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  1. #1
    m_c's Avatar
    Lives in East Lothian, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 6 Hours Ago Forum Superstar, has done so much to help others, they deserve a medal. Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 2,320. Received thanks 270 times, giving thanks to others 6 times.
    It's approaching that time of year where I need think about minimising next years tax bill, so a laser cutter is looking like a reasonable way to at least do some of that.

    Previous advise was don't get a red A4 one that runs moshidraw, as they're rubbish (well, that's the polite version of what the now departed John S said). Get a bigger A3 size blue and white one.

    Which brings me to the question of what wattage to get?
    60W or 80W?

    It will most likely be used for some metal engraving (both steel with suitable spray, and anodized alu), engraving wood, and cutting some thin plywood.
    Avoiding the rubbish customer service from AluminiumWarehouse since July '13.

  2. #2
    m_c's Avatar
    Lives in East Lothian, United Kingdom. Last Activity: 6 Hours Ago Forum Superstar, has done so much to help others, they deserve a medal. Has been a member for 9-10 years. Has a total post count of 2,320. Received thanks 270 times, giving thanks to others 6 times.
    I'm going to bump my own thread as I now have a reasonable need for a laser cutter so have been perusing eBay.

    I see you can still get the blue 60/80W (although now much rarer), or green 80w (seem to be much more common).
    Has anybody got any thoughts on what is the better machine?
    Or even links to more active laser cutter forums?
    Avoiding the rubbish customer service from AluminiumWarehouse since July '13.

  3. #3
    One thing i can say outright - get ready to become an engineer. Most budget laser cutting machines WILL need lots of adjusting out of the box and modifying afterwards.

    You need to decide your budget AND physical space you put the machine in, adding space for water cooling or chiller on the side.

    I just this week took delivery of my laser cutter. 100W(read on), 9060 bed, adjustable bed, Ruida 6442s controller. It took near 3 months to get here, which were spent reading, watching, thinking.

    My seller delivered wrong specs, which i wouldnt have noticed if i didnt know stuff about how/why laser machines work. In my case i was supposed to get 100W EFR tube, instead i got CDWG 80W tube marked as 100W. There are no 100W tubes shorter than 1400mm, mine is 1250mm, which makes it 80W no matter the sales spin. Power dependent on length of tube.
    Also critical to check tube parameters. Do not get duped into buying machine with tube power stated as, say, 80W. It may be 80W PEAK, not sustained. If you are buying a 80W machine your tube must be rated at 80W sustained and 95-100W peak. If you get 80W peak tube you are getting 65W at most.

    Continuing on tube topic, get machine with a power meter (Amp meter). If it doesnt come with one it can be bought cheaply and installed afterwards. It is strongly recommended to have one, as you will see if you are overdriving the tube above sustained rating current (link back to paragraph above). It will help you maintain tube life expectancy, diagnosing power faults...

    Insist on Ruida controller, as it is most widely supported by all kinds of different software. There are much cheaper alternatives, but they come with some serious software and hardware limitations, modification/expansion limitations (no endstops, no autofocus, no external control for air assist/extraction/water flow monitoring etc.)

    Also, the whole blue/red/green color machine thing - you need to look at specs, not the color of the case. Most of them, even in the same color will be different in some way. Different tubes (even if same power), different mirror/lens setups, controllers, power supplies, added options like extraction, air assist, water cooling, etc.

    Avoid chain driven Z beds - pain in the ass to adjust as i learned only after buying my machine. Go for belt driven ones.

    Look if there are access doors for mirror adjustment, some boxes dont have any and access is extremely inconvenient, some needing angle grinder treatment.

    Look is there are external switches for extraction and pumps on the machine. Mine doesnt have any, so extractor and air assist pump running as long as machine is on, which is annoying that i cant switch them off while idling or messing with bed/laser head.

    Safety is a big one. Its a laser with power not to sneeze at. Get one with lid interlock switches, e-stop etc...

    There are GREAT MANY things i could tell you, as it is still fresh in my mind from buying my machine. You are welcome to ask. I'm still learning myself, now that i have the actual thing much more learning to come...

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