Is a CNC laser cutting machine right for my needs?

by | 13 Oct '22

What exactly is a CNC laser cutting machine, and is it right for your needs? Let’s dive in and take a closer look…

What is a CNC laser cutting machine?

A computer numerical control (CNC) laser cutter uses a focused, high-powered laser beam to vaporise, mark, cut, or engrave a material to form custom shapes. Its unique design and operation means it can cut highly intricate shapes and small holes accurately.

Launched in the 1970s, CNC laser cutter machines have predominantly been used in industry, however, thanks to their versatility and ease of use, they have also recently become the production tool of choice in schools, and even with hobbyists.

What can a CNC laser cutter do?

CNC laser cutting machines can cut a wide variety of materials, making them flexible and versatile when it comes to their uses. Their superior dimensional accuracy makes them an ideal manufacturing tool for achieving complex or intricate designs to a high standard – plus they are incredibly safe to use because no moving parts are exposed.

They also get the job done quickly as well as precisely, which means increased productivity.

Materials they can cut through include:

  • Paper
  • Wood
  • Cork
  • Cardboard
  • Textiles
  • Leather
  • Acrylic
  • Foam
  • Metals

How can a CNC laser cutting machine be used?

CNC laser cutting machines can be found in a wide variety of industries and organisations. Here are some of the most common:


Schools and colleges use CNC laser cutting machines for various projects, from art and design, and woodwork, to technology lessons to help pupils cut out shapes and models from CAD (computer aided design) drawings. Some colleges may even use a CNC cutter in engineering classes.

The machines are often used by the schools themselves for their own purposes too, for example, to create school branding and to personalise items such as trophies, student plaques and school memorabilia.

At Boxford, we have worked on numerous school-related projects, including for the global Formula 1® educational STEM initiative, F1 in Schools, which is aimed at school children aged between nine and 19. Using our CNC router, we created crucial components and parts for the programme’s miniature racing cars.

Organisations and industrial applications

Many large organisations employ CNC laser cutters because of their various benefits. They are seen as a reliable piece of machinery to have as they provide a technologically advanced solution to cutting needs. As they are computer controlled, processes are automated therefore the job gets done quickly. Furthermore, they are very safe for operators to use as the cutting tool will not start unless the guard is in position. All of our CNC laser cutters have CE marked interlocking guard switches, so that the machines cannot be operated with the doors open. The guard can only be opened once the cutter has stopped.

CNC laser cutting machines are found in a huge number of industries due to the versatility of the machine, such as aerospace, electronics, automotive, medicine, metalworking, woodworking, engineering, printing and packaging.

They are particularly prevalent in sectors that require ‘just-in-time’ manufacturing and can increase the accuracy of production by ensuring clean lines and precise detailing on finished products.

Is a CNC laser cutter right for your needs?

If you work in any of the industries we’ve mentioned, or you run your own small business and need to cut highly intricate shapes and small holes, then a CNC laser cutting machine would be highly advantageous.

Whether you’re looking for versatility, precision and speed in your cutting or engraving, or you’re a schoolteacher who would like to mix up your design technology classes, we can recommend the CNC laser cutter best suited to your needs.

At Boxford, we stock a range of CNC laser cutting machines so, if you need help or support deciding which CNC laser cutting machine is right for you, then get in touch.