Report as inappropriate

Most of the CNC add on lasers are diode lasers that use visible light (blue to violet) These will pass through clear acrylic without any effect. The reason that CO2 lasers cut through acrylic is that the CO2 lasers output ultraviolet light to which glass and acrylic are opaque. Also, the diode lasers are 3 to 7 watts of power while the CO2 lasers are usually 40 to 60 watts.

The glowforge is well designed and the original model is about $2,500. You can get a K40 type laser from Ebay for about $400 but it is about 200mm by 300mm usable area which might be small for many purposes. Also cheap CO2 lasers usually come with all of the hassle of exterior cooling plumbing and buckets of distilled water. All of the lasers will require outside venting.

At present I am at the mercy of the local makerspace landscape which is a decent value given how little i laser cut.