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Jeff Heinrichs
03-20-2017, 9:42 PM
I have a question about fiber power. I was talking with a laser rep last week and in discussions about laser power he mention that there isn't really a need for more than 30W (e.g. 50W) of power unless you're looking for speed on fiber marking.

I've done a cursory search on this and I haven't found a lot of specific information with regards to this specific topic. I thought I would throw this out for discussion. I had been preparing to pay the price difference and get a 50W laser (approx. +$10K) over the 30W laser, but the rep made sense when it came to the power. He said it wasn't going to change what I could work on, that it would only change the laser time and he asked if it was really worth the additional $10k. In my case the additional $10k for speed alone doesn't justify the need for the speed, unless it's dramatically different.

Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks...

Tim Bateson
03-20-2017, 11:03 PM
As with most questions of this type... The answer depends greatly on how you are planning to use the Fiber Laser - Marking, Etching, Deep engraving....

Jeff Heinrichs
03-20-2017, 11:08 PM
Thanks Tim, but it's really open to that as advice to. Since it's a fiber laser and your not generally speaking, able cut metal I would like to solicit what a 50W laser will do over a 30W laser. If you have an opinion on the ability of 50W laser to markedly deep engrave on metal, please share that. According to the rep it sounds like a 50W really won't do ANYTHING different than mark faster than a 30W.

Gary Hair
03-20-2017, 11:26 PM
There are two main things that you can do better with a 50 vs 30:
1. Faster in all types of engraving - surface or deep, even staining will be faster.
2. Larger working area - the larger working area you have means you have less power on the outer limits, with a 50 watt you can extend those limits farther and still have plenty of power to get the job done.

If you really want more throughput and you are not needing to work large areas, then you'd be better off with two 30's vs one 50. I'm not sure how much power you would need to run twice as fast as a 30, but it is certainly more than 60, probably more like 80 or 90. For the price of a 90 you could buy 3 or 4 30's.

If you need a larger working area, 175mmx175mm is pretty comfortable for a 30, then you can either choose a 50 (or higher) or a 30 with an X-Y stage. The X-Y stage is probably more versatile and I'm not sure how it would compare to a 50 price wise.

It all comes down to what you want and need. My two 30's are serving me quite well and I don't regret not getting a 50 instead.

David Somers
03-20-2017, 11:47 PM
Gary,

I am asking this out of general interest, not because I am about to order a fiber so please ignore me if you dont have time to answer. No worries.

What do you mean when you say an X-Y Stage? Is that a stage that moves automatically? Presumably to allow you to work on a piece that is larger than your fiber's power would normally do? In other words the stage, with the oversized piece on it, moves under your lens to present the entire piece to the efficient area of the fiber beam?

Dave

Tim Bateson
03-21-2017, 12:15 AM
I think Gary's comments refer to a galvo type Fiber only. MY Epilog M2 works differently. I do have a 30 & wish I had bought a 50 as I do more deep engraving which takes way too long with the 30. A galvo "would" had been a better option for my type of work.

David Somers
03-21-2017, 12:40 AM
Sorry Tim, I did realize Gary meant a Galvo. I was just curious what the term XY stage referred to. Obviously a 50 and a 30 galvo will have a stage or table that you are working on. And you might expect a 50 to have a larger stage since it has enough power to cover a wider area on a state. But it sounded like his reference of an XY stage was referring to something else?

Gary Hair
03-21-2017, 1:44 AM
Gary,

I am asking this out of general interest, not because I am about to order a fiber so please ignore me if you dont have time to answer. No worries.

What do you mean when you say an X-Y Stage? Is that a stage that moves automatically? Presumably to allow you to work on a piece that is larger than your fiber's power would normally do? In other words the stage, with the oversized piece on it, moves under your lens to present the entire piece to the efficient area of the fiber beam?

