Howdy, I was hoping for some advice on a laser cutter I am working on. I am waffling between using a Synrad 48 series laser or one of these plain CO2 tubes available off Ebay that require a separate HV power supply and cooling method.
I already have a Synrad J48-1 that works beautifully, but I am not sure its going to be powerful enough. I would like to cut 1/4" acrylic and polycarbonate, up to 3/8" balsa wood and engrave in coated metals and glass. I downloaded Synrad's laser power calculator, but I am not sure how accurate that is since most machines use moving optics which lowers the available power. Since the Pana-robo can carry 15 kg without caring in the slightest, I was going to mount the laser vertically directly above the work surface. The only optic is a single ZnSe lens and the laser is located just a few inches from this. There is forced air going over the lens and the work surface to remove cut material. So, I guess my first question is..... For those of you that have laser cutters, am I really going to be limited to 4 inches per minute in 1/4" acrylic using a 10 watt laser mounted as described?
If the answer is even close to yes (I would like to get at least 20" per minute with 1/4" acrylic), I guess I will be going with a larger laser. I don't mind using a 25 watt Synrad, but for that price, it seems as though I can get an 80 watt tube off Ebay. Price is not so big an issue, but I would rather not spend over $4000 for the laser + power supply. With these plain tubes.... Are they going to be as reliable as a Synrad and if it were you, would you buy a plain tube over a Synrad unit? And lastly, where the heck do you buy the power supplies for these tubes. (and please understand, I want to BUY a supply with wiring, not build one. I am quite experienced with electronics, but 16 kV is beyond what I want to mess around with)
If the answer is even close to yes