Author Topic: Laser recommendations?  (Read 1358 times)

timbo_93631

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Laser recommendations?
« on: January 04, 2019, 05:58:10 AM »
I am reaching the point where I'd like to be cutting my own flatwork and parts for pickups and eyelet boards for amps, I need to be able to cleanly cut 0.093" Forbon (resin impregnated paperboard) and 0.25" maple.  Something like a Glowforge is appealing because it looks like the workflow to go from idea to cut product is very small and replicatiing parts I am buying would be very easy.  Are there better options you guys are working with?
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pickdropper

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Re: Laser recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2019, 06:27:22 AM »
I think Epilog, Trotec and ULS (Universal Laser Systems) are a cut above most of the other stuff you'll find out there. They are expensive, but you might be able to find a used one if you look around.

No matter what you get, make sure you have adequate ventilation.  In particular when you are cutting, there are some nasty fumes.  Plus, with certain materials (like acrylic), if you don't have air being pulled across the cut, it will actually burst into open flames. 
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culturejam

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Re: Laser recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2019, 11:44:56 AM »
Cutting 1/4" maple will take some watts. Maybe an Epilog Zing 16 would be sufficient? Dave will probably be able to tell you a target wattage for that sort of thing.
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pickdropper

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Re: Laser recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2019, 07:39:36 AM »
Cutting 1/4" maple will take some watts. Maybe an Epilog Zing 16 would be sufficient? Dave will probably be able to tell you a target wattage for that sort of thing.

According to Epilog, 1/4" wood is the max you can cut with their Zing series, but you can (supposedly) do it with their 30W laser.  According to their recommended settings, you need to bump to the 50W Mini to cut anything thicker.  The 30W Function F(X) Mini18 laser can't do anything thicker than 1/4."

Maple is pretty hard, so I don't know if it's possible to cut it cleanly with 30W or if it really needs more.  I have tried to hit the max thickness with Acrylic on the 30W mini and it wasn't perfect (I had to flip it and cut it from the other side to get a cut, and it was only semi clean.  Slowing down the cutting ended up with more meltback than I wanted.  Wood will obviously not melt the same way that acrylic will, so perhaps slowing it down would work.

If you are serious about an Epilog, you can contact them and talk to them about your exact usage scenarios.  Usually, they (or their sales rep company) will be willing to cut a piece of the material to verify it will work for you.

Be very careful with the cheap higher power Chinese lasers if you are absolutely requiring that power level as they often aren't as beefy as the industrial lasers, so it's possible you might run into issues when actually trying to cut thicker material.  There are pro quality Chinese machines out there that are getting a better rep, just make sure the support is there.
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