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Scott Shepherd
08-18-2007, 1:34 PM
It's a BOY!!!! You can tell by the way he's dressed in blue ;)

The stork delivered him yesterday afternoon and he was needing material changes last night. He appears to be quite happy in his new home and we couldn't be happier to have him.

We'll be playing all day today. I have a feeling he's going to eat a lot. I'm going to buy him some food right now and we'll see where it goes from there.

Here's his baby photo. He's only 2 days old in this photo (we 2nd day aired the stork service, and he was born on Wednesday). We haven't named him yet, but his ID tag from the hospital said he was PLS4.60. I can't see making him grow up with that name, getting teased by all the other little machines around, so we'll rename him soon :)

Mike Null
08-18-2007, 1:45 PM
Scott

Congratulations. That is a beautiful toy.

Joe Pelonio
08-18-2007, 1:55 PM
Congrats on the new addition. You won't be getting much sleep in the near future!

Brian Conklin
08-18-2007, 2:28 PM
to have an addition to the household that will actually contribute? I've heard too many stories about how the children cost over $400,000....I would say you did good....

And, you don't have to chase him all over the place keeping him in line....

Kim Vellore
08-18-2007, 2:31 PM
Congratulations, all I can say is SHE's a beauty...

Kim

Stephen Beckham
08-18-2007, 2:44 PM
Where's the belly button on that thing... Quite proud you are I'm sure... I'm suffering from a bit of Laser Envy...

Have fun...

Nancy Laird
08-18-2007, 3:05 PM
It's a BOY!!!! You can tell by the way he's dressed in blue ;) :)

CONGRATULATIONS on the new addition to your family. I know you're proud!!! (;) ;) ;) )

So how come you got a blue one? My two are two-toned grey.:confused:

Nancy (125 days)

James & Zelma Litzmann
08-18-2007, 3:25 PM
Congratulation, what great news, we only hope you have as much fun with your new addition as most of us have. But I have to warn you they do eat a tremendous amount, it's never ending . . . but the good news is what goes in usually come out looking a lot better than it did going in.

Have fun.

God Bless,
James & Zelma (Psalms 18:2)

Scott Shepherd
08-18-2007, 3:46 PM
Thanks to all. I'd send cigars, but you know how people are about smoking these days :)

To those who don't know, this is a direct replacement for a new Epilog Helix that had problems and they couldn't resolve. So we've really been fighting the machine for 6 months or so, and it's nice to finally have it resolved to where we have a machine that we can apparently put material in, run it, and not have the issues we've been having.

I had a job last week and it took me 14 tries on a piece of scrap to get it where the quality was close to acceptable. I just ran the same job with factory settings once and it was better than I came up with on the 14 other tries last week. What a pleasant surprise.

Once I get some hours on it, I'll post more about it. But for now, it's eating everything I can throw at it that I couldn't do before, which is extremely encouraging. Let's hope the story continues down that path!

Nancy, we didn't pick Blue, it's what the stork brought us, and we're just happy he's here (despite what Kim thinks, it's still a boy- I know, opened his hatch and checked, plus, he weighs too much to be a girl :) ).

Nancy Laird
08-18-2007, 4:12 PM
Thanks to all. I'd send cigars, but you know how people are about smoking these days :)

Haven't you ever heard of CHOCOLATE cigars???:D :D

Nancy (125 days)

Scott Shepherd
08-18-2007, 4:19 PM
I can't keep 'em lit Nancy :D

Bruce Volden
08-18-2007, 4:47 PM
Scott,

Congrats!! warning ~ as a licensed foster parent I must warn you to take good care of "him". If not social services COULD intervene and I will HAVE to take him off your hands. :D

Bruce

Larry Bratton
08-19-2007, 12:55 PM
Thanks to all. I'd send cigars, but you know how people are about smoking these days :)

To those who don't know, this is a direct replacement for a new Epilog Helix that had problems and they couldn't resolve. So we've really been fighting the machine for 6 months or so, and it's nice to finally have it resolved to where we have a machine that we can apparently put material in, run it, and not have the issues we've been having.

