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Thread: Amazon Sub-$500 Laser Engraver

  1. #1

    Amazon Sub-$500 Laser Engraver

    Anyone have any experience / recommendations on the sub $500 machines on Amazon?

    I just need a small machine, just doing small jobs, so the 12" x 8" machines are large enough for me for now. This is a learning machine before I spend a lot more $$$$ on bigger and better machine.

    Right now I am looking to cut acrylic (5MM and less) and was hoping to cut .25" wood. Will any machine sub $500 do this, and if not, will a sub $2000 machine do this?

  2. #2
    The 40w tubes in those K40 desktop lasers MIGHT put out 40 watts if the machine's hit by lightning.. these machines are likely rated by their absolute maximum tested output... anyway, others here are more familiar with these machines than I am.

    Me, I'd be inclined to check ebay- cheaper-, and look at some of the >$1800 60w machines...
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  3. #3
    I'm fine with eBay too, but want something that can do the .25" wood and the acrylic. Thinking I'll probably need to go for a 60 or 80W unit.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Suwanee, GA
    Posts
    3,621
    There is no such thing as an "Amazon" laser just as there is no such thing as an "eBay" laser. They are products sold by 3rd party sellers that use Amazon and eBay as their venue. So asking if anyone has experience with an "Amazon laser" isn't going to get you much info, you need to ask if anyone has experience with a laser manufactured by "xyz" company - good luck finding that though, the sellers on both venues will never tell you who the manufacturer is, or they will lie and tell you that they are the manufacturer. If you search here for eBay lasers you'll find the gamut of experiences from horror stories to success stories - it's mostly about luck and finding the right vendor at the right time. Spend your money, buy a machine, hope it works, if not hope you get support. That's about all you can expect from any laser that costs you less than a few thousand $, and especially less than $500. 99% chance it will be a paperweight, but you never know, you might be that 1%.

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Eberwein View Post
    Anyone have any experience / recommendations on the sub $500 machines on Amazon?

    I just need a small machine, just doing small jobs, so the 12" x 8" machines are large enough for me for now. This is a learning machine before I spend a lot more $$$$ on bigger and better machine.

    Right now I am looking to cut acrylic (5MM and less) and was hoping to cut .25" wood. Will any machine sub $500 do this, and if not, will a sub $2000 machine do this?
    I have done so much with so little for so long, that I can do almost anything with practically nothing...

    Trotec Speedy 400 80 watt 8/2015
    G. Weike LF-30, 30 watt galvo fiber - 1/2016
    G. Weike LF-30, 30 watt galvo fiber - 3/2015
    Fargo HDP5000 Card printer


  5. #5
    To be more precise in my question, has anyone had good experience with a machine purchased off Amazon (or eBay) that can do the above, and if so any recommendation to which? I know Amazon doesn't make (yet) lasers they sell but more interested in opinions on price points for what I'm looking to do and recommendations on brands.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    9
    My sub-$2,000 (approx. $1,500 last I checked) 50W laser purchased from eBay (the so-called 500x300mm Blue & White laser, or more specifically the Shenhui SH-G350) cuts 1/4" thick acrylic nicely. It is most likely actually (based upon the tube length) 35-40W. If you go for this class of laser (there is also a "60W" 700x500mm sub-$2,000 laser available on eBay and Amazon) make sure it has a Ruida DSP controller. Then you can ditch the quirky RDWorks software and buy a program called Lightburn instead, which is a pleasure to use.
    Ebay Shenhui 350 50 watt/RDWorksV8
    Taig CNC Mill
    Ordbot 3D Printer

  7. #7
    It really is hit or miss. If you get a bad one prepare to do your own support.

  8. #8
    I would recommend to save your money and go to a makerspace or some place that has a laser with a sealed tube to get started. I've heard countless times how people regret making the small investment and the time it takes to make it work "correctly". It depends on what you're trying to use it for

    For a .25" acrylic I'd recommend 80+ watts.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Cicala View Post
    I would recommend to save your money and go to a makerspace or some place that has a laser with a sealed tube to get started. I've heard countless times how people regret making the small investment and the time it takes to make it work "correctly". It depends on what you're trying to use it for

    For a .25" acrylic I'd recommend 80+ watts.
    Unfortunately no makerspaces near me, and I can't afford the American brands at this point. So trying to find that medium spot that'll do what I need, not break the bank. Was hoping for some peoples experience with any ebay or amazon seller that they've had decent experience with.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Iowa USA
    Posts
    3,399
    Are you a DIY kind of guy who owns a DVM and knows how to use it? Are you handy with machines and adjustments and have a lot of tools you know how to use and can figure things out? Otherwise do not buy a low priced, cheap laser off either eBay or Amazon or worse yet direct from China. We get them all the time on here, folks without a clue and asking for basic instruction.
    Please do not, get one from a US Vender instead and there was a sticky above.

    I can recommend LightObject (I own one of their machines) or Automation Technology out of Chicago I had one of their machines.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller, MakerGear M2 3D Printer. Fine Line Automation 4x4 CNC Router- Mach4 ESS

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Georgia, USA
    Posts
    382
    Don't invest in a "sub $500" machine with the plans to cut .25". If I had to cut .25" all the time, I would want to upgrade from my 80w machine.
    700mm x 500mm Ke Hui KH-7050 Laser
    80W EFR F2
    S&A CW5000 chiller
    Chuck style of rotary attachment

  12. #12
    80 watts is a good choice. Put my 60w works fine and I do quarter inch Cuts all the time. I have not looked at the price difference but if it's negligible go for the 80. Though my 60 watt from light object does a good job

  13. #13
    Plywood can be a difficult thing to cut. The number of plys and the type of glue can make a huge difference. I have a 100w EFR tube and have issues getting an acceptable edge on some 1/8 ply. I have had good luck with model aircraft plywood though.

    I have not gotten an acceptable edge quality cut on 1/4 ply but I have not really tested much beyond trying to cut some holes in scraps.

    I guess my point is that 40w is not nearly enough for cutting 1/4 plywood. Maybe 60 80 or 100 would work but it will really depend on how much edge charring you are willing to accept and the types of plywood you can find.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Georgia, USA
    Posts
    382
    Quality cuts of .25" acrylic with a 60 watt laser are going to be slooow though. Since he said he will be using this for jobs, he needs to be aware of that since time is money with jobs. For most production, moving up to 100W on a typical red and black system will quickly pay for itself when .25" material is your main goal.
    700mm x 500mm Ke Hui KH-7050 Laser
    80W EFR F2
    S&A CW5000 chiller
    Chuck style of rotary attachment

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Yorktown, VA
    Posts
    309
    My 2 cents.

    On Ebay, click on the vendors store.

    If 95% of the items are trinkets and just on a few lasers, run away, quickly. They are 100% resellers that know nothing of laser and will not/cannot help and will want you to fix/resolve everything yourself and will just offer you a small credit to try and get you to keep it.

    If 95% of the items are laser related in their store, they are resellers also but have better knowledge of what they sell.

    Either way don't think that spending $1000's of dollars entitles you to a worry free purchase. It maybe a lot of money for you, but it is not a lot of money for a decent laser.

    Expect that broken or missing parts could come in days or could take 3 months.

    Expect to spend a lot of time on Y-T watching videos on setup and use of the laser.

    There are no magical settings that someone will give you off the internet. You need to invest your time in learning your machine and it's capabilities. (Experiment and take lots of notes.)

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