Laser engravers are great for personalizing and customizing various items, including cylindrical objects like cups, mugs, tumblers, etc.
To do this, you need a rotary-attached laser engraver that can handle curved surfaces.
At Mellowpine, we routinely test laser engravers and use them to engrave on cups and mugs.
After extensive testing, we came up with this list of best laser engravers for cups and other curved objects.
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Best Laser Engraver for Cups in 2023
xTool D1 Pro (Best Diode Laser For Cups)
The xTool D1 Pro is a well-constructed laser engraver with an all-metal build. It has an open-frame design with frames made of extruded aluminum.
Its compact footprint of 28.5" x 23.2" x 5.9" and lightweight (15 lbs) design make it a versatile option for desktops, while the red-gold or gray-silver colors offer a touch of style.
Moreover, with the introduction of their new 20W laser module, xTool D1 Pro has become the most robust in its category.
You can also get xTool D1 Pro with a 5W or 10W diode laser module.
The engravable area on the 5W and 10W variants is 16.93" x 15.75", while on the 20W model, it is 16.93" x 15.35". All of them have a 2" Z-travel.
Two NEMA17 stepper motors drive the X and Y axis using belt drives. The transmission is supported by steel linear rails and rollers to ensure smooth and stable operation.
The spot size for the 5W and 10W modules is 0.08 x 0.06 mm, while the 20W module delivers a slightly bigger spot size of 0.08 x 0.1 mm.
You can make high-resolution engravings with a small laser spot, and with a high-powered laser, you can engrave on cups faster.
On xTool D1 Pro, you can engrave at a maximum speed of 400 mm/sec.
xTool D1 Pro can handle cups made of various materials, including wood, plastic, glass, and even metal, like stainless steel.
For focusing the laser beam on the surface of the workpiece, you can use the integrated focusing bar.
In terms of connectivity, xTool D1 Pro supports USB and WiFi. It also supports memory cards, allowing you to run the machine offline.
You can operate the machine using the free xTool Creative Space software or the paid LightBurn software.
If you want more control over your cup engraving jobs, LightBurn is the best option.
The machine assembly is straightforward, with clear instructions and all the necessary tools provided.
Moreover, the included hex keys, screws, zip ties, and screwdriver facilitate easy assembly.
The package also includes sample work materials, laser safety glass, and a convenient storage box to organize all the tools.
xTool offers several upgrade options for D1 Pro, including a rotary, which you will need for engraving cups.
They offer a 1-year warranty for the machine and the rotary attachment.
The xTool Rotary RA2 Pro is a versatile rotary upgrade for the xTool D1 Pro.
It is a 4-in-1 laser rotary attachment. It's also compatible with other laser engravers.
Its soft-pad jaw chuck can hold objects tightly, ensuring stable engraving, while the maximum engraving speed of 360°/sec allows for fast operation.
The chuck rotary allows for quick work holding, minimizing work cycle time.
On the other hand, the rotary roller allows for engraving on cylinders with extra-long lengths, such as ceramic vases.
Ring rotary is specially designed to work on projects like rings and bracelets. It holds the workpieces with their inner diameter.
Finally, the sphere rotary is ideal for ball engraving, making it possible to personalize items like Christmas balls or baseballs.
OMTech 50W - Best CO2 Laser For Cups
The OMTech 50W laser engraver is a high-performance industrial-grade machine suited for professionals and DIY enthusiasts.
The machine has a footprint of 41" x 25.6" and a work area of 12" x 20". It weighs around 192 lbs, so you'll have to place it on a strong desk.
It is powered by a 50W CO2 laser that can engrave on non-metallic and painted or anodized metal cups.
Unfortunately, CO2 lasers can't engrave on cups with bare metal surfaces as they reflect the laser beam.
OMTech 50W laser uses belt-driven transmission along the XY axes. It can achieve speeds of up to 600 mm/sec (23.6 ipm).
The workbed is equipped with an aluminum knife platform that is height-adjustable to work with parts of varying heights.
Its lift table has an adjustable height of up to 5.1" and delivers a positioning accuracy of ±0.01 mm.
Like any other CO2 laser machine, OMTech 50W has an enclosed setup. It features a transparent viewing window that allows you to view the job progress.
With the machine, you'll get a license to LightBurn software. If you have to buy it separately, you'll have to pay anywhere between $60 - $120.
