MemberMay 16, 2020 at 10:15 am
Hi, wondering what people’s thoughts would be regarding which would be the best (most profitable) between a laser cutter or Roland LEF300 flatbed printer. With the situation as its is were tempted to take the gamble on a new machine in the hope of adding a new product line to our business. A lot of or so called bread and butter business has been lost due to places been closed so we’re trying to capture some customers from further afield. Any comments would be very much appreciated. Thanks
MemberMay 16, 2020 at 4:20 pm
Depending on your business, I’d imagine the laser would fit better into a ‘signage’ business, the LEF is probably very good, but limited to bed size to be really useful in a sign making business, unless you’re doing lots of smaller signs. Don’t you also need to make up jigs for items to print in the LEF, like pens etc? Fine if you’ve the volume, but I suspect some of the items you can print on the LEF are low margin?
The laser will cut acrylic, stand off letters, maybe even aluminium, I saw a customer of ours had burnt images into wood. Plus it’s a freaking laser!
I don’t have either, but just my opinion – Or you could keep the cash and just outsource that kind of work, see if there’s demand, and if it’s worth bringing in house?
MemberMay 16, 2020 at 5:22 pm
As some of my previous posts have mentioned, I bought a laser in December & its pretty much paid for itself now, I’m finding that now that a good portion of my clients know we have it, they’re finding things for it to do. It is limited on what materials it can cut, ours won’t do metal (a few grand extra if you want it to), foam & composite are a complete no go, but acrylic & plywood if we ever needed to are brilliant to cut. I went for the 1600 x 900 as I rarely need an acrylic letter bigger than that, this size gives me 4 almost full bed size pieces + 2 offcuts out of a 3m sheet. It’s astonishing how much you can nest this stuff to give minimal wastage. Also, if you go the laser route, make sure you have a joey spare to babysit it, no unattended operation I’m afraid, catches fire a little bit.
MemberMay 18, 2020 at 10:38 am
I would love to be able to afford either of these machines.
I love the idea of having a laser. there must be so many things you could do with it.
MemberMay 18, 2020 at 9:48 pm
Cheers folks, food for thought for sure. Going to have a good look around to see what we could produce with both. It’s a gamble for sure especially as things stand at the moment but hopefully one that will pay off. Thanks Kevin "catches fire a little bit!" sounds like fun!!!
MemberMay 19, 2020 at 6:35 am
[emoji1] I’m making it sound worse than it is David, but it only needs to happen once when you’re not looking & that’s game over. I’ve only seen it happen on 10mm, & its difficult to spot with dense coloured acrylic as the liner sheet on the bottom is the bit that ignites. We just paused the laser & it self extinguished after a second or two. Don’t let it put you off though, I wish I’d bought one years ago
This took around 15 minutes start to finish
MemberMay 25, 2020 at 12:34 pm
Thanks folks, food for thought. Seems to be a very useful piece of kit. Going to have a chat with HPC and see what they can offer us.
MemberMay 25, 2020 at 1:25 pm
More than happy for you to spend some time at ours to have a go, we could show you what we’ve learned so far & would definitely save you some money if you came over to pick it up yourselves, they charge for delivery & installation. You’re based over in Northern Ireland I believe?
MemberMay 27, 2020 at 5:18 pm
We have 6 from HPC Laser, and honestly, their service is excellent. The machines are great and good price. They are CE Certified as well, unlike imports, and they have a team of engineers who are on the road too! We aren’t sign makers, but cut a LOT of acrylic.
As mentioned, never leave them unattended. Acrylic is not self extinguishing, and burns very hot. I have had a couple of fires, both caused by negligence…. But both were fixed for about £80…. Once was caused by HIPS, and that stuff is dirty, took a fair while to clean the machine! (I do all my own servicing and repairs). I was there yesterday getting a tube tested, and picked up a PSU as the tube was fine. Top class service as usual!
Fires can be caused by really thin bits, if you try to cut too close to another cut, it acts like tinder (not the dating app) and any flare up will catch. Keep the machine clean, beds clean and don’t use excess power and you should be alright 🙂 . And never, ever leave it unattended. Never "Just pop out for a delivery" or go for an extra long poogle….
MemberMay 28, 2020 at 9:30 am
Thank you Kevin that’s an extremely kind offer, you may find us on your doorstep someday. We’re also toying with the idea of a cnc router. Again HPC seem very good for price and the service they offer. It’s good to hear Phil you’ve bought so much equipment from them. The fact you’ve 6 machines speaks volumes for their service.
MemberMay 28, 2020 at 9:46 am
I think the arrival of the laser will force us to get a cnc at some point due to its limitations on materials it can cut, will definitely need to extend our unit though, never been into a place thats got one that isn’t covered in dust & swarf. Not the best environment for a printer
MemberMay 28, 2020 at 1:23 pm
The Rollie sign looks excellent! :thumbsup:
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