Dave

I'm referring to a "moving table". Instead of a gantry machine where the optics move, the galvo with an X-Y stage moves the table that the part is sitting on. Yes, it moves it to the optimal location for the lens you are using.

Gary Hair
03-21-2017, 1:46 AM
I think Gary's comments refer to a galvo type Fiber only. MY Epilog M2 works differently. I do have a 30 & wish I had bought a 50 as I do more deep engraving which takes way too long with the 30. A galvo "would" had been a better option for my type of work.

Because of the way a gantry works vs galvo, I don't think that 50 watts would get you much more than 30. Power isn't the real issue, it's how the machine works. I would bet that a 50 watt gantry fiber would still be slower than my 30 watt galvo for deep engraving.

Kev Williams
03-21-2017, 2:39 AM
Yolanda at Triumph also tried talking me out of a 30w in favor of saving money on a 20w. But I know my work, any money saved on a 20w would've soon got overrun by the extra time needed for certain jobs.

Case in point: Friday thru Sunday night my fiber generated close to $3000, 2/3 of it from one job. Due to the nature of this particular job, I'd have been looking at several extra hours with a 20w machine. Likewise, a 50w machine would have shortened the work time. However, a second machine would have been no help at all, because of 14 setup changes happening every 15 to 30 seconds or less. Time spent trying to keep up with 2 machines at this rate would've been time wasted. However, it would be NO problem changing setups every 10 to 20 seconds or less :)

Lest we forget-- Time IS Money :D

Truth is I could make very good use of a 50w machine, to the point that if I had to choose between a 30 and a 50, or three 30's, I'd probably take the 30 and 50...

But for a first machine, I would suggest that a 30w machine with a 160 lens (what I have) would be a great choice. It's working well, and it's much more fun to need to upgrade than to downgrade ;)

Jeff Heinrichs
03-21-2017, 8:19 AM
Excellent discussions. Thanks for the inputs. Those inputs are a real help for me. I think, for the time being, a 30W fiber (on a gantry machine) will suit me okay and I can bump up the CO2 to ~120W which will definitely prove useful across a wider range of materials and material thicknesses.

Kristian Matz
03-21-2017, 12:06 PM
I just ordered a 30 watt, the quote for a 50 watt was almost but not quite 2x the price. Going purely on price point, 30 watt is the sweet spot. In round numbers, going from 20 to 30 was about $850, 30-50 was $5900.

Scott Challoner
03-21-2017, 3:21 PM
I'm referring to a "moving table". Instead of a gantry machine where the optics move, the galvo with an X-Y stage moves the table that the part is sitting on. Yes, it moves it to the optimal location for the lens you are using.
Do you know if such a machine exists Gary, or would that be a custom build from someone like Jimani? I'm still doing lots of 20" x 42" stainless panels and they are a real pain. Good money, but a pain. I'm guessing something like this would run in the neighborhood of $60-$70k or more.

Gary Hair
03-21-2017, 3:32 PM
Do you know if such a machine exists Gary, or would that be a custom build from someone like Jimani? I'm still doing lots of 20" x 42" stainless panels and they are a real pain. Good money, but a pain. I'm guessing something like this would run in the neighborhood of $60-$70k or more.

Jimani is exactly who I thought of for this machine. I have no idea about pricing but my guess is that your guesstimate is a bit on the high side. It would be worth a call to Jim Earman to see what he has available. A couple of things to think about with pricing from Jimani - the machine you get from them will be worlds different than what you (and I) have now, the software will be vastly different, and so will the support. You will have a machine that will perform for you from day one. You might be able to find the hardware to do this but good luck getting software to work with it. Moving the table is no big deal, moving the table *reliably* where you actually want it, is.

Tim Bateson
03-21-2017, 3:59 PM
Because of the way a gantry works vs galvo, I don't think that 50 watts would get you much more than 30. Power isn't the real issue, it's how the machine works. I would bet that a 50 watt gantry fiber would still be slower than my 30 watt galvo for deep engraving.

