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Pricing Laser Products

One of the things that I realized right off after purchasing a laser was what to charge for items? The material these items are created from will often be of little cost to the maker, perhaps a few square inches of perhaps 1/8" Birch Plywood - a 12" x 24" sheet of 1/8" Birch Plywood from costs $3.50 (not counting shipping). That is 288 or ~$0.12 The cost then is with production time on the laser and labor cost.

So ... how are these costs calculated?

Laser cost -

"Laser cost" is typically calculated at $1 per minute of laser use in the laser processing industry. Therefore, it is easy to determine costs based on various graphics and processing time. If we engraving a ballpoint pen takes 15 seconds, the laser costs will equal to 25 cents per unit..

Labor cost -

"Labor cost" at $40/hour so labor is $0.11

Material cost -

"Material cost" In the example for a pen, the cost of the pen is $1.50.

Total cost -

"Total cost" would then be $0.25 (laser cost) + $0.11 (labor cost) + $1.50 + $1.50 (material cost) = $1.86

Retail price -

If were to retail the custom engraved pen for $15 this would give us a profit of $13.14 per pen. That's about an 800% markup (rounded up). Sweet


I cut a 30 tooth gear from 1/8" Birch plywood. At 1" in diameter it represents a 4' dia gear in O scale. With two fills (engraving) at 90° to each other the time to make the gear is 1:47 minutes or $1.47 laser cost, $0.98 labor cost, material cost $0.12 for a total cost of $2.57 .. which would be about the maximum I would think to charge.

We can eliminate the labor cost (I pay me nothing) which would lower the total cost to $1.60 .. from which we might have a $2.00 retail cost. I might be able to reduce the fill to one pass which would reduce the laser time to 1:02 minutes meaning the total cost would be to $1.14 .. except this would only engrave one side. Engraving the other side to make a really cool gear would then be back to the $1.60 total cost.

Balancing things

We have to keep in mind that in the example of the gear .. what would be a realistic price for the gear .. being cool and all .. I suspect that $2.00 might be about right for one engraved on both sides and $1.50 for just one side engraved. Cool only goes so far after all.

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