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Matthew Herrera
12-29-2017, 7:19 PM
Aloha guys,
I am new to the forum but have been spending quite a bit of time lately reading through posts and trying to determine what laser to purchase.
A little about me, I own an OX CNC mill that I built which had a small 3 watt laser attached to it. This is a Hobby grade CNC and I am no stranger to designing in Inkscape and with converting files for use on my CNC. Iíve even dabbled slightly with editing G code. I have a small wood shop and I would like to start a small side business making unique items that I will sell at our local farmers market here in Hawaii. So I am looking for a decent laser Cutter / engraver that I can use for this business. If business grows I can upgrade to something bigger or better quality but I have read good things about the G.Weike brand and wanted to get opinions of anyone who may own or have used one of these laser cutters.

Do you feel that an LC6090 100w CO2 laser could be a good choice as an entry level machine for this type of work? Think small art, coasters, engraved water bottles, wood jewelry, ect...

I do not plan to seek out large orders from outside businesses at this time. I have work that I will continue to do so this would be more of a side thing for now that I would like to transition into more of a full time gig if business is steady enough.

I have looked at Boss Lasers but learned these are basically upgraded Chinese lasers. The price is double the price that G.weike quoted me. Although US support would be nice, I have a technical background and understand mechanics pretty well so I donít think it would be impossible for me to solve most issues I might come across.

Am I making a good choice with the LC6090? Thanks for the help!

Bert Kemp
12-30-2017, 6:29 AM
Sounds like you did your home work. Gweiki from what I read here seem to be OK . The only thing is I think 100 watts is more then what you need. If engraving is going to be a large part then you might want to go with an 80 watt machine, simply because its harder ti dial down the power for light engraving on smaller objects like you mentioned.

Michael Henriksen
12-30-2017, 10:51 AM
I have a LG900 from G. Weike with a Reci W4 100W tube. It has been in daily use for 10 months now and works fine. The only issues was a limit switch that had to be moved a bit. I also have a 5 year old LG6040 that has been trouble free. I have not had the need to contact GW for support for many years so I can't comment on how good or bad it is. Lasers aren't that complicated and I can do my own servicing and troubleshooting if the need arises. As Bert says, if you mainly do engraving then a W2 80W might be a better option.

Wilbur Harris
12-30-2017, 10:33 PM
G. Weike, Shenhui, etc...all about the same. I'm going with the 80 watt deal as well. Tubes are cheaper and you've probably got a saw for anything too thick for 80 Watts. Alternatively, you can buy a Trotec and be done.

Matthew Herrera
12-31-2017, 4:07 AM
Thanks for the feedback, Michael have you done any engraving Work with the 100w laser? How did it turn out?

Matthew Herrera
12-31-2017, 4:18 AM
Bert, you hit on one of my main concerns. I really want an all around type laser. I actually asked specifically to the G.Weike rep if the 100w laser would be too strong for engraving and she replied no that I could dial down laser power for engraving. However what Iíve been reading from the guys in the field so to speak is that there is a minimum voltage required to trigger a laser and that voltage is higher with a 100w tube vs an 80w tube. Meaning you can only lower the power so much before the laser wonít turn on and that might still be too powerful for fine detail engraving in a 100w tube. Am I understanding that correctly?
Of course it would be nice to be able to cut 1Ē thick wood but I think I could live with 1/2Ē cuts.
What about doing multipass cuts for thicker material? What thickness of solid wood such as Maple could I expect to cut with an 80w tube? Is there some reason a mulitpass cut is not desirable such as charred edges or wider kerf?

Dave Sheldrake
12-31-2017, 7:39 PM
Not a big fan of Weike these days, they used to be great but I've seen and been told of quite a few occasions where aftersales when there has been a problem has been dire or non existent.

Personally for imports Sinjoe have been outstanding with quality components (CCM cutting heads etc) and aftersales to match (Felix Yi)


course it would be nice to be able to cut 1” thick wood but I think I could live with 1/2” cuts.

an "easily affordable" laser is the wrong machine to be cutting 1/2 inch anything with, 1 watt will cut 1 inch wood eventually, it will look terrible and be slow as ice cold molasses but it will do it. The question is what is an acceptable speed for what you wish to do?

1/2 inch at production speeds or profit speeds is in the 200+ watt range (so figure on $5,000+ for a glass tube like an F220)

Multipass cuts are a bit of a bug bear that tend to lead to wider kerf sizes and quite a lot of burning on thick materials and kind of negate the purpose of using a laser for the job to begin with. For cutting woods I rarely ever look at anything over 3/8th if it's for work and that's with access to multi kilowatt CO2 lasers here

Bert Kemp
12-31-2017, 7:49 PM
Correct the higher the tube wattage the more power it will need to fire on the low end. as for cutting 1/2" wood it will take more then 1 pass with an 80 watt probably even with a 100 watt , 1 inch your gonna need a lot more power.


