are a few K40 Lasers that I recommend checking out

K40 Mophorn Laser Engraving Machine 40w

~$395 ~

7.8 / 10

TEN-HIGH 3020 12″x 8″ 40W

~$1459~

9 / 10

SHZM 40w CO2 Laser Engraving Machine

~$425~

7.6 / 10

SHZM 40w CO2 Laser Engraving Machine

~$395~

7.6 / 10

Hope this makes it a little more clearer Which K40 Laser Cutter should you buy. If you have any questions or other experience you’d like to share with the k40 community, post it be

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