Laser engravers for tumblers are very hard to find. Engraving on a flat surface is comparably easier than working in round-shaped stainless steel material. It is true that a rotary can assist in stabilizing the tumbler while engraving but, the laser quality, precision, and other technical factors make the job challenging.
In this article, we will focus on technical and qualitative aspects of tumbler laser engraving and will suggest the top 5 laser engravers suitable for stainless steel Yeti Mugs & other tumblers.
It’s a long article, but you can jump onto the review of Best Tumbler Engraver>>>
Challenges in tumbler laser engraving
- Challenges in tumbler laser engraving
- Steps of Tumbler Engraving
- These are the best budget laser engravers for tumbler
- Xtool D1 Pro
- LaserPecker 2 – The best budget option
- OMTech 50W Laser Engraver
- Atomstack X20 Pro
- Xtool M1 with Rotary
- Laser Cutting Safety
- Laser Engraver Buying Guide
- What are the common problems of laser engravers?
- What are the differences between a laser cutter & a plasma cutter?
- How many types of laser cutting do we have?
- Wrapping Up
Laser engraving in wood, steel, and acrylic is easy with any C02 engravers but, engraving a tumbler would require a rotary attachment to keep the cup properly aligned. Furthermore, A tumbler or a Yeti mug is made of stainless steel which reflects the laser beam and disrupts the engraving works.
If your tumbler has a coat outside then it is ready to put into the engravers but, if it is plain stainless steel then you need to paint or coat the cup with tempera paint or laser marking spray before engraving.
You can always remove the temporary paint after the job is done.
Steps of Tumbler Engraving
These are steps you need to follow while engraving a stainless steel tumbler. We will make it short but easier to understand.
Step 1 – Clean it
The first thing you need to do is to clean the tumbler properly so that there is no dust or other particles. Check if the tumbler has any plastic or other coated paint. Otherwise, you need to color to spray it with temporary laser-protecting paint. However, you can remove that after the engraving is done.
Step 2 – Measure
Measuring the tumbler perfectly is critically important as the engraving cannot be restored if you measure it incorrectly. Make sure to count all the corners and sides and instruct the cutter accordingly.
Step 3 – Adjust Settings
Then you need to adjust the engraver’s settings as per the design that you have made. The laser power and the speed is always variable depending on the thickness and the complexities of the design. However, you can prefer to choose the default settings always.
Step 4 – Place On Rotary
Place the tumbler on the rotary roller and adjust the height of the laser engraver accordingly. You should also adjust the focus lever so that the precision stays at maximum level. then click start.
Step 5 – Wait & Post Process
After the laser engraving is completed, you should wait a while and take the tumbler back. If there is temporary paint, you can now remove that. Bingo!
These are the best budget laser engravers for tumbler
We have primarily selected 17 different types of laser engravers and performed a multi-layer assessment for 37 hours. Our technical evaluation team has scored each and every engraver independently regardless of what others say.
We focused on the engraving quality, efficiency of the rotary, types of laser, power of the laser, sturdiness of the machine, ability to work on different materials, engraving speed, upgradeability, brand value, and a lot more other qualitative issues.
We have experienced that Xtool D1 pro is a suitable option for budget-friendly users who prefer both economy and the accuracy of the works. We liked the compatibility of LaserPecker 2 and its faster speed along with great precision. OMTech is our top choice due to its engraving quality and build quality.
These are the best laser engravers for the tumblers or, Yeti Mugs
- Xtool D1 Pro – 20W (Best Overall)
- LaserPecker 2 – 60W (It’s Compact but, Diode)
- OMTech 50W (Expensive but awesome)
- Attomstack X20 Pro (A good alternative to Xtool D1)
- Xtool M1 10W (Suitable for multi-use)
Xtool D1 Pro is a professional laser engraver with the ability to work with tough materials. Regardless of the engraving speed and other qualitative issues, we found the superior tumbler engraving quality and this is why the engraver is the top choice. Besides, Laserpecker is comparable to a smaller engraver but excellent ability to engraver tumblers. The laser picker is compact, and budget-friendly but not as premium as the Glowforge.
OMTech is comparably a large engraving machine that works on all types of material. The engraving quality was amazing except for the manual lifting feature. Atomstack can be considered the most suitable alternative to the Xtool which will surely blow your mind.
For the multi-users, Xtool M1 is what we recommend for its extra safety features along with batch processing ability. It even works great on stone and jewellery besides stainless steel.
