Wat kost materiaal voor lasersnijders? - Lasersheets

The prices for laser cutting material

Who does not want to make beautiful products with their laser cutter? Or maybe you want to be able to offer the users of your laser, like your customers or students, good quality materials. Whatever the situation, you prefer to purchase your materials for the lowest possible costs.

The first thing you might look at is the lowest possible square meter price. And that makes sense, that is indeed the starting point. But regarding materials, there are also other costs involved. The good news is that you can save a lot if you are aware of the different expenses and how you can influence them.

In this blog you will read about all the other factors that influence your expenses for laser materials. We are happy to help you purchase as smartly as possible. And by doing that, you can save money!

(This blog largely also applies to workshops that use our materials in ways other than for laser cutting, for example for CNC milling, furniture making, or model making)

Let's start with volume discounts

If you buy more at the same time (large quantities), the price per square metre drops. This is also known as volume discount (or bulk discount). This discount can reach 20% or even more. So, it is often worthwhile to order a little more at once. In our web shop you find a table with volume discounts per material. The discount is automatically calculated as you place the product into your shopping cart.

Shipping fees

Good materials for laser cutting are quite specific, so you usually cannot just buy them at the hardware store. The best materials are actually only available from wholesalers (and of course from Lasersheets!). At wholesalers, you often pay considerable transport costs, which can go up as much as 250 euros per delivery. That is not surprising, because the materials are often delivered on large pallets that take up a lot of space during transport. Many different materials (wood, plastic, cardboard, etc.) can be used  for laser cutting, and you will end up ordering from different wholesalers. They, of course, all charge separate shipping fees. So, try to order from one supplier as much as possible. Make sure this supplier sells many different materials that are suitable for your specific machine. This lowers your shipping expenses, which translates directly to the costs per m².

Costs for storage

If you buy in bulk you have to store material until you use it. You can quickly estimate your storage expenses by multiplying the floor space of your cabinets by the rental costs per m². We also know a lot of workshops where the storage area is not fixed, but is moved around regularly. How often have you moved a material that has been in your workshop for a year? How much material got so damaged in that period that you had to write it off? How much did you pay for the cabinets for storing your material? You understand; materials that are stored, also cost money. So, while buying in bulk has benefits, it is important to strike the balance. Think carefully when purchasing large quantities: how long will it take before I have used all the material and how much will I incur during that period? Does that outweigh the discount that you got for the larger purchase?

The right materials

What is a workshop without material in stock? You do not want to place an order for each separate project, so you probably have some sheet material lying around. Which materials those are exactly varies, but in general those are your most used materials and your exotic materials. And having too many exotic materials in stock, is usually not a good idea. They often lie on the shelf for a long time, resulting in high storage costs (see above). So make sure you know which materials are used the most and stock up on the right materials. This saves you money. Do you not know what the bestsellers are or what your users would like? From our 12 years of experience, we have made a shortlist of the most popular laser cutting materials.

Suitable for laser cutting

It happens all too often; you have purchased a material but it cannot be lasered properly. Your laser does not cut all the way through, or the edges burn and turn ugly. That is a shame, because your project comes to a halt and you cannot return the material.

Not all materials can be laser cut or engraved just like that. With plywood, for example, the type of glue that was used to make it, is very important for the quality of the end result. Many glues burn instead of being cut, blocking the laser beam.

Plastics come in many types and variants. Many of those are not easy to cut or even toxic and harmful to your machine. You have to be quite experienced to see the differences by eye. Did you know, for example, that the transparent sheets that you find in the hardware store cannot be laser cut at all? If you would manage to cut through them with your laser in the first place, the edges would burn brown and produce a lot of smoke. This mainly happens when you try to cut PC, polycarbonate. That is a thermoset and not suitable for laser cutting. If you do not want any surprises, choose materials that have been specially tested and are guaranteed easy to laser.

Outage costs

'Failure' or 'production downtime' are both terms for something going wrong with your materials during production. Materials have 'failed' during the manufacturing process and must be thrown away. Downtime hurts you twice, because you have to throw away the used material and the work has to be redone. Every failure effectively doubles your purchasing costs for that product/project.

For laser cutting, it is therefore important to ensure that it goes right the first time. And in that, one material is not the other. A good example is plywood. Poor quality plywood contains internal knots. You cannot see them on the surface, but your laser beam cannot cut through them. Now imagine that you placed a large sheet of wood in your laser, you scheduled a few hours to cut out a beautiful design and you hit an internal knot. Your whole project would often be damaged beyond repair. If it is your own work, you can sometimes hide the damage. But if you deliver work to customers, you will have to throw the piece away and start over.

This is where good materials can make you real money. And why it is worth investing a little more in plywood that is virtually knot-free.

Quality

More generally, high quality almost always leads to a lower price in the long run. As we just explained, good quality can save you a lot of money and effort during production. But a material that lasts longer is of course always cheaper than the same material that has to be replaced sooner. And by doing so, you place a smaller burden on the planet!

Become a laser expert!

Our additional tips:

  1. Keep a log of your laser settings for each material. That saves you test material and waste.
  2. Keep the lenses of your laser cutter clean. A dirty lens can absorb up to 30% of your laser power, causing your project to fail and your material to be wasted.
  3. Benchmark your laser regularly and adjust your settings: Determine the maximum speed of your laser in 3mm MDF and regularly test whether you can still achieve that speed. Do you have to slow down the machine a lot to cut through? Then the power of your laser beam has decreased. This may be due to dirty lenses or mirrors, for example, or your machine needs to be adjusted. MDF is a good benchmark material because it is consistent and economical.
  4. Use good nesting software to get as many pieces out of your sheet as possible.

As you can see, there are many factors to take into account while purchasing sheet material. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you by offering you the best materials for your laser cutter all in one place.

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