PDA

View Full Version : Another "Which laser to buy" post



Topher Sattes
01-03-2012, 1:11 PM
Hey all,
I am a new member here and this post will be a little different then the others. I was in business with a friend and we purchased an Epliog Mini 18 and used that so I am familiar with how to use it. We have since moved our separate ways (on good terms), but I am looking to get back into etching. I currently have up to about $15k to play with as far as an etcher. I of course if possible don't want to use the full amount so I can buy supplies, software, etc. What machines are you guys recommending these days? I am pretty tech savvy.

Gary Hair
01-03-2012, 1:16 PM
Topher,
There are NUMEROUS posts addressing that topic, if you scan through the previous posts you will find at least 3 or 4 in the previous 3 pages. Nothing has changed, all of their answers are still valid.

Gary

Topher Sattes
01-03-2012, 1:21 PM
Topher,
There are NUMEROUS posts addressing that topic, if you scan through the previous posts you will find at least 3 or 4 in the previous 3 pages. Nothing has changed, all of their answers are still valid.

Gary

Yep, I have been reading through them for a couple hours now. Still just kind of mind melted I guess. To much information. :confused:

Khalid Nazim
01-03-2012, 1:42 PM
My suggestion would be to look at a Chinese machine from Shenhui like I did. You can buy an 80W (RECI tube) machine with bed size of 900mm x 600mm for about $5K delivered to your door step. I had no experience in laser cutting/engraving and I went with the Chinese option because
a) I could not afford to spend more than $5K
b) I could not justify spending 4-5 times on a "mainstream" machine
c) $5K on a Chinese machine was an acceptable risk for me
d) buying a chinese machine allows me to spend money on marketing, product development etc
e) I selected Shenhui based on the experiences on people like Rodne, George, Rich
f) finally, I am really happy that I went this route.

Regards
Khalid

Scott Shepherd
01-03-2012, 2:15 PM
It's quite simple. Buy the one that best fits your needs and budget :)

See how easy that was? :)

Topher Sattes
01-03-2012, 2:42 PM
Khalid,
Thanks for this information! Could you link me to the one you got? I am looking for etching with some cutting of baltic birch.


My suggestion would be to look at a Chinese machine from Shenhui like I did. You can buy an 80W (RECI tube) machine with bed size of 900mm x 600mm for about $5K delivered to your door step. I had no experience in laser cutting/engraving and I went with the Chinese option because
a) I could not afford to spend more than $5K
b) I could not justify spending 4-5 times on a "mainstream" machine
c) $5K on a Chinese machine was an acceptable risk for me
d) buying a chinese machine allows me to spend money on marketing, product development etc
e) I selected Shenhui based on the experiences on people like Rodne, George, Rich
f) finally, I am really happy that I went this route.

Regards
Khalid

Topher Sattes
01-03-2012, 2:43 PM
yulp. I was thinking more so about software. Like I noticed Rayjet comes with some impressive software. The Chinese models lack in this though right?:D


It's quite simple. Buy the one that best fits your needs and budget :)

See how easy that was? :)

Ross Moshinsky
01-03-2012, 3:06 PM
The first step is to contact each laser company and get price quotes. After that, get a demo. After that, contact some people on here for their opinions.

Once you narrow things down, start pinning the reps against each other to get the best deal possible.

Topher Sattes
01-03-2012, 4:54 PM
I like how you think! That is a great idea!


The first step is to contact each laser company and get price quotes. After that, get a demo. After that, contact some people on here for their opinions.

Once you narrow things down, start pinning the reps against each other to get the best deal possible.

Scott Shepherd
01-03-2012, 5:17 PM
There is no way anyone can tell you what machine to buy from a "what should I buy" question. In order to HELP (not tell you what to buy), we'd have to know so much more about your business.

1) What do you plan to do with it?
2) How many hours a day will it run?
3) Will you be vector cutting primarily, engraving primarily, or 50/50?
4) What products will you using mostly? Engraving plastics? Baltic Birch plywood?
5) Do you have products you will make or will this be a "job shop"?
6) many many more questions.....

Without more information, no one can recommend anything to you, unless it's just their opinion based on their own model. I wouldn't like to base my business on what someone else does for themselves with their model. Their model might be VERY different than my model.

Topher Sattes
01-04-2012, 1:45 AM
1) What do you plan to do with it? Mainly it will be etching mugs and glassware, but also vector cutting of wood (plywood or baltic *templates from LaserBuzz*) and engraving on Granite.
2) How many hours a day will it run? 2-3, depends on orders, with my old one I would use it up to 8 hours some times, just depending on how many orders I had.
3) Will you be vector cutting primarily, engraving primarily, or 50/50? 50/50
4) What products will you using mostly? Engraving plastics? Baltic Birch plywood? Engraving Glass, Etching Granite, and some vector cutting of wood.
5) Do you have products you will make or will this be a "job shop"? Job shop.


There is no way anyone can tell you what machine to buy from a "what should I buy" question. In order to HELP (not tell you what to buy), we'd have to know so much more about your business.

