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Thread: Two Years Later - Follow Up On Chinese Lasers

  1. #1

    Two Years Later - Follow Up On Chinese Lasers

    So, I was recently reminded by a member of this forum of the (long) review I gave of the process and my experience buying a Weike laser engraver from China. the process was about as straightforward as it could have been, with no issues and things had been running great for the several subsequent months following my purchase and installation of the engraver (a 6040N).

    Now, here we are two years and several months later and I thought it might be useful to post an update.

    As mentioned, the engraver was working great THEN... what about NOW, two years down the road...

    (DRUM ROLL)

    ... Happy to say, Still running as well as the day I started using it AND still using the same tube!!?

    Ok, so for the sake of full disclosure I should add, my use of the laser has decreased considerably over the last year as I purchased another business a year ago that has sidetracked me to a large extent. Nonetheless I have produced many things on the laser over the last two years, and at times it has seen fairly consistent use, performing some pretty cutting/engraving heavy tasks.

    So far the following is a small sample of the items the laser has been used for:


    • Cut and engraved all means of acrylic projects, from LED lights and acrylic objects, to flight simulator control panels, gifts, awards, etc
    • Engraved a lot of wood plaques (several hundred)
    • Cut and engraved many 16x20, multi-layered 1/4" birch, maple and other wood wall art pieces
    • Engraved numerous laser trophy plaques
    • Engraved driftwood souvenirs
    • Cut and engraved wood Christmas souvenirs
    • Cermarked numerous skate blades
    • Wood business cards
    • EVA foam Cosplay costume pieces


    Now, again to be fair, I have not used the engraver on a daily, 8 hour basis functioning as a business. I have used it part-time, split (at different times) between a hobby machine and a side business tool.

    Nonetheless, it has never failed me. I have never had a lens issue, a tube issue, a focus issue, a belt issue, a chiller issue. I realize I'm jinxing things by posting this now, but honestly, it's been a terrific machine. It is well built (better than most of the crap I've bought at Canadian Tire or Home Depot over the years). It is also so easy to use - yes, even WITH the Chinese software. (I've actually become pretty proficient at the software end, though I am a designer with 35 year's experience using Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. so I did have a bit of a 'head start').

    I have continued to read the boogeyman stories online about buying Chinese machines. Some, I suspect from people with a vested interest in supporting domestic suppliers like Trotec and others. Others who have posted who seem to have a predisposed 'domestic is better than imported' bias regardless.

    Again, if I am asked whether or not my machine is the perfect solution for an 8-hour-a-day trophy or other similar business running full-time, I couldn't really say. What I will say is that my machine has WAY paid for itself and then some... while I would be several years away from paying off a comparable (size, etc) Trotec machine. Even if my machine died tomorrow, it will have paid for itself up to now several fold. That's pretty good.

    So, do I think every person will have the same experience buying from China as I had? No. Do I think every Chinese company is comparable? No. Is it fair to say even Weike ship a few lemons? Yes.

    But I purchased a machine that wouldn't put me in debt and force me into a financial hole I wasn't prepared to be in or that would cripple me out of the gate. I purchased a machine that could do light to medium duty with some emphasis on cutting as well as engraving. I purchased a machine that, had it turned out was doing work I couldn't sustain or the machine just wasn't any good or became outdated, I could get out of inexpensively (when I was doing all my research before buying, I came across many people with older Epilogs and Trotecs machines which had since become outdated, though their owners were still paying them while trying to unload them) or in the worst case scenario, walk away from for less than the cost of the depreciation on a 'domestic' machine.

    I got exactly what I wanted and what I had hoped for.

    the best analogy I can use is when I started driving, I wanted a performance automobile like any youngster. What I got was a used Chev. It was inexpensive, easy to operate and fix and didn't break the bank. I used it until I was a better driver, had some experience and some money and traded up. Over the next 30 something years I kept going until I eventually got into the vehicles I wanted.

    I didn't run out and buy a fancy, performance BMW at 16, something I wouldn't have been able to afford the payments for, wouldn't have known how to drive properly, wouldn't have had a real need for and wouldn't have been able to afford to maintain.

