Laser Engraving Business Ideas:

Top 25 Projects That Sell!

If you’re looking to start a laser engraving business you’ll need some ideas for laser projects that actually sell! On top of that, you’ll also need a reliable laser designed for the type of products you’re selling. In this article we will cover these topics as well as some ways to start market researching and planning your laser business.

Running a Laser Engraving Business

Here is some info we’ve gathered from the Unofficial Thunder Laser Owners Facebook Group:

When we asked what laser business owners wish they’d known before starting a laser business, here’s how they replied: (from a June 11 2023 thread)

fb group post "what do you wish you'dknown more about when you started your laser business?
Facebook comment: "the whole BUSINESS part of it!"
facebook comment "market research if half the battle"
Facebook comment "Wish I'd gotten a bigger machine from the start"
facebook comment " I wish I'd known what my niche would be. I was spinning my wheels for a long time"
facebook comment " just because you can make it doesnt mean you should"
facebook comment "I wish I would not have started with a glowforge and went straight to a thunder"

Key Skills To Develop: Graphic Design

When we asked our community, we learned most laser business owners design their own files, whereas a small percentage download or purchase design files online. This verifies the importance of graphic design skills as part of starting a laser engraving business.


Graphic design is more than just making nice images or layouts. To make aesthetically pleasing work, you need to understand the elements of design: line, shape, form, space, texture, tone/value and color.


Your graphic design skills can be honed with drawing, but also in design software (such as LightBurn/ RDWorks) to create .svg vector files. Vectors are the types of files a laser cutter uses to speak to the laser.


If you are still learning LighBurn, you can get away with designing your files in Adobe Illustrator or other design software, and then importing them into Lightburn afterwards to set the line and fill settings. You can download a trial version of LightBurn for 30 days free of charge.


Read our article on transferring files from other software programs>>




facebook poll most people indicated they design their own files 80% or more of the time

Planning to Grow? Setup a CRM

The most important thing you can do before you get too far into the weeds of running your laser business is setup a basic CRM (Customer Relationship Management system) to manage your leads and contacts, newsletters, invoices and emails. 


A CRM is absolutely essential for anyone looking to start a business with the aim to grow and expand. A CRM becomes necessary anytime you have more than just yourself working at your business taking orders or any time a business starts to get a larger volume of sales. It simply gets too hard to track contacts, sales and details without a proper system.


How Does a CRM Work?

A CRM helps quantify what’s working, and what’s not in your sales processes, helps you track your inventory and invoices, and can integrate with your website, social media, accounting software and more. The process of starting as a lead and turning into a contact is done by progressing through steps of what’s sometimes called a ‘pipeline’ or ‘sales funnel’. Contact details of both customers and potential customers are added to the CRM and are group into 2 categories, ‘Leads’ (anyone your company has had any sort of interaction with, but they haven’t taken any defined actions towards buying or retaining a service. The other category is ‘Contacts’ those who have taken a defined action towards a sale or have already purchased a product or service.

Is Setting up a CRM Worth it?

We have to admit, it’s a bit of a beast to setup a CRM for the first time, but if you don’t set this up first, and you start to hire more staff and start to get busy with more sales than you can handle, you will find yourself trying to backtrack to clean up messy data. This is a VERY involved process, that often only the the owner operator can do if they were the one managing the sales in the beginning stages of the business. Organizing the data takes time away from making order and managing your employees. It is nearly impossible to do after the fact, especially if this is your first time doing this sort of database setup work. You’ll end up having to hire an expert for $50-250 an hour to organize all your data, so you can actually get useful sales and contact info as well as stats and sales information that can help you understand how to make changes to increase efficiency and sales.


Examples of Affordable CRM’s:

Not Ready for a CRM? Setup Email Marketing

Email marketing software will not only help you boost your sales, but it also helps you track the actions of your customers and keep your business on the top of their minds. An email marketing program is not as advanced as a CRM, but can be used as a way to automate processes, capture information on your customers actions and interests.