However, if you buy from OMTech's website, you can opt for a variant that does not include the LightBurn software for a lower price.
LightBurn is compatible with design files from most CAD software, and you can run LightBurn on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems.
The OMTech 50W laser engraver comes with a 2-year warranty. For support, you can reach out to them through email or phone. They also provide one-on-one support through video calls.
The OMTech 50W device comes with a barrel roll rotary axis for engraving designs on cups with diameters of 1" - 6".
Furthermore, they also have other attachments you can buy as upgrades for engraving cups of various sizes.
The OMTech 3-Jaw chuck rotatory facilitates 360° engravings on cylindrical and round objects like bottles, cups, bowls, and more.
Its precision-engineered 3-jaw chuck and tailstock allow for a smooth, efficient, and quiet operation while making it suitable for DIY and industrial applications.
OMTech 4 wheel rotary tool is equipped with two drive wheels and a 2-phase stepper motor with a closed-loop control system, providing maximum torque and protection against step loss.
It is ideal for objects with a length of 2" - 14" and a diameter of 0.4" - 6". Moreover, the easy assembly and disassembly of the wheels increase tool efficiency and reduce the work cycle.
It comes with LightBurn software
2-year manufacturer's warranty
QS-30 LiteMarker - Best Fiber Laser For Cups
QS-30 LiteMarker is a split-type machine with a Raycus 30W fiber laser source.
It produces laser beams at a wavelength of 1064 nm and a frequency of 30-60 kHz, making it one of the most robust fiber laser engravers.
The laser source module on the machine has a lifespan of around 100,000 hours, and you can get replacements directly from Cloudray.
Unlike CO2 lasers, with a fiber laser, you can even engrave on cups with bare metal surfaces.
Unfortunately, fiber laser can't engrave on glass cups or tumblers. For such jobs, a CO2 laser is the best option.
Also, since QS-30 LiteMarker is equipped with a galvanometer head, it can engrave at a speed of 5,000 mm/s. Its speed is pretty high compared to other lasers.
The machine comes in multiple work area configurations between 110 x110 mm - 300 x 300 mm. Also, they have two rotary attachment options.
In terms of axis configurations, you can only move the machine along the Z-axis manually using the focus wheel. Along the X and Y axis, the galvo head adjusts the laser beam position.
With an accuracy of ±0.1 μm, QS-30 LiteMarker ensures precise and accurate markings every time. It can engrave at a maximum depth of 0.4 mm.
QS-30 LiteMarker works with EZCAD2 Lite software. It is compatible with Windows OS PCs and has an easy-to-use interface for controlling the machine.
The machine comes with a 2-year warranty and lifetime technical support from the manufacturer.
Depending upon the machine's work area and maximum supported diameter, multiple rotary attachments, like D69, D80, and D100, are available for the QS-30 LiteMarker.
They all have a 3-jaw chuck configuration and are made of stainless steel, with moderate hardness and less friction.
The chucks are powered by NEMA 23 stepper motors, allowing them a constant, sturdy, and noiseless rotation.
Moreover, the stepless adjustment feature allows for smooth and accurate adjustments, while the manual locking mechanism ensures stable positioning.
For engraving larger cups, you'll have to opt for a rotary that supports large diameters, like the D80 kit, which can engrave bottles, Yeti cups, mugs, tumblers, etc.
Multiple engraving size options
2-year manufacturer's warranty
LaserPecker 2 Pro - Best in Portability
The LaserPecker 2 Pro is a versatile 450 nm diode laser engraver with a laser output power of 5W. It is the most portable laser on this list.
It is designed for ease of use, with a plug-and-play setup and innovative design that supports hand-held and trolley engraving.
One of the impressive features of the LaserPecker 2 Pro is its dual-lens galvanometer technology, allowing faster operation than other laser engravers with similar power.
The device offers an engraving area of 100" x 2,000" with a maximum engraving speed of 600 mm/sec.
Its 0.05 mm compressed spot can create high-resolution engravings, while the three resolution options (1k/1.3k/2k) allow you to set different levels of detail depending on the project.
You can even run it on a battery (purchased separately), which gives a runtime of 200 minutes.
LaserPecker 2 Pro can be easily connected to a smartphone or PC using Bluetooth and supports many file formats, including JPG, SVG, PNG, BMP, AI, CDR, DWG, and more.
You'll have to use their free software to work with the machine. It's available for Android, iOS, MacOS, and Windows systems.