Xtool D1 Pro
Xtool D1 Pro is the upgraded version of D1 with almost 100% higher laser power (20W). It comes with a rotary attachment with an engraving speed of up to 24000mm per minute. It can work both as a laser cutter and a laser engraver with proven efficiency to work on different material types such as wood, steel, denim, board, and others. The Xtool D1 pro needs to be assembled which takes roughly 35 minutes for an experienced person.
What Makes Xtool D1 Pro Special Among the other laser engravers?
These are the key highlighting point that helped Xtool D1 Pro to stand out.
- Printing speed is roughly 24000mm per minute which is 200% higher than Glowforge
- 20W laser at the price below $1500 took the crafters’ attention
- Xtool User community is very rich than Omtech which helps any customer to sort out any issues without official tech support
- The collection of colors, templates, and fonts is 115% higher than Fluxx engravers
- Return on Investment (ROI) is shorter, usually less than a year
- Easier focus and flame detection also make it special
Laser Engraving Works done by Xtool D1 Pro
One thing you should keep in mind is that this is a DIY laser cutter which means that you need to assemble this after it arrives. The assembly instructions are straightforward and easier to follow. We took only 30 minutes to set the engraver completely but for the other customers without prior experience, it may take another 15 minutes extra. Surely the DIY is cheaper but a bit more complex than the others that come already assembled.
Here are a few glimpses from unboxing to laser engraving:
We have found this laser engraver so wonderfully worked with the tumblers. Here’s a picture of what we experienced:
Here are some other cutting and engraving works from Xtool D1 pro at our experience lab:
Positive Sides of Xtool D1 Pro
- It’s cheaper than the others
- Xtool’s operating software is easy to operate
- 0.01 mm motion precision ensures better engraving accuracy
- Rotary attachment makes tumbler engraving easier
- The system automatically detects flame which is safeguard
- Focusing is much easier than in the earlier versions
- Higher speed ensures faster ROI and better customer support
- Wifi connectivity adds more value
- The diversity of colors, elements, and fonts gives you greater working scope
- You have the freedom to raise the engraver by additional 16 inches which allows for working with bigger material
- Also efficient in working with Pinewood
- Includes limit switches that ensure better safety and working flexibility (Limit switches were not available in their earlier version D1)
- Becomes less smoky
- Can cut three-quarter inch or 19 mm thickness of wood
- Supports offline operation with SD card
Negative Sides of Xtool D1 Pro
- It’s a DIY machine that requires prior experience
- Does not come with an Enclosure
- Engraving without an enclosure can make the work area dirty
- New software Creative space is a bit cranky and you might need to buy Lightburn for better programability
- Rotary roller attachment can be challenging for new users
How D1 Pro Differs from Earlier version (D1)
- D1 Pro includes limit switches that were not available in D1
- The flame detector was not available in D1 but in D1 pro
- Engraving Speed is 200% faster than the D1
- D1 Pro’s laser head includes an easy thickness controller which was not available in regular D1
- D1 Pro is less smoky than the D1
- D1 pro works in Creative Space software but the D1 is operated in Laser Box
Here’s a video on Tumbler Laser Engraving with D1 Pro & D1
LaserPecker 2 – The best budget option
LaserPecker 2 is another amazing budget friendly laser engraver suitable for tumblers. It has a rotary module with the ability to work in wood, alloy, and leather. with a precision rate of 0.05 mm, this engraver can work at a speed of 36000 mm per minute.
What’s Different in LaserPecker 2
These are the key differentiating factor that made LaserPecker 2 to be of our top 5 laser engravers for tumblers.
- It offers a 60W laser at an even lower price than the Xtool D1 Pro. Also, a 60W laser makes the engravings more lively
- The printing speed is higher than the other similar engraver at the same price range. It engraves up to 36ooo mm per minute
- Laserpecker also features a dual-galvanometer to make the engraving process faster. A dual galvanometer allows the beam to work continuously without any pause
- Easily convertible to Slab Mode & Trolly Mode that helps in extending the engraving length
- No installation is needed. Suitable for owners who love plug and play
- Lastly, it delivers a resolution of up to 2K in laser engraving
These are some works on LaserPecker 2
Other Positive Sides of LaserPecker 2
- It’s small and comes within budget for the occasional users
- A plastic hood protects laser beams and other dangers that serve as an enclosure
- LaserPecker’s software is easy to use
- LaserPecker 2 is so compact and works with a variety of materials such as bamboo, glass, allow, leather, wood, and plastic.
- Also works on a battery that can run the machine up to 200 minutes but, you need to pay extra for the battery
- Can handle difficult shapes with its auxiliary extender
- Supports Bluetooth connectivity
- It’s a diode laser so the efficiency level would not be equal to the CO2 lasers. Learn more about diode laser here.