I agree 100%. I've learned a lot since my M2 purchase. If I had it to do over again, & I will soon, I'd absolutely go with a galvo. There is so much difference between both types of Fibers that I totally missed in my research and of-course the sales people made me believe the Fusion M2 could do anything a galvo could.. NOT.

David Somers
03-21-2017, 4:23 PM
Thanks for the info Gary! Appreciated!!!!!

Dave

Rodne Gold
03-21-2017, 4:27 PM
Use lenses as power moderators

Lenses are cheap . either a 50mm x 50mm or 70x70 for when you need speed and ultimate power density for depth

110mm x 110m , little less power density great all rounder

210 x 210 .. excellent for cutting and engraving rowmark , plastics .. superfast


Combine these lenses with a 30w fiber ...., more or less all you need to cover most bases

Kev Williams
03-21-2017, 8:22 PM
I'd love one of these--25x25 working area...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmfBE8Z3AH0
http://auto-alt.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/FlexMarker.pdf

--but to be honest, I couldn't use it for more than half the work I do with mine... but I WOULD love to find an "open" galvo fiber similar to mine with 100 watts available..

Bill George
03-22-2017, 6:03 PM
Use lenses as power moderators

Lenses are cheap . either a 50mm x 50mm or 70x70 for when you need speed and ultimate power density for depth

110mm x 110m , little less power density great all rounder

210 x 210 .. excellent for cutting and engraving rowmark , plastics .. superfast


Combine these lenses with a 30w fiber ...., more or less all you need to cover most bases
Ok Rodne what is your secret for Rowmark with the Fiber? I have not tried compressed air blowing on the material to blow away the color dust over the white to see if that helps yet.

Rodne Gold
03-23-2017, 1:06 PM
Not all the enraving plastics work , here are the ones that do , I do remember that stuff with a white substrate wasnt too good
http://www.tokerbros.co.za/Engraving-laser-and-CNC/Fiber-laser-engraving/

I forget the exact settings .. I passed my fibre on to one of my employees after I experimented so dont have them on hand

If its not in that pic gallery , it probably cant be fibre engraved as I tried every colour combo engraving lam we had on hand .. I got great results cutting some of the engraving plastics with the fiber laser .. also works real well with that thin laserlites type material

Bill George
03-23-2017, 1:22 PM
Not all the enraving plastics work , here are the ones that do , I do remember that stuff with a white substrate wasnt too good
http://www.tokerbros.co.za/Engraving-laser-and-CNC/Fiber-laser-engraving/

I forget the exact settings .. I passed my fibre on to one of my employees after I experimented so dont have them on hand

If its not in that pic gallery , it probably cant be fibre engraved as I tried every colour combo engraving lam we had on hand .. I got great results cutting some of the engraving plastics with the fiber laser .. also works real well with that thin laserlites type material

I had a customer for who I used LaserMag for tags. I got that to work on my Fiber and it took a lot of trial and error. She had not ordered for months and since I sold my ULS CO2 I told her to find someone else. But she insisted so I got it done on the Fiber.
I also use the aluminum anodized tags from Chewbarkas they look great for name tags.

Kristian Matz
03-23-2017, 1:29 PM
If you talking about a moving table, Ray Fine can build it. I discussed with them a small table that uses stepper motors and it was like $600.



Do you know if such a machine exists Gary, or would that be a custom build from someone like Jimani? I'm still doing lots of 20" x 42" stainless panels and they are a real pain. Good money, but a pain. I'm guessing something like this would run in the neighborhood of $60-$70k or more.

Kev Williams
03-23-2017, 2:45 PM
Talked to a guy yesterday that said he could take my fiber, mount the scanhead to a 24x24" gantry, set it up with the needed software to drive it all and make sure it works, AND change out my 30w source for a 50w, all for 6 bills... and I keep the 30w source as a spare...