    Would I advocate for the more expensive domestic brands if you're looking to buy an engraver? Absolutely if:


    • You are, out of the gate, going to run a full-time, higher volume business - Smaller operations could well be served by a simple Chinese machine
    • You have some experience with laser engravers/cutters - Better to 'play' with a cheaper product and cut your machine teeth on that than be 'learning to drive' a Ferrari
    • You have some design experience or will have someone working with you who does - Better to 'play' with a cheaper product and cut your designer teeth on that than be 'learning to drive' a Ferrari
    • Are well funded and have enough up-front capital that the cost of the engraver won't limit you in other facets of your business - You don't want to have spent all the money you can raise, on an engraver then be left short for other things you may need
    • Are relatively certain you will be using your machine for at least 5 - 10 years - It may take that amount of time to pay it back


    If any of the above doesn't apply to you, you may be wiser to dip your toe than swan dive into the deep end. It's worked for me. At this stage, if my one business (the non-engraving one) doesn't work out and I should transition over full-time to a laser engraving venture I would have no hesitation using my current machine for that. And if, for whatever reason that machine proved inadequate, at least now I feel completely comfortable, experienced and aware of the opportunities that I would be ok upgrading to a more bells and whistles machine.

    So, feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions, but if you ever wondered how a Chinese machine stood the test of time, hopefully this update has provided at least a little insight.

  2. #2
    Interesting take on it all. I can't say I agree with most of your analogies, but I do appreciate your follow up review.

    A few points I'd make. No one that I know of on this forum works for Trotec, Epilog, or Universal, that can actively post about their machines, so that means the posts you see about one brand or another is largely from actual users who have zero vested interest in telling their stories because they get nothing in return from any manufacturer. Also, it's not accurate to say that if you buy a more expensive machine that it will take you 5-10 years to pay for it. If it does, then you aren't pricing your work properly. We quoted a job about 6 months ago that would have had us buying 2 $40,000 machines just to meet the deadline for the job. That was all included in the quote. The machines would have paid for themselves in 60 days.

    If you decide to buy a slower machine, you should also add the fact that your slower machine has a much lower potential for producing profit over the year. If you can crank out X amount of work in a year, then with a faster machine, you could crank out a factor of more than double in the same amount of time on a faster machine. Maybe more than double. So if you want to limit your income potential, then by all means, buy the slower machine Of course that's all relative to the type of work, if it is all vector cutting, then it's not double, but it's certainly more than "X".

    Should everyone buy a Chinese laser? Nope. Should everyone avoid buying a Chinese laser? Nope. Just depends what you plan to do with it. We've run over 2,000,000 parts now. I can't imagine doing that on anything other than the machines we have.
    Lasers : Trotec Speedy 300 75W, Universal PLS4.60 with Rotary Attachment
    Printers : Mimaki UJF-6042 UV Flatbed Printer , HP Designjet L26500 61" Wide Format Latex Printer,
    Ricoh Dye Sublimation Printer, Summa S140-T 48" Vinyl Plotter
    Router : ShopBot 48" x 96" CNC Router Rotary Engravers : (2) Xenetech XOT 16 x 25 Rotary Engravers

    Real name Steve but that name was taken on the forum. Used Middle name. Call me Steve or Scott, doesn't matter.

  3. #3
    Clearly you can't read.

    First of all, the comments that plump domestic vs import I never said were on HERE. I said they were comments I've seen... on a variety of different sites, social media, etc.

    I will add that while I appreciate your response, to state categorically that nobody on here works for those companies or benefits from them is a bit ridiculous. You don't know everyone on here nor from whom they benefit. I could work for a laser company. You have no idea.

    Lastly, you'll notice I very specifically pointed out that if you have a high volume of work and a need a strong production machine then a domestic machine probably WOULD be your best choice. I specifically stated that in the context of MY use, which is NOT to produce 2,000,000 of anything, a Chinese machine may well be a good option.

    As for you needing two machines for a $40k job, good for you but many on here and elsewhere don't pull in $40k jobs very regularly (I would imagine if they were at that level of work they likely wouldn't be looking into Chinese machines anyway). I will add that, unless you're sponging your clients, the money you take in on a job isn't all margin. Presumably your cost of sale factors into what you charge. A client paying for an engraving or cutting job that pays so much the supplier can afford to have enough 'extra', after paying for labor, supplies, business overhead, etc. to purchase two laser engravers likely just got screwed.

