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Dave Chase
08-27-2006, 6:56 PM
Hello again,

I was just browsing the Aug. inventory at usedlasers.com and I noticed that the inventory is just about evenly split between the two manufacturers (Epilog and Universal). I also noticed that the Universals are all older machines while the Epilogs tend to be newer. This would indicate to me that people tend to hang onto the Universals longer. Is this true? Are the Universal's a "better" machine than the Epilogs or are they evenly matched?

Dave

Dave Jones
08-27-2006, 9:35 PM
I personally don't think you could use 1 month's availability of used lasers to make a conclusion about quality of brands.

Ashton Waters
08-27-2006, 10:07 PM
Dave,

I'm also trying to make that decision. I just went to the National Business Media conference in Baltimore yesterday. Before that trip I had almost had my mind made up to get an Epilog, but now I'm really leaning towards the Universal. They both seem to be very good machines with good reputations and I've run into about an equal amount of people that will swear by each.

My turning point came yesterday while talking to my area Universal sales rep. He is VERY knowledgeable and made me more comfortable when I think of needing help in the future. Don't get me wrong, my Epilog sales rep is a great guy but wasn't as knowledgeable when it came to the technical stuff.

The Universal rep also told me that Universal is the only machine that makes all of it's own parts so they are not at the mercy of a independant manufacturer for parts. He said that also meant that parts could almost always be shipped out "Next Day" so it meant less down time. I didn't hear that from the other rep. Maybe he said it and I just didn't hear it, but I don't think so.

Anyway, I'd love to hear any opinions or stories from both Epilog and Universal laser owners/ operators. Thanks, and good luck Dave.

Ashton

Mitchell Andrus
08-27-2006, 10:41 PM
I stayed away from Universal just because I heard they make all of their own parts. Single source-point supply usually ends the supply of spare parts if the company goes out of business. Of course, I can't say any of the other companies won't leave their owners stranded someday...

Mitch

Ashton Waters
08-27-2006, 11:09 PM
One of the points my rep made was that if a third party parts supplier changes its part, goes out of business or dorps that part, the company you bought from will have to retro fit someone elses part and during this time you are without a laser. I guess you just have to make your decision and hope for the best.

Ashton

Dave Jones
08-27-2006, 11:27 PM
I've only needed one part for my Epilog ( a replacement lens which was damaged by the previous owner, since I bought mine used). They shipped it out that day via overnight delivery. All the other stories I've heard about Epilog sending parts also were sent out overnight. So I don't think there's any problem having to wait for Epilog parts.

One thing about using standard parts made by other manufacturers is that many mechanical parts are made by multiple companies, so it's not an issue if one supplier stops selling a specific part. I do not know if all Epilog parts are multi-sourced, but you know the Universal ones aren't. I find it hard to believe they manufacture everything. Things like bearings, case hardened shafts, lenses, mirrors, etc... will be more reliable if made by companies that specialize in such things.

I know Universal makes their own lasers. But I doubt they make their own wire, connectors, circuit board components, etc... Both companies obviously make their own cabinets and specialized brackets, etc...

Joe Pelonio
08-28-2006, 8:26 AM
I've only needed one part for my Epilog ( a replacement lens which was damaged by the previous owner, since I bought mine used). They shipped it out that day via overnight delivery. All the other stories I've heard about Epilog sending parts also were sent out overnight. So I don't think there's any problem having to wait for Epilog parts.

Same experience, 3 parts I've gotten all overnighted their expense.

I'm willing to bet the reason for the larger percentage of used Epilogs is their marketing is working. People think they are going to get rich selling
laser made crafts then discover that you need some production work and that's hard to find, so they end up selling their machine.

Mitchell Andrus
08-28-2006, 8:39 AM
Joe, I couldn't agree more. SUV's get the same marketing treatment - I mean really.... how often do you need to get through a swollen stream?

Would anyone like to buy a used "Kitchen Magician"?

We all find out eventually that its gotta be Business first, Need second, Laser cutter to fill the need third. Too bad so many go out and buy the biggest laser, table saw, cash register with no plan for it's use.

Mitch

Steve McKee
08-28-2006, 8:48 AM
And who doesn't have a daily need to slice shoe leather or a metal can with their Ginsu Knives? One thing to remember...when you're talking to a sales rep they'll promise you the world, I think they were all military recruiters once.

Mike Null
08-28-2006, 8:54 AM
I started with a Universal a little over 8 years ago. In the 36th month of warranty (they had 36 months then) we decided we had a tube problem. ULS sent me a meter to check it; it was indeed going out.

They sent a new tube overnight at their expense and I installed it in a matter of minutes and was back in business. I had a lightning strike nearby and burned out a controller. They identified the problem by phone and again sent the new part overnight. This time it cost $190 for the part and shipping but it was out of warranty.

I just bought a new machine (not a ULS) and sold my ULS to one of my customers who is very happy with it.

For me there never was any rep help. 8 years and no rep help--but the tech support is very good and that's what you really need. If you have a rep who can help you great but the tech support is the critical element to consider. It is not the rep's job to provide tech support and 90% are not qualified to do it.

To answer the next question, I'm happy with my new machine but I wonder everyday whether I made the right decision.

ULS drivers are second to none.

Dave Chase
08-28-2006, 9:57 AM
I personally don't think you could use 1 month's availability of used lasers to make a conclusion about quality of brands.
Dave, I've been comparing lasers for a few months and the trend seems to be that most of the used ULS machines are older than the Epilogs. I have found some older Epilog Summit's on Ebay but most are newer machines.

