View Full Version : Trotec VS ULS

Bob Hoff
06-08-2010, 3:41 PM
I am in the process of purchasing my first laser. Either the Trotec Speedy 300 45 watt or the ULS VLS4.60 60 watt. They are both the same price, at the top of my budget. They have the same table size, both air assist, but for the ULS I will need a compressor. Both have the table, but the Trotec will be a used one the salesman will throw in. So it appears the major difference is the 15 watts. Not knowing what market I am going to be in yet, I don't want to limit my potential projects by not having the extra 15 watts. So any thoughts or suggestions I might be able to gather from veterans would be greatly appreciated.

Mike Null
06-08-2010, 3:55 PM

Glad to have you on the forum. I suggest you do some searching as there have been many posts related to all brands of laser engravers.

Each of us has biases. I have owned both brands and feel that you'll be well served with either.

Bob Hoff
06-08-2010, 4:21 PM
Done lots of searchs, just drawing mostly a blank on if the higher wattage is so important or not. All input is apprecaited for the new guy.:)

Lee DeRaud
06-08-2010, 6:01 PM
Done lots of searchs, just drawing mostly a blank on if the higher wattage is so important or not.Since you're not paying extra for it, how important does it need to be?

I'm a happy owner of a ULS so I'll admit to being biased toward them, but this sounds like a no-brainer. Maybe I misunderstood the question...

Bob Hoff
06-08-2010, 8:01 PM
I guess I am mostly unsure of what I will lose by not going with the extra 15 watts. I know I can cut deeper, etc., but the extra wattage is only doing me good on occassion I would think. So what do I miss out on by going with the 45 instead of the 60.

Scott Shepherd
06-08-2010, 8:13 PM
Bob, it's hard to answer without knowing what your plans are. Here's some info from my perspective-

Plastics, engraving plastics, have a thin top coat of color on them. It only takes so much power to get through them. So if you have your speed set at 100% on the 45watt, it might take 20% power to get through that top cap and expose the bottom color. So you can't even use the 45 watts to engrave. So having 15 more watts would make absolutely zero difference in that situation.

However, if you were marking metal with something like Cermark that takes more power, then your speed might be down to 45 and your power up to 100, where as the 60 would let you have 60 speed and 100 power.

If you are vector cutting thin material, it won't matter. If you plan to vector cut thicker materials, it will matter.

So it would all depend on what you plan to do. I have a 45W system and it's not too often I run into jobs that the more power would help too much.

Having said that, the Speedy 300 is a rocket of a machine. So you would get more more production off of the 45 watt if you were rastering a lot (engraving), where as if you were vector cutting a lot, you'd get more production off the of ULS 60 watt.

So we can't give you an answer, only you know what you plan to do.

Hope that helps some.

Dee Gallo
06-08-2010, 8:26 PM
Well put, Steve! Good succinct explanation, thanks!

Dan Hintz
06-08-2010, 8:32 PM
Steve (Scott) and I have the same machine, but I have a 60W cartridge. I tend to do quite a bit of metal marking, something that requires as much power as you can get to get your speed closer to 100%. As he said, when I shift to standard engraving (marble tiles and the like), I'm always tapped out on speed and the power is a fraction of my total... in that case, the Trotec with the much higher speed carriage and lower power cartridge would kick my butt.

If I had to choose again, I'd still go with more power over speed, but I tend towards projects where power is king, not speed.

Bob Hoff
06-09-2010, 8:46 AM
It seems everybody has pretty much expressed the thoughts I was having. Higher wattage doesn't do much good except on the occassion when you can run the machine at higher speed and utilize the higher wattage. But when you need it, there is no substitute. Thanks for all the input.

Viktor Voroncov
06-09-2010, 10:08 AM
Wattage is important but what do you think about GENERAL CONSTRUCTION ISSUES? For example, for me Epilog looking not very well designed, as they save a lot on metal and make engravers too small, very big problem fix someting inside engraver, make adjustment, service. Same problem with ULS, but Trotec and GCC looks more suitable for operations.

Dan Hintz
06-09-2010, 10:43 AM
You think Epilog and ULS machines are not designed well? And they're that way to save a pound or two of metal?

The ULS, for example, allows you to swap the laser cartridge in/out without realignment, and you can do it in less than a minute. Dead tube? No problem, just open the back door, release the hinges and pop in a new tube. Have a problem with the table? Swing open the front door and you have access straight to the back of the machine. Belts? A couple of screws hold lightweight covers over the pulleys. The machines as a whole are very solid with no detectable flex, even when the heavy lids are raised/supported by the gas struts.

I've never used a Trotec or GCC system, but I don't see how they can be designed with any significant advantage over Epilog/ULS. Adding a lot of empty space to a cabinet is not my idea of a better design.

Viktor Voroncov
06-09-2010, 10:47 AM
I can compare Epilog and GCC - equipment panels are very close to table in Epilog, and you have plenty of space in GCC. It's important when you work with big piece of materials, on need positioning of something on table.

Mike Null
06-09-2010, 10:48 AM

Take a look at the Trotec. If you, as an engineer, don't see the superior design and construction I'd be shocked.

