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Thread: Galvo Laser Recommendations?

  1. #1
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    Galvo Laser Recommendations?

    I’m looking for recommendations for a galvo laser. We have (2) Trotec speedy 300’s and love them and have a preference towards Trotec because of the quality, speed and support but I’m not confident that there is a big difference between Chinese galvos and Trotec Galvo (Speedmarker) unless you get one of the high end trotecs with an x andor y axis galvo. Below are my observations, requirements, and questions.

    1.) I know Trotec uses IPG for the fiber laser source, the Chinese units I have looked at all have the JPT M7 MOPA 60w so not quite the IPG but I’m not sure how different the two are.

    2.) I am looking for something that is consistent and reliable and worried that the Chinese lasers may not fit that bill. We are seeing a good amount of high value items and mistakes because of the laser and not operator are not ok.

    3.) How reliable is Ezcad? Is there a big learning curve to Ezcad compared to like a job control? Is there a preference between Ezcad 2 vs 3?

    4.) what lenses are you finding yourself using? I was considering purchasing 70x70, 175x175, and 300x300.

    5.) I’ve always been told that Chinese rotary’s are worlds away from something like a Trotec rotary in terms of stepper motors vs servos and the precision, can anyone comment on this? And just trying to understand overall quality and consistency of Chinese vs Austrian/US

    6.) this is the one I’m looking at, if anyone has any suggestions on something else I’d be all ears. https://m.aliexpress.com/item/100500...5003637393108&

    7.) Does anyone use MOPA color? I know itís slow but still.
    Last edited by Chase Williams; 12-29-2021 at 9:45 PM.

  2. #2
    I have steady work coming in from more than one customer who's tired of paying exorbitant fees to have warranty repairs done to their $40k fiber lasers-- such as trip and lodging fees for the repair guy, and/or having to pay $$$$ for updated software because the new replacement parts aren't compatible with the old software. One of my customers told me he paid over $4000 to have warranty repairs done to his machine, wow- My two 30w Ebay fibers cost me less than $3300 each to my door. I spend 3x that amount every year just on engraving plastics! My 50w I got last summer was less than $5000. I've been running cheap Chinese fibers since mid 2016, and other than I had to replace a scanhead on my first one, on warranty, I haven't had any major issues. Sometimes EzCad gets frustrating, but every part I've ever screwed up for whatever reason was my fault, not due to the machine or software. I've never experienced any EzCad other than the 2.x.x versions, all my machines run 2.14.10 right now...

    Basic galvo lasers have exactly 2 moving parts, the 2 scanhead mirrors. Virtually everything else is electronic parts. There is nothing inside the things that can't be replaced for a few hundred bucks, save for the laser source.

    I don't know how long they'll last, but they've all paid for themselves many times over. Now, a 'moving table' machine would really be handy, but so far I've never really needed one. The larger operator panels I build, like 17" x 31", with a 420 lens I can engrave an entire panel in 4 to 6 moves, in about 3 to 4 minutes total. My LS900 C02 laser takes 10-15 minutes depending to raster the same panels.

    So, I really have no need for 'name brand' machines. If/when one of mine goes south, I'll just hit up Ebay for another one..

    --But that's me
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
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  3. #3
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    Hey kev, this is some great information. Thanks for writing. There seem to be lots of little extras offered from one brand to the next, like autofocus, cyclops camera system, integrated red dot vs non integrated, 3D/2.5d/2d scan heads. Itís been overloading my brain and I donít know if these things extras are junk or things that actually increase capability and or efficiency. Iím a big efficiency person and donít mind spending the extra $$$ but need to have confidence that it pays back in one way or another. Mentally I have it in my head that a 60w is essentially 2x the speed of a 30w and at less than 2x the price of the 30w it makes logical sense if the workload is there. My understanding is a MOPA laser is the same as any other fiber except it has additional capabilities, but itís hard to be sure about that. Someone could clean up in business if they really had a couple quality education pages with proper English and weíre selling these. Itís hard to trust many of the things on AliExpress/alibaba but it seems to be the easiest way to connect with manufacturers.

    Iíve heard similar things on the 40k units, that being said the gantry trotecs have been rock solid and very easy to work on for the little maintenance needed mentally I was thinking Trotec Speedmarker maybe similar, plus somewhere on this forum it raised my eyebrow in someone saying that the ďquality non ChineseĒ units were 2-3x faster but its impossible to validate all this for modern day and these were old posts. After your post, I am leaning to Chinese fiber though and I really appreciate your input.

  4. #4
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    I think the one you showed from aliexpress is overpriced, and don't forget you WILL pay roughly 25% tariff on this one. There are a FEW that are already landed in the US and have already paid customs. I'd actually look at ebay, bought my second one a year ago almost exactly and it was a std JPT 50watt source. Just around $6k. Unless you really want to play with colors, and I say play, because it is hard to repeat unless you are actually sourcing the materials you are engraving on, I would just drop back to the JPT source. And ezcad is the same software except the 3d version has controls for moving the head (z) built into the motorized head. I think this option might be worth paying for, but I'm not totally convinced. Yeah, I somewhat follow a guy on FB that has dropped over $70K on the Trotec fiber and he has been QUITE disappointed in the support, which in HIS words, nonexistent. Seems no one that he has had contact with knows anything about fibers. Quite an OOPS if true. I really didn't suspect he would buy that laser, but he did. I think he was trying to get something no one else had. At any rate, pick one, and go for it. A good learning experience.
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  5. #5
    I've often thought that something like auto-focus on-the-fly would be a FINE addition, or one of those 'cyclops' camera's that look straight down from the lens would be REAL handy for red-light locating. But I get along fine without them so I've never really looked into them much.

