These days, elaborate designs and precise engineering are generally done with industrial laser cutters and engravers. That’s usually out of the price range of most of us, but if you really want to engineer something on your counter, you’ll need a Glowforge, the laser engraver designed for the rest of us.
The Glowforge comes in two forms. The first, the basic model, is essentially a Blu-ray laser in a container that lets you etch and cut small items. The one downside is that it’ll need to be near a window; you need to vent it, much like a dryer, or you’re going to regret it as you smell burning… well, burning whatever it is you put in there.
The Pro, however, is what it sounds like; a professional grade laser, specifically a Class IV. This is a beefy guy and you’ll have some legal requirements here, like safety googles and warning signs, that you’ll need to abide by. You’ll also be able to feeder larger objects through it, so you can engineer stuff like furniture, and you’ll have the capacity to have multiple people working on projects.
Also, if you’re not near a window, and you probably should consider finding a place that is, you can buy an air filter to keep out the nastier particulate matter.
Granted, buying an industrial laser is in no way a cheap proposition; you’ll be spending $2400 or so to pre-order the basic model, admittedly a savings from the $4000 MSRP, and $4800 for the Pro, which is actually a pretty good deal since it’ll be $8000 when it ships. But if you need laser power to finish a project, or have just always wondered what a laser could do with your art and some leather, it’s well worth the money.