- Not sturdy as the Xtool D1 Pro
- Not suitable for professional users/business owners who handle plenty of delivery
- The work area is smaller than Xtool D1 Pro which limits the engraving of larger materials
- No flame detector or any air filter attached
- No camera attached for edge detection
- The work area is not suitable for large tumblers, but it works great with smaller alloy mugs.
What does Laser Enthusiast say about LaserPecker 2?
We have conducted a survey to understand how the users feel after using LaserPecker 2! The survey outcome was so positive except for a few negative issues that we already identified in the earlier section.
One of the users from Brownsville (USA) has mentioned that this laser engraver works really well in tumblers and other mugs. But, the software lags sometimes. We have enquired about the issue to LaserPecker and they affirmed with the latest update that the issue has been solved already.
How LaserPecker 2 differs from other LaserPecker laser engravers
LaserPecker 2 is an upgrade to LaserPecker 1. The Laserpecker 1 was so simple with no protective plastic outside. The earlier version had a precession of 0.15 mm which is lower than what the LaserPecker 2 offers.
Moreover, there are two premium add-ons to LaserPecker 2 which add more value but at a higher cost. For instance:
- At a higher price, you can add a magnet protective shield to Version 2.
- The manufacturer also offers a storage box as an add-on optional item at a premium price.
So far, LaserPecker’s laser engraving portfolio is not as big as others but its recent performance makes us hopeful about LaserPecker’s future growth.
OMTech 50W Laser Engraver
OMTech is a 50W CO2 laser engraver with a rotary axis. It’s a long, compact, and sturdy laser cutting machine with the flexibility to engrave any Yeti mugs, cylinder-shaped allow materials. This laser machine is suitable for continuous usage and small engraving businesses.
What’s amazing in OMTech?
These are the factors that make OMTech most superior among the others
- Arrives pre-built, No assembly required
- Noise level is low
- The engraving table is more stable than the others
- Precision accuracy is 0.01 mm which is great and even better than the Xtool
- There would be a manual lift to adjust machine height while working with taller elements
- The powerful exhaust passes the air away
- Air filter is attached but the cartridges are quite expensive
- Working material pass through both ways, this is amazing, especially for longer boards
- Warranty is often provided for 2 years (check before you purchase)
- Comes with LIGHTBURN which is a great software for laser engraving and works with large amounts of styling, fonts, and colors.
- 12 x 20 inches of the large working bed allows ultimate freedom of working with anything
- Rotary axis included for engraving cylinder-shaped materials
- The cutting speed is 600 mm per second which means that you can cut 23 inches of nonmetallic materials in a second
- Engraving quality is superior (see the picture below)
- It won’t work with k40 whisperer and Inkscape
- Bed lifting is manual but it’s not a big issue
- CO2 engraving isn’t good for metal engraving, in that case, you need to look for a fiber laser which is a bit expensive
- You may need to buy a more powerful smoke extractor for better performance
- Does not come with 4 wheel rotary axis but with a barrel roll rotary
Differences with other OMTech Laser Engravers
OMTech is a professional laser cutter manufacturer. Their product lineup includes plenty of different laser engravers. Here’s how this 50W engraver differs from other OMTech products:
- There are also 60W, 80W, and 100W CO2 laser engravers. The work area gets bigger with the incremental power of the machine. For example, the 100W machine would offer you 20×28 inches of work bed which is almost doubled that of this one.
- The 80W laser engravers have auto lifts which help you in leveling the machine for height adjustment automatically.
- Not all machine includes Lightburn software, better check carefully before making a purchase
Atomstack X20 Pro
Atomstack X20 pro is another amazing laser engraver with the ability to work on metal Yeti mugs. It produces a 20W laser with its 130W semiconductor laser technology. It supports roughly 40 types of material and can engrave o.o5 mm thick stainless steel board.
- 20W laser module gives the opportunity for different laser engraving practices
- The air assist kit allows better cooling and faster work
- Solid build quality
- Works great in Lightburn
- Also support mobile apps for further assistance
- Limit switches help to work more smoothly
- The focus bracket is very good for setting laser focus for better accuracy
- Works both as engraver laser cutter
- a better alternative to Xtool D1
- Not enclosed
- Fewer safety options
- It’s a diode laser which is less efficient than CO2
- Image resolution was not as good as the MTech
- You need to order rotary attachment separately
The difference with Other Attomstack Engravers
Only X20 Pro comes with Air Assist technology. Also, X20 pro is offering higher laser power. The X7 pro had a laser dot of 0.06x.06 mm which was significantly lighter than the X20 Pro’s laser dot of 0.08×0.1 mm.