Bert, you hit on one of my main concerns. I really want an all around type laser. I actually asked specifically to the G.Weike rep if the 100w laser would be too strong for engraving and she replied no that I could dial down laser power for engraving. However what Iíve been reading from the guys in the field so to speak is that there is a minimum voltage required to trigger a laser and that voltage is higher with a 100w tube vs an 80w tube. Meaning you can only lower the power so much before the laser wonít turn on and that might still be too powerful for fine detail engraving in a 100w tube. Am I understanding that correctly?
Of course it would be nice to be able to cut 1Ē thick wood but I think I could live with 1/2Ē cuts.
What about doing multipass cuts for thicker material? What thickness of solid wood such as Maple could I expect to cut with an 80w tube? Is there some reason a mulitpass cut is not desirable such as charred edges or wider kerf?

Matthew Herrera
12-31-2017, 8:22 PM
Thanks, good food for thought. I canít afford to justify spending 15-20k on a laser cutter at this point. I still need to nail down the product and market I will focus on. Maybe Iím better off sticking with the CNC mill for thicker materials. It takes quite a while but it gives me a clean finish and 1Ē is no problem.
Iím honestly not too worried about after sales support. I believe between help on this forum and my own abilities I can probably figure out most issues. I will take a look at Sinjoe though as I havenít researched them much. Sounds like 80w is the way to go since I do plan to do some fine engraving work such as the pens my son and I make on the lathe.
Would you say then 3/8Ē could be cut in one pass with an 80w?

By the way happy New Yearís Eve to everyone!

Matthew Herrera
12-31-2017, 8:36 PM
Just found this video of a guy cutting 10mm plywood with an 80w laser.

https://youtu.be/PAcpPGD4Lgw

Kev Williams
01-01-2018, 12:07 AM
I've cut thru 20mm cherry with my 80w-
375094

this corner I lopped off in one pass, at 1mm/sec-
the cut length is only 35mm, so over 30 seconds- but it did it-
this was with a 2" lens....
375095


So I put in my 3" lens thinking the longer focus range would help.
Not even! The lower beam density came into play big time...
look close and you can see that each pass only penetrated about 1/4 the way into the wood-
took 4 passes! I didn't have the cut line long enough to go out the other side, so I snapped off the
piece- notice how angled the kerf ended up at the stop-point--
375096

Ok for a personal project if you have plenty of time, but I can see where even double the power wouldn't be that much faster. Would help with thinner stock tho ;)

Dave Sheldrake
01-01-2018, 8:47 AM
but I can see where even double the power wouldn't be that much faster

Inverse square law Kev :) double the power add's 50% to the speed

Matt, that video is cutting maple box ply, the stuff is dry as a desert and cuts easily but has a really sooty edge, it's common for Chinese companies to use box wood as a demo as it cuts very quickly and even thick sections will cut. The video also uses high pressure air (I would guess around 25 - 30psi) on thick woods this is to make some of the cut Oxygen assisted rather than cut using raw laser power (in effect the laser starts the burn and the air causes it to cut)

Dave Sheldrake
01-01-2018, 8:50 AM
Would you say then 3/8Ē could be cut in one pass with an 80w?

I don't cut anything over 1/4 with an 80 watt or it is too slow to be practical. Remember materials vary a lot as well, 80 watt will cut 1/4 maple ply (liteply) nicely,but will struggle with 1/4 MDF or any hardwoods

Matthew Herrera
01-01-2018, 11:31 PM
Thanks Kev, good to know what it is capable of. Arguably impractical from a time/production stand point but still good to know it is possible!

Matthew Herrera
01-01-2018, 11:38 PM
Thanks Dave, In your opinion what is too slow to be practical. What cutting speed do you use for say 1/4Ē maple?
I also saw a video of a guy cutting 1/2Ē material by cutting 1/4Ē on one side flipping the material and cutting another 1/4Ē to finish the cut. It gave him a clean cut but obviously doubled the time. Iím definitely leaning towards the 80w because I really want the good engraving capability. Rather then a slightly faster cut time with the 100w which Iím not sure would be that drastic anyways.

Dave Sheldrake
01-01-2018, 11:44 PM
1/4 Maple on an 80 watt is going to peak out at about 8mm or so a second on a warm day at 80% power, going to 100 watt you may get another 2 - 3mm per second at double the replacement tube costs

Matthew Herrera
01-01-2018, 11:50 PM
Well you pretty much summed it up there Dave, looks like 80watt it is! I appreciate your help, Happy New Year!

Justin Stark
03-12-2018, 3:15 PM
What software do you guys use to create the cut/engrave files? AutoCad, Corel, etc?

Bill George
03-12-2018, 7:07 PM
Hands down, Corel Draw and it does not need to be the current edition. A legal not pirated version X4 - X6 which I use is fine. A lot of support here for Corel and its more or less the default for most graphics as vinyl, laser and the rest.

