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Thread: Searching for a reliable fiber laser

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Nebraska
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    37

    Searching for a reliable fiber laser

    I am adding a fiber laser to my shop for engraving jewelry and firearms. Has anyone had any experience with CamFive or any other reliable brand, and yes Chinese machines are fine.
    I am curious also if a 30 watt machine is powerful enough to engrave hardened firearms or do I need to go up to a 50 watt.
    You guys, and gals, have always been helpful to me and I appreciate all your suggestions.
    Thanks
    Jamieson LG-640 - 60 watt
    Hurricane Floyd - 60 watt
    MK Diamond 370EXP
    Corel X5
    Graphtec CE5000-60

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Suwanee, GA
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    3,669
    I'm out of touch with who sells decent fiber lasers now so I'll let others speak to that. As for firearm engraving 30 watts is plenty. 50 would more than likely get the job done a bit quicker but I'm not sure by how much and if it's worth the expense. I have done hundreds of firearms over the years and laser time was never really an issue with my two 30 watt machines. Although my machines have stood up well I will never spend another dime on anything G Weike due to the extremely poor handling of three improperly configure machines that I bought in a group buy. Their mistake in neglecting to build the machines as ordered with a power Z axis cost the three of us lots of time and a few hundred $ to cover import fees, etc. to send the power Z to us. So I can't tell you who I would buy from but I can tell you who I won't!
    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


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Helena, MT
    Posts
    59
    Quote Originally Posted by Don Young View Post
    I am adding a fiber laser to my shop for engraving jewelry and firearms. Has anyone had any experience with CamFive or any other reliable brand, and yes Chinese machines are fine.
    I am curious also if a 30 watt machine is powerful enough to engrave hardened firearms or do I need to go up to a 50 watt.
    You guys, and gals, have always been helpful to me and I appreciate all your suggestions.
    Thanks
    I've been very happy with the performance of our Radian that we have. It's a 3D MOPA machine, so has quite a few capabilities. They are ultimately a Chinese import that has been manufactured for a US seller that provides support here. Tom, their CEO is a great guy and has always treated us well.
    CamFive CFL-CMA 4032K - 100 Watt
    Boss Laser LS-3655 - 100 Watt
    APLazer SN1812 - 40 Watt
    Radian RL-GT3-F30J JPT 30 Watt 3D MOPA Fiber

  4. #4
    My el-cheapo ebay machines have worked great for real close to a year now, made me a lot of money. My 'name brand' Triumph has worked great for almost 4 years now, save for a glitch where the engraving went stupid. I fiddled with all the connections inside the machine and all seemed well afterward, but Triumph replaced the scanhead on warranty anyway, no troubles since. (to this day I'm not sure if the scanhead was the problem)

    As to needing lots of power for engraving, a "smaller" lens can help. I have 220's, 150's, and one 72, which is really aggressive. Only catch is the 2.2" working area, but AR info is usually within 1-1/4" so 2.2" is plenty. I've never had a 100-ish lens but I want one just to see how well it works for machining. Lately the bulk of my fibering is labeling or marking anodized, SS (anneal), delrin and polycarb, all of which could be done with 10 or 15 watts.
    I engrave gun barrels with a 220, which seems counter-productive but they turn out nice

    Galvo fibers, these things only have 2 moving parts, the rest is all cheap to replace electronics. I could likely replace an entire machine for the price of a 2 year service agreement on a mid 5-figure machine-- and then there's the issue of the mid 5-figures!

    Boaters who want a "reliable" boat buy boats with at least 2 power plants. With fiber's so inexpensive, if reliability is a concern, it makes sense to just buy 2 of the things! You'll have WAY more flexibility, and if one quits working, you can still get back home... eerr, I mean you can still get the work out

    --flexibility and 'getting the work out' is why I have 19 machines
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  5. #5
    What type of fiber laser did you end up going with Gary? After some lengthly discussions with my husband we are thinking of just biting the bullet and buying both a CO2 and fiber laser. We're looking at one for firearms primarily (at least for now). I've been on the CamFive, Radian, Triumph, LaserStar websites. I would like something with some sort of support in the US but would prefer not to spend a ridiculous amount. What really makes the difference between a $5-7,000 and $15-20,000 fiber laser? If they are the same wattage and engrave a similar surface area... it seems like the general consensus is to not spend a bunch of money on one.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Fischer View Post
    What type of fiber laser did you end up going with Gary? After some lengthly discussions with my husband we are thinking of just biting the bullet and buying both a CO2 and fiber laser. We're looking at one for firearms primarily (at least for now). I've been on the CamFive, Radian, Triumph, LaserStar websites. I would like something with some sort of support in the US but would prefer not to spend a ridiculous amount. What really makes the difference between a $5-7,000 and $15-20,000 fiber laser? If they are the same wattage and engrave a similar surface area... it seems like the general consensus is to not spend a bunch of money on one.

