So, I'm new here. This is my first post. Having said that, I'm going to ask an obvious question or two and hope I see a response that helps me out and might help others out as well.
Firstly, this is about laser cutters and their application towards printing plates; not for any specific type of printing, although generally speaking the two main types we would want to use the plates for would be relief printing (raised surface gets inked- therefore, what is not meant to recieve ink is carved/burned away), and recessed image printing- wherin any engraved or cut line actually gets ink smeared into it, and the ink to be 'removed' from the plate is rubbed off the top, flat surface of the plate- producing extremely fine line detail.
My questions are involving materials people have used laser cutters on with success, without ruining the lense or laser cutter itself. I hear polycarbonates are a no-no, but that acrylics are fine.
Has anyone cut or engraved Dupont Corian? What other types of rigid plastics available in sheet form work/are compatible with the laser?
Second, could you recommend a couple brands that are lighter on the wallet, but domestically source able within the USA and Canada? (I'm in USA and want to buy closer to me than further from me)
I don't want to order a cutter from china (nothing against the country, but not interested unless it's the only good option- something tells me it aint, but I dunno), and so far my pricing options have all stemmed from ebay; I'm about to start looking further into pricing, but I'd really like to find out what people who have actually bought cutters have to say- thus my entry into this forum.
I'm going to be doing a lot of reading, but I thought I would start by posting my two pointed questions and see if I could get some responses.
two things about my usage, in the form of a pair of questions- it would involve both cutting of wood and engraving of wood and plastics, hopefully the cutter I choose can easily handle both of those things- I was thinking 60W would be a good place to start; but since none of the stock I want to work with will be dense, or thicker than 1/4", is it necessary?
Secondly, we're not going to be as worried about speed at first- this is an experimental environment, not a production environment. Does the wattage/power affect the speed?
I can only speak to part of your questions.
I do not have a laser but we have a lot of laser work done on our Corian pieces.
Corian is used for a lot of hand cut lithographs. So I believe that it will be a good product for at least one type of printing plate. It laser engraves very well. But I would not try to cut shapes with a lower watt unit that you mentioned.
"...and now for something completely different..."