Chase Mueller
03-13-2018, 8:21 AM
Hands down, Corel Draw and it does not need to be the current edition. A legal not pirated version X4 - X6 which I use is fine. A lot of support here for Corel and its more or less the default for most graphics as vinyl, laser and the rest.

What makes Corel superior to AI? Is it just because most people on the forum use it or does it really just depend on the type of work you're doing?

Mike Null
03-13-2018, 8:31 AM
Chase
Corel is the software of choice for the entire laser engraving industry--not just this forum. It is compatible with all of the "western" machines. There is an abundance of help available on the internet and even here. While AI can certainly be used, I have found certain quirks or nuisances with it that don't exist with CorelDraw. That said, I am aware of AI's popularity with graphic designers.

Justin Stark
03-13-2018, 9:56 AM
Thanks for the info guys. Have you tried any of the free software such as Inkscape or GIMP?

My LC6090 from G. Weike is on its way so I'm not sure what type of software will be compatible with it.

Bill George
03-13-2018, 10:12 AM
Thanks for the info guys. Have you tried any of the free software such as Inkscape or GIMP?

My LC6090 from G. Weike is on its way so I'm not sure what type of software will be compatible with it.

Get Corel Draw and be done with it. You know it works.

Gary Hair
03-13-2018, 12:35 PM
Thanks for the info guys. Have you tried any of the free software such as Inkscape or GIMP?

My LC6090 from G. Weike is on its way so I'm not sure what type of software will be compatible with it.

You will find people who use Illustrator, Inkscape, GIMP, etc., etc., and have no problems with them at all, however, they are the exception, not the rule. You will also find people who have trouble with Corel, with it's large user-base that's not too surprising though, and because you have such a large user-base support is extremely easy to find.

100% with Bill on this one - get Corel!

Chase Mueller
03-13-2018, 1:21 PM
You will find people who use Illustrator, Inkscape, GIMP, etc., etc., and have no problems with them at all, however, they are the exception, not the rule. You will also find people who have trouble with Corel, with it's large user-base that's not too surprising though, and because you have such a large user-base support is extremely easy to find.

100% with Bill on this one - get Corel!
Coming from an AI user, get Corel. I run into countless issues with AI. Admittedly, they are minor issues that don't affect my jobs much, but I'm also doing very particular "easy" work. Go Corel, it seems to work better, and more people here seem to use it, making it easier to troubleshoot.

Paul Phillips
03-14-2018, 10:16 AM
I think Corel became the go to program because when lasers first hit the market there wasn't much else available besides Corel and Illustrator and Corel was cheaper to get a hold of so was more widely adopted by users, and manufacturers would rather support only one program not many. I know for my Universal they recommended using Corel and all their setup instructions are available online including a custom color pallet that they give you with instructions how to install. FWIW, I use the subscription service for Corel which if you pay for a year comes out to about $15 per month which includes all updates, upgrades, support and downloads for other features if you need them, pretty reasonable IMO. What I also like is that you can install it on up to three different computers as long as you only use it one at a time, it's convenient for me when I want to take my laptop home to work on things. I would be happy to share the set-up/configuration instructions and color pallet with anyone who needs it, just PM me.

Justin Stark
03-24-2018, 1:14 PM
Does it matter which version of Corel Draw I can use on my G. Weike LC6090 laser? It is currently on the way!

Bill George
03-24-2018, 1:32 PM
Does it matter which version of Corel Draw I can use on my G. Weike LC6090 laser? It is currently on the way!

Did you read the answers posted above? :)

Justin Stark
03-24-2018, 10:35 PM
Sorry, Bill. Just wanted to make sure your X4-X6 comment applied to the LC6090. Thanks for the clarification!

Chris Neal
03-25-2018, 11:41 AM
Almost 2 years ago I ordered a G.Weike LG6040 with an 80W RECI laser tube. I had decided on an 80W after reading many pages on this forum, then coming to the conclusion that an 80W could provide a good balance in case I wanted to engrave at some point. My core reason for purchase was to make vector cut parts for products that I manufacture.

When my machine arrived I was impressed with the packaging. It was a very sturdy crate with plenty of protection inside. There were no scratches or dents on the machine, and everything worked. I kept the crate wood for laser practice and the foam for shipping. However during inspection I noticed the tube wasn't the 80W that I'd ordered. It was a 110W. I called Weike to ask what happened there and they basically said "Oh, you got free upgrade". I was ok with that because cutting was the primary goal, but it wasn't what I'd ordered.

After 2 years of use my LG6040 has more than paid for itself, and I'm glad I bought it. The only part that's failed so far was a limit switch. Lightobject had them in stock and that was a quick fix.

Keith Cox
03-25-2018, 11:12 PM
weilke machines are fine i have a lg 500 60 watt and a lc1390 80watt the lg500 does much better engraving . But good luck getting warranty or getting answers they talk good english before sales not so good after sales if you can get them to answer emails ect