    And as far as the "5-10 year to pay off" comment, up here in Canada, the Trotec laser I had looked at would have run me over $30k plus... financed (because I didn't have the $30k kicking around) would have (at a rate I, as someone who doesn't bring in $40k projects) cost me about $500 a month, which would have taken me 5 years to pay off. Longer if I lowered my payments. Frankly, after my labour factored in and the overhead I already had, a $500 additional monthly expense would have been tough for me. So yes, 5 years or longer to pay off.

    I appreciate you commenting on my post but your comments completely ignore the very points I made and the very context of the update.
    Last edited by Adam Less; 05-17-2018 at 2:17 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Adam you need to read your own post again.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Less View Post
    Clearly you can't read.
    Maybe you should give that as go as well since you have misquoted multiple things I said. See below.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Less View Post
    First of all, the comments that plump domestic vs import I never said were on HERE. I said they were comments I've seen... on a variety of different sites, social media, etc.

    I will add that while I appreciate your response, to state categorically that nobody on here works for those companies or benefits from them is a bit ridiculous. You don't know everyone on here nor from whom they benefit. I could work for a laser company. You have no idea.
    It's not ridiculous at all. Laser manufactures and their reps are not allowed to push their products on this site. That's a site policy and it's not really hard to tell when someone's posting about products they sell for a living. If you can find someone on this site that works for any laser company that's hocking their machines, please let me know. As a moderator, I can help make sure that's addressed, because it's not allowed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Less View Post
    Lastly, you'll notice I very specifically pointed out that if you have a high volume of work and a need a strong production machine then a domestic machine probably WOULD be your best choice. I specifically stated that in the context of MY use, which is NOT to produce 2,000,000 of anything, a Chinese machine may well be a good option.
    I'm not sure where I said anything different, but thanks for restating what I said, that a Chinese machine may or may not be a good fit for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Less View Post
    As for you needing two machines for a $40k job, good for you but many on here and elsewhere don't pull in $40k jobs very regularly (I would imagine if they were at that level of work they likely wouldn't be looking into Chinese machines anyway). I will add that, unless you're sponging your clients, the money you take in on a job isn't all margin. Presumably your cost of sale factors into what you charge. A client paying for an engraving or cutting job that pays so much the supplier can afford to have enough 'extra', after paying for labor, supplies, business overhead, etc. to purchase two laser engravers likely just got screwed.
    You might want to reread what I said. I did not say that I was quoting a $40,000 job. I said I was quoting a job that would take 2 $40,000 lasers to complete in the time frame. The actual job was in the 6 figure range. 6 figure jobs aren't $40,000. Big difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Less View Post
    And as far as the "5-10 year to pay off" comment, up here in Canada, the Trotec laser I had looked at would have run me over $30k plus... financed (because I didn't have the $30k kicking around) would have (at a rate I, as someone who doesn't bring in $40k projects) cost me about $500 a month, which would have taken me 5 years to pay off. Longer if I lowered my payments. Frankly, after my labour factored in and the overhead I already had, a $500 additional monthly expense would have been tough for me. So yes, 5 years or longer to pay off.
    Sorry to hear that you can't generate enough income with your laser to pay for it sooner.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Less View Post
    I appreciate you commenting on my post but your comments completely ignore the very points I made and the very context of the update.
    And your points were.....? You bought a Chinese laser, didn't use it much, but used it some, and it's worked great when you needed it, and it was cheap, so if you plan on doing a low volume of work or want to give lasering a try, then you might, or might not want to try out a Chinese laser? Got it.
    Lasers : Trotec Speedy 300 75W, Universal PLS4.60 with Rotary Attachment
    Printers : Mimaki UJF-6042 UV Flatbed Printer , HP Designjet L26500 61" Wide Format Latex Printer,
    Ricoh Dye Sublimation Printer, Summa S140-T 48" Vinyl Plotter
    Router : ShopBot 48" x 96" CNC Router Rotary Engravers : (2) Xenetech XOT 16 x 25 Rotary Engravers

    Real name Steve but that name was taken on the forum. Used Middle name. Call me Steve or Scott, doesn't matter.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Iowa USA
    Posts
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    I do not know where the OP is located but where I am, in the land of hogs and corn and generating 6 figure income with a couple of lasers would not be possible. IF I was located in say NYC or major metropolis I could see it. But the market is not here where I am. Unless you want to pay a $1000 plus per month Mall location and take walk ins 10 to 10 everyday or do trophy's which I am not interested in doing for 2 months of the year. I do have a couple of Industrial accounts that pay very well, but no six figures. People shy away when I quote them $20 for a small job!
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , Ray Fine 20w Galvo Fiber laser , LightObject 40w CO2. MakerGear M2 3D Printer. Qe60+ Vinyl cutter. Automation Tech Chinese 6040 Router running on Mach3 and UC400ETH

