Small shop looking for their first laser engraver...maybe cutter.


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    Default Small shop looking for their first laser engraver...maybe cutter.

    Hi all,

    I have a small CNC machine shop and do mostly anodized aluminum work. For the parts that get engraved I've been engraving them on my mill which works but seems to be a waste of time and wear and tear on the machine for something that could be done much faster and cleaner on a laser. I know very little about them (only what I've researched a bit online) and wanted to get my feet wet with as little up front cost as possible. Right now I'd be happy with a marking area of only 4-5" wide by 3-4" tall so doesn't have to be large. Speed isn't at all important to me either as it'lll run while I'm running other machines anyway. All that really matters is that the image/text burnt into the anodized aluminum is nice and crisp and looks good. Again not looking for an industrial grade machine, it's just a little side thing that might help with the 3-4 engraving jobs i get to take those off my mill as well as maybe learn the ins-outs of laser marking/engraving. I'd prefer something table top since it'll only be used once in a while I could probably shelf it or roll it out of the way when not being used.

    Thanks for any advice.

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    Default Re: Small shop looking for their first laser engraver...maybe cutter.

    you can think about mopa fiber laser marking machine for anodized aluminum, you can do black marking and white marking like follows video. working size 175*175mm is better.
    1.
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    Default Re: Small shop looking for their first laser engraver...maybe cutter.

    Quote Originally Posted by LASERAlex View Post
    you can think about mopa fiber laser marking machine for anodized aluminum, you can do black marking and white marking like follows video. working size 175*175mm is better.
    What's the cost on something like that?



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    Default Re: Small shop looking for their first laser engraver...maybe cutter.

    For what you want to do a small co2 40 watt laser will be sufficient. As long as you not doing bare metal, you anodized Alum, I will assume its colored , red ,blue black or some color other them white or natural. a small bed size is OK you said. you have to get a size that will accommodate the entire piece not just the engraving area it all has to fit in the machine.That all being said you have no laser experience so you will want to get a machine with good support. If you located in the USA then a few come to mine, Rabbit Laser USA in Ohio would be your best machine and support for the money. They will deliver the machine and teach you how to run it on site. Boss Laser In FL dont think they come set it up tho. and Automation tech. All these will run around 5 to 7 K. If you want to do a direct import from China it will be less money but virtually no support.
    DO NOT BUY OFF EBAY OR AMAZON



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    Default Re: Small shop looking for their first laser engraver...maybe cutter.

    if you just engrave anodized aluminum ,the laser machine also can do this ,Small shop looking for their first laser engraver...maybe cutter.-49255265-jpg




    Quote Originally Posted by icentropy View Post
    Hi all,

    I have a small CNC machine shop and do mostly anodized aluminum work. For the parts that get engraved I've been engraving them on my mill which works but seems to be a waste of time and wear and tear on the machine for something that could be done much faster and cleaner on a laser. I know very little about them (only what I've researched a bit online) and wanted to get my feet wet with as little up front cost as possible. Right now I'd be happy with a marking area of only 4-5" wide by 3-4" tall so doesn't have to be large. Speed isn't at all important to me either as it'lll run while I'm running other machines anyway. All that really matters is that the image/text burnt into the anodized aluminum is nice and crisp and looks good. Again not looking for an industrial grade machine, it's just a little side thing that might help with the 3-4 engraving jobs i get to take those off my mill as well as maybe learn the ins-outs of laser marking/engraving. I'd prefer something table top since it'll only be used once in a while I could probably shelf it or roll it out of the way when not being used.

    Thanks for any advice.


    Lucy Lee G.WEIKE LASER
    han@wklaser.com


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    Default Re: Small shop looking for their first laser engraver...maybe cutter.

    A small 20 W Galvo Fiber laser with a rotary will be just the ticket for bare metal or anodized aluminum. More useful than a co2 machine for just metal plus its fast and I have both. I paid about $5300 for mine.

    Master Electrician - Retired.


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    Default Re: Small shop looking for their first laser engraver...maybe cutter.

    for anodized aluminum, MOPA laser is better as it can do black color on anodized aluminum. ordinary fiber laser can't do black marking



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    Default Re: Small shop looking for their first laser engraver...maybe cutter.

    If you are looking for low cost (under $1,200 or so) I would get a Chinese K40 and do a Lightobject DSP conversion. Will take a half day of work to get it all converted, but will give great results. Suggest you look at the forums at Lightobject.



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    Default Re: Small shop looking for their first laser engraver...maybe cutter.

    k40 is a piece of junk spend money and time3 to up grade and you got upgraded junk



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    Default Re: Small shop looking for their first laser engraver...maybe cutter.

    The software and control system on a stock K40 is junk. When you upgrade with Lightobject parts it is an excellent machine for the money. It is certainly not as capable as a $5,000 machine, but for low volume uses it does a fantastic job and is well worth the total spent in time and money. Mine has paid for itself many times over. I can afford a much more expensive machine, but I don't do enough laser work to justify the cost when the K40 does all I need. It sounds like the original poster may be in the same situation I am in.



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    Default Re: Small shop looking for their first laser engraver...maybe cutter.

    Quote Originally Posted by brian257 View Post
    The software and control system on a stock K40 is junk. When you upgrade with Lightobject parts it is an excellent machine for the money. It is certainly not as capable as a $5,000 machine, but for low volume uses it does a fantastic job and is well worth the total spent in time and money. Mine has paid for itself many times over. I can afford a much more expensive machine, but I don't do enough laser work to justify the cost when the K40 does all I need. It sounds like the original poster may be in the same situation I am in.
    Yup, pretty much exactly my situation. I just need something good enough to give me clean engraving on anodized aluminum. It's got to look nice but that's about it. Most of the video's and reviews of those K40 machines and upgraded machines focus on wood marking and cutting so i'm still having a hard time finding any information or pictures of what they can do on anodized aluminum parts. If i can get my feet wet for $1000 and that will marking the 100-200 parts I do that might need marking over the period of a year then I'll know in a few years if I want to upgrade to something more robust or faster.

    If, however the look of the marking is crappy then it's wasted money as I do need it to look good. I don't mind tinkering with the machine or spending time setting it up if the end result is worth it. I'd like to go with a fiber marking machine but seems the base price of those is around 5k and that's for a direct from china deal. I don't mind rolling the dice with $500 (and then adding another $500 in improvements) but rolling the dice with 5K up front is a bit more than I'm willing to risk without knowing if laser marking will even be a viable part of the business.



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    Default Re: Small shop looking for their first laser engraver...maybe cutter.

    A picture is worth 1,000 words. Here is a test I just did on mine. The larger text is 4mm and the smaller is 2.5mm. Correct focus is important for clear engraving. This is not focused well. I have a motorized Z table for focus, but didn't have anything anodized handy so I just put some parallels under the base of the Z table to get it pretty close and engraved the blue frame of the table. This is actually the first anodized aluminum I have done so I just guessed at a correct power setting and speed and it came out pretty good. This text is small so picture is zoomed in pretty close. Looks a lot better to the naked eye. I am sure better results could be had taking a little time to get it set up correctly. This took about 10 seconds to engrave.

    For engraving, especially small letters, you should get a 38.1mm or closer focus lens. The machines come with lenses for longer focus, but that does not give you the small dot size needed for fine engraving.

    For fine engraving you will not get as good results if you use a higher powered CO2 laser. The beam size is larger on them.

    Small shop looking for their first laser engraver...maybe cutter.-laser-test-jpg



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Small shop looking for their first laser engraver...maybe cutter.
Small shop looking for their first laser engraver...maybe cutter.