With a moving gantry taking care of the working area I could swap out the 160 lens for a 50--- the way higher power density coupled with a 50w laser-- All for less $$ than a separate 50 watt laser...

this really has my wheels turning--

Rodne Gold
03-23-2017, 3:34 PM
I think you might have issues aligning the galvo head engraving and the moving table "tiles"

Kev Williams
03-23-2017, 4:56 PM
I was assured it wouldn't be an issue, supposed to be all automatic, but I do agree with you, I've seen how well my rotary lines up stuff!

However, the rotary 'text mark' feature works flawlessly... I figure a gantry could seam text together the same way, and my work is predominately text...

mike wallis
03-23-2017, 9:05 PM
Kev,
This sounds interesting. If you don't mind sharing I'd like to inquire with your contact as well. If needed you can PM me.

Jacob John
07-29-2017, 6:20 PM
There are two main things that you can do better with a 50 vs 30:
1. Faster in all types of engraving - surface or deep, even staining will be faster.
2. Larger working area - the larger working area you have means you have less power on the outer limits, with a 50 watt you can extend those limits farther and still have plenty of power to get the job done.

If you really want more throughput and you are not needing to work large areas, then you'd be better off with two 30's vs one 50. I'm not sure how much power you would need to run twice as fast as a 30, but it is certainly more than 60, probably more like 80 or 90. For the price of a 90 you could buy 3 or 4 30's.

If you need a larger working area, 175mmx175mm is pretty comfortable for a 30, then you can either choose a 50 (or higher) or a 30 with an X-Y stage. The X-Y stage is probably more versatile and I'm not sure how it would compare to a 50 price wise.

It all comes down to what you want and need. My two 30's are serving me quite well and I don't regret not getting a 50 instead.


So what is the max engraving area for the various wattages? Is it 175mm for 30W? Is there a reference sheet that I could read on this? That would help in determining what i would feel comfortable paying in terms of wattage versus cost.

Jacob John
07-30-2017, 12:46 PM
Talked to a guy yesterday that said he could take my fiber, mount the scanhead to a 24x24" gantry, set it up with the needed software to drive it all and make sure it works, AND change out my 30w source for a 50w, all for 6 bills... and I keep the 30w source as a spare...

With a moving gantry taking care of the working area I could swap out the 160 lens for a 50--- the way higher power density coupled with a 50w laser-- All for less $$ than a separate 50 watt laser...

this really has my wheels turning--


FWIW CAMFive claims it can be done. Can't link their eBay ad, but "X-Y TABLE (optional): The adjustable table travels X-Y to be able to engrave in different areas when working with bigger objects, without having to move them, this is a great feature when using the rotary attachment. Not included with this price but available for purchase for $675.00."

If this would work, it would really take fibers a huge step forward.

Gary Hair
07-31-2017, 2:36 PM
So what is the max engraving area for the various wattages? Is it 175mm for 30W? Is there a reference sheet that I could read on this? That would help in determining what i would feel comfortable paying in terms of wattage versus cost.

I don't know that anyone really has a definitive answer to that question. For one, it depends entirely on what you are marking and the type of mark. ie. For black anodized aluminum you could get away with a pretty large marking area if all you are doing is bleaching out the color. If, on the other hand, you were deep marking hard tempered steel or hard coat anodized aluminum then you would lose quite a bit of area if you want the mark to be consistent over the entire area.

Gary Hair
07-31-2017, 2:38 PM
FWIW CAMFive claims it can be done. Can't link their eBay ad, but "X-Y TABLE (optional): The adjustable table travels X-Y to be able to engrave in different areas when working with bigger objects, without having to move them, this is a great feature when using the rotary attachment. Not included with this price but available for purchase for $675.00."

If this would work, it would really take fibers a huge step forward.

Check jimani - they have this completely resolved and working perfectly. To say the will cost you a small fortune is fairly accurate, but you do get what you pay for - support as well as quality hardware and software. If you have the jobs that require this technology then you'll easily afford it.