  7. #7
    And that's completely understandable Bill. We didn't get to bid 6 figure jobs 3 months into our business. We've been in business for over 25 years. In the business world today, if you are relying on work coming from your own backyard, then you are missing out on a lot of work. A good portion of our work does not come from our area, by design. Being able to handle a high volume of work in a short time frame is important to us when offering our services. Our setup, while always open to improvement, allows us to offer that service. Doesn't make us right, doesn't make us wrong, just means that it works for our setup, which is exactly what my point was above, and what the OP said as well. I was actually agreeing with him when he called me out for agreeing with him
    Lasers : Trotec Speedy 300 75W, Universal PLS4.60 with Rotary Attachment
    Printers : Mimaki UJF-6042 UV Flatbed Printer , HP Designjet L26500 61" Wide Format Latex Printer,
    Ricoh Dye Sublimation Printer, Summa S140-T 48" Vinyl Plotter
    Router : ShopBot 48" x 96" CNC Router Rotary Engravers : (2) Xenetech XOT 16 x 25 Rotary Engravers

    Real name Steve but that name was taken on the forum. Used Middle name. Call me Steve or Scott, doesn't matter.

  8. #8
    And herein lies the reason why I don't post to forums anymore. If someone posts ice is cold, guaranteed someone else will argue the point. Then someone else will respond by discussing the color of the sky....

    I won't be responding to this thread further other than, since you suggested I "misquoted you", to clarify my response to you and to once again reiterate and clarify my original post (since I was asked by another user to re-read it, which I did).

    First off, I will preface this by stating that my sole purpose for the post in the first place was in response to having been contacted privately by a few members on here, asking how my experience had been with my laser. Rather than responding each time individually, it made sense to just make the one post for anyone interested. I also rarely see follow ups to these 'review' type posts and thought, for those considering a Chinese machine, it may be interesting to get a perspective from a couple of years down the road, in the context of my own particular use of the machine.

    I also posted because, when I went through my own research and buying process, I attended trade shows (flew to Vegas in one case to attend a show there), contacted dealers, spoke directly with owners, etc.

    My research went on for more than 6 months before buying and I researched specific to my needs, which was to start a 'small' sideline business.

    Currently, I own several businesses including a sports training complex and a marketing and branding agency. I wasn't looking for a third major business venture to add to my list. As an artist, however I wanted a fun, little sideline business that was tactile, interesting and still offered some revenue opportunities in a different realm than that which I'd been use to over my 30+ years working. That much was stated as in my original posts on here two years ago.

    I fully recognize others use lasers for a myriad reasons. Some run big industrial service businesses, others run small trophy shops and then there are those who use them for makers spaces and hobby/craft applications. I think it was pretty clear that I was addressing a specific type of user and explained my own situation and application to ensure the context was clarified.

    In fact, even at the outset of this thread I explained that my machine is not used that much, certainly not 8 hours a day for a full time business ("I have not used the engraver on a daily, 8 hour basis functioning as a business") and I described specifically the jobs/tasks I've used it for.

    So for another member to respond with a comment like "If you can crank out X amount of work in a year, then with a faster machine, you could crank out a factor of more than double in the same amount of time on a faster machine. Maybe more than double" completely misses the point of my posts and is completely irrelevent to the application and audience to which my post is obviously directed.

    We all get it. Domestic machines are faster and therefore potentially more profitable. Clearly, that did not apply to my needs so I'm not sure why you felt it necessary to even state your point, except for the fact that it once again allowed an opportunity for someone to slag on Chinese machines. And before you justify your comment by claiming that's not what you were doing, I would believe that were it not for the sarcastic 'dig' that followed: "So if you want to limit your income potential, then by all means, buy the slower machine".

    My post was neither sarcastic nor intended to sway people away from or towards any product. I was simply providing a review of MY experience with a Chinese machine in the context of my own situation and needs, which I think will be useful for others in my position also contemplating a Chinese machine and concerned about the 'horror stories' out there.

    As I've said, this is the whole reason I posted. And your comments only reinforce why I felt my post is important for some users to read.