Xtool M1 with Rotary
M1 is a diode laser and a combination of both laser cutter and cutting plotter which means you can not only engrave a tumbler but also engrave jewelry and cut vinyl papers. It is designed with a good sense of security & efficiency of laser engraving.
Positive sides of Xtool M1
- A combination of both laser cutter & cutting plotter
- Very effecient in cutting edges
- Comes with a rotary attachment which is essential for engraving a tumbler
- Allows badge processing but, you cannot open the lid unless the full batch is done with laser engraving
- Detects flame and error
- Comes with a camera attached
- Engrave thickness is up to 8 mm
- Operates in Creative Space software which is very easy to operate
- Can capture image directly from any hand drawing and engrave accordingly
- It is not a CO2 laser which means the speed will be lower than OMTech
- the work area is smaller than OMTech
- There’s in only a single cutting blade which limits your cutting flexibility
How does Xtool M1 differ from Xtool D1 Pro?
- Xtool D1 pro is a CO2 laser but the M1 is a diode
- M1 is slower than the D1 pro
- D1 does not have any cutting flexibility but the M1 has
- M1 is fully enclosed but the D1 pro comes without an enclosure
- There’s no camera in D1 pro
- D1 pro does not offer batch processing but the M1 does
Read also the Comparison of Xtool, Snapmaker & Glowforge here.
Laser Cutting Safety
Working with a laser can be extremely dangerous. Follow these best practices determined by the University of Washington.
- Never leave the laser cutter un-attended
- Never place any flammable objects near the laser cutters
- Have fire extinguishers nearby
- Never modify or disable any safety system of the laser cutter
- Try to operate with an enclosure. If your laser cutter does not have an enclosure then buy one for it
- Always wear a safety glasses while operating
- Never look directly into the laser beam
- Never remove the material unless it is cooled
- Always use approved materials and buy them from an authorized store
- Keep the exhaust system working while working with a laser cutter
- Use HEPA air filter to reduce any risk of VOCs
Laser Engraver Buying Guide
Below is a list of vital points you should notice before buying a laser engraver. We made the list based on the experience & experts’ knowledge. Some features may not be relevant to your need but most features are vital.
Power Source & Consumption
Laser engravers do require power either from direct electricity or from batteries. Usually, batteries can support small diode laser engravers but the CO2 and Fiber lasers require a good amount of electricity to operate.
From our experience, we can say that a large laser engraver normally consumes approximately 50 kWh per month.
Type of Laser
Normally, there are three types of laser engravers specialized for different works. Fiber lasers are heavier and can cut heavy metal and obviously, those are the most expensive.
The CO2 lasers are heavily efficient for laser engraving in any material except stainless steel due to the reason that the stainless steel refelts the laser beam in the opposite direction. This is why a temporary paint coating is used to engrave stainless steel tumblers while working with a CO2 laser.
The diode lasers are the smallest laser engravers and most small users take the help of these for engraving on vinyl, ply, and wood.
You should not just buy a laser engraver blindly without assessing its need of it. Due to the variety and working type, different materials may require different types of a laser engravers.
To be on the safe side, you can go for a CO2 laser engraver like Glowforge and have the freedom to engrave just anything except heavy metal.
We always suggest you check the material compatibility for each option you have.
Another important thing you should notice is the ability of a laser engraver to recognize the material. For instance, If you use a Glowforge laser engraver and buy glowforge material to engrave on, the engraver quickly recognizes the type of material by scanning its Barcode and adjusting the settings automatically. Such features reduce the risk of material wastage and enhance the engraving quality to an additional level.
However, an engraver cannot recognize the material without any Barcode and that makes you dependent on materials from a particular company which might cost you higher.
So, what should you do?
If you are a professional and able to modify the settings of the engraver from your experience then the materials from anywhere would serve the purpose. Otherwise, you have to go with a brand that offers a lot more variety of material with recognition features.
Air Assist Kit
An air assist kit helps in clearing the debris, smoke and other heat white laser engraving is in progress. Normally, good CO2 laser engravers come with an air assist kit but the budget-friendly engravers do not accompany any.
The air assist kit is very helpful for clean engraving work and you buy one if this is not with the engraver by default.
A rotary kit helps to make the round or oval-shaped material steady. Without a rotary kit, you cannot engrave over a tumbler or other round-shaped material. If you intend to engrave over different kinds of material for business purposes, a rotary kit is a must.