    very happy to give you 20 -30 minutes information, set up google voice - it connects to regular cell phone, you will be able to disconnect it instantly so nobody will contact you again ever on google voice once you unlink it later on. Happy to explain price differences, builds, laser sources, materials, etc...... once you have google voice, please provide it and you will know what is what and why, unless all the info acquired here on the forum totally and fully explain to you everything. Kind Regards.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    Helena, MT
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Fischer View Post
    What type of fiber laser did you end up going with Gary? After some lengthly discussions with my husband we are thinking of just biting the bullet and buying both a CO2 and fiber laser. We're looking at one for firearms primarily (at least for now). I've been on the CamFive, Radian, Triumph, LaserStar websites. I would like something with some sort of support in the US but would prefer not to spend a ridiculous amount. What really makes the difference between a $5-7,000 and $15-20,000 fiber laser? If they are the same wattage and engrave a similar surface area... it seems like the general consensus is to not spend a bunch of money on one.
    Support is and availability of parts if something breaks is probably your biggest thing. Only word of caution I will give you is on CamFive. I have a CamFive CO2 laser, and their support is absolutely horrible. They were fairly good through the sales process, but it's been a pain since then. Had a couple of issues during warranty, and had to fight tooth and nail to get them to replace parts. They always wanted me to remove and send them the parts to test before they would warranty, which would leave me down, as the laser was still functioning, just had intermittent issues. E-mails to their support often go days before you get an answer, etc. Have been very happy with my Radian fiber though.
    CamFive CFL-CMA 4032K - 100 Watt
    Boss Laser LS-3655 - 100 Watt
    APLazer SN1812 - 40 Watt
    Radian RL-GT3-F30J JPT 30 Watt 3D MOPA Fiber

  8. #8
    The 2 ebay lasers I bought, referenced above, have been working nearly daily for over a year now. My Triumph is going on 4 years...

    Right now the same basic 30 watt ebay units, the brand is 'Vevor', are on ebay selling for $3300 to your door. I spend more than that at Delvies every 3 months! At that price, I consider them 'dixie cup' machines. If something goes awry and I can't figure out which $300-$400 part I need to replace, I'll just hit ebay and have another one here in 3 days.

    I've noticed something 'new' in fibers that's actually a very cool idea, and fwiw, this machine is essentially identical to my ebay machines:
    nfb.jpg
    --marrying the case to the machine itself. Portable like my Triumph, but incorporates the tower, MUCH more versatile...
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    NW Arkansas
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    I've a 20 watt Ray Fine, I use 150mm lens almost exclusively, (came with a 100) and I I have a 330mm lens. I have done a number of handguns and long guns with the fiber with good results. If I were to buy again, a 30 watt would be on the table, 50 is overkill. And I would probably try an eBay if I were to get another. Especially knowing what to look for and being able to determine if there is an issue quickly.
    Woodworking, Old Tools and Shooting
    Ray Fine RF-1390 Laser
    Ray Fine 20watt Fiber Laser
    PM2000, Delta BS, Delta sander, Powermatic 50 jointer,
    Powermatic100-12 planer, Rockwell 15-126 radial drill press
    Rockwell 46-450 lathe, and 2 Walker Turner RA1100 radial saws

    RIA 22TCM 1911s

  10. #10
    Thank you Everyone! Do you need a MOPA fiber to laser colors or is it just finding the correct settings? I have seen mixed information on this.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah Fischer View Post
    Thank you Everyone! Do you need a MOPA fiber to laser colors or is it just finding the correct settings? I have seen mixed information on this.
    I believe you need a MOPA for colors, but my understanding is that producing colors is quite time consuming and frustrating as the settings required for the same material can vary from material batch to material batch. That being said, the larger range in frequencies can come in handy for more than changing the color of metal.
    Licensed Professional Engineer,
    Unlicensed Semi Professional Tinkerer

  12. #12
    Thank you for the info Matt!

  13. #13
    For 'full color' like this, yes you need a MOPA.
    TrotecMopa.jpg
    And yes, very slow-- based on watching a Trotec video and estimating engraving time (roughly 5 minutes per square inch), I guesstimate this flag-card took between 11-1/2 and 13 minutes of engraving time...@ $90 per hour machine time, that's an $18 engraving charge. Okay for a one-off, item, but for a dozen you're well past $200! So there's the paradox, very cool laser engraving, but hard to sell in anything but low quantities...

    These pics are all of the same test plate plate I did trying to zero in on good annealing settings. As you can see, from most viewing angles the engraving looked mostly black- but get the right tilt with the ambient light hitting it just right, and colors start to show up...
    an5.jpg

    an3.jpg

    an2.jpg

    an1.jpg
    --pretty cool, and unusual, but realistically, mostly useless (THEE trick is to have it look BLACK from all angles instead of 'washing out')
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  14. #14
    That's pretty cool. But I do understand the inability to realistically make money on it now. I didn't know it took a bunch of extra time to do it.

  15. #15
    Would not buy from Camfive. Just my experience. It is no different from buying a laser on ebay or alibaba. All the parts are the same and interchangeable. Thank God. Their customer support is horrendous to say the least. I need a new focus head and they can not get. Their machine with their name and they can not get me a replacement head? Really? Needless to say I had to re-engineer my setup just so I could replace the focus head. Not to mention you think you are paying for a quality machine since it is in the US but nope, not so. For Fiber I would recommend either wisely laser or rayfine laser. Both are just as good as boss fm's. Just my 2 cents.

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