    When I was buying, the sheer amount of people who threw out the hater talk about Chinese machines and the scare tactics was incredible. "If you want a slower machine...", "If you don't mind losing jobs...", "Yeah but wait til you need support..."

    That's why I attended trade shows and spoke to owners myself, to get a clearer picture. And for each person who would make those sarcastic digs or throw out those warnings, in the next breath they'd quickly clarify that they weren't biased and it wasn't that they didn't like Chinese machines, lol. They would often also point out that they had never had or used a Chinese machine before, which was equally interesting.

    Early on, I was almost peer-pressured into spending ten times what I ended up spending, which for me and my needs would have been disastrous, would have put me in the hole and would have ended up with a very different outcome.

    I'm not suggesting your comments, or those of others always have an agenda behind them. It may well be that your application is so different to mine that a domestic machine is the only answer you can see that reasonably fits. But we don't all share your needs. Not all of us are trying to run high volume, large project businesses.

    Regarding my comment suggesting some who have commented (again, in a variety of places - here, Facebook, through messenger, on other forums, etc.) may have agendas, I still stand by what I wrote. And yes, I DO think it is ridiculous to state "so that means the posts you see about one brand or another is largely from actual users who have zero vested interest in telling their stories because they get nothing in return from any manufacturer".

    Golly gosh, gee willickers... you mean people... (GULP)... actually aren't always above board??? You mean there may be people out there who falsely post and comment and PRETEND they don't have an agenda?... holy cow!!!!!

    Seriously.

    I owned one of the largest marketing firms/ad agencies in our region for years. I handled and still consult with regional and national businesses. I have seen resort hotels actually incentify their staff to pose as customers and post positive comments on Trip Adviser. I have seen auto repair shop chains post 4 and 5 star reviews, posing as customers. I can set a Gmail account up right now and post anywhere as anyone, review anything as anyone. Would I be 'allowed' to? No. So you think that stops people?

    I'm not saying Trotec employees come on here and post pretending to be customers. I don't know, maybe they do maybe they don't. Is it unfathomable that a rogue, unethical sales person might not come on here and do that, or prompt someone else to? No. Do you know everyone on here? I don't think so. I know you don't know me. Can you be certain someone posting isn't a Trotec employee's Brother? How could you possibly know that someone isn't getting a referral perk from a company????

    Again, I am simply clarifying my response to your comments (which you've claimed I misquoted, so I am being very careful this time to quote exactly - note the bold italicizing), one of which being that "posts you see about one brand or another is largely from actual users who have zero vested interest in telling their stories". Says you. And you are an expert in knowing all these users and all their motivations, how?

    You also state "it's not accurate to say that if you buy a more expensive machine that it will take you 5-10 years to pay for it.".
    I already explained that it may, in fact, be VERY accurate. Not in every case, but it certainly would have been accurate for me and for many others I've spoken to. Again, I have run my own businesses (and successfully) for over 25 years. I'm not new at understanding sales, costs, margins, etc.

    ie. If my business generates $300,000 in gross sales in a year, which, for a small one or two person operation isn't unrealistic (I have a friend who, with his wife owns a small retail store that generates $280,000 in sales annually) it's not unreasonable to work with a 10-15% margin (which is realistic for many small businesses). That means that at the end of the day, you will take home between $30 - $45k at the end of the year, assuming in that year you don't get hit with unexpected costs - ie. equipment replacement, damage repair, building upgrade, software upgrade, etc. etc.. Since most small business owners either don't pay themselves (and rely on dividends) or pay themselves small salaries (and rely on dividends), your profit is likely what keeps food on your table. Certainly there wouldn't be enough left over to spend $40k cash on a piece of machinery and certainly not enough for two!

    This means you either a) finance the machinery = monthly costs which cuts into your margins and may actually cause you to start losing money, or b) find a cheaper alternative that you can pay for with cash and, while it may not be as productive, can offer a reasonable compromise, at least until your business grows sufficiently to invest in something bigger/better.

    So again, while I applaud that you "quoted a job about 6 months ago that would have had us buying 2 $40,000 machines just to meet the deadline for the job.", again, this is likely not everyone's situation here and certainly not applicable to the context of my review or the audience to which it was directed. In fact, I would bet your situation would be in the minority. And, again I wasn't posting for people like you, I was posting to those to whom my post would be relevant.

