Frequently Asked Questions
What software do I need to get started?
All the software you need to run the laser system is included with your laser purchase. Kern's KCAM laser software controls the laser power, speed, frequency and many other features of the laser system. Popular design software such as CorelDRAW, AutoCAD and Adobe Photoshop can be used by printing your artwork over to the laser using the Kern Printer Driver. Free software upgrades are available for the life of your laser system. Free system training is available here at the Kern factory with your purchase.
Is it safe to operate a laser?
Yes, laser safety glasses are to be worn when working on and around the laser system. Two pairs are included in your Kern Laser Safety Kit. Emergency stop switches, placed on up to four corners of the laser system, allow you to stop the laser system easily. A safety interlock placed on the gantry lid and a red blinking light that activates when the laser is in operation have also been implemented into each laser system. The red light will alert people working around the laser system that laser safety glasses should be worn. Please review our Laser Safety page for additional information.
What types of lasers does Kern offer?
We sell class IV laser systems. This means our systems have an open gantry design for easy removal of parts on the laser bed. Our systems also have a pass through design which allows materials to extend out the front and back of the laser system. All Kern Laser Systems are equipped with sealed CO2 laser tubes. Available lasers range from 30 watts up to 400 watts.
What materials can I cut and engrave?
There are many materials that are suitable for laser cutting and engraving. The three main categories are woods, plastics and metals. If you would like to have us process your specific material please feel free to send over a sample and we will cut or engrave it for you. Additionally, review our Laserable Materials page for a list of materials we have cut or engraved with our laser systems.
What is the difference between raster engraving and vector cutting?
There are two different modes that a laser can perform in: raster engraving and vector cutting.
Raster engraving is when the laser head moves back and forth like a printer and engraves away material to create an image or graphic. Kern Laser Systems use grayscale coloring to determine how much power the laser uses for any given pixel. For example, imagine a box that is divided into three sections of white, gray and black. The white portion of the box will not engrave at all, the gray portion will engrave at half depth or half power and the black portion will engrave at full power and give you the deepest engraving.
Vector cutting is performed by the laser head following an outline and piercing through the material so that it is removed from the original piece. Generally more power and slower speeds are used for vector cutting.
Kern's KCAM laser software allows you to run combined raster and vector files to save you time. There is also a checkbox for disabling the modes if you don't want the file to perform both the raster and vector portions of a file.
Why should I choose a Kern laser over another manufacturer?
Kern laser systems are not your usual laser in a box assembly. Our systems are made with the best quality parts that we can find and are manufactured here in the United States. Our laser systems are Class IV, which means they are open faced, making it easier to load and unload your materials. This also gives us the ability to place oversized items that can extend through the front and out the back of the table.
Unlike most laser cutting systems Kern's can cut stainless and mild steel. Our automatic height follower tracks the profile of the metal and keeps your laser nozzle in focus, giving you consistent edge quality throughout the entire cutting process.
Our customer service is exceptional. When you call in with a technical question it is answered by a friendly member of our staff that will put you right on the phone with a technician. Remember, our sales staff also doubles as our technical support team so from day one you are working with someone that is knowledgeable at working on lasers systems on a regular basis.
If you are not convinced yet we invite you to come visit our laser factory and spend the day with us processing your materials. We promise you that you will leave very impressed with our staff, operation and product.
Is financing available?
Yes, Kern Lasers has partnered with Geneva Capital to bring you great new options on our laser cutting and laser engraving systems. Geneva Capital makes it easy to get the equipment you need, while experiencing the benefits and tax savings of leasing. Geneva specializes in creative leasing structures designed to fit your business needs. That means you will have payments and terms that fit your budget and business cycle. For more information please review our Leasing page.
What types of technical support do you offer?
Free technical support is provided with your laser system purchase. Contact us by email or phone during business hours and we will resolve any issues promptly and professionally. Additionally, Kern's sales team doubles as our technical staff so from day one you are working with someone that is knowledgeable and experienced with running laser systems on a daily basis.
Do you sell used laser systems?
From time to time we have demo and used systems in stock. Make sure to ask your sales representative about the availability of these pieces of machinery.
How much does it cost to operate a laser system?
A typical 150 watt HSE system that is engraving at full speed will consume around 8,800 watts or 8.8kW/hr. If your electric company charges $0.075kW/hr, the machine will cost about $0.66 per hour.
A typical 400 watt HSE system that is engraving at full speed will consume around 12,100 watts or 12.1kW/hr. If your electric company charges $0.075kW/hr, the machine will cost about $0.91 per hour.