    Speaking of focus, and you asked about lenses, thought you might get a kick out of my 'focus tool' collection
    focus.jpg
    These all go to particular machines and the lenses for them- The red triangle and the 2 sticks on top, they're all for 150 lenses, the red fits the M85 on the 50w, the tan fits all M52's, and the black fits the Triumph's M85..

    - 2 of my fibers use the large M85 lenses, the other 2 use the much smaller M52's- Surprisingly, I've found zero difference between them as to the quality of the engraving. Because the M52's are so small they're much easier to store and handle. The only problem with the smaller size is they're limited to (at least for now?) the 220 working-area size, whereas the M85's can be had in a 300.

    In M52's I have one 100, two 150,s and two 220's
    In M85's I have one 70, two 150's, one 200, two 220's, one 250 and two 300's.
    The longest 300 on the left measures 18-3/8" long(!), the 70 measures only 4-1/2" long-

    Longer lenses do come with a drop in power density and a slight rise in beam width, but the bonus with long lenses is added focus 'freeplay', with my 300's I have almost a plus/minus 1/2" of focus leeway. I use my 300 lenses a LOT. My main problem with them is tall objects, with needing 18+ inches of distance, tall objects are limited because the tower is too short!
    As to long lenses losing engraving quality, I just ran this plate for reference-
    small2.jpg
    small.jpg
    -- I did this at 10% power so as not to overburn it, material is .040 outdoor black aluminum. I could've used a little more power I think

    So consider this: This is a cheap Chinese machine for one; the mirrors that steered the beam were over 19 inches away from the metal, moving the beam at 3000mm/second, and this machine engraved crisp, perfectly readable text that measures only 27 thousandths of an inch tall-- I can't even begin to comprehend the minuscule actual distance the mirrors move to do this! The fact that galvanometers can even DO this in the first place, or that cheap computers and software can tell them HOW, it just astonishes me.
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE- make that FOUR now - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  6. #6
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    Thank you for your post! More great info. Iím disappointed to hear that on Trotec Galvos but to be honest Iíve been very impressed with the support on my gantry but pretty disappointed in terms of sales. I started calling them to inquire/probably purchase one of their galvos on or before17th and left a vm on my reps cell, then called the main line the following Monday and was promised a callback from someone in sales and a price list, still to date I donít have a call back or a price list. Itís pretty frustrating especially as I would think Iím a perfect sale, cash in hand and wanting to close quick without lots of corporate sign offs to get FY21 179 tax deductions. However since they are closed the last week of the year doesnít look like a 179 with Trotec is happening. Plus with all this new information Iím not seeing the need for the Trotec premium, unless I needed an x and y axis galvo. Iím kicking myself I was in the process of buying an RMI 60w fiber with an x axis galvo and it was sweet and I didnít act fast enough. Maybe a blessing in disguise as the gentlemen selling said RMI was a nightmare to get ahold of and work with.

    Anyone have any good suggestions of a specific fiber or manufacturer?

  7. #7
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    Kev, yeah those focus tools are great. I have a set of 3D printed that somehow the one I need is always misplaced by someone else. I might be making a similar collection soon! Very impressive on the quality with the lens. I think Iím just going to dive in and get a Chinese fiber. If you can achieve such results with a far lens I think I can be happy with a Chinese unit.