    As I said, if I post a review on a used two door compact car, and explain that I only use my car to go to and from the grocery store and never need to exceed the speed limit doing so, and suggest I'm sharing my review for others who may have the same needs, there isn't really any need for you to respond with your experience as a race car driver, justifying why you own a Ferrari and why a Ferrari is better for you than a small domestic two door compact when it comes to driving the Autobahn.

    "Should everyone avoid buying a Chinese laser (Two door compact car)? Nope. Just depends what you plan to do with it (the context for which was already made obvious in my review - I wasn't referring to Autobahn use). We've run over 2,000,000 parts now (I'm a race car driver and drive the Autobahn). I can't imagine doing that on anything other than the machines we have (I can't imagine using a two door compact car for that, you should own a Ferrari like me)"

    No doubt you will rebuff my comments, as is always the case on these forums... And no doubt supporters of your 'views' will likely jump to your defence and pile on, also a common trait of these forums. Feel free to blast away. I won't bother responding.

    In the end result though, hopefully those few people who actually understood the context and purpose of my post will find some value in it one way or another and it will help them make a buying decision that best applies to their needs, should those be similar to mine.

    In the meantime, all the best with your next 2,000,000 parts!

  9. #9
    I, for one, will be quite pleased if this is your last post on this topic.
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

    Trotec Speedy 300, 80 watt
    Woodworking shop CLTT and Laser Sublimation
    Evolis Card Printer
    CorelDraw X5

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Yorktown, VA
    Posts
    255
    I think the point Adam is trying to make is more for the weekend warriors and part time users. They should not automatically be afraid of Chinese imports.

    My new neighbor across the street has a Chinese laser he uses for engraving martial arts weapons he makes and he says he has had no issues in all the years he has had it and would buy one again.

    I am looking at a laser with zero of intentions of using it for business income or part time income. I cannot see spending $15k or more for a laser for hobby. If I just listen to the scare mongering about the horrors of Chinese lasers, I would probably never have one in my shop and forever lose out on the enjoyment of having one.

    I could afford to spend $40-50K if I truly wanted a quality USA laser, but I would never spend that kind of money for one unless I was going to go into business with it.

    As it is, I will most likely be spending $5k-$8K, but not more. The fact is I am looking at spending about $8K on one now. If go with importing a Chinese version of it directly from China like he did, I could buy two for the same price of $8k and use one and use the other for spare parts.

    Also, having been in the Arch/Engineer business for nearly 40 years, I have been to a number of factories where products were described as Made in USA or Assembled in the USA and it is a joke. The machines of these companies are made 100% complete and assembled in other countries and when they arrive here on bulk pallets they are partial dissembled, tested and repackaged in final retail boxes and re-palleted for distribution around the country in retail stores.

    Of the Made in the USA laser "producers," I wonder just how many of the individual components of the machine are 100% made in the USA? (all bearings, motors, belts, power supplies, transistors, battery backup, fans, capacitors, lcd screens, hoses, hose connectors, cable assemblies, jumper cables, sensors, air pumps, water chillers, power plug connectors, lens adjustment screws, power cords, control processors, power and control terminal blocks, casters, etc.) Not having been in a Made in a USA laser factory yet, I could not know that but I would be surprise if every last component in the machine was completely made in this country.

    Rob

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Iowa USA
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    FYI and I may have this wrong, but ULS and Epilog are the only two made in USA, Trotec is Made in Austria? And when I said six figure income, I did not mean gross income but meant net after taxes and expenses. It all depends on the area your in and if you are employing people. This area of the country can not and will not support $300 per hour pricing, its just not going to happen. If I wanted a six figure income I would need to go back to doing commercial HVAC/R.
    Last edited by Bill George; 05-17-2018 at 1:11 PM.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , Ray Fine 20w Galvo Fiber laser , LightObject 40w CO2. MakerGear M2 3D Printer. Qe60+ Vinyl cutter. Automation Tech Chinese 6040 Router running on Mach3 and UC400ETH

  12. #12
    No need to reply to most of that. It speaks for itself.

    Rob, his point was understood and agreed with, that a Chinese laser might be something to look into. However, he seems to have a serious case of Confirmation Bias going on. "Mine was great, so therefore, it's all great", which simply isn't accurate. A HUGE part of Chinese laser growth is tied directly to this site. Guess what they get for free here. Tech support. After sales support. All 100% free to the Chinese manufacturers. They don't even bother to pay for advertising on this site. Got a problem with the Chinese laser? Go to SMC and ask for help.

