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Craig Hogarth
02-12-2007, 8:15 PM
Between two lasers, which you you take?

12x16 30 watt
12x24 25 watt

Budget is keeping me to only these two options. Which is more important, size or power.

BTW, everything I plan on making will be able to fit on a 12x16 table. But another member on here mentioned that the smaller table is not large enough for the standard size material.

Dave Fifield
02-12-2007, 8:27 PM
The 12" x 24" one - assuming you can upgrade the laser power later if you want to. The laser power will limit material thickness you can do in one cut and may increase the time you have to spend on some jobs, however, the table size limit means you will not be able to accept some jobs at all.

See if you can't borrow a couple of $K from a relative so you can get the 12" x 24" 45W model that you really want (need)......

HTH,

Nancy Laird
02-12-2007, 8:33 PM
Craig,

If you are talking about "standard-size" material, and you are going to order it from various sources, you can do one of two things: either order the 12x24 25W, or figure out a way to cut down your material to fit your 12x16 table. If you are using primarily wood or acrylic, these will cut on a table saw. If you are using marble, your supplier can cut to fit your needs. I believe (but don't hold me to this b/c I'm not an expert) that granite can also be ordered from your supplier in the sizes you need.

We have a 20W and it's powerful enough to vector-cut 1/8" material (birch plywood) in one pass. We have also engraved acrylic on it, as well as marble (but it didn't do "wonderfully well"). It does a great job rastering almost any kind of wood - we've put oak, maple, and birch on it with great results, and our bubinga pen boxes come out looking great with the 20W. It's actually going to be a matter of personal preference for you.

You're going to have to look at WHAT you are planning to do with the laser and see which one will do what you want to do.

One thing you might want to consider is which machine will accept a rotary engraver, because once you get it, you're gonna want to try glassware. Our little 20W doesn't have the plug-in for a rotary; we use the 40W for that.

Just my .02, for what it's worth.

Nancy

Mike Null
02-12-2007, 9:13 PM
The 12x24 is a no brainer. Used one for 8 years.

Mark Plotkin
02-12-2007, 9:15 PM
Craig,

If these are the only two choices, I would go with the 12 x 24. Being able to use quarter sheets of Romark and other materials is nice. When doing awards and plaques the extra six inches is nice also. I would second Dave's comments, I have the 12 x 24 45 watt with rotary and am very happy with it. At the time of purchase, I was only doing pens and a smaller lower watt machine would have been fine. Now over a year later I am glad I went larger and more watts. I still do pens, but am working on a pair of 12 x 24 donor plaques, one with 264 names on it. I also do member plaques for chambers of commerce and getting 6 or 8 up at a time is good. Size matters!

Good luck,

Craig Hogarth
02-12-2007, 9:42 PM
I do have enough available credit to purchase a much larger and more powerful unit, but I'm trying to keep it as inexpensive as possible.

As for what we're making, we're figuring about 40% wine bottles, 40% plaques and the rest is misc. My wife is currently active duty military and will be separating in a couple months. She's pretty much got everyone on board with plaques. I'm a mortgage broker and will be using my contacts in the real estate industry, primarily making closing gifts for realtors. Engraved wine bottles, keychains and clocks are what I've had the best responses from. In addition, we have a friend who owns a gift shop (will be making various engrave touristy items) and another owns a scrapbooking store (will be making rubber stamps).

I really want to keep it at 13k as it's the limit on my largest credit card. Because of the loss of my wife's income and volatility of my own industry, I have a sneaking suspicion that my other cards will become a necessity of life.

But at a minimum, wood plaques and glass bottles are what we need to make. Would the 45 watt really make that big of a difference?

Gary Hair
02-13-2007, 12:20 AM
Would the 45 watt really make that big of a difference?

Not in my opinion. I bought a 32x20, 30 watt machine. Higher power would allow me to engrave faster because I could increase the speed due to more power, but I don't think it would save me enough time to justify the higher price tag. For just a few thousand more than your "budget" I purchased my laser - you might want to shop around a bit more and see what you can find.

Gary

Frank Corker
02-13-2007, 11:34 AM
Gary is right, search a little further for something with the larger bed but the bigger laser power, your choices are a lot more in the US than we have. Here in the UK people tend to buy the bigger more powerful machines but the keep hold of their other ones.

Here are a few options for you to try. On occasions people put their machines up for sale on other sites e.g. engravingetc.org (don't forget the www) they have a section about 3/4 of way down page on left hand side for secondhand equipment. worldofengraving.com (don't forget the www) also have a section called 'buy and sell'.

Try looking at the Epilog website they have the pre-owned section (http://www.epiloglaser.com/preowned.htm) and I am sure that most companies who sell them also have them about.

Personally, I would explore these options before committing yourself to buying something that you most definitely are unsure on. You are between the devil and the deep blue sea and it is a dilemma. Both machines are quite low powered but to get the larger bed you have to sacrifice the power. Widen your choices and I'm sure you will find the right machine for you and at the right price. Good luck with either of the choices that you make.

Rob Bosworth
02-14-2007, 12:59 PM
Do we have any other ideas as to who might specialize in the sales of refurbished laser engraving systems? Does anyone have any idea as to who is the oldest company that specializes in used laser engraving systems?

Come on PEOPLE! Do I have to do it all?:D

Mike Hood
02-14-2007, 1:32 PM
www.usedlasers.com (http://www.usedlasers.com)

I've had GREAT experiences with Signwarehouse.com. I chose a larger bed size, but with their machines you get pass-through doors front and back, so the table size limitation is only for width. I've actually cut items as large as 28" x 96" (UAV airaft parts).

