Micro-Mark, a small tool and hobbyist supply specialty retailer, has come out with the LaserKnife, a table-top laser cutter and engraver that can be used on wood, plastic, cloth, foam, cardboard, paper, and other such materials.
The MicroLux LaserKnife has a cutting capacity up to 1/4″ in balsa (1/2″ with multiple passes), 3/32″ in acrylic (1/4″ with multiple passes), and up to 1/32″ in plywood (3/16″ with multiple passes).
As with other laser cutters, this one is not a self-contained unit, and requires venting to the outside in order to remove hazardous fumes. It also requires a 5-gallon bucket to contain 3 gallons of distilled water. You will also have to supply your own computer.
- 40W CO2 laser tube power
- Footprint: 32″ x 26″ x 10.5″ (with lid closed)
- Weighs 55 lbs
- Working area: 9.8″ x 9.8″
The LaserKnife is indeed somewhat of a small machine, but that’s reflected in its price, which is about 1/4 that of the most entry-level Epilog laser cutter, at least as of the last time I checked.
It’s made in China, but Micro-Mark’s product description and accompanying literature repeats that it’s to their specs. In my experience, and from what I’ve read about their mills, lathes, and other MicroLux-branded machinery, Micro-Mark specifications result in a far-from-stock tool. From what I have seen, some Micro-Mark tools are worth spending more, compared to stock or less customized versions of the same tool, if even available in the USA.
This PDF goes through the “Micro-Mark Difference” for the LaserKnife. Generally, the “Micro-Mark Difference” means higher pricing. If you’re looking to buy the bare version of this (I haven’t tried to track down the OEM model yet), weigh the differences against the added cost (if there is one) before making a purchasing decision.
The MicroMark LaserKnife was designed, or at least optimized, for small area cutting and engraving needs. As with other laser cutters, it’s designed to work with thin sheet materials, such as plastic and paper-based. Certain plastics, such as PVC, can NOT be used with the machine, as they produce very toxic fumes when heated.
Unlike other laser cutters, it doesn’t look like the LaserKnife can engrave aluminum or other metallic materials.
Micro-Mark’s imager gallery shows a couple of cutting application examples, as well as engraving examples. Some, like this laser-cut airframe, are typical representations of what the laser cutter can do. I didn’t understand some of the images as first, such as the ones that show brick-textured scale buildings for a model railroad setup, as I didn’t get that the brick texture was entirely engraved. Hopefully Micro-Mark creates a larger image gallery showing with this (and other laser cutters) can do for hobbyists.
The package comes with:
- Lighted and painted steel cabinet
- Honeycomb platen
- Clear window
- Internal power supply and external 110V AC to 220V AC power converter
- Air compressor and tubing
- Water pump and tubing (for cooling the laser tube)
- Exhaust fan and duct
- Power cord and USB cable
- CorelLaser software plug-in (non-Home/Student CorelDraw version 11+ must be purchased separately)
- Sample drawings
- Lens focusing gauge
- Start-up materials sample pack
- Spare fuses
- Instructions, maintenance directions, wiring diagram, tips and tricks
Price: $1,995 + $24 freight
Buy Now(via Micro-Mark)
There are some similar-looking machines on Amazon, but with different capacities and control panel layouts. If you can find a similar machine from the same OEM, please let us know! It’ll be curious to see how this machine compares to the “stock” version.