California-based open-source electronics company IORodeo has embarked on a project we're going to be following with great interest: the building of a small-industrial-scale 80W laser cutter. Having grown their business to the point where they're in danger of monopolising the laser cutter at their current cooperative manufacturing space, the team plans to build a 900mm-square laser cutter from kit parts. IORodeo's Jo Long estimates the build will cost around $4,500, or just shy of £2,800 at current exchange rates - significantly less than an off-the-shelf equivalent. The project is in its infancy, but is already extremely well documented with full parts lists and supporting photography.
In addition to the cost benefit from making a DIY laser cutter, a custom-made instrument also allows for greater control and flexibilty.