I had a job last week and it took me 14 tries on a piece of scrap to get it where the quality was close to acceptable. I just ran the same job with factory settings once and it was better than I came up with on the 14 other tries last week. What a pleasant surprise.

Once I get some hours on it, I'll post more about it. But for now, it's eating everything I can throw at it that I couldn't do before, which is extremely encouraging. Let's hope the story continues down that path!

Nancy, we didn't pick Blue, it's what the stork brought us, and we're just happy he's here (despite what Kim thinks, it's still a boy- I know, opened his hatch and checked, plus, he weighs too much to be a girl :) ).
Scott:
Congratulations on your new addition. I still say it's a shame that you had to "add" to your family the way you were forced to.
About 4 months into my Epilog now and have had nothing beyond operator error. Knocking on wood!

Scott Shepherd
08-20-2008, 8:56 PM
Happy Birthday! We'll, the big fella is growing like a weed now that he's one year old!

One year later, I still feel like he's smarter than I am, but we'll turn that corner sooner or later (probably later rather than sooner).

I have to say this last year of owning this laser has been almost a joy. I've had to make zero calls to tech support for any machine issues (made a couple to try and understand some things better), but nothing for mechanical or quality related issues.

Virtually no maintenance at all. That's what makes me happy. No dirty encoders, no pulling covers off with an allen wrench to clean something that shouldn't be getting dirty anyway. No nothing. Only thing I really do is clean the lens (which comes off with 3 knurled screws with your fingers-no wrenches). I wipe the inside down every so often, but overall, it seems to keep itself pretty clean.

There are features that impress the heck out of me and allow me to do things I didn't think I would ever be able to do. One thing in particular that I mentioned in another thread was small text. The driver has a setting called "Image Enhancement" and within that, it has 4 settings which all control something different. You put a piece of material in, type in small text, crank the speed up to 100 and run it. If you've been lasering for any time now, you'll be aware of the issues that ascenders and descenders pose with text. The "core" of the text can be good, but the dot in an "i" or the leg of a "p" can look light. What this feature does is to allow you to adjust those 4 settings (each one controls a different aspect of the text), until the image being burned is perfectly consistent. On a recent job, I posted I was burning 3 pt. fonts at 100% speed and they were sharp and clear. I neglected to mention that it was all lowercase letters in that 3 pt. font.

One thing that controls the quality of engraving is the starting and ending point of the burn. When the head travels from right to left, it burns in a slightly different place on the next line down, when it's burning from right to left. If you look at engraving under a magnifying glass, you'll see the mismatch. With the tuning, you can eliminate that, which gives you a razor sharp image.

I can honestly say this feature has gotten me work and kept work with me.

I'm just really impressed with the control you have over the actual burn. It allows me to do things I couldn't do with our previous machine.

I can't say enough about having the job control software either. I don't use the estimate feature much, but every once in a while, I do use it. But I love the job control software and I wouldn't buy another laser that didn't have it. The ability to control the "Z" depth instead of having to focus on parts all the time is a real time saver. Not only a time saver, but having that ability to record the thickness of the part with the job is excellent. Also, being able to go back to a job I ran last week, month, or year is something I do almost every day. You can see every setting that was used for a job done a year ago. One annoying thing I used to have to do was send a job over, run it, then make adjustments to the speed/power while it was running to get the right look. Once the machine was turned off, the new settings were lost. With the job control software, anything changes on the dashboard of the laser is written back to the job and saved. So you can change things on the fly, PPI, speed, Power,etc. and when you have it perfect, it's actually saved in the job file. You can also pull up repeat jobs without having to do anything. If it ran perfect last time, pull that job up, hit the go button and it's just like the last run. Really, really nice to work with.

The built in color mapping is a breeze to use and I use it all the time. I raster, vector mark, and vector cut all in one job, all the time. It's a simple as changing the color of the line. Nothing that has to be done in any advanced section of a driver. It's how it works all the time, not something that has to be messed with over and over.

