I've been toying with the idea of investing in a laser for engraving metals - I'm not sure how 'commercially viable' it would be, but I'm happy to treat it as a bit of a hobby to start with, whilst I learn
From what I'm reading, there may be a forthcoming shift to Fiber lasers, but cost-wise that's maybe untenable for the moment? I'd seen a slick, YAG machine in the US, small footprint and has a small belt conveyor (for pens etc which will be my initial primary interest). Unfortunately it had a pretty prohibitive price tag!
I took to searching out Chinese alternatives - most of these are flat table format like the c02 versions. I take it when you're looking at volume etching the likes of pens, you'd be looking at a large-ish table area and set up a template so you can do e.g. 20 at a time?
Repair wise, one manufacturer said the machines tend to be fairly modular to allow end user repair. I'm pretty handy with machines but I see a hell of a lot of "help, my laser is broken" threads, mostly c02 related, but give cause for concern. Is there mechanical assistance available in the UK?
I may have an ace in the pocket, a family friend is a physics professor who specialises in laser technology- I don't think he would deal with CNC but might come in handy in future
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