What branch of the military is your wife in? There is a HUGE market for laser engraved plaques, shadow boxes memorabilia. She should explore that avenue.

Craig Hogarth
02-14-2007, 1:50 PM
www.usedlasers.com (http://www.usedlasers.com)

I've had GREAT experiences with Signwarehouse.com. I chose a larger bed size, but with their machines you get pass-through doors front and back, so the table size limitation is only for width. I've actually cut items as large as 28" x 96" (UAV airaft parts).

What branch of the military is your wife in? There is a HUGE market for laser engraved plaques, shadow boxes memorabilia. She should explore that avenue.

She's Navy and stationed up at NAS Whidbey Island, but will be a civilian in about a month.

We're working on an NEX vendor contract and hopefully it shouldn't be too hard to generate some business from the base.

Dave Jones
02-14-2007, 5:23 PM
Do we have any other ideas as to who might specialize in the sales of refurbished laser engraving systems? Does anyone have any idea as to who is the oldest company that specializes in used laser engraving systems?

I suspect you are thinking about Access Business Solutions, in Hudson WI. I think it's run by Rob something or other (aka "Boz").

They sell used lasers and accessories at http://www.usedlasers.com/ and come with a warrantee.

Very nice people. While I haven't bought anything from them I did speak to them at one point about a filter system I was considering.

(how'd I do Boz?)

Bruce Volden
02-14-2007, 7:22 PM
Do we have any other ideas as to who might specialize in the sales of refurbished laser engraving systems? Does anyone have any idea as to who is the oldest company that specializes in used laser engraving systems?

Come on PEOPLE! Do I have to do it all?:D


I personally have bought a used laser system (sorry 'Bos it was from the original purchaser:( ) and I absolutely would NOT be afraid of buying one of these machines used (major mfgr's)!! There is nothing wrong with a used piece of equipment. I did take it for a "test drive" before writing the check. However, there was no warranty once I got it home. I have been using it now for about 7 years :D :D and have not put 1 dime into it! Rob, what think ye of LMI's equipment, you're up there in their neck 'o the woods right??


Bruce

Brent Vander Weil
02-15-2007, 11:27 AM
I bought my Epilog MINI 18 35W from Boz... was a good value and the right price. I even had a minor issue just after I got it... I got Rob on the phone... we worked together and he even hooked me up with Epilog tech support... It was an example of customer service like none I have seen recently. I originally bought mine for a hobby/minor income hobby... now I am trying to get positioned to take this thing full time... If I was starting over I would go at least 12x24 and then all the wattage you can get for your money... Just IMHO

Lee DeRaud
02-15-2007, 12:06 PM
Between two lasers, which you you take?

12x16 30 watt
12x24 25 watt

Budget is keeping me to only these two options. Which is more important, size or power.

BTW, everything I plan on making will be able to fit on a 12x16 table. But another member on here mentioned that the smaller table is not large enough for the standard size material.Sounds like you're looking at ULS machines: IIRC, the 30W VL200 and the 25W VL300 are pretty close to the same price.

I admit I'm biased: I have the 25W VL200 and haven't had much issue with the table size. (Or power for that matter, although the settings I use indicate that my tube really runs about 28W.)

But...if you think you might want/need more power in the future, note that the VL200 tops out at 30W (IIRC). I believe the reason is that the higher-power tubes are longer and won't fit the (narrower) VL200 chassis. OTOH, note that all the accessories (e.g. cutting table, rotary fixture) are more expensive for the VL300.

Mike Hood
02-15-2007, 1:21 PM
She's Navy and stationed up at NAS Whidbey Island, but will be a civilian in about a month.

We're working on an NEX vendor contract and hopefully it shouldn't be too hard to generate some business from the base.

I'm retired Navy... I was the AOIC at the NATEC detachment at Whidbey... Boeing now. I live in Lake Stevens.

Shoot me an email an I can share some local insight. Too bad I hadn't caught you a few months ago. I had a 30W Universal with a 1 year tube that I was helping a family sell as part of an estate... went for $2000. A steal for sure.

There is a Laserpro dealer in Granite Falls now, and I'd be happy to show you my Pinnacle ZX (Explorer II) sometime if you wanna see some of the differences.

Rob Bosworth
02-15-2007, 1:52 PM
Bruce, both Diane and I got our laser education at LMI. I was the 5th employee and she was the 6th. We started in 1981 and left there in 1988. Bill Lawson, the original owner and Chief Gadgeteer was very good to us. I spent many years sitting across the desk from Pop Lehner, who is still around and is still cracking jokes and telling stories.

Unfortunately, LMI was sold a few years ago to Preeco. They now specialize in different laser processing equipment. They really do not support the older laser engraving equipment that they made. I do not mean this to be a slam on the new company, but they have gone in a different direction.

I see in your tag line that you have two LMI systems. I'll bet those two systems have been very good to you over the years. Keep your fingers crossed and knock on wood. Parts and technical support are getting harder and harder to find. As long as they are running, keep running them. Eventually they will forsake you, and when they do, you will have a bunch of extra room to set up new (or hopefully used), faster, cheaper, more efficient equipment to replace them.

Rob Bosworth
02-15-2007, 1:54 PM
Dave Jones, you da man. It always make me happy to have someone else sing my praise.:D