I love, love, love the "Z" axis of the machine. No plungers, no nothing, just use the slider bar to set the thickness of the material and it's done. Also, you can set different colors to different "Z" levels, so you can raster in focus, vector (or raster) another color at a different "Z" level, and it moves it during the job automatically. I use that all the time for cutting thicker materials. I like to raster in focus, then set the focus further down into the work for the thicker material. Really love this feature and really use it every single day.

Probably a lot more I could say about it on the positive side, but I'll turn the table a little...

The negative side, in my opinion. Rotary Axis. Super accurate, super capabilities. Can't understand the flexibility of it in some respects. There is an adjustment factor where you can adjust your entire image by a ratio. So if you're image needs to perfectly match, you can change the rotational ratio on the axis to make it match perfectly. Excellent feature for precision work.

But.....but....it's tough to use. You can't just take anything you want and put it in the machine and hit go. It has to fit in the nosecone and reverse cone on the headstock and tailstock. Not always easily done. You can, however, engrave a mug with a handle, but doing a variety of shapes can be a real challenge. A small Maglite won't fit, so you have to make spacers or fixtures to make that work and the focal length of the lens starts to hit the top of the rotary axis around the 3/4" diameter mark. So engraving a pen, or anything small becomes a serious problem. In my opinion, the rotary attachment needs to have a small chuck on it and it should be about 1/2" shorter off the top end, so the focal length can be set to dead centerline if you wanted to. It's a very powerful tool, but it's no where near as easy to use as I'd like to see it.

Well, that's enough for now, but I thought I would wish our baby boy a Happy 1st Birthday and hope for many more in the future.

Joe Pelonio
08-20-2008, 9:02 PM
You've made me feel guilty, my laser has passed it's 4th birthday with no celebrations at all the whole time. :(

David Dustin
08-20-2008, 9:49 PM
Well that looks like one happy universl customer.. noted....

Scott Shepherd
08-20-2008, 10:27 PM
Yes David, I can say I'm a very happy Universal customer. I can't say that about our last laser. Having said that, I think it's really important to understand what your needs and wants are in a system. I also think that most people who go to buy a laser have never been exposed to them. So many of the real world features that are needed and used, aren't on the radar screen for a new laser buyer.

That's why I post these posts, to help educate people on features that I personally need in my business (and others may not need in theirs). There are some stark differences in the top 5 machines and the companies that sell them. Most of those differences wouldn't be apparent to the new buyer.

There are several huge myths out there being marketed by some companies and those myths need to be debunked. One myth is that servos are better than steppers on a laser. Pure myth. Pure truth on larger CNC machines, but pure myth on lasers.

I have never seen a GCC, so I can't comment on them, but I have seen a handful of other brands, and I've owned 2 of them now, and I can say that if I had to buy another laser, it would be a Trotec or a Universal because both have job control software, both have the Z-Axis (if I recall correctly), and both require no cleaning of encoder strips, or various other items to keep the quality up.

I'd buy another Universal in a second, but I also believe Trotec have an outstanding product.

Dave Fifield
08-20-2008, 10:36 PM
It plugs in, so it must be a boy....

Larry Bratton
08-20-2008, 10:45 PM
Scott:
Congratulations on your success. Here's a report on mine.

I replied to your post of 1 year ago, and I am now 16 months into my Epilog EXT. So far, Epilog has replaced 1 motor..don't recall which one it was now. They have helped me numerous times with tech support on various issues. To date, they still have not fixed the issue with the air assist line that can hang up the carriage on full table engraving, or at least not that I know of. I've done a homemade fix for that, but I still feel it should have been engineered correctly to begin with.

The new driver is OK. I too wish it had a time estimator built in.

I wish I had Z axis control you speak of with your machine. I run a CNC router and I miss the same type of control in the laser that I have there.