    If the Chinese had to pay for advertising on this site and support for their customers, then their prices would be a lot more in line with other manufacturers. To act like they don't benefit from all the free sales suggestions and tech support isn't being honest.

    I don't need to be lectured on Chinese lasers. I've owned them. I guess if I've owned them, then it kills the narrative that I'm just bashing them to show how great some Western brand is? That's non sense.

    Are they a good fit for some people? Sure. Have I seen a fair amount of people who've wasted their money and never had the stellar results Adam has? Sure.

    Did he misunderstand about 90% of my post? Absolutely. I said that Western lasers work for us and our needs, while a Chinese laser might work for you and your needs. How that's anything different than he said is beyond my ability to comprehend.
    Lasers : Trotec Speedy 300 75W, Universal PLS4.60 with Rotary Attachment
    Printers : Mimaki UJF-6042 UV Flatbed Printer , HP Designjet L26500 61" Wide Format Latex Printer,
    Ricoh Dye Sublimation Printer, Summa S140-T 48" Vinyl Plotter
    Router : ShopBot 48" x 96" CNC Router Rotary Engravers : (2) Xenetech XOT 16 x 25 Rotary Engravers

    Real name Steve but that name was taken on the forum. Used Middle name. Call me Steve or Scott, doesn't matter.

  13. #13
    I'm using my American-made Epilog to pop popcorn while reading this thread.
    Epilog Legend 36EXT ~35W
    Corel X6
    AutoCAD 2015
    FFL 01
    Some Patience

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Yorktown, VA
    Posts
    255
    "If the Chinese had to pay for advertising on this site and support for their customers, then their prices would be a lot more in line with other manufacturers. To act like they don't benefit from all the free sales suggestions and tech support isn't being honest."

    Not sure where you read that inference from my post...The fact is that Chinese material and labor cost are substantial less than in the USA, so even if they provided Tier 1 support for their product here in the US, it would still be cheaper than Made in USA vendors.

    We have offices in the USA and Panama and the labor rates are vastly different between the two offices that both provide the same level of skill and professionalism. Same as they are between Chinese employees and US employees, which is why Apple, HP, Walmart all have their major manufacturing facilities in China. LABOR is cheaper and thus tech support would be cheaper. The companies in China also don't have the heavy regulations that US based business have.

    To suggest the Chinese companies don't respond to customer questions at all is also not being accurately honest. When talking to my neighbor he said he had more than a dozen questions about his machine answered quickly and accurately when he was ordering and setting up his machine. So some do provide excellent support.

    Yes I am sure some direct buy/ship from China vendors have no support but others apparently do. There are also folks at the Festool website were some folks get answers quickly and some don't get answers at all and they are premium tools.

    And just to be clear, if I was setting up a business that required a laser engraver running everyday, I would buy from a US based company not from tech support standpoint but I would expect them to be more reliable and because replacement parts could be shipped next day get back up and running. Downtime is lost income.

    "A HUGE part of Chinese laser growth is tied directly to this site." Umm there are dozens of woodworking sites that discuss Lasers, I glad you were able to do the huge amount research necessary that allowed you to make this accurate claim.

    There are actual woodworkers out there that have not even heard of the site, including one elderly gentleman that lived done the street from me that passed away last year. (There are actual woodworkers that spend their time in the shop making things or at running a business and don't get involved in online forums.)

    Lie-Nielsen, Festool, Powermatic, Jet, Delta, etc and hundreds product questions that show up on this site (and others) are getting free support as well,,right?

    And if I do a search of this and other sites I won't find any questions from owners of the Made in the USA companies products that also don't financially support this site, right?

    So to this end. There have been US based companies that have provided great support and now provide crappy support. So let's just agree that 98% of US made laser manufacturers provide A++ support and if you are running a business buy from them and 2% provide less than great support and don't buy from them and 98% of Chinese manufacturers provide no support, so don't buy from them and 2% provide great support, so buy from them and we move on.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Yorktown, VA
    Posts
    255
    The sad thing is, I just came here to asked technical question of what is possible to do on a laser engraver and got hooked by this tread. (Not a Chinese laser question but a actual technical question. I have a specific need for the laser and if it won't do it then that loses out on half the reason for even buying a laser.)

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