View Full Version : New laser power questions + Kern or Trotec

Joe Holden
06-22-2017, 10:47 AM
Hi all,

I cut 3mm ply, and am looking to upgrade to a decent laser from the Chinese ones I use at the moment (currently have 2 x 150w Bodor 1812x lasers and a 3 x 3050 40w HPC lasers). The Bodor ones have been ok, but I'm trying to create art pieces, and they seem to be more geared up for cutting materials quickly and well for sign makers etc rather than creating really clean, high detail engravings and cuts.

I'm thinking about getting either a Kern HSE 50 or a Trotec SP1500. But I'm having trouble choosing which would be better and how many watts I would need.

Currently the fact that you can load and unload from all 4 sides of the Kern makes it seem like the best choice for me... often my work is very intricate and can break if not carefully picked up, so the 'faff' of having to carefully get in and out the doors of the SP1500 does make me think this would be a worse option. So I guess my first question to all you pro's is - do you agree with me and is either really better than the other in a head to head or are they as similar in price as they are in quality?

The only thing that swings me back towards the Trotec is that I am UK based, and there are loads of dealers nearby if there is an issue. I'm not sure of how good the Kern support network is this side of the pond?

My final question is simply - is the difference between a 100w HSE 50 and a 50w HSE 50 simply the tube itself or is there more to it than that? Reason I ask is that when I bought the Bodor lasers I got a spare 150w tube with them for around $1000 US, but the difference in the list price between a 50w and a 100w laser is a hell of a lot more than this... so I'm thinking it would be best to by buy the 50w and then just buy a 100w tube for it separately and save some cash if the 50w was not powerful enough...

Ultimately I've been advised by both Kern and Trotec that 50w will cut 3mm ply adequately, I just wonder if the speed of the cut would be a lot quicker with double the power as I'm hoping to sell a lot of pieces so speed could be a factor in the future. Ultimately I want to get the most out of this investment, so is it worth stumping up the extra for the 100w of power?

Would appreciate any advice, notes or reviews on either company or anyone you think I should speak to.


John Lifer
06-22-2017, 11:24 AM
I don't own either, Both are really nice lasers. But I don't see where the Trotec isn't a 4 sided machine. Everything on their website points to 4 sided access. PLUS you get software that gives you job control, PLUS you can split into two laser machining areas. Load one while laser is cutting the other side. Yes, if you are getting smallest that will work for you, that doesn't matter. But if you have smaller art, it might be significant time savings.
Tubes are not glass and either will be VERY expensive I'd expect so if you want larger power, you better buy initially. And from what I see on BOTH websites is that these flat bed lasers are Mainly CUTTING lasers NOT engraving lasers. I'd Bet $ that your chinese probably will engrave just as well. And probably just about as fast.
Keep us informed, I'd like to know result!

Kev Williams
06-22-2017, 1:07 PM
I'm sure Kern and Trotec will yield higher detail and quality ENGRAVING, but cuts? Not so sure. My 3 synrad-tubed machines don't cut one bit better than my 80w RECI tubed machine. And with some software tweaking of accel and decel speeds, and speed limits on arcs, and dialing in the 2 separate power settings so they play well together, it will produce very smooth and accurate cuts. For all I brag about my LS900 Gravograph, if I run a straight line on any angle faster than 20 speed, the line will be bumpy. Could be a simple matter of belt tightness (which I experimented with years ago- looser belt made for much nicer cut lines, but engraving suffered, and I do WAY more engraving than cutting)..

some adjustments and maybe a fair expenditure of cash on a couple of very decent lenses might be in order first...? :)

Bert Kemp
06-22-2017, 1:54 PM
I think 50 watt cutting will be slow. I'd compromise maybe get 80 watts.I know over 80 watts with a glass tube you can sacrifice engraving not sure about metal or ceramic tubes.

Scott Shepherd
06-22-2017, 5:07 PM
That's a lot of money/machine for 50W or even 80W. If you are spending that much on the machine, bump it up and get well over 100W.

Both companies are quality companies. If I were buying one, it would be a Trotec because of the vast numbers of users out there. Support is great, but when they are closed and you need help, with the Kern, your pool of customers to help you isn't nearly as large as the Trotec. If you have a Job Control question on the Trotec, you can normally have answers in minutes online between here and Facebook user groups. That's worth a lot to me. Nothing is more frustrating than needing help on a Friday evening, and sitting and staring at a machine that's not running until Monday morning comes around.

Robert Bonenfant
06-27-2017, 9:50 PM
I agree with others if your buying a high end laser and your gonna be cutting get a larger tube 150 watt + (For Cutting only) Worth the money

If you havent talk with a Rep, Tell them what your trying to do and theyll help you with your setup. Kern was very helpful and gave me a price over the phone.