Viktor Voroncov
06-09-2010, 10:53 AM
But free cheese only in mousetrap :( all over the world TROTEC is most expensive brand :(

Dan Hintz
06-09-2010, 11:51 AM

Take a look at the Trotec. If you, as an engineer, don't see the superior design and construction I'd be shocked.
If I'm ever at a show where a laser company is displaying their wares (even ULS), I make it a point to drop in and take a look. Epilog is the only one I've ever seen at a show (last NBM show), though I've only been in this market for a couple of years. I do remember getting sticker shock when I saw the Trotec pricing sheet... a good 25% more expensive, and (at least on paper) I saw no reason to justify the price. That may change after looking at one in person, but you would think they would make such a justification clear in their literature.

Until then, what do they do differently that makes it worth the price premium? The Epilog/ULS cabinets are strong enough for the job they do, so anything beyond that is fluff. If I need to put larger stuff in the cabinet, the front door (at least) folds down (though I'll admit space on the sides can be tricky due to the Y-axis supports/tracks). Alignment is a breeze (at least on my ULS). I like the mandrel-style rotary design (though I'm frustrated they didn't include a way to properly align the far end onto the bed... that's just dumb!). I would like the ability to swap the vector table in/out without having to constantly lower/raise the table, though I don't know if anyone has solved that problem yet (I have a solution, but no one is going to listen).

Scott Shepherd
06-09-2010, 12:20 PM
The Trotec is nice. No exposed belts on the X axis. Everything is completely sealed. So no dirty nothing on the motion system. The cut a lot of rubber stamps with their systems so they are designed to work in that environment.

I know my ULS weighed in about 100 lbs more than my Epilog, same size machine. I don't see much that I'd like improved on the construction of it, but I will say the Trotec is built very well also.

If I had to buy another, it would be between those 2 brands.

Rodne Gold
06-09-2010, 12:47 PM
30% more power for the same price seems rather attractive to me - if the bed sizes and warrantees and support are similar , I would go for the more potent machine.

Mark Winlund
06-09-2010, 1:41 PM
But free cheese only in mousetrap

GREAT quote!


Bob Hoff
06-09-2010, 3:29 PM
I have decided on the Trotec Speedy 300, 45 watts. I can't help it, I am a sucker for higher quality and speed. I see the differences in the construction in their enclosed belt and bearing, optics with air assist directly through them to keep clean, a stone bed for maintaining a level surface and the job control software. This is through the eyes of a newbie, so time will tell. Their system is rated at up to 140 inches per second, so I should be able to crank out some high production, assuming I don't need more than the 45 watts. Longer warranty on all the parts as well, including the tube. Time will tell, now for the fun. Thanks for all the input and info.

Dan Hintz
06-09-2010, 4:18 PM
Their system is rated at up to 140 inches per second, so I should be able to crank out some high production, assuming I don't need more than the 45 watts.
Just remember, their 140ips speed is an awesome asset for engraving (at less than 100% power), but if you're vector cutting, the speed will mean bupkis and the power will be your deciding factor for max speed.

Enjoy your new toy!

Rodne Gold
06-09-2010, 4:31 PM
Whats the warrantee time compared to the ULS?

Bob Hoff
06-09-2010, 4:39 PM
Trotec warranty is 3 years on the machine, 2 on the laser. ULS is 2 on the machine, 1 on the laser.

Michael Kowalczyk
06-09-2010, 5:43 PM
Hey Bob,
Welcome to the Creek. I do not operate a ULS or Epilog so I can not say too much about them. I did heavy research back in 2000-2002 when I was getting interested in the laser market. I chose Trotec because I thought they were a superior built laser with 3 year warranty that I only used 3-4 times, twice the engraving speed of ALL others at the time (140 IPS) and the software (Job Control). Hard to explain all the benefits but the question we need to know if it hasn't already been answered is are you going to laser as a hobby or your full time job?

It is my opinion that most hobbyist's will try to save money rather than think ahead and invest the money for capabilities and capacity. Now don't misinterpret this. I have seen some fantastic shoe string budget innovations come from hobbyists and it is great to have both sides here to bounce ideas off each other. But also remember to work smarter not harder. It may be better to spend a few extra $'s now and grow into it.

If I were to do it over again, I would still get a Trotec but step up the power a little more say 75 to 100. Speed and Power = more profit because once you have done a few jobs that others passed on because their Laser could not cut in 1 pass or took 40 minutes to engrave instead of 25 with the same quality. But if you are doing this as a hobby and you have another source of income that pays the bills and puts food on the table then I would still get the Trotec because it is engraves faster and you can check with your salesman and find out what the grade path is and how much more ($) wattage is before you have to go liquid cooling.

OK so before I even finished this Bob made his decision but I will still post it for others also. Congratulations on your decision and welcome also to the Trotec family.

Michael Kowalczyk
06-09-2010, 5:47 PM
Make sure you make a routine now to clean the lens regularly especially when engraving acrylic, black marble, or anything done in volume.

Scott Shepherd
06-09-2010, 6:11 PM
Trotec warranty is 3 years on the machine, 2 on the laser. ULS is 2 on the machine, 1 on the laser.

I thought it was 1 on the machine, 2 on the tube. Maybe I'm wrong?

Bob Hoff
06-09-2010, 9:39 PM
I thought it was 1 on the machine, 2 on the tube. Maybe I'm wrong?
What you have is what I had written down, but reversed it because it didn't sound right. I believe you are right. Either way, Trotec has the longer warranty on at least part of it. Hopefully, that will never be an issue.

Rodne Gold
06-09-2010, 11:53 PM
The only real important part of the warrantee is that on the tube , kinda like a car's engine and gearbox.