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Thread: Advice on Purchase - Yes or No

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    79

    Advice on Purchase - Yes or No

    Hi guys,
    So everyone know that i have a Chinese red/black laser (should be obvious by now).

    However I was approached by a friend of a friend (etc etc) and offered an Epilog Mini 24 for a decent amount of money. However there are some butts

    According to him, it might need a new tube, table and a good look through (service).

    I've gotten the prices from Epilog in Denmark and they estimate that the machine won't be worth it to renew with tube, table and such because the machine is from 08/09, so it's 13 years old.

    So what's the verdict?

    Would it be worth it to give the machine new life and have it running for as long as it can, for maybe about 4 times less than a new machine?

    Or should I scrap the idea?

  2. #2
    Soren

    There should be a lot of life left in the machine. The question is how much will it cost to refurbish it. I suggest you do a thorough evaluation of the machine yourself.

    Once satisfied that the machine is in good enough condition to refurbish I'd be inclined to buy it if it's a good deal.
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

    Trotec Speedy 300, 80 watt
    Gravograph IS400
    Woodworking shop CLTT and Laser Sublimation
    Evolis Card Printer
    CorelDraw X5

  3. #3
    I still have my 2005 (17 year old!) Epilog mini, working on a daily basis. It got its third tube last year and is on its second lens; it could use a new honeycomb grid (still trying to find a decent steel version, rather than aluminum, to be able to use magnetic hold-downs) and I have a new gantry belt that I got because a small fire badly singed the old one, but the old one still works and I just haven't made time to swap it out... I cut a lot of acrylic and baltic birch with it so I have to do a thorough cleaning every few months so that fine residue doesn't block up the outlet channels, and to clean resin build-up off the rulers and honeycomb grid. I've thought several times about getting a Trotec in part because of their "sealed" construction but I've never had bearing problems and rarely have to clean the mirror on the side of the gantry (never had to clean the periscope window or mirror behind it) so I've concluded that the sealed feature isn't really all that special.

    I also had a previous generation Epilog. It burned up a motor driver chip and the Y axis motor, and the LCD was going flaky at around 15 years old; they were all easily replaceable. This Epilog mini has never had any electrical issues (knock on wood). It's been my primary source of income these past 17 years. It paid off my previous home and then paid for my new home and studio on 8 wooded acres with a creek. I haven't seen the Epilog you are talking about and you haven't said anything about the asking price but, based on the ones I've had and a few others I've seen and used over the years, it would have to have been horribly abused to be so far gone as to be untenable to renew. Refurbishing or replacing the tube would probably be something like $3000-4000 and would be the major expense. Depending on what you mean by "table", guessing that might be a couple hundred. The "good look through (service)" would mostly be cleaning out the accumulated grime, checking and maybe replacing the lens and a mirror or two, and ensuring proper alignment which you can easily do for whatever you value your time plus maybe $100 for lens/mirror. Epilog provides pretty good documentation and phone advice on how to do things like replacing the tube, leveling the bed, aligning the optical path, etc. Even if you paid Epilog to do everything for you, you'd probably pay much, much less than the cost of a brand new machine, though in fact you'd still have a 13 year old machine... but one that probably would work just as well as a new one.

    If you aren't at all handy, you want this for a business, and you are more interested in producing income than in any possibility of messing with the equipment (and especially if you are the type who would prefer to just buy a new car than research and take a chance on a used car), then you would be better off buying a new machine. But, if it's for hobby or side hustle use, or you just don't have the financial ability to swing a new machine, and especially if you have any ability and courage to do just a little mechanical work yourself, then you probably would be just fine getting this machine and refurbishing it, and it likely will last for many years to come.

