I have just started the process of importing a laser engraver/cutter from China and thought it would be a good idea to log the process here, as it happens so others could learn from my mistakes or profit from my good fortune - whichever may be appropriate
To complete my retirement workshop and to fill an ever increasing demand for cut, sheet material, I decided I needed a CNC laser cutter/engraver. I already have a Syil Super X3 CNC mill, a homemade CNC router/mill and a very nice, large Chinese lathe.
Where do you start? If you do a search for CNC laser engravers you get a mind boggling number of hits so how do you filter these. Well, the way I did it was to use one of the business search engines and I found www.globalsources.com The beauty of this kind of search engines is they list their 'verified' suppliers and you can start with at least a modicum of confidence.
I waded through the companies and all their machines and put a check mark next to the companies that interested me. I think there were something like ten in total. You then just click the 'InquireNow' button, fill in a few details and your enquiry shoots off to all the marked companies.
Within minutes I got my first response!!! A few hours later I got two more responses and that was it! Seven of the ten just did not respond One of the three just directed me to their UK agent. Out of interest I looked at their UK website - no prices - what a surprise. I phoned and they quoted some silly prices. That left two companies so I searched through all their products for one that suited my needs.
I really wanted the largest machine I could get through a standard, 800mm doorway. Unfortunately, my workshop has two doors neither of which are big enough for serious machinery to pass through and I did not want to start removing doorframes. A desktop machine would be superb as it would easily fit through the door on its side. However, there seems to be serious restrictions on cutting areas with these machines and the largest either company could muster was a 500mm x 300mm machine - not quite large enough for my needs - I needed at least 600mm in one direction.
Both companies do 600mm x 400mm machines and this was the size I decided to go for. However, one of the companies' machines was too large to fit through the door so I was left with JCUT CNC Equipment Co., Ltd.
I replied to the three companies who responded and I have to say that the continued response from Mandy at Jcut has been superb. Eighteen emails and four days later, they have my order.
In my next post I will list some of the questioned I felt I needed to ask and the responses I got back. So far my experiences are very good.