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  1. #1
    Technologist jtice's Avatar
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    Opinions on LASER Engraver / Cutter

    I have had my 3D Printer a while and would really like to gea a laser Engraver / Cutter to compliment it.
    I would like to get one that can do a fairly large area, and also like the ones that dont have bottoms to them, so you can set them on a large surface.
    For example, if you wanted to engrave the top of a kitchen table.
    Anyone know of any good units or kits for $500 or less that can at least cut thin woods?
    I know there are plenty out there, like ones on GearBest that can engrave easily, but wasnt sure on cutting.

  2. #2
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    A 40 watt CO2 will cut about 3mm plywood easily and if you really hammer it you can get about 6mm. Acrylic it will cut about 4 or 5 without hammering it too much.

    I bought loads of the 40 watt ones form China, sold most but still have one that I converted to ramps. I have had it more than a year and have never used it other than testing when I put Marlin on.

    They are not as useful as you think.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    this is probably your best bet: http://www.ebay.com/itm/50-65cm-3000...gAAOSw3YNXYLo4

    most of the more powerful ones are sealed boxes.

  4. #4
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    3 watt wouldn't cut your finger nails tough. You need to have an IR CO2 laser at the very least to cut owt thicker than half a mm.

    They do tend to be enclosed but the bigger ones have doors so you can slide big sheets in there.

  5. #5
    Technologist jtice's Avatar
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    The one I had my eye on was this 5.5W version, with a very large engraving area and open bottom.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/50-65CM-Mini...16.m2516.l5255

    But I do see the point about it having a hard time doing actual cutting. Seems you have to make several passes.
    The only real option in my price range for a CO2 is the typical China K40 you see on ebay.
    It gets "ok" reviews, Im just not a fan of its design, being much smaller and having an enclosed bottom.
    But, something I also thought, I might have a big issue with smoke on the open designs, since it will be much harder to vent without an enclosure.

    The 5.5W one seems much simpler, and easier to maintain to me over the CO2, but maybe Im wrong?

  6. #6
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    Even at 5.5 watts you will not be happy. The problem with multiple passes is that you get more smoke damage round the edges of the cut, that's one of the reasons why people try not to do it. You will also ahve a problem with depth of field if you try to cut anything over half a mm. The depth of field of those solid state lasers is not good. You need a long focal length to get the depth of field, at least 50mm preferably more. The advantage of the blue over the IR is that you can focus it by looking, on the IR you can't because the lens bends visible and IR light differently so even if you focus with a visible laser it will not be in focus on IR.

    The CO2 are a pain, needing water cooling, they crack in no time if you forget to turn the water on, they all make lots of smoke that oyu need to remove or it affects the beam path and makes the cut / engrave line wide.

    My advice would be to buy a fret saw or a cnc mill.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    it does depend on what you want to do.

    For engraving patterns onto things - even the little cheapo one I have are really good.
    For cutting stuff, yeah probably better fitting a milling head and vacumn tube.

  8. #8
    Technologist jtice's Avatar
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    I ended up getting that 5.5w diode laser engraver from Ebay.
    I didnt want to bother with the water cooling of the CO2 laser for my first one, and I needed the large engraving area this one has.

    Over all I am very pleased with it. I was surprised at the fine detail and accuracy it can do.
    Only odd thing so far is that, I was able to cut 2.5mm wood with about 3 or 4 passes before, and now I cant cut at all, But, it still engraves just fine.
    The first pass cuts down into the wood well, but after that it just seems to make it blacker.

    Here are some engravings I have done so far.
    https://jtice.smugmug.com/Laser-Engr...er-Engravings/

  9. #9
    Those designs look good. Really cool what the laser can do. You should sell them as a side business.
    I want a laser cutter myself but 40 watt or larger. Big dreams no money. LOL
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  10. #10
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
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    on my - admittedly tiny - engraver. To cut deeper you don't do lots of passes just a slower speed.
    Haven't tried it on actual wood - but on a slow setting, it can cut leather pretty deep.

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