    There is risk involved because old things do break down. I built a computer about 15 years ago and the original motherboard died something like 8 years ago. At that time, I was able to replace the motherboard and still use all the same memory, processor, etc. And I've replaced/upgraded the disk drives twice and installed a newer, more powerful graphics card. The motherboard died again in December, and it just made more sense to build an entire new computer with current parts that give me more "bang per buck" than the obsolescent parts from that old computer. Laser engravers are somewhat different though. Mechanically, they really are pretty simple with few moving parts. Electrically, they aren't particularly complicated either. And they really don't change anywhere near as fast or dramatically as computers or cars do, so an older, used laser machine seems far less risky than an older, used car or computer. YMMV

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    79
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Null View Post
    Soren

    There should be a lot of life left in the machine. The question is how much will it cost to refurbish it. I suggest you do a thorough evaluation of the machine yourself.

    Once satisfied that the machine is in good enough condition to refurbish I'd be inclined to buy it if it's a good deal.
    The issue with the evalutation, is that the machine is located in England and Im located in Denmark So i this case, I will have to take the persons word for it. According to images and video, the machine looks solid and looks functional, its just the laser tube, that Im concerned about.

    I have asked Epilog Denmark to do an evalutation of it, when it arrives in Denmark to see what needs to be fixed and what the price will be

    All in all, if there arent any hidden expenses and if the tube needs replacing + cutting table (not really sure i need a raster engraving table for now) then it should run me about 1/4 of a new Mini 24, so i would say that it would be a good deal

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    79
    Quote Originally Posted by Glen Monaghan View Post
    I still have my 2005 (17 year old!) Epilog mini, working on a daily basis. It got its third tube last year and is on its second lens; it could use a new honeycomb grid (still trying to find a decent steel version, rather than aluminum, to be able to use magnetic hold-downs) and I have a new gantry belt that I got because a small fire badly singed the old one, but the old one still works and I just haven't made time to swap it out... I cut a lot of acrylic and baltic birch with it so I have to do a thorough cleaning every few months so that fine residue doesn't block up the outlet channels, and to clean resin build-up off the rulers and honeycomb grid. I've thought several times about getting a Trotec in part because of their "sealed" construction but I've never had bearing problems and rarely have to clean the mirror on the side of the gantry (never had to clean the periscope window or mirror behind it) so I've concluded that the sealed feature isn't really all that special.

    I also had a previous generation Epilog. It burned up a motor driver chip and the Y axis motor, and the LCD was going flaky at around 15 years old; they were all easily replaceable. This Epilog mini has never had any electrical issues (knock on wood). It's been my primary source of income these past 17 years. It paid off my previous home and then paid for my new home and studio on 8 wooded acres with a creek. I haven't seen the Epilog you are talking about and you haven't said anything about the asking price but, based on the ones I've had and a few others I've seen and used over the years, it would have to have been horribly abused to be so far gone as to be untenable to renew. Refurbishing or replacing the tube would probably be something like $3000-4000 and would be the major expense. Depending on what you mean by "table", guessing that might be a couple hundred. The "good look through (service)" would mostly be cleaning out the accumulated grime, checking and maybe replacing the lens and a mirror or two, and ensuring proper alignment which you can easily do for whatever you value your time plus maybe $100 for lens/mirror. Epilog provides pretty good documentation and phone advice on how to do things like replacing the tube, leveling the bed, aligning the optical path, etc. Even if you paid Epilog to do everything for you, you'd probably pay much, much less than the cost of a brand new machine, though in fact you'd still have a 13 year old machine... but one that probably would work just as well as a new one.

    If you aren't at all handy, you want this for a business, and you are more interested in producing income than in any possibility of messing with the equipment (and especially if you are the type who would prefer to just buy a new car than research and take a chance on a used car), then you would be better off buying a new machine. But, if it's for hobby or side hustle use, or you just don't have the financial ability to swing a new machine, and especially if you have any ability and courage to do just a little mechanical work yourself, then you probably would be just fine getting this machine and refurbishing it, and it likely will last for many years to come.