In terms of materials, it can engrave on paper, wood, leather, acrylic, anodized/painted aluminum, and stainless steel.
However, it can't engrave on pure metals like gold, silver, and copper or plastics like PVC or PET.
Nonetheless, the machine can also cut materials like wood and paper if the thickness is within 0.2".
LaserPecker 2 Pro also prioritizes safety. It features a blue light filter protection cover and comes with laser safety glass.
In addition, it turns off at overheating, has a displacement power-off function, allows you to set a unlock password, and has an emergency stop button.
For the machine, LaserPecker provides a 12-month warranty. They also extend customer support to help with any questions or issues.
LaserPecker 2 Pro has a rotary module that offers 360° rotary/mobile engraving capabilities.
This allows for easy engraving on cylindrical articles such as cups, jugs, and water bottles.
The extended "slab mode" and "trolley mode" allow for longer engraving lengths of up to 78"-196", but the 4" width remains constant.
The slab mode allows you to pass the material through the machine as if it were on a conveyor belt.
With the trolley mode, you can put the machine over an object, such as cardboard, and make it move over the surface and engrave an unlimited length.
Compared to other laser engravers with similar focus spots, such as the XTool D1, the COMGO Z1 is a cost-effective option.
The footprint of COMGO Z1 measures 22.64" x 22.65" x 8.07," and it weighs only 11 lbs.
However, its large square work area of 15.75" x 15.75" x 4.13" provides ample space for working on large workpieces.
COMGO Z1 offers two laser alternatives: a 5W laser and a 10W dual-diode module, each producing laser beams at a wavelength of 445 nm.
Its laser modules are equipped with FAC lenses that allow for a refined focus spot of 0.08 x 0.08 mm, enabling high-resolution engravings.
The laser module has a lifespan of 10,000 hours, and you can get replacement modules online.
COMGO Z1 uses belt drive systems along the X and Y-axis for machine transmission. The Y-axis is equipped with a dual drive to prevent racking.
Furthermore, the three NEMA 17 stepper motors ensure exceptional power and precision.
However, the Z-axis is not motorized and requires manual adjustment of the laser mount to set the laser focus, depending on the height of the material.
It has a Z-travel of 4.13", making it suitable for handling dense workpieces or using a rotary axis module.
Moreover, you can also elevate the machine using blocks to accommodate workpieces thicker than 4".
COMGO Z1 can handle a variety of materials, including paper, leather, wood, MDF, rubber, anodized metal, and more.
The machine has a 3-axis controller with a WiFi port, enabling you to connect it to your smartphone after installing the optional WiFi antenna.
It also has the standard USB port to plug into computers directly.
Additionally, the machine uses a gyroscope to analyze major movements and halt operation if it tips over a certain angle.
Moreover, after you restore the laser to its original position, the resume feature allows continuing the job.
COMGO Z1 works with LightBurn and LaserGRBL software, with LaserGRBL being a free-to-use option while LightBurn is paid.
If your primary goal is to engrave images, LaserGRBL is an excellent option. But if you also want to cut workpieces, LightBurn will be a better option in the long term.
The device also comes with easy-to-follow instructions for assembly. In addition, their website explains software setup, troubleshooting, etc.
In addition, COMGO Z1 comes with a laser safety goggle and some sample plywood boards.
Furthermore, the company offers an enclosure, honeycomb laser bed, and rotary roller as optional accessories.
Comgrow provides COMGO Z1 with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a one-year warranty.
The Comgrow laser rotary roller is an excellent accessory for the COMGO Z1 laser engraving setup.
This aluminum Y-axis rotary roller allows for seamless engraving on cylindrical objects with an adjustable range of 8 - 86 mm to accommodate various sizes.
Moreover, the step angle of 1.8 degrees makes it possible to process cups of various shapes and sizes.
The Comgrow universal rotary roller has a one-piece rubber design that provides strong friction and is ready to use right out of the box.
It is powered by stepper motors and has a compact design, weighing only 1.1 lbs.
The footprint of this rotary roller measures 9.3" x 4.1" x 1.2" (237 x 105 x 30.5mm), and it is also compatible with other laser engravers.
Laser Engraving Cups - Process Overview
The laser engraving process can create highly detailed and accurate designs on various objects, including cups.
With slight modifications in the process, you can also make customized projects by laser engraving wine bottles.