  8. #8
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    Just following up here, we ended up purchasing a brand new Keyence MD-X2520. I went through most all of the options and thought I would share my findings here. Basically in order of quality we looked at XT Laser, Litt Laser, Trotec, Keyence. There was actually a lot more like Trumf and Rofin, and many other Chinese Brands (but they arent as relevant). XT Laser seemed to be the "big boy" of chinese lasers, everything led us to believe the JPT laser source was superior to the Raycus, with the JPT M7 MOPA being the top of the line laser source for Chinese... but at the very top IPG, but a large price difference. My quarrel with this level of chinese lasers was EZ Cad, i played around with it and while i did catch on, i found myself continually frustrated and asked myself the question, if I hire someone to do this, how hard will the training be? I suspected it would be difficult to train someone with EZ Cad. Next step up, there was Litt Laser from my research these are chinese lasers with american support, a big difference being though that they have their own software and no more EZ cad, i have not tried their software but would imagine its a big improvement over EZ cad, but their prices are pretty high IMHO. We currently have two Trotec CO2 lasers in house and they are tanks and really wanted to lean towards Trotec and they probably would have had my business if it didn't take them 2+ weeks to get back to my multiple inquiries to them during the holidays. I loved that Trotec has their SpeedMarker line scheduled to be integrated into Trotec Ruby (software for our CO2 lasers), a single piece of software is so much easier to train people on and I find Ruby quite good, with a lot of current development going on. Trotec leads the pack in the ability to have a large engraving area as they essentially put an x,y,z axis on the galvo head and do some very clever software tricks to expand the space. Since Trotec builds the enclosure and does the laser, the software accommodates these larger work areas (important when comparing to Keyence). Finally Keyence, when looking over Keyence, we wanted something cutting edge and extremely capable, there is a huge difference between even Trotec and Keyence in tech. The new 2000 series MD-X from keyence has both a YV04 laser (Think YAG without having to change bulbs) and a fiber laser. While they only come in 12w and a 25w, my research has led me to believe that essentially everyone else (except Rofin Trumf and a couple select high end manufactures) is running a laser spot size of 80-150 microns (70 microns is a human hair), whereas the Keyence is 5 microns. When you take this into account the 12/25w is substantially more powerful (think 100-150w for the 25w Keyence) and cannot be compared apples to apples with the other manufactures. I dont love the Keyence software compared to Trotec, however its still very good for laser software and the laser is easily connected via LAN so you can connect without a hardwire connection. What was so interesting (and I still have not perfected) is the X, Y, Z tracking of the Keyence laser. Basically it will recognize objects and recorrect x,y,z position automatically... I think this will be a big time saver when I figure it out (rep is coming for advanced training on Tuesday). There is also something to be said about the laser being dust and water resistant with no maintenance, short of cleaning the lens. Also the Trotec uses an F-Theta lens whereas the Keyence integrates the distance sensor to precisely measure and keep focus anywhere on the work area and has a 3d lens built in to where nothing is every distorted (think of the 3d similar to how you can adjust binoculars). The downside of the Keyence is the price is steep and you literally get the laser power source and the laser head and nothing else, the enclosure is up to you (working on building mine with 80/20). Trotec, is definitely a leader here as they build both the enclosure and the software, therefore they can make large large items accommodated. Since Keyence doesn't build the enclosure, doing something larger than 13"x13" (still big) is pretty difficult. Worx makes an exclosure thats pretty cool but I'm not spending 60k on an enclosure alone. The other drawback is most all of the other fiber options have the ability for a rotary, Keyence claims they can do it but I've already checked and its pretty expensive and still not as good as an option as the competitors; basically they need a PLC (logic controller) in-between the rotary and the laser and the rotary must be at a consistent speed. Again since they dont sell it as a kit, it seems that the software isn't really accommodated to do things such as areas larger than the work area or rotary. All of this being said, I weighed the pros and cons and am very happy, the thing is a beast and quite impressive. There are a ton more little differences between all of the fiber lasers we looked at, if anyone wants to know more just PM me.
    Chase
    Sharp Media Group, LLC

    Hardware: Keyence MD-X2520, (2) Trotec Speedy 300 w/ rotary, Shotbot 4x8 w/ rotary, Ikonics/MBA Crystal Blast Elite, Prusa I3 MK3S+
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  9. #9
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    Well I got lost trying to read that long , long paragraph above, so you purchased from the guy you ranted about in the other Thread?


    I wanted to reach out and try to protect other users from Art that try's to sell Keyence lasers
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller , WorkBee 1000x750 CNC Router - Mach4 - Windows 10

  10. #10
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    I wrote that pretty quick without much refinement. Iíll try to clean it up when I get a min.

  11. #11
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    Sorry for the delay here, i was on my phone before and I find it difficult to reply on my phone. But no, we did not purchase from the gentleman in the other thread, we ended up purchasing brand new directly from Keyence. I gave the guy from Chicago more chances then anyone would that wasn't in a squeeze to get something and I am grateful that it didn't end up working out with him; I still believe there was a very high likelihood of it being either a scam or stolen merchandise.
    Chase
    Sharp Media Group, LLC

    Hardware: Keyence MD-X2520, (2) Trotec Speedy 300 w/ rotary, Shotbot 4x8 w/ rotary, Ikonics/MBA Crystal Blast Elite, Prusa I3 MK3S+
    Software: Full Adobe Suite, CorelDRAW 2021, Aspire 10.5, Rhino 6, Job Control 11.4.4/Trotec Ruby, Shopbot 3.8.50

  12. #12
    I see your issues with EZCad, but Lightburn will be available for fiber lasers in a few months, the beta version is already out to a few ( I'm lucky enough to be one of the testers) and it's so much easier to use than EZCad. It doesn't have all the features yet, but these are being added on a weekly basis, one of these is the ability to mount a camera on the head for lining up graphics on objects directly in the software.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julian Ashcroft View Post
    I see your issues with EZCad, but Lightburn will be available for fiber lasers in a few months, the beta version is already out to a few ( I'm lucky enough to be one of the testers) and it's so much easier to use than EZCad. It doesn't have all the features yet, but these are being added on a weekly basis, one of these is the ability to mount a camera on the head for lining up graphics on objects directly in the software.

    Can't wait for LightBurn for Galvo for sure. I've got a new Fiber coming here in the next few weeks as well, so anxious for LightBurn on it!
    Epilog Fusion Pro 48 - 120 Watt
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