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Laser Cutter/Engraver Input Options
Willywonka321
Posted: Thursday, April 06, 2017 12:12:46 PM
Rank: Newbie
Groups: Member

Joined: 8/17/2013
Posts: 0
Location: Great Lakes Bay Region
We have grant money to purchase a CNC laser cutter/engraver and have been hung up on which one to purchase. We are looking between 10-12 thousand for a machine that has an area decent size work area. Eplilog lasers are way outside our budget.

We started originally looking at the Hobby version of the 20x12 Full Spectrum, however were told the hobby version would probably not work well in a school environment and they do not work with schools on a discounts.

Then we looked at a Bosslaser for one of their similarly sized lasers. their machines seems very nice and professionally built. After getting an initial quote and fundraising for 2 months we found out that the 16x20 model is no longer available. Needless to say I felt as though that should have been mentioned by the salesmen that quoted me that the machine was discontinued and I started to look elsewhere for a laser. The next size up is 16x30 and the size up from that is 24x36.

We have also looked at Rabbit lasers RL 60-9060 this machine is a 24x36 and their prices include onsite training and set up.

I recently found that Laguna makes lasers but cant find many opinions about them? Has anyone heard anything about Lagunas lasers? Im sure there are some people here with their CNC's.

What are you using and what do you suggest?


"M.I.T.E.S. Works for All kids" http://on.fb.me/14918EO
Michigan Industrial & Technology Education Society (M.I.T.E.S.) Member Since 2009
Industrial Education Instructor since 2012
tbockman
Posted: Friday, April 07, 2017 11:38:51 AM
Rank: Newbie
Groups: Member

Joined: 11/17/2006
Posts: 0
About 8 or 9 years ago I purchased a U.S. built 30 watt Epilog laser and a year or two later, a 60 watt laser and I couldn't have been happier with their product. It was so easy to use and trouble free. The laser tube was rated to run 24/7 for 5 years. Try finding that in a lesser expensive laser.

If you get something cheaper, look closely at the laser tube life expectancy. You can easily be duped by what seems like a good deal, only to have an expensive headache waiting a few months down the line. On one of the examples you site, the life expectancy of the laser tube looked to be approximately 1 or 2 school year/s if it is broken down into a 4 hour use per day. A replacement tube can easily run up to $2000.

The Epilog is easy... the auto focus was fantastic, but manual focus was also easy. It was fairly easy to keep clean although the company didn't tell me there was an optical strip that frequently needed to also be cleaned, so when the images started to distort, a little trouble shooting and a simple cover removal quickly solved the issue.

The other draw back was the ability to get inside and clean the back mirror every once and a while since dust could coat that mirror and reduce the laser power. However, I solved that by removing the overall machine cover and cutting a small access hole to allow a Q-tip through to reach and clean the mirror.

The students absolutely went laser crazy and I was sad to have left that behind at my last job.

You can see some of my experience and more videos here.

Now I'm looking for a low priced laser for use at Franklin Phonetic School. Just like our X-Carve experience, I need something as cheap as possible but also durable, easy to use, safe and as long a tube life as possible. That is a tall order and I think I had better look into writing a grant so I can get an Epilog Zing. I did read that the Epilog quality has suffered a little lately though.

After reading this post, I did a quick search and came up with these other options for you to also check out...

Trotec laser

Universal laser

Gravograph laser

Fabool laser which appears to be a $2600 40 watt build it yourself kit like X-Carve. It also says it should not be run for more than 1 hour at a time to prevent overheating.

You can also look into a used Epilog on E-Bay.
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