    There is risk involved because old things do break down. I built a computer about 15 years ago and the original motherboard died something like 8 years ago. At that time, I was able to replace the motherboard and still use all the same memory, processor, etc. And I've replaced/upgraded the disk drives twice and installed a newer, more powerful graphics card. The motherboard died again in December, and it just made more sense to build an entire new computer with current parts that give me more "bang per buck" than the obsolescent parts from that old computer. Laser engravers are somewhat different though. Mechanically, they really are pretty simple with few moving parts. Electrically, they aren't particularly complicated either. And they really don't change anywhere near as fast or dramatically as computers or cars do, so an older, used laser machine seems far less risky than an older, used car or computer. YMMV
    The machine is not gonna be a full on production machine, but maybe to handle the delicate engravings and stuff I already use my red/black chinese for cutting, so it would only handle the engraving part, which the Mini would do quite alot better than my chinese monster

    And of course the tube dosnt last forever, but if I can get it in working condition and it works well enough for a few years, then im satisfied with the deal

  6. #6
    My first laser I got in 2001, a 1997 New Hermes Optima (re-badged Universal), 25w Synrad, it was my New Hermes/Gravograph rep's demo machine. My BIL has owned it for about 7 years, has used it daily engraving wood boxes. I replaced the tube in it around 2006 just because I got a new refurb tube- tested at 31 watts- for $1200. There was nothing wrong with the old tube. About 9 months ago the power supply went out. Finally. Got a replacement from Amazon for $68. It's still using the original lens, it's had 2 belt replacements and 1 set of X rail bearings. 24 years old now and still going... My BIL also has a 2005 40w Gravograph LS800, the tube blew a capacitor about 4 years ago, since then it's been running on half its power. One of these days he may spend the $1200 to get the tube back in shape. (He hasn't spent a dime on the machine for repairs or maintenance yet) Till then, still gets his work done, just slower

    I have a 2004 40s Gravograph LS900, in 17 years I've replaced a power supply, a stepper motor, paid the factory only $320(?!) to have the X driver repaired in the controller, and just had the tube repaired last summer. The tube should've cost me $1200 - $800 recharge and $400 to fix the blown electronics, but turns out the rebuild netted a 31watt output due to my tube needs its mirrors replaced. I was only charged $400 and other than a noticeable but not bad loss in power, it works fine. (I would've went with the $800 fix for new mirrors but the latest batch of mirrors from whoever supplies them have been prone to early failure)

    And I bought a used 2005 30w GCC Explorer from a former Creeker in 2013, it's still on everything original except rail bearings.

    So I'm agreeing with Glen & Mike --
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    79
    Quote Originally Posted by Kev Williams View Post
    My first laser I got in 2001, a 1997 New Hermes Optima (re-badged Universal), 25w Synrad, it was my New Hermes/Gravograph rep's demo machine. My BIL has owned it for about 7 years, has used it daily engraving wood boxes. I replaced the tube in it around 2006 just because I got a new refurb tube- tested at 31 watts- for $1200. There was nothing wrong with the old tube. About 9 months ago the power supply went out. Finally. Got a replacement from Amazon for $68. It's still using the original lens, it's had 2 belt replacements and 1 set of X rail bearings. 24 years old now and still going... My BIL also has a 2005 40w Gravograph LS800, the tube blew a capacitor about 4 years ago, since then it's been running on half its power. One of these days he may spend the $1200 to get the tube back in shape. (He hasn't spent a dime on the machine for repairs or maintenance yet) Till then, still gets his work done, just slower

    I have a 2004 40s Gravograph LS900, in 17 years I've replaced a power supply, a stepper motor, paid the factory only $320(?!) to have the X driver repaired in the controller, and just had the tube repaired last summer. The tube should've cost me $1200 - $800 recharge and $400 to fix the blown electronics, but turns out the rebuild netted a 31watt output due to my tube needs its mirrors replaced. I was only charged $400 and other than a noticeable but not bad loss in power, it works fine. (I would've went with the $800 fix for new mirrors but the latest batch of mirrors from whoever supplies them have been prone to early failure)

    And I bought a used 2005 30w GCC Explorer from a former Creeker in 2013, it's still on everything original except rail bearings.

    So I'm agreeing with Glen & Mike --
    Love that people are still using "old" machines and that they are working well

    So due to some politics after Brexit (Great Britain leaving the EU) the machine arrives tomorrow.

    And even with a refill of the tube and if it works 100%, the it would be a pretty good deal

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