Otherwise, I am pretty happy with it. If I had it to do over, I would buy more power. I like the big table I have. I can turn out a lot of product with it. I like their tech support. Contrary to your experience with Epilog, mine has been quite good in general. Considering the feature comparison though, I would consider Universal favorably on a future purchase.

Wishing for your continued success!

Barb Macdonald
08-20-2008, 11:54 PM
Hmmm, Peter, yeah, that's always a good boys name:)
Or Dick?
I know, bad joke...
sorry, couldn't resist:o
PeterLarrySimon?
I love the name simon....
Abigail is lonely, I've been kinda sickish....
Congrats on his first birthday, I did nothing for Abigail....
Except make her work:)
And of course, clean her encoder:)
Maybe THAT's why I've had problems. PMS in machines?
My Xenetechs will crash if I turn them on for a $50.00 job. They only work, when I have LOTS for them to do. How do they KNOW?
Weird:)
Have a great day
Barb

Paul Brinkmeyer
08-21-2008, 11:22 AM
4.0 lense and the chuck solve both of your issues.
I have done full wrap logos on pens, turns out really nice.





The negative side, in my opinion. Rotary Axis.
But.....but....it's tough to use. You can't just take anything you want and put it in the machine and hit go. It has to fit in the nosecone and reverse cone on the headstock and tailstock. Not always easily done. You can, however, engrave a mug with a handle, but doing a variety of shapes can be a real challenge. A small Maglite won't fit, so you have to make spacers or fixtures to make that work and the focal length of the lens starts to hit the top of the rotary axis around the 3/4" diameter mark. So engraving a pen, or anything small becomes a serious problem. In my opinion, the rotary attachment needs to have a small chuck on it and it should be about 1/2" shorter off the top end, so the focal length can be set to dead centerline if you wanted to. It's a very powerful tool, but it's no where near as easy to use as I'd like to see it.

David Takes
08-23-2008, 1:06 AM
Scott,

Your one-year-old son has a sibling or cousin who just arrived at my shop yesterday. He looks eerily similar, hence my concern about him being related. He was 350 lbs., but with some help, the delivery went smoothly. I hope he came from the same gene pool as your son. It's going to be fun nurturing him along.

Scott Shepherd
08-24-2008, 12:36 PM
David, they might be cousins, for sure! Good luck with him, they eat a lot, don't sleep, and cry for more food constantly ;)

Paul, excellent little chuck there. Would you mind saying where you got it? Yes, 4.0 lens solves the issues, but I was thinking more like 1.5 and the rotary :) I haven't convinced myself to spend the $500 for the 1.5 assembly and I have some use for it, now you're trying to talk me into the 4.0 for another $500 :)

Never ends, does it?

Paul Brinkmeyer
08-25-2008, 11:00 AM
The chuck came from Penn State Industries, but I found the same on many wood working sites.

Scott Shepherd
08-14-2009, 8:51 PM
Happy 2nd Birthday! Can't believe the little fella is 2 now! Still running strong. Very few issues, mainly issues with some internal changes made within the system to make all platforms on the same page. All of those issues have been addressed by ULS to my satisfaction.

I think I've finally got a handle on running it (2 years later). It runs well, I'm still impressed by the same things that impressed me a year ago. Virtually no maintenance, and the ability to tune the laser to a material. I do a lot of very small text engraving. I even had some fonts below 2pts recently and I'm able to do them razor sharp because of the ability to use the Image Enhancement tool.

The machine is a work horse. It just runs.

It's outgrown it's old room of 400 sq.ft and it's now in a new room as of last week that's much larger. Enough room for brothers or sisters now :) So many things to buy, so little time...... :)

Not much has changed with it over the last year. Still happy with it, still don't like the nosecone install/removal procedure, still don't like the rotary and don't think I've used it since last time I wrote this.

Would I buy another one just like it. Sure would.

Happy Birthday Son. I'd give you the day off, but you have work to do ;)

David Takes
08-15-2009, 10:52 AM
I've got the same machine, but just a little bit younger than yours. All I can say is ditto. It's the best machine I've owned.