1) What do you plan to do with it?
2) How many hours a day will it run?
3) Will you be vector cutting primarily, engraving primarily, or 50/50?
4) What products will you using mostly? Engraving plastics? Baltic Birch plywood?
5) Do you have products you will make or will this be a "job shop"?
6) many many more questions.....

Without more information, no one can recommend anything to you, unless it's just their opinion based on their own model. I wouldn't like to base my business on what someone else does for themselves with their model. Their model might be VERY different than my model.

Rodne Gold
01-04-2012, 2:49 AM
You need 2 machines , a low powered *25-30w* small/medium sized uberfast mainstream with a useable rotary for the granite and glass and a large format 80+w cheapy chinese machine for the cutting. You can get away with $15k for both *new machines* with a bit of a pinch.

Rich Harman
01-04-2012, 2:54 AM
Are you mechanically inclined? Are you willing to spend some of your time tuning the machine for best performance? If the answer is "no" then forget about the Chinese machines.

If "yes" then you can spend some of your own time on the machine and save many thousands of dollars.

The workmanship on a Chinese machine is not going to be as good as a mainstream. Fortunately, lasers are pretty darn simple machines. If you understand how they work, you can make up for the workmanship yourself.

I bought my machine knowing full well that it would not meet my standards until I put some of my own time into it.

Topher Sattes
01-04-2012, 11:49 AM
I did all the maintenance on the old Epilog, so I am pretty familiar and inclined. The machines you worked on... are those the Shenhui's?

thanks!


Are you mechanically inclined? Are you willing to spend some of your time tuning the machine for best performance? If the answer is "no" then forget about the Chinese machines.

If "yes" then you can spend some of your own time on the machine and save many thousands of dollars.

The workmanship on a Chinese machine is not going to be as good as a mainstream. Fortunately, lasers are pretty darn simple machines. If you understand how they work, you can make up for the workmanship yourself.

I bought my machine knowing full well that it would not meet my standards until I put some of my own time into it.

Topher Sattes
01-04-2012, 11:50 AM
So you don't think one machine doing both is a good idea?

The cutting of the wood will be rare... maybe once a month for 30 minutes.

Thanks!


You need 2 machines , a low powered *25-30w* small/medium sized uberfast mainstream with a useable rotary for the granite and glass and a large format 80+w cheapy chinese machine for the cutting. You can get away with $15k for both *new machines* with a bit of a pinch.

Scott Shepherd
01-04-2012, 11:58 AM
and save many thousands of dollars.

Saving many thousands is a very relative term. Saving thousands at the expense of what? Speed? You could save yourself $10,000 on the machine, and then lose $20,000 in time because the machine may be slower. You could lose jobs to people with faster machines, so what's the lost cost there?

It's all relative and it's not as simple as "Saving a few thousand dollars".

It might work perfectly for you in your situation, but the decision to buy a Chinese laser should involve a lot more than the price tag because that's just a fraction of the real cost of ownership.

Again, it might make perfect sense for your application, but it might not for other's applications.

Ross Moshinsky
01-04-2012, 12:44 PM
You need 2 machines , a low powered *25-30w* small/medium sized uberfast mainstream with a useable rotary for the granite and glass and a large format 80+w cheapy chinese machine for the cutting. You can get away with $15k for both *new machines* with a bit of a pinch.

I agree with Rodney.

We're looking into a Chinese machine to compliment our machine for a few reasons. One of the main reasons is letting the machine run while I'm doing something else. We can get caught up with a customer and let the laser sit idle for periods of time. With a big laser, even if it is slower, more often than not, it's going to be more productive. Now you can't do this with cutting jobs but it would work if you wanted to do a mural on granite or a bunch of plastic plates.

Rodne Gold
01-04-2012, 1:03 PM
2 machines , even if one is slow , can almost double capacity and provide redundancy. One machine will never do it all , however if you cutting once a month , I really wouldn't worry about a big cutting machine and just concentrate your $15k into one midrange mainstream machine.
Unless of course you are quite astounded at what a $4500 100W laser can do re speed with cutting (and it can engrave damn well too) and try develop that side of things in your business , for little risk and money.
We flog all our lasers all day long .. I relieve my expensive lasers of long slow underpowered cutting jobs and use em for the more profitable difficult stuff , the cheap machine can slice thru what was formerly a schlep in a flash , works well for me. Your Mileage may vary....

Rich Harman
01-04-2012, 3:54 PM
Saving many thousands is a very relative term. Saving thousands at the expense of what? Speed? You could save yourself $10,000 on the machine, and then lose $20,000 in time because the machine may be slower. You could lose jobs to people with faster machines, so what's the lost cost there?

I think the OP already stated that he expects it to run 2-3 hrs a day. If he gets enough business that he can't keep up, then he can use the many thousands that he saved to buy either another Chinese machine, or buy or lease a mainstream machine.

I don't know that it makes sense to spend an extra ten grand on a smaller machine when you only expect to run it two hours a day.

Also, depending on what his products are, the lasering time may not be the limiting factor. A faster laser may just sit idle longer.