To engrave a cup, you will need to follow these steps:
- Create the design using CAD software like Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw, then transfer the design file to the control software of your laser engraver.
- Clean the cup's surface to ensure the laser beam consistently makes good-quality engravings.
- Position the cup on the laser engraver's rotary roller and adjust the laser beam focus to the cup's surface.
- Perform test engravings to determine the proper settings for your specific cup material. From the tests, use the setting that gives dark engravings at high speeds.
- Then engrave the cup with the right power and speed settings. Depending on the complexity of the design, the engraving process may take several minutes to complete.
- Inspect the engraved cup for quality, and make any necessary touch-ups.
- Finally, rinse and wipe the cup to remove any residue, and consider coating it with protective material to preserve the design and extend its life.
Factors to Consider When Laser Engraving Cups
Different materials, such as metal, plastic, and glass, react differently to laser engraving and require specific laser types and settings.
Therefore, understanding the properties of the cup material is crucial to achieving the expected results.
A fiber or diode laser can make the engraving if the cup is made of plastic or metal. But a diode laser can't engrave on a bare metal surface. It can only engrave on coated metals.
A CO2 laser is best for most materials, including glass, but it can't engrave on metals.
Desired Engraving Depth
The depth of the engraving can be adjusted depending on the design requirements.
However, deeper engraving requires a more powerful laser and an extended engraving time.
If the cup is coated with bright colors, the laser may not remove the material as quickly or clearly as it would on a non-coated surface.
Power and Speed
The laser power and speed settings impact the depth and clarity of the engraving.
High power and slower speeds result in more deep and darker engraving, while lower power and higher speed result in light and shallow engravings.
Laser engraving involves high-power beams and can pose a safety risk.
Tips for choosing the right laser machine for engraving cups
The laser machine should support rotary attachments to work on cylindrical objects like cups.
Not all laser engravers support rotary kits. Therefore, always check for rotary upgrades when considering a laser engraver for cups.
Type of laser
Large-scale and high-powered commercial engravers typically make use of fiber lasers. This technology is highly efficient but expensive, making it better suited for industrial facilities.
Small-scale CO2 laser machines are popular for DIY projects and small businesses. The versatility of the materials it can engrave and its cost-effectiveness contribute to its widespread use.
Diode lasers are the most popular among beginners as they are affordable and easy to use. However, they are less powerful than other lasers.
Determine a specific amount you can afford to spend on a laser engraver. This will help narrow your options, ensuring you spend your money wisely.
It is also crucial to consider the cost of maintenance and replacement parts, as these expenses can add up over time.
A compact model will do the job if you have a small workspace or plan only to engrave smaller cups.
Alternatively, if you have a larger workspace and plan to engrave larger or multiple cups, you may want to choose a larger model.
Generally, higher-power laser engravers can produce faster and higher quality engravings, but they can also be more expensive.
Consider your specific engraving needs, such as the speed of production and the desired level of detail, when choosing the power of your laser engraver.
The machine's ease of use will impact your ability to produce high-quality engravings effectively.
To ensure ease of use, consider the availability of a user manual and tutorials. This can help you understand the features and functions of the laser engraver and how to operate it effectively.
Additionally, look for laser engraver models with intuitive software, which can make the engraving process more efficient and streamlined.
If you face any issues with the machine, you will require quick and efficient technical support from the manufacturer and community.
Additionally, consider the availability of replacement parts, which assures the brand's commitment to providing ongoing support for its products.
Finally, it is essential to consider the capabilities of the laser engraver when choosing one for cups.
Features such as autofocus, air assist, etc., can enhance the engraving experience and improve the quality of the final product.
You can also make an Air assist for your laser cutter as a DIY project, by using your shop compressor.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does a laser engraver work?
A laser engraver uses a laser beam to heat and vaporize the surface material to create a permanent design or pattern on workpieces. The laser beam is guided by a computer-controlled system, ensuring precision and accuracy in engraving.
How long does laser engraving take?
The engraving time will depend upon several factors, such as workpiece size, the design's complexity, the laser engraver's speed, and power. On average, a small, simple design can be engraved in just a few minutes, while an extensive or more complex pattern may take hours to complete.
What are the benefits of laser engraving on tumblers like yeti cups?
Laser engraving on tumblers like yeti cups provides a permanent, high-quality design that will not fade or peel over time like other engraving techniques. Moreover, the process allows for precise engraving control, ensuring a consistent and accurate pattern.