Dave Chase
08-28-2006, 10:03 AM
I think I have to agree that the distributor/area rep is the key to the machine. The best machine in the world is useless if it's down and you don't have the support to back it up. That being said, I'd have to side with ULS. I've met with the Epilog rep down here and I wasn't impressed with his presentation of the equipment. The ULS rep seemed much more helpful.

Robert Bosworth
08-30-2006, 12:07 PM
It's a conspiracy -- we take all of the older Epilog machines out back, one quick karate chop to the power suppply, and then bury them.

Nah... it's just the way the list is stacked up this month. Next month it may all be older Epilog machines and brand new ULS machines. It just comes down to whatever we can get our hands on, and some months a bunch of Epilogs pop up and then the next month all the ULS come around.

Keep in mind we also do a pretty good job of locating different machines if we don't have something you are looking for.

Joe Pelonio
08-30-2006, 2:31 PM
I think I have to agree that the distributor/area rep is the key to the machine. The best machine in the world is useless if it's down and you don't have the support to back it up. That being said, I'd have to side with ULS. I've met with the Epilog rep down here and I wasn't impressed with his presentation of the equipment. The ULS rep seemed much more helpful.
I've run into that too, our rep put on an open house and I ended up having to help him with some Corel questions that people had and he couldn't answer them. He's since switched to a different laser brand.
Let's face it, this is a relatively new industry and there are not likely to be that many experienced reps around. Maybe some of us should switch to that career.

Mike Mackenzie
08-30-2006, 3:26 PM
Maybe some of us should switch to that career.

I would probably stick with what you are doing being a laser rep is not as glorious or lucrative as you may think. I have been doing this for 16+ years and I could not imagine the headaches that would happen for someone new.

I could never rely on just sales that is why we do the support and service as well. This in my opinion is the reason we have a good reputation within the industry.

I often wonder how, just a "sales rep" can survive without any supplemental income.

Sales of laser equipment is extremely competitive and in todays world most of the systems do the same thing. So we feel that it is important to Mr. customer to explain what they get after they buy the system.

It is probably more important than what the system can actually do.

Mike Null
08-30-2006, 10:10 PM
Mike:

You have to admit that you and Roy Brewer are exceptions to the rule. In my 8 plus years I haven't seen a single rep who could deal with technical issues or with Corel issues. Not that Corel issues are anybody's responsibility but the operators.

Factory tech support has been very good at ULS, Epilog and now at Trotec. And I think that's what you have to consider more than whether you find the rep to be an engaging fellow.

Kim Vellore
09-08-2006, 7:04 PM
I bought a Epilog 24TT 45 Watt on Ebay and the laser head was dead (very low output, it will cut only paper), It was too late to return to seller because I took my time to set it up properly with exhaust and air assist. I opened up the laser, got the manufacturer of the laser head and contacted them for a replacement, but with the part # they told me it was OEM and no they do not sell spares, they asked me to contact Epilog instead. I called Epilog and the techs at Epilog worked with me for hours over the phone trying to debug/revive the unit at the end of the day they sent me a MOBO and the laser head for replacement.
The point I am trying to make is It is very rare for a company to spent so much time and resources to support their product that is not even under warranty. I call them with a few questions now and then and they are very prompt to respond I contact them with a question via email and they call me back over the phone with an answer. Obviously I donít have experience with Universal but can highly recommend the Epilog support team as being very smart and responsive. The sales rep is just a channel and one cannot vouch for a company based on them.

Kim

Glenn Corser
09-08-2006, 7:49 PM
We bought an Epilog Legend 32 from Rob at www.usedlasers.com (http://www.usedlasers.com) a couple of years ago. It was nothing but trouble, we replaced belts, lenses, and the laser tube (Rob sold it with a 6 month factory warranty). Spent hours on the phone with Peck and the crew - they tried very hard but in the end it still wouldn't perform properly. Rob worked with us and kept up with everything and when it was clear that the thing wouldn't work right he sent us a Universal (with an upgrade from 35 watts to 60 for an additional $1k) that we have not had a bit of trouble with. He also paid shipping on the new machine from Wisconsin to Austin and shipping on the old one from Austin to Golden.

Mike Mackenzie helped us with a few settings and we have been fine ever since. There are plenty of people who are very happy with Epilog so I'm sure we just got a lemon (Legend 32 may not have been their best effort), this is more to say that Rob Bosworth is a good guy to do business with and Mike is a great asset to any Universal owner.

Dave Jones
09-09-2006, 12:48 PM
I bought a used Epilog. Not refurbished, just plain "used". The previous owner had damaged the surface of the lens, so I bought a new one of those ($108). I have not had a single problem with this machine. It has been working flawlessly.

I'm not saying this makes Epilog any better than ULS or vice-versa. Just that not all used machines have problems. Mine has been perfect so far.

Carlos Chiossone
09-12-2006, 12:32 PM
I am speaking to 2 laser companies to DEMO their units. I think getting a commission based on the sale is better than repping them. I teach rapid prototyping and have sold CNC mills by demoing them in the classes. My classes are directly to companies usually.

The best part is that we know what we are talking about and can supply real samples that are not prefabs for sales. People like this. So talk to your sales rep and offer your services to demo the units in a real environment. Hey I get $75-$250 per person in NYC. When someone is going to invest 10K on a machine $250 is worth it.

c