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If you are creative and artistic and want to do decorative and craft projects, both tools are good as they make custom designs, shapes, and patterns.
A laser cutter ensures extremely precise work and handles a wide range of materials, but it does not cut deeply, has high energy consumption, and is expensive.
In contrast, a scroll saw is less expensive and cuts wood, plastic, and metal in a less detailed and precious way than a laser cutter, but it cuts deeper and gives you a more natural finish.
Let’s compare Scroll Saw vs Laser Cutter and explain their benefits and drawbacks so that you can pick one easily according to your project, space, and budget.
Comparison Table Between Scroll saw and Laser Cutter
|Features||Scroll saw||Laser cutter|
|Speed||Slow 400 to 1800 SPM||Fast 100 to 150 inches per second|
|Blade type||Fairly standardized blades||Laser beam|
|Main purpose||Intricate and exterior patterns and designs||More Intricate patterns and designs|
|Cuts||Wood, metal, plastic||Wood, metal, plastic, and more|
|Deep cut||Deeper||Less Deep|
Pros and Cons Between Laser Cutter and Scroll saw
Scroll saw is a human-controlled power machine that uses an extremely thin, small blade with various tooth sizes and types. Here you have to move the workpiece on the table to make designs, shapes, and patterns.
A laser cutter is a computerized power machine that uses very strong light beams instead of blades. Here, the workpiece doesn’t physically contact the laser cutter.
Instead of cutting, it laser burns, melts, or vaporizes the workpiece to make designs, shapes, and patterns more accurately and even offers 2D or 3D format cutting.
Differences between Scroll Saw and Laser Cutter
Weight and size
Comparatively, compared to every single model of a scroll saw, a laser cutter is larger and weighs more than a scroll saw. Though both the laser cutter and scroll saw are stationary tools and not designed to be portable.
Note: Nowadays, there are smaller scroll saws available on the market that are, to some extent, portable.
A laser cutter is way faster than a scroll saw as it uses intense light to cut instead of a blade. A laser cutter can cut 100 to 150 inches per second, depending on the models, settings, and materials. Whereas a scroll saw makes 400 to 1800 strokes per minute.
A scroll saw uses thin little blades; on the other hand, a laser cutter uses a strong light beam instead of blades to cut more accurately and precisely.
A scroll saw uses very thin, small blades that move up and down to make cuts, and a laser cutter uses a strong light beam to burn, melt, or vaporize the workpiece.
As a laser cutter burns, melts, or vaporizes the workpiece, depending on the wattage of the laser and the material you are cutting, it can make 0.5 to 25 mm-deep cuts.
In contrast, a scroll saw can cut a maximum of 2.5-inch-deep cuts using thin blades.
Comparatively, a laser cutter uses as little as a 0.01-mm-thick compressed spot, but a scroll saw blade uses as little as a 0.3-mm-compressed spot. This means that with a laser cutter, you can have more precise and detailed work than with a scroll saw.
A scroll saw is used to make interior and exterior custom designs, shapes, and patterns into various materials and is well-known for creating beautiful carvings, jewelry, toys, and other items.
In contrast, a laser cutter only makes interior cuts, and using a laser beam, it can do more complex work efficiently than would be possible on a scroll saw.
A scroll saw is used more by artists and seen in workshops, while a laser cutter is used more by industrial users as well as artists.
Both a scroll saw and a laser cutter can handle a range of materials such as wood, plastic, leather, cardboard, and metal sheets, but using a laser beam, a laser cutter can even cut through paper, leather, fabric, foam, glass, gemstones, and more.
Note: A scroll saw works best mainly on wood; other materials like plastic and leather can burn while working.
Both a scroll saw and laser cutter can cut precisely, but as a laser cutter is a computerized power machine that uses a thin spot, its precision level is higher than a scroll saw.
On the other hand, in a scroll saw, if you want quality precision-level work, then you have to practice and practice more and have to flex your hand to get the ability to achieve that.
Error of cuts
In a laser cutter, you get fewer cut errors as it is a computerized power machine. Here, you just have to input the design you want, and the computer will do the rest of the work.
In contrast, the more error cuts you get in the scroll saw because of the physical contact with the blade, and while moving your hand for designing, the cut can be more or less and can damage the project you were doing.
Versatility and Accuracy
Except for the cost, and if an operator perfectly knows how to operate it, then a laser cutter is more versatile and accurate than a scroll saw.
Both the saws do not have much portability, take up lots of space in the workshop, and need to know how to operate. But a laser cutter can handle more range of materials and cut more preciously and complex detailed work, which is hard to do on a scroll saw.
A laser cutter is safer than a scroll saw. As a scroll saw, use thin sharp blades; while cutting, you have to make physical contact with the workpiece and blade; for that, there is a chance to get in contact with the blade.
But the gases it spreads and the laser beam radiation can damage your eyes and other parts.
A scroll saw makes louder noises than a laser cutter as the arm moves the blade up and down while in contact with the workpiece, it makes a louder noise.
Maintenance is tough in laser cutter than the scroll saw as it is fully computer functional and has complicated parts.
A laser cutter is comparatively more expensive than a scroll saw. Spending more than $500, you will get an average to a good quality laser cutter. In contrast, spending around $100 to $400, you will get an average to good quality scroll saw.
Which One should I choose: Scroll saw or Laser cutter
If you want a versatile and accurate tool that makes interior cuts on a wide range of materials in a more detailed, complex, and precious way and wants fewer error cutting with quicker and less noise, then choose a laser cutter.
But remember that a laser cutter is expensive, and people buy it mainly for industrial use.
But if you want a tool that won’t cost like a laser cutter but still can make custom designs, shapes, and patterns and do interior and exterior cuts in wood, plastic, and metal sheet detailed and precious way, then choose a scroll saw.
Though a scroll saw won’t provide the precious level finish a laser cutter provides, it has a hand-made finish, which has more demands and gives a more natural look to the workpiece than a laser cutter.
Note: A scroll can be used instead of a laser cutter, only you have to compromise the quality, which won’t be precise like the laser cutter.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the easiest wood to cut with a scroll saw?
Using different numbers of blades, you can cut different types of soft and harder wood, but on my usage, I got that the Cedar and plywood are more easier to cut as they have a more even grain and do not waste much wood while designing.
What are the limitations of using a laser cutter to make art?
A laser cutter is a complete tool to make a custom design, shape, and patterns and cuts everything, but it has some limitations; 1. it only makes interior cuts, 2. cuts not much deeper, around 25mm, 3. can’t use larger boards to design, 4. As it burns the board to design or cut, it doesn’t represent the color, 5. The upfront cost is high.
Is laser cutting toxic?
Yes, it is. A laser cutter using a laser beam burns into and through the material, and while burning, it reduces harmful gases, fumes, and radiation that is really toxic to our bodies. So for that, to avoid these negative effects while doing work, always wear goggles and masks.
Both laser cutter and scroll saw make custom designs, shapes, and patterns, but the laser cutter does it more precisely and faster, whereas the scroll saw is less expensive and cut deeper.
I hope I have discussed every possible perspective; now you have to choose which is preferable according to your project, space, and budget. Thank you.