You should always look for the upgradability options of a laser engraver. For instance, if you own an Xtool M1 and think about upgrading with a Rotary Kit, then this is not possible at all. Because the Xtool M1 is a closed-loop engraver mainly suitable for small material and batch processing.
However, Engravers like Xtool D1 & Snapmaker are always free to work with a rotary kit.
If you need both laser cutting & laser engraving then you need two machines. One as a cutting plotter and the other for engraving. However, there is an engraver that offers a combination of both a CNC cutter and a laser engraver. We have already written about the Snapmaker in our earlier publications but here’s why you should not buy a convertible engraver.
- This is time-consuming.
- Reduce the machine life for numerous kit-changing numbers.
- Not sure if it works as the professional CNC cutter does.
Not all laser engravers come pre-assembled. For some, you need to go for a small assembly process which might be challenging for new users. Follow these steps if you are going to assemble a laser engraver:
- Read the manual carefully
- Do not force any module rather try for the best fit
- Always wear hand gloves
- Do not connect to the power before it is fully assembled
- Avoid having kids or Pet nearby while you are setting up a new laser engraver
Batch Processing Ability
Laser Engravers like Xtool M1 can allow you batch processing which means that you can set commands for multiple jobs and wait till the whole process is not done. Normally, small businesses and crafters need a batch-processing feature that helps them with quick delivery.
There is a disadvantage if you choose to go with batch processing. For an extra level of security, laser engravers with batch processing won’t allow you to open the lid till the entire job is finished. So, it is always better to recheck the patterns and wait till it is done.
Camera & Image Capturing
This is one of the crucial points of buying a good laser engraver. What would you do if a customer gives you a handmade design and asks you to engrave over the material?
For the normal laser engravers, you may need to capture the image and import it to the software and make a design for that. However, premium engravers such as Glowforge ease the entire process.
Glowforge Plus allows you to place the drawing in front of the camera, it takes 30 seconds to capture and import the image automatically. Their artificial recognition system automatically drops the background of the drawing and does the engraving exactly the same as the handmade picture.
If you buy a laser engraver from an established well-reputed brand, it might cost you extra but the community it has is huge.
During the laser engraving process, you will encounter a lot of small technical issues and you cannot afford to wait for an answer from the support team.
Community helps to interact with each other and one solves others’ problems. Also, you will get to have access to different inventions and designs which ultimately helps in better customer satisfaction.
For instance, if you look at this video from Kim & Garett, the need for a larger community is highly emphasized. They mentioned that the official customer support team usually gets back after 3 days but they found their solution within a day from other users.
What are the common problems of laser engravers?
These are the commonly faced problems of a laser engraver so far. Check out our last article on laser cutter troubleshooting issues.
The problems are so common but some of them are very tricky to troubleshoot. The top most commonly faced the problem of laser engravers is that the laser often does not emit light. Sometimes the laser lining is not aligned with the design which creates a mess while work is in progress. Overall, the laser heat deviation & lighting issues are concerned with the laser light & focal length which need expert hands to solve.
Another common problem is the font and the engraving depth do not go according to design. Such an issue becomes serious if you work on sensitive material & tough to replace. Similarly, automatic reset, carving error, and focal length deviation have always been panic for laser cutter users which we have described with constructive loss of troubleshooting guide.
What are the differences between a laser cutter & a plasma cutter?
A laser cutter uses optic light to cut the material at a given shape and depth. Whereas, a plasma cutter is an older version of a laser cutter that used a plasma torch to cut different materials. The plasma torch or the flame melts the metal to cut in between.
These are the differences between a laser cutter & a plasma cutter:
- Laser cutters are more expensive than plasma cutters
- Plasma cutters cannot engrave at a sharper depth
- Plasma can cut the materials that conduct electricity but a laser cutter can work over metal, wood, vinyl papers, and a lot more variety
- Plasma is highly efficient for cutting copper, whether a laser cutter cannot cut copper
- Plasma cannot offer a precise cutting like the laser which is as minimum as .002 inches
For more, read the detailed comparison here.
How many types of laser cutting do we have?
Currently, there are three main types of laser cutting we are primarily familiar with. These are:
- Crystal/diode laser
- CO2 Laser
- Fiber Laser
However, there are more different types of cutting mechanism people often practices. These are:
- Vapourization cutting
- Melting & blowing
- Cracking with thermal stress
- Stealth dicing
- Reactive cutting
We believe the top picks of laser engravers are useful for you and the other details as well. You should always focus on buying the most suitable laser engraver regardless thinking about what others are offering. Lasser engraving on a tumbler is super easy but consider buying a multi-function laser engraver so that you can escalate your business one step ahead with innovative ideas.