View Full Version : Researching CO2 Unit

Paul Trembly
06-07-2016, 10:05 AM
I am researching the purchase of a Laser Engraver for my museum. I have it narrowed down to:

Epilog Helix
Universal VLS4.60-60
Trotec Speedy 100
Gravograph LS1000ex

All units are 60 watt tubes, with air assist, and exhaust filtration system (I am in a historic building and can't vent outside)

I have been reading all the various posts and it appears to me that while the machines themselves seem to be similar enough as to not make a difference that tech support and consumables seems to be the main factors.

I would ask the forum for their thoughts and insights.

Many thanks.

Braden Todd
06-07-2016, 11:03 AM
I only have experience with the Helix, love it and it has always done well for us. Never had an issue with support, if I ever needed a mirror etc I had it the next day.

Patrick Gardner
06-07-2016, 1:13 PM
Without the option to vent the machine outdoors, even with the filtration system, it will leave bad smells.

Paul Trembly
06-07-2016, 3:45 PM
Yeah Patrick, I had a feeling that would be the case, on the plus side, we are not doing large production runs, rather one offs and small projects for various exhibits so with luck we won't be generating too much smell.

David Somers
06-07-2016, 4:09 PM

Not knowing your building I am asking this blindly. But are you familiar with how a portable room air conditioner is vented outside? If the window is a slider or a casement or even a swinging window there is a panel of plastic or other material that is a bit wider than the hose you need to vent with. That plastic is sized to fit the opening of a partially open window and fit snugly in place when the window is pulled shut. The hose attaches to that panel and you have an outside vent without making any modifications to the building. It does mean that from the outside the panel can be seen if that is an issue. But you could color it so it matches the trim of the outside of the window to blend in better. Or....just put it in place when the laser is in use and remove it when not in use. Would that allow you to use an outside vent? I ask this because filter units are expensive to buy and maintain and they tend not to completely remove odors. Just a thought.

Kev Williams
06-07-2016, 5:31 PM
As to your Gravograph selection, to the best of my knowledge, they have a LS100ex, and an LS1000xp, but I can't find an LS1000ex...?

All your choices will work well- Pretty sure the Gravo and Trotec will be the fastest. I can't say enough about the reliability of my LS900, and even more so my old 25w ULS aka New Hermes Optima-- built in '97, I bought it well used (was my rep's demo) in '02, ran it every day until about 4 months ago when I sold it to my BIL, who now runs it nearly 6 hours a night every night engraving wood boxes. Still using the original lens!

So for machine choice, I'd go with the least expensive...

As for venting-- If you can replace just one pane of glass near the laser temporarily with a piece of polycarb or acrylic, you have a way to vent outside, and put the blower outside too. The Harbor Freight green (now gray) blowers will fit nicely into one of these garden boxes. Just need to cut some holes for venting & motor cooling...


Paul Trembly
06-08-2016, 6:16 AM
Kev, that was a typo I meant the LS100ex, :-)

As for venting, I am in a 1927 historic courthouse that is constructed of sandstone. Our exhibit shop has no windows and does not but up against an external wall (even if it did I would never be allowed to drill through the wall). So an exhaust filtration system is my only option and is certainly has got to be better then just venting into my central Powermatic vac system or the open air.

David Somers
06-08-2016, 1:37 PM
Hey Paul!

Yow....I can see not being able to drill through historic walls. I used to live in an historic house when I worked at a National Park unit. They replaced the heating system with a pellet stove and because of the historic and uninsulated walls they put several bends into the stove pipe to get it outside. The installer was apoplectic! And correct. The stove was a disaster, backfiring many times a day and sending a hail of pellets throughout the room. He he. Don't know how many time I had to peel my dog off the ceiling because of this. But at least I had windows. Single pane, but I had windows! Good thing the heating season was only 9 months long there. Anyway......No Windows? Yow.

Check out that post by Dan Hinz on his homemade filter. Here is the link to it directly. http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?143725-DIY-air-filtration-unit-for-lt-200&highlight=Test
Beyond that, I think the most common commercial filter made is by BOFA. Do a search on that in the forum and you will see lots of threads. I am able to vent outside so I am afraid I have no personal experiences with these that I can offer you. From reading other's accounts they can be expensive to buy and maintain however so be aware of that. Sounds like you have no choice.

Let us know how this works out and what you choose please?


Kev Williams
06-08-2016, 4:18 PM
Don't suppose there would be an historic fireplace nearby? (grasping at straws, lol)