Top Ten Ways to Reduce Laser Cutting Costs

Understanding How To Get 90% Off Retail, By Making It Yourself

Have you ever wondered how to reduce your laser cutting costs?

Whether you are making for profit or just for fun, it always helps to know you are getting the most bang for your buck.

Ponoko’s series of Top Ten Ways To Reduce Laser Cutting Costs aims to do just that, by breaking down the key cost contributors of Making, Materials, and Shipping.

It all begins with understanding how laser pricing works. Then you can achieve savings of up to 90% less than retail.

The critical things to understand are:

* Design – EVERY design feature results in more cost. Hence: Start very simple.

* Materials – EVERY inch is highly valuable area. Hence: Use every inch.

* Shipping – EVERY order over $100 is free to ship. Hence: Prototype small, finalize bigger.

* Account – EVERY Prime order cost 32.5% to 55% less to make than Free account orders. Hence: Time your upgrade.

* Volume – EVERY Prime order over $1,000 cost up to 55% less to make than Free account orders. Hence: Time your upgrade.

Your first quote might give you a fright because your design offends the rules of laser cutting design.

This means you need to price test, test, test and test again your “brilliant” and “visionary” product designs. A product is rarely brilliant if it never comes to life because the design failed to appreciate the highs and lows of the laser cutting making process and materials.

Remember that you pay for every minute the laser is cutting, engraving and travelling between cutting and engraving – this means you want a great design that takes as little laser time as possible.

Design Features That Cost A Lot (And How To Reduce That Cost)

These design features cost more because they take more time for the laser to do its thing:

* Cutting longer lines takes longer than cutting shorter lines.

* Cutting lots of short lines takes longer than cutting a less detailed design.

* Cutting two lines on top of one another takes longer than cutting a single line.

* Cutting circles takes longer than cutting straight lines.

* Cutting or engraving designs placed far apart takes longer than cutting or engraving designs placed next to each other.

* Cutting thicker materials takes longer than cutting thinner materials.

* Cutting harder materials takes longer than cutting softer materials.

* Engraving lots of lines takes longer than engraving a few lines.

* Engraving solid fill areas just takes a long time.

* Shipping larger sheets further cost more than shipping smaller sheets closer.

* Larger material sheets cost more in total than smaller sheets.

* Larger material sheets cost less per item on the sheet than smaller sheets.

When these considerations become a part of your workflow it will make a huge difference to how much your laser cutting costs.

Ponoko’s Top 10 Ways To Reduce Laser Cutting Costs

Keep this list handy and follow the advice; ask us questions in the comments below if you get stuck on anything… and we look forward to seeing what you make next!

1. Digital Prototyping

2. Paper Prototypes From Your Home Printer

3. Make A Cardboard Version First

4. Start Small

5. Keep Details Simple

6. Avoid Double Lines

7. Group Parts Together

8. Line vs Area Engraving

9. Material Thickness

10. High Making Costs? Try Ponoko Prime

You can view all 10 tips on a single page here 🙂

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