Laser Engraver, Side Biz Idea, etc.

So, I am working on another NFA Form 1 project. One of the steps, of course, is engraving the Trust information on said. I'll likely take it to a local shop as I've done in the past, or send off the part to a firm that specializes in said.

That said, out of curiosity I looked into what that type of equipment costs, the foot print, etc., and found it is not that big a deal. Small engravers that might work for small NFA engraving can be had for about a c-note. Larger and better ones, about three, give or take. It looks like they connect to a PC via USB and that controls the job. Some even do graphic images in addition to text.

Questions:

  • Anyone played with these and have any advice to offer?
  • How steep is the learning curve? (I work in a technical field, so am very comfortable with technology. I just haven't used one of these.)
  • I've been thinking of ways to make the FFL side business make more sense. I got to thinking of offering an engraving service on the side. I could take in guns to have engraved for NFA compliance or artist purposes. Any thoughts on that? Any interest in an engraver in southern Oregon that is familiar with the sometimes byzantine NFA regulations?`
Thanks much. :)
 

L84Cabo

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Are you sure on the cost of the equipment? I follow a company called "Paramount Tactical Solutions" on social media. They're primarily a training company but awhile back they jumped into laser engraving to augment their training revenue. They've done a lot of posting on their work as they've progressed through the learning curve. At one point I asked them about the machine they were using and it's cost...because I was curious. I don't remember the name of the machine but I absolutely remember them saying it was a $100K+ machine.

I know there are a number of "hobby" level engravers out there for relatively cheap. But if you intend to do this commercially...and you intend to engrave things of value...you may be looking at a whole lot more $$. But this is purely based on my EXTREMELY limited knowledge on this topic.

Anyway, you can see a little bit of their work at the link. They've done some really nice stuff. There's more of their work mixed in on their main FB page.
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Are you sure on the cost of the equipment? I follow a company called "Paramount Tactical Solutions" on social media. They're primarily a training company but awhile back they jumped into laser engraving to augment their training revenue. They've done a lot of posting on their work as they've progressed through the learning curve. At one point I asked them about the machine they were using and it's cost...because I was curious. I don't remember the name of the machine but I absolutely remember them saying it was a $100K+ machine.

I know there are a number of "hobby" level engravers out there for relatively cheap. But if you intend to do this commercially...and you intend to engrave things of value...you may be looking at a whole lot more $$. But this is purely based on my EXTREMELY limited knowledge on this topic.

Anyway, you can see a little bit of their work at the link. They've done some really nice stuff. There's more of their work mixed in on their main FB page.
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Good post, and I thought the exact same thing when I read the “c note” value. I too know a couple of people that have invested in laser engravers and they weren’t even close to that affordable. As mentioned, for home use maybe. But professional use on other’s valuables? Nope!
 

Reno

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I looked into getting an inexpensive laser engraver myself to do various things. Most don’t cut or etch metal until you get into the 5-10 thousand marker. Ones used by folks like Daniel Defense or such are in the 10s of thousands if not more.

You can get an 80 dollar one that etched wood and plastic and such that can be programmed via a phone however.
 
I've checked various vendors and an auction house, and that is what I found for various metal engravers. Correct? No idea, hence tossing it out there. The ATF requirements aren't even remotely troublesome: .003" depth and 1/16th" height.

It crossed my mind to buy one of the three hundred dollar rigs and just give it a spin, because ... teehee. :p
 
I've checked various vendors and an auction house, and that is what I found for various metal engravers. Correct? No idea, hence tossing it out there. The ATF requirements aren't even remotely troublesome: .003" depth and 1/16th" height.

It crossed my mind to buy one of the three hundred dollar rigs and just give it a spin, because ... teehee. :p
Well do it and let us know how it works!!

:D
 
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I should have a couple tubes that need engraving in a few weeks. I would be interested to see how it works. These are just aluminum so it shouldn’t be too bad. My next one will likely be titanium though.
 
So, I did some more snooping around. From what I am finding:

  • Yes, the cheap ones will engrave metal.
  • No, they won't go deep enough for NFA purposes (minimum .003").
If correct, then, I won't bother, because that is kind of the point. Still looking though.
 
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