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  • Laser Engraver… What sort of machine to go for?

  • Matthew Boulton

    Member
    November 5, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Hi all,

    In the near future we will be looking into getting a laser engraver/cutter to expand our personalised gift business.

    Obviously there are a lot about and a lot of machines from china that I have read need a lot of tinkering to get to work effectively and therefore were not really interested in.

    Most of the work we are planning to do will be quite small such as engraving wine glass’s, small wooden plaques, photo frames and also a bit of ply/mdf cutting so we wouldn’t need a huge machine.

    Just trying to get some information on what sort of machine and price range we should be looking at?

  • Steff Davison

    Member
    November 5, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    A decent "western " brand machine depending on bed size and power around £15,000. HPC sell Chinese machines with UK back up they are much less money.

    Phil Davies has some HPC machines he also has a western machine so knows both.

    As a footnote, there are more people entering the laser gift market, you know what happens to prices when that happens. I bought my first machine 2 years ago, I got in just in time to get myself some traction, its going to get much tougher.

    Good luck,

  • Greg McCarthy

    Member
    November 7, 2018 at 9:57 am

    I used to work for Gravograph.
    They are the best for engraving machines by far but are expensive.
    Ive had a LS100 EX for the past 7 years and its a beast.
    HPC Ive found customer service was poor for materials so would not buy a laser from them, in my opinion, but that might of changed.
    Trotec lasers are decent too.
    Id suggest only looking at lasers with U.S laser sources in. No glass tubes etc.

  • NeilRoss

    Member
    November 7, 2018 at 10:07 am
    quote Greg McCarthy:

    I used to work for Gravograph.
    They are the best for engraving machines by far but are expensive.
    Ive had a LS100 EX for the past 7 years and its a beast.
    HPC Ive found customer service was poor for materials so would not buy a laser from them, in my opinion, but that might of changed.
    Trotec lasers are decent too.
    Id suggest only looking at lasers with U.S laser sources in. No glass tubes etc.

    Greg – I’m not in the market for a laser engraver, but just out of interest, what is used in place of glass tubes?

  • John Thomson

    Member
    November 7, 2018 at 11:00 am

    I imported a Chinese CO2 laser 7 years ago.
    Still working hard almost every day…..I have replaced the tube once but in hindsight it failed because I was running it at 95% power which burned it out prematurely….now runs at 65% and not had a problem since.

    I would import again without hesitation……but you need to be prepared to work through setting it up and maintaining it yourself.

    John

  • Steff Davison

    Member
    November 7, 2018 at 1:03 pm
    quote NeilRoss:

    quote Greg McCarthy:

    I used to work for Gravograph.
    They are the best for engraving machines by far but are expensive.
    Ive had a LS100 EX for the past 7 years and its a beast.
    HPC Ive found customer service was poor for materials so would not buy a laser from them, in my opinion, but that might of changed.
    Trotec lasers are decent too.
    Id suggest only looking at lasers with U.S laser sources in. No glass tubes etc.

    Greg – I’m not in the market for a laser engraver, but just out of interest, what is used in place of glass tubes?

    Western machines use metal tubes, Trotec a heat sealed ceramic tube.

  • NeilRoss

    Member
    November 7, 2018 at 1:49 pm
    quote Steff Davison:

    quote NeilRoss:

    quote Greg McCarthy:

    I used to work for Gravograph.
    They are the best for engraving machines by far but are expensive.
    Ive had a LS100 EX for the past 7 years and its a beast.
    HPC Ive found customer service was poor for materials so would not buy a laser from them, in my opinion, but that might of changed.
    Trotec lasers are decent too.
    Id suggest only looking at lasers with U.S laser sources in. No glass tubes etc.

    Greg – I’m not in the market for a laser engraver, but just out of interest, what is used in place of glass tubes?

    Western machines use metal tubes, Trotec a heat sealed ceramic tube.

    Thanks, Steff. That’s interesting.

  • Phil Davies

    Member
    November 7, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    I have 6 HPC lasers, the machines are excellent, and up to full safety specs for the UK market. The same cannot be said of imports, and even some available in the UK as imports. These use Glass CO2 tubes, and are excellent for cutting and occasional engraving. They are not the fastest at engraving, perhaps 400mm/s is about avergae, much faster and it shakes the machine, less gives better quality.

    I also have a trotec speedy 300 120W here which I use for engraving, they are not cheap by any standards, but are head and shoulders above everyone out there. They use Iradion RF sources and the engraving quality is phenomenal. These will engrave at 3550mm/s, but of course you need more power density.

    I would recommend either company, and both of them offer good service. Both have showrooms and are happy to do demos etc.

    Lots of people recommend against glass tubes, I prefer them for cutting. The cost of a replacement on an 80W is around £440. An 80W RF source (ceramic or metal tubes) is a few thousand more. They become consumables, I have kileld a few myself through working them too hard, but typically get 2-3 years just cutting out of them.

  • Neil Speirs

    Member
    December 10, 2018 at 10:23 pm
    quote Phil P Davies:

    I have 6 HPC lasers, the machines are excellent, and up to full safety specs for the UK market. The same cannot be said of imports, and even some available in the UK as imports. These use Glass CO2 tubes, and are excellent for cutting and occasional engraving. They are not the fastest at engraving, perhaps 400mm/s is about avergae, much faster and it shakes the machine, less gives better quality.

    I also have a trotec speedy 300 120W here which I use for engraving, they are not cheap by any standards, but are head and shoulders above everyone out there. They use Iradion RF sources and the engraving quality is phenomenal. These will engrave at 3550mm/s, but of course you need more power density.

    I would recommend either company, and both of them offer good service. Both have showrooms and are happy to do demos etc.

    Lots of people recommend against glass tubes, I prefer them for cutting. The cost of a replacement on an 80W is around £440. An 80W RF source (ceramic or metal tubes) is a few thousand more. They become consumables, I have kileld a few myself through working them too hard, but typically get 2-3 years just cutting out of them.

    What bed size is your largest HPC Phil?

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