The main reason to setup email marketing is cuz it’s easier and cheaper to sell to people you’ve already sold to than to find completely new customers. If you are just starting a business, you might not be ready for a CRM, but you can start off managing your contacts by integrating an email marketing software with your accounting/invoicing software and your website. By integrating these items, you can automate emails or a series of emails (called ‘drip campaigns’) based on actions your customers or potential customers have taken and segment your emails by the types of customers and their interests.


Examples of affordable email marketing software:

Choosing Your Laser Cutter Machine

Factors to consider before purchasing a laser:

  • How big are your products? One benefit to having a larger bed size is that you can cut signs and bigger projects as well as cut multiples of smaller projects on the same machine.

  • Physical space restrictions. While our machines can fit through standard doorways, it is important to measure the doorway of your workspace and hallways leading there to avoid disappointments. (Some people don’t realize their door isn’t a standard size until they receive their machine!)

  • The precision and size of the laser beam. If you are engraving photos frequently or cutting jigsaw puzzles for example, and a higher level of detail and a smaller laser dot size is essential.

Thunder Bolt (the Bolt)

C02 RF Tube Laser

Compact desktop model 20×12” bed



    • Highly accurate, small dot size
    • Affordable 
    • High quality tube ($2000) for the price (Glowforge Pro is similar price but has a lower quality tube worth $250)
    • RF tube has a long lifespan and won’t likely need to be replaced during the life of the machine.
    • No chiller or custom electrical work required.


    • Smaller bed size

Nova Series

C02 Glass Tube Lasers

Selection of Bed sizes from 24-63”



    • Very versatile machines, can handle a wide range of projects in various sizes. 
    • Affordable 
    • Upgrades available for tube wattage, lenses and laser heads for fine detailed work.


    • Chiller needs to be maintained.
    • May require custom electrical work to install 
    • Tube needs to be replaced between 5000 and 10,000 hours use.

Odin Series

C02 RF Tube Lasers

Choose from a 22” or 32” bed size



    • Highly accurate, small dot size
    • RF tube has a long lifespan and won’t likely need to be replaced during the life of the machine.
    • No chiller or custom electrical work required.



    • More costly upfront.

Aurora Marking Machine

Fibre Laser

Can mark on a wide variety of metals



    • Available in several models
    • MOPA upgrade allows you to engrave in color
    • Can engrave on metal and all materials that Nova and Odin can engrave. 


    • Very small bed size.

Why Customers Choose Thunder Laser

  • Our customer service stands out above other laser companies-you’ll talk to real person when you reach out to us who is a certified ‘laser nerd’


  • Affordable -Our machines are reliable and durable with a quality that’s found in more expensive industrial machines.


  • Easy to replace parts- Thunder Laser machines are deliberately designed to use off-the-shelf components. This means you don’t have to buy parts from us.. although we’d love it if you did! We sell most parts and can get it to you quickly and can provide instructions for installing them as well.


  • Shipped from within Canada-our machines are shipped from our warehouse in Vancouver or our head office in Calgary. No waiting for customs or extra fees!


  • High Quality- our manufacturer tests our tube for 48 hours before they ship. We’ve been to the factory and can testify these machines are legit and built to last.


  • No Setup- Ready to Go with very minimal setup straight out of the box.


  • Our Online Community is awesome– 67% of online community members found the help they were looking for 90-100% of the time,15% of members found the help they needed 80-90% of the time and 8% found what they were looking for by searching the existing posts in the Thunder Laser Owner Facebook group.


  • We’re makers too- our headquarters are based out of Calgary’s Fuse 33 Makerspace and have an additional demo center at the Toronto Tool Library. Check out our full list of Demo centers here.


Laser Engraving Business Ideas and Resources:

See our extensive laser business resource blog:

Start a Laser Cutting Business: Canadian Resources

Join our community: the Unofficial Thunder Laser Users Facebook Group.

Interested in Starting a Laser Business?

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