Laser Side Hustle

Laser Side Hustle

So you are starting the laser side hustle game?. Here are a few things to think about from a business aspect.

 I just got a laser from a different manufacturer which means  I joined a new Facebook group. I’ve seen this happen so many times from every manufacturers Facebook or Webpage Forum.   A group member will write:

“HELP!  My machine stopped working and I have orders that I have to fulfill.  I am frantic, HELP!”

Please know that I’m not knocking anyone here and I don’t think I’m smarter than anyone else by a long shot.  I just want to point out some observations I have made over the last few years of operating a laser.

If you have bought a laser to run a small business and:

  • Don’t know how to troubleshoot your machine.
  • Don’t have lots of experience with the machine.
  • Don’t have spare parts.
  • Don’t have a backup machine
  • Don’t have a fellow hobbyist who can help with your orders during your downtime.

Then what are your chances for immediate laser side hustle success?

Business Planning and Prospectus

Out of those 5 bullets I listed how many describe your situation? One, Two, None? Then all I can say, is that you didn’t plan out your business very well.   Lasers are electronic, mechanical, and optical devices.  There is a lot going on there.  They break.  Sometimes WE break them.  If you have a laser and you are just a hobbyist making stuff for yourself and your family then you can afford the luxury of waiting a week or two on parts.

If you are in business you can ruin your reputation in a hot minute by not delivering what you’ve promised.

Laser Side Hustle – RESEARCH!

Another thing to consider is if you buy that bleeding edge laser that was just released a week or a month ago………..Are spare parts available for it yet?  Do you really know that it is a reliable machine since it is so new?  I owned a laser once (Ortur LM2) that would build up static electricity as it was moving around and then zap the main board dead with its static discharge.  It never happened to me, however it happened to so many people the company had to offer up an aftermarket grounding kit.

How’d you like that to be your one and only machine for your business?

The current Ortur offerings have issues with protective lens covers cracking. Ortur will NOT sell you a new protective lens cover. They will only replace one under warranty once you prove to them it is broken.

How’d you like that to be your one and only machine for your business?

How’d you like to buy a new lens head every year or so? Factor that into your laser side hustle operating costs.

Spare Parts For Your Laser Side Hustle

I’ve probably said this a dozen times on this Tech Blog…………If you want to be in the laser business and you buy a $700 or a $1000 machine, you either need to invest in spare parts such as a second mainboard, spare lenses, a limit switch or two, or a power supply or power brick.  Or buy TWO machines. I literally cannot count how many times that I’ve seen that phrase I posted above.

“HELP!  My machine stopped working and I have orders that I have to fulfill.  I am frantic, HELP!”

Again, if you are a hobbyist who doesn’t care about making on time deliveries to customers then one laser and no spares might suit your needs just fine.  But if you are in it to win it, then you have got to think this thing through to its logical outcome.


Does your laser manufacture have community support? I only know of one who is attempting some community building. xTool. Any manufacturing company can crank out hardware but sometimes a strong community makes the difference. Case in point. Raspberry Pi single board computers. Pi has a ton of competitors but none of them have gained traction because of the huge community support for Raspberry Pi. They are so popular that you can’t hardly buy one.

Repair Timelines

All of these laser engravers come out of China. Even the companies that seem to be US based buy the lasers from China, import them, tweak them, and resell them. You are going to be faced with the things noted in the bullet list below, whether you like it or not:

  • Manufacturers keep Tech Support Hours based on what time it is in China
  • Parts usually ship from China
  • There could be minor communication issues
  • Email communications can take a day or two based on the time difference
  • Different countries have different holidays than we do in the US

All of those things MUST BE CONSIDERED before you jump into the laser side hustle fray. You really shouldn’t get mad if your machine breaks during Chinese New Year and you aren’t prepared for it if you are running a business.

I’d Have Bought A Competitors Machine

Oh brother. I read this all the time too. “No one answered the phone when I called. My machine is broken. I emailed them and it took a day to get a response. I’D HAVE BOUGHT A COMPETITORS MACHINE HAD I KNOWN THIS!”

My bullet list above applies here. You’re going to face the common challenges in that list with every manufacturer. You have to be prepared. Even if you buy a cheap back up machine to keep you operational during machine failures that could help to keep your reputation intact. I found a pretty great, low cost laser for about $170 and blogged about it here. An additional investment of $170 could be the only thing between you and business failure.


Where are you going to get your materials from and what do you do if they dry up? A year or so ago after the war in Ukraine started Baltic Birch sheets became almost 100% unobtanium. Some laser operators were FRANTIC because their money maker material went “POOF”. Find yourself TWO sources of materials before you go all in.


Going into business usually requires the prospective business owner write a prospectus. That will include items like I discussed in this article and a whole lot more. If your business prospectus is:

  • I’ll buy one laser
  • I have no technical experience
  • I am unable to repair my machine if it breaks

Then I guess I’ll be reading your angry posts in the forums. Be smart before you start your laser side hustle.

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