Newbie Recommendation for laser engraver $5k or under


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    Default Recommendation for laser engraver $5k or under

    Hello, I'm new to this forum so I'm playing the newbie card. I have a monogram business and I want to add a laser engraver to do etching, engraving and cutting. Items like cutting boards, Wine glasses, iwatch bands, powder coated stainless steel tumblers/wine glasses. I understand the coated metal thing and would want to be able to cut up to 1/4' mdf or balsa. I'm currently considering the H Series from Spectrum. Are there any others I should look at before purchasing? Definitely need a cylindrical attachment. I am very proficient in Illustrator and Corel Draw.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

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    Default Re: Recommendation for laser engraver $5k or under

    Full Spectrum does not have a good rep for tech support, so bear that in mind and research the support aspect if you think it will be important in sustaining your business.

    If you make a living from your business, I'd consider one of the major brands, like Trotec, Epilog, or Universal Laser. Those are all well over your $5k target price though.

    You might consider the Glowforge laser, but they've had a lot of warranty replacements and only offer support by email or their forum (no phone support) and an official response on either can take days to get and more days to finally resolve. To me, the Glowforge only makes sense for the casual hobbyist that doesn't need to worry about deadlines, warm temperatures (it shuts down above 75 °F), or need fast engrave speeds. The laser sold by Dremel might be better, but I've not seen much info on that. It's based on the Full Spectrum Muse, but supported by Dremel.

    There are several import brands on the market. I have a Thunder Laser Nova 24, bought from a US reseller and it's given me no major problems. The US-based tech support has not been very good, though they do answer the phone (usually). Some folks like Rabbit Laser or Boss. If you haven't already done so, browse the engraving forum on SawMillCreek.org. There are lots of pro and serious hobbyist laser users there. Another source is the forum at RDWorksLab.com which focuses on lasers that have Ruida controllers and use RDWorks software. If you end up with a laser that uses a Ruida controller, consider buying the LightBurn control software ($80). IMHO, it's much better than RDWorks and offers some nice features.

    BTW, are you in the US or elsewhere in the worls? That has a bearing on which brands might make sense for you.



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    Default Re: Recommendation for laser engraver $5k or under

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelHenry View Post
    You might consider the Glowforge laser, but they've had a lot of warranty replacements and only offer support by email or their forum (no phone support) and an official response on either can take days to get and more days to finally resolve.
    I agree with Michael but it is not just the tech. support. Glowforge machines are way too expensive for what they are. Their target users are very entry level hobbyists yet they are priced as production equipment. Frankly, I don't understand why would someone consider them unless being uninformed. I am surprised how many enthusiasts (primarily in the US) are willing to spend such a substantial amount of money on a hobby and such basic results.

    To get the best possible machine in this price range you will have to deal with China directly. It takes time but it is not that complicated.



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    Default Re: Recommendation for laser engraver $5k or under

    Storen - I agree with everything you've said, but do believe that the GF can be a good match for someone with almost or virtually no technical knowledge of lasers that might need a lot of hand holding along the way. The Glowforge forum is really helpful for such users, though you must have bought a Glowforge laser in order to post there or even to read their on-line manual, maintenance procedures, or troubleshooting tips. Anyone with wood or metal shop experience or that is handy with tools would definitely be better served with an import.



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    Default Re: Recommendation for laser engraver $5k or under

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelHenry View Post
    Storen - I agree with everything you've said, but do believe that the GF can be a good match for someone with almost or virtually no technical knowledge of lasers that might need a lot of hand holding along the way. The Glowforge forum is really helpful for such users, though you must have bought a Glowforge laser in order to post there or even to read their on-line manual, maintenance procedures, or troubleshooting tips. Anyone with wood or metal shop experience or that is handy with tools would definitely be better served with an import.

    I read the GF forum and see the same problems come up all the time. It also seems like a lot of down time with waiting for stuff to be rendered also with waiting for help or a refurbished machine. I see that if what you are cutting isn't perfectly flat it has problems cutting and when I say flat they are talking about the thickness of a sheet of paper that most lasers will cut.



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    Default Re: Recommendation for laser engraver $5k or under

    Quote Originally Posted by fixtureman1 View Post
    I read the GF forum and see the same problems come up all the time. It also seems like a lot of down time with waiting for stuff to be rendered also with waiting for help or a refurbished machine. I see that if what you are cutting isn't perfectly flat it has problems cutting and when I say flat they are talking about the thickness of a sheet of paper that most lasers will cut.
    All true. Still, if you are completely non-technical, the GF might still be a better fit than the k40 or Ebay lasers if only because GF will eventually replace failed lasers or some of the simpler parts and the on-line community is really helpful. Getting warranty replacements on the imports can be more uncertain unless you are dealing with a company that has in-country support. Those usually cost more, though, and you still have no guarantee of an actual answer. I eventually saw the light, canceled my Glowforge order, and bought a Chinese brand through a US re-seller. Delivery was straight forward but I was pretty much on my own with the relatively minor problem I had with it. Not a major problem at all, but most of the GF owners I see would be totally lost without handholding.



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    Default Re: Recommendation for laser engraver $5k or under

    Quote Originally Posted by Storen View Post
    I agree with Michael but it is not just the tech. support. Glowforge machines are way too expensive for what they are. Their target users are very entry level hobbyists yet they are priced as production equipment. Frankly, I don't understand why would someone consider them unless being uninformed. I am surprised how many enthusiasts (primarily in the US) are willing to spend such a substantial amount of money on a hobby and such basic results.

    To get the best possible machine in this price range you will have to deal with China directly. It takes time but it is not that complicated.
    A fool and his money are soon parted - I just saw K40’s selling for $1995... the exact same one I buy for $350.



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    Default Re: Recommendation for laser engraver $5k or under

    Quote Originally Posted by Emmagray View Post
    Hello, I'm new to this forum so I'm playing the newbie card. I have a monogram business and I want to add a laser engraver to do etching, engraving and cutting. Items like cutting boards, Wine glasses, iwatch bands, powder coated stainless steel tumblers/wine glasses. I understand the coated metal thing and would want to be able to cut up to 1/4' mdf or balsa. I'm currently considering the H Series from Spectrum. Are there any others I should look at before purchasing? Definitely need a cylindrical attachment. I am very proficient in Illustrator and Corel Draw.

    Thanks in advance for your help!
    Hi Emma,

    If most of your work will be engraving, anything from 45W to 80W, bit as with everything, you buy a small one because you only need modest, then all of a sudden you wish you had the next size up

    If you were looking at the FSL Hobby series, you are in the $5k range, which means there’s a lot of options.

    If it was me, I would go desk-side, rather than desktop, 60-80W in a 4060 or 5070-sized machine (depending on how much room you have, even a 6090) with decent chiller, extractor and controller would give enough change from the cost of that FSL to hold yourself a spare laser and psu.

    this: http://www.lcshenhuilaser.com/SH-G46...-pd306302.html
    or this: http://www.lcshenhuilaser.com/SH-G57...-pd394104.html



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Recommendation for laser engraver k or under

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