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Thread: laser engraver

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    HAGGERTY WOODWORKING, SOUDERTON PA
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    245

    Default laser engraver

    Hi Guys i am thinking of adding a laser engraver to the shop and was looking for input from the gurus
    thanks
    John

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Dorr, MI
    Posts
    25

    Default

    John,

    I have both a Shopbot and a laser cutter/engraver. I have found the laser great for small items that are difficult for the SB to do easily. Any especially thin or extremely detailed items head straight to the laser. My wife prefers the laser because it is in the warmer house and makes much less mess than the SB.

    Excellent example of a collaborative project would be to make a stool on the SB, then move the seat top over to the laser to add a custom logo or message.

    Aspire can set up the files for both, up to the point of the laser cut or etch settings, so a scale model can be created in the laser for preview and testing then run in full on the SB with only scaling the file in Aspire and CorelDRAW. Imagine creating a 1/8 scale model for a customer in a few minutes out of cheap sheet of cardboard.

    I have also run into materials that SB does not do well with and the laser does an excellent job (and the opposite is true).

    In short, each has it's own pros and cons, but having both has given me much more flexibility for personal and customer projects.

    I do have a Chinese machine with some US vendor improvements. I'm not interested in the flame war between the US and foreign machines, my decision was based on cost and my mechanical ability vs. the trade off of buying a more expensive machine. You will have to decide if the cost of the machine and your own ability to support it would allow for the lower cost Chinese machine or if you need the service and support of the US companies. Being a smaller side business, I went for the lower cost machine. The laser is about as complicated as the SB mechanically and electronically. If you are comfortable modifying one, the other is a simple fix as well.
    Last edited by kbraat; 01-31-2012 at 09:53 AM. Reason: Added mention of machine type

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Retired, Brigham City UT
    Posts
    147

    Default

    See Epilog Laser at:

    http://www.epiloglaser.com/

    They will send some sample pieces that are very cool.
    George

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Toms River, New Jersey
    Posts
    2,090

    Default

    John,
    I've asked a number of Shopbotters for their opinions on this issue. Almost everyone points out that the majority of machines are capable of doing the same tasks with equal ability. The REAL issue seems to be that some company "reps" are better/more honest than others, so good support is an issue to factor in here. Once you narrow down your choices you might ask to speak with some people on this Forum ( NOT people who are "recommended" by the company reps...) to get a good feel as to what will happen AFTER you write the check.
    PS- After having been to your shop WHERE are you gonna fit MORE machinery ???
    "Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality"...The Dalai Lama

    "Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else....." Sir James Barrie

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    , Depew New york
    Posts
    83

    Default

    I also have both a laser (80 Watt) and a Shopbot. The biggest advantage of a laser is there are no hold down issues. Only warped material can create a problem, but not too hard to handle that.

    The biggest advantage of a Shopbot is it is usually faster when cutting materials greater than 1/8" thick. Also, with the Shopbot you can cut more types of materials.

    The other advantge of a Shopbot is a 4' x 8' is less expensive than a Laser 4' x 8' (Yes, even Chinese).

    Keep in mind that one produces smoke and the other produces dust. Both have to be dealt with.

    I love them both!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    150 Mile House B.C. Canada
    Posts
    530

    Default

    John, I retired in 1997, I sold my drilling business because my wife had ovarion cancer. In 1998 I bought a ULS laser, a 50 watt 12x24 engraving area, In 1999 I bought a shopbot...to compliment my laser the old PR. what memories, my first job using both..





    By 2001 i had more work than I could handle, I hired a painter to do sanding and painting and leased another laser, I paid taxes on 196,000 in 2001, my wife passed away oct. 22, 2002 I sold the business dec 2002
    and went to work in the bush building logging roads with a cat and a hoe.







    Most of my work in 2001 went to Japan and china, I did all the signage for the canadian heavy timber building in Gamagori Japn, all the signs were of japanese maple, some was birds eye maple...so my advice to you is if you are creative, can use coreldraw as it is theee best for manipulation, I used to have customers that came and I did thier copy while they watched.. get one..take a look here..
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...5958314&type=3
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    , SW PA
    Posts
    216

    Default

    Like everything else it comes down to do you need it or want it. When I looked at them to add to my business they where running between 30-40000. No chinese out yet. How long would it take me to buy it with work? I eventually found a laser guy (there are alot out there) that I sub that kind of work to. Works great for both of us.

    Bob

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    HAGGERTY WOODWORKING, SOUDERTON PA
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    245

    Default

    Thanks guys
    I know what the lasers an do and i have no problem designing for them.
    i was hoping for some input on manufacturers. I have been looking at epilog.
    I have used A Trotec and the results were good but the ones i hve used seem to have a lot of maintenance issues. I'm not sure i it is the machine in general or the fact that the one i have been using is used by a lot of different people.
    Bill i you hink the shop was crowded when you were here last you should see it since Russ has move 1/2 his stuff in. There is a small corner of the bathroom with nothing in it
    thanks
    John

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Beaver Dam Products, St. Augustine Fl
    Posts
    1

    Default

    I have an Epilog legend 32EX with 75 watts of power. Have been using it for over 10 years and have not had any major problems.
    Be carefull of the Chinese machines. I have been told of many problems with support and software.
    Look at the 2 U.S. machines Epilog and Universal.

    Good Luck
    Dick Morgan

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    HAGGERTY WOODWORKING, SOUDERTON PA
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    Default

    Thanks Dick
    I'll check out Universal

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