If you are reading this post, you probably already own a laser, or are thinking about buying one. I have owned laser engraver / cutter machines for just about 3 years now. I have had my OmTech MF2028 60w machine for about a 2 years come December 2023. I am also an affiliate / demo room host for OmTech lasers. If you would like to learn more about OmTech lasers, you can book a demo appointment in person or virtually here:
You can also get 5% off your purchase on omtechlaser.com by using my code:
After you've purchased your laser, you may be wondering what types of accessories you should buy to go with your laser. Here is my list of must-have / nice to have items to add to your next shopping trip. This is not an exhaustive list, and doesn't include materials to cut or engrave.
1. Upgraded exhaust fan - inline fan. I immediately upgraded my inline fan on my machine to an A/C Infinity fan. Make sure you take out the stock fan so it doesn't impede the new fans suction. We used duct work from our local Menards and a 6 inch exhaust flapper out of the side of our garage. You can see the black ducting in the photo above.
2. Chiller - I purchased the CW5202 chiller from OmTech to go with my laser. I didn't buy it right away as it was winter and I was actually using the stock water pump and an aquarium heater as my laser arrived in the middle of December in Iowa. I did buy it as soon as the weather warmed up. It comes in handy for the days I am running the laser all day and on hot summer days in our garage as well!
3. Upgraded air assist. I purchased a kit from Laser Artifex with all of the components to upgrade the stock air assist. I did this after about a year of owning my machine and the air pump it came with was getting clogged with dust. I also purchased an 8 gallon California Air Tools air compressor. You can find the kit to upgrade your air assist here: https://www.laserartifex.com/laser-components-accessories/laser-air-assist
4. Cleaning Supplies - I have a jug of LA Awesome degreaser for cleaning off the honeycomb (use a power washer to rinse). I also keep a bottle of 99% isopropyl alcohol and wrapped cotton swabs for cleaning my mirrors and lens. I also have a tube of grease for the rails of my machine. This is all things you will need for machine maintenance and are pretty much essential items to have on hand to keep your machine performing.
5. Sanding tools - I have bought several sanders over the last couple of years. This will really get down to personal preference, budget and what you are going to be making. I have a Black and Decker detail sander - with the triangular shaped sand paper, a Milwaukee cordless 5 inch random orbital sander (which is great for quick sanding of bigger items, but the battery can make it heavy for doing lots of sanding and difficult to sand small items like ornaments). I also have a Makita 5 inch corded orbital sander which is my go to sander at the moment. In hindsight I wish I had bought the variable speed version. I have also bought, but haven't received yet, a mini air sander to use with my air compressor that has 2 and 3 inch sanding pads. I will update my post when I've had a chance to use it.
6. Shop-Vac and Air Duster- I absolutely hate picking up all the little pieces left on my honeycomb tray, so using a shop vac is great for sucking up all the bits. I also have a dust collector attached to a 5 gallon bucket to collect all the dust without clogging up the vacuums filter. I also have a little mini vacuum / air duster to blow dust out of my engravings and for sucking up small bits out of the machine.
7. Gloves - I have bought a case of black nitrile gloves for working on pieces in my shop. It keeps the glue, paint and soot off my hands which is nice because constantly washing my hands was horrid on my skin.
8. Glue - I have regular wood glue I use - like Titebond, but I really like DAP Rapidfuse Wood Adhesive as it's quick curing and super strong bond. I also use 3M 467MP adhesive rolls on really delicate pieces or highly detailed maps. It's pricy but worth it for a really professional finish. I hate having glue ooze out from the sides of a project.
9. Paint / Stain / Varnish - Depending on what you are making you will need some supplies to finish your pieces. After sanding off the char on wood pieces you will want some kinds of stain, sealer or paint. My favorites - Unicorn Spit gel stains, Montana Gold acrylic spray paints and Montana Varnish spray. A spray tent or even a large box turned on it's side is helpful to contain overspray when you can't spray outdoors. Don't mind the photo of me NOT using my respirator, I was pretending to paint for the picture. I have the 3M respirator I like in my amazon list at the bottom of this post. If you are going to use spray paint, make sure you use it as directed, and with proper ventilation / PPE.
10. Painting Accessories - Cafeteria Trays and cones - for painting. I bought a bunch of cafeteria trays and put parchment paper on them. Then I lay out all the pieces I have cut out on a tray and spray the entire tray whatever color I need. I can then stack them criss-cross on top of each other to dry over night. It's the most time saving / space saving trick I have come up with to make painting wood pieces easier. Another handy item I've bought is painting cones to keep pieces up off the tray when I need to finish the back side as well.
Bonus: Extra parts
I keep extra mirrors and lenses on hand in case I ever need to swap them out. This will vary for your machine, so check out the manufacturer for the specs on spare parts and how to make repairs on your machine.
You can find some of the items I've talked about on my Amazon list here. I don't have an affiliate account set up, these are just some of the items I have bought and are helpful in getting started with laser engraving / cutting wood.