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Thread: Replacing Epilog Helix Laser with Chinese or other less expensive laser

  1. #1
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    Replacing Epilog Helix Laser with Chinese or other less expensive laser

    Hi-

    I recently purchased a 2007 75W Epilog Helix 24x18 machine that has had the laser removed due to governmental requirements to dispose of "hazardous materials" . According to Epilog, I can purchase a new 75W Coherent laser from them for about $12k, or their own house-developed 60W laser for about $6.5k, neither of which is a particularly great price. I'm wondering how much luck people have had substituting cheaper Chinese water-cooled lasers for these ones, or if there are other alternatives as well. I see a lot of complete systems coming from China, and the raw laser components (tubes, power supplies), but I haven't found any examples of someone successfully setting one of these up inside an Epilog. Maybe that's because most people aren't faced with a $6.5k laser replacement because they have a core to trade so it only costs $1795 to repair.

    We have a full machine shop here and EE expertise as well, so we can fabricate anything we need to package and interface the laser in the machine nicely. What we don't have much expertise in is the compatibility of these lasers to the Epilog machine, e.g. beam diameter, optical alignment, laser control signals (fire, pulse, fault, etc.).

    Has anyone done this?

    Colby

  2. #2
    That's a new one on me. Why would you buy a machine without a tube? Take the Epilog deal for their tube.
    Mike Null

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  3. #3
    Have you tried to find a used tube that you could have repaired or exchanged by epilog?
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  4. #4
    What country are you from? You may be able to post on forums for a "needed a bad tube cheap" and use that for a core....
    Martin Boekers

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  5. #5
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    " I recently purchased a 2007 75W Epilog Helix 24x18 machine that has had the laser removed due to governmental requirements to dispose of "hazardous materials" ."

    Anybody know what the problem/issue was with the old tube ??
    Mark
    In the Great Northwest!

    Trotec Speedy C25, Newing-Hall 350 (AMC I & HPGL), Wizzard 2000, NH-CG-30 (Carbide Cutter Sharpener)
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Null View Post
    That's a new one on me. Why would you buy a machine without a tube? Take the Epilog deal for their tube.
    Because the machine cost a little over $3k and is in good condition otherwise. The real question now is can we get it up and running for $5k total or $10k total.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Boekers View Post
    What country are you from? You may be able to post on forums for a "needed a bad tube cheap" and use that for a core....
    Yes - I have been looking. The problem is that most people just go ahead and have any broken ones repaired due to the inherent value of the cores.
    Last edited by Colby Boles; 04-18-2013 at 2:55 PM.

  8. #8
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    Absolutely nothing was wrong with the laser before destruction. Your Govt. dollars + bureaucracy at work. They are not allowed to release certain items to the surplus channel with "hazardous materials" in them. Sad really. On the other hand, if the machine was intact, it might fetch more money than it costs to replace the laser.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sipes View Post
    " I recently purchased a 2007 75W Epilog Helix 24x18 machine that has had the laser removed due to governmental requirements to dispose of "hazardous materials" ."

    Anybody know what the problem/issue was with the old tube ??

  9. #9
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    I'm new to these forums so I can't post to the classifieds yet. I will do that soon, hopefully.

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Boekers View Post
    What country are you from? You may be able to post on forums for a "needed a bad tube cheap" and use that for a core....

  10. #10
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    It is *possible* to interface a glass tube , you need a tube and power supply , a motherboard and lcd panel. Possibly new stepper motors and stepper motor drives. Will cost about $1000-2000
    It wont be easy tho. You will have to most likely rewire and do extensive fabrication on the machine. Basically the software and hardware (non epilog , would be something like RDCAM + RDLC320 motherboard) will control the stepper motors , steps per inch when the machine fires , acceleration rates , what the machine limits are etc etc etc
    All in could cost you close to or more than $4-5k in time , aggravation etc. You would still have a compromised "unsaleable" machine.
    I think it would be better to get a RF tube for $6.5k or import a fully running 1200 x 900 80w machine from china for that money.
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  11. #11
    Colby

    You can post to the classifieds by becoming a contributor. You can do that at anytime. Only contributors can post to the classifieds.
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

    Trotec Speedy 300, 80 watt
    Woodworking shop CLTT and Laser Sublimation
    Evolis Card Printer
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  12. #12
    Colby, as Rodne says you would need to do a wholescale exchange of parts to use a Chinese glass tube. You can't make your system interface with a glass tube as they are so radically different in operation. You need to find a used tube; maybe this means finding a broken tube first. I would put out feelers to any laser repair places you can find; maybe some Epilog reps could give you a heads-up on a broken machine. Try Photovac and Laserresale and Access Business Solutions (usedlasers.com) and shake the bushes. Also you could try Coherent directly and see if they have ideas for you. Maybe something will show up.

    The story about having to remove the tube because it contained hazardous materials is suspicious. There has to be more to the story but maybe you will never find out. Maybe someone misunderstood the rules - this has never come up on the forum as far as I know.

  13. #13
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    Ya CO2 is deadly if you suck the tube dry.........$2,000 hammers and toilets at work here !

    I can only imagine what gets done to a "laser printer" that has outlived it usefulness.
    Last edited by Mark Sipes; 04-18-2013 at 5:58 PM.
    Mark
    In the Great Northwest!

    Trotec Speedy C25, Newing-Hall 350 (AMC I & HPGL), Wizzard 2000, NH-CG-30 (Carbide Cutter Sharpener)
    Ricoh GXe3300 Gel Ink Printer, 15" Heat Press & Genny (15 oz Sublimation Mug Press),
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  14. #14
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    Colby, have you tried usedlasersdotcom? they may have some refurbished tubes or may be able to find you one.
    Paul
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  15. #15
    I'd buy the 60W tube from Epilog. At the end of the day you will spend $10,000 for a machine Epilog sells new for around $15-20,000 I believe. Epilogs are faster and easier to operate than Chinese machines.

    If you're really curious about Chinese machines, check out Morntech's office in Stockton, CA. I don't know anything about them but at least you'll get a demo so you can make a more informed decision.
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