1. #1
    Hi Everyone
    im in the early stages of trying to work out what CNC laser machine to purchase, what the best cad/cam software to run, i have a budget of 10k and do not want any Chinese imports! and support after i purchase would be a must! i have looked at Trotec but they are very pricey!

    my story, i own and run a landscaping and property maintenance business but in the past have dabbled with design and was very good at it all be it for a bit of fun!! now i want to exploit that skill as a hobby and then into a viable business over the next few years! cnc routers would work but my the efficiency and effectiveness of a laser machine has caught my interest! plus it will work on the materials i intend to work with! the only thing is i am feeling my way around in the dark at the moment and as there is so much choice out there i thought i would join this site and let some other keen enthusiasts hold my hand..... figuratively speaking!

    p.s the larger the bed & 40-80co2 laser the happier ill be!

  2. #2

    10K will get a good mid range machine that should come with its own software. I have a chinese one but have been eyeing up ones from a company called CTR. Not contacted them so not sure of prices but like the look of their machines in the photos. They claim to be UK made too.

    Nothing beats going to the see the machines though.

    In terms of software, the CAD side is pretty basic. You use programs that can make vector graphics like corel draw, adobe ilustrator, autocad or inkscape (free) and that is then translated to whatever the machine reads. Some machines are able to etch greyscale which is a huge plus as you get 3D images engraved nicely.

    To give you a feel for the power requirement:
    40W will cut 3mm birch ply at full power traveling at around 2-5mm/s
    50-60w will cut the same at 12mm/s and 6mm at 3-4mm/sec

    I would go for 80-100W just to be on the comfy side.

    You should also consider where you are going to install the machine. They produce a shitload of smoke and thus you will need extraction.

    Best of luck in you adventures and keep us posted!

    regards George
    Stocking more goodies than just Smoothsteppers

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  4. #3
    Hi George, that is some sound advice so thank you, im actually a lot clearer on the process now for sure! yeah i definitely would like a powerful machine as i always want things done yesterday but its interesting to understand the differences in speed, extraction....hmmmmmm im hoping to house the machine in my garage until (hopefully) i can turn this into a money making venture and move it to a unit! would this be safe in the garage if i pop a hole in the wall?

  5. #4
    Yes should be fine in the garage. I have mine in the conservatory and use a 700m3/hr inline extractor fan. There is a whiff of charred wood but nothing you cannot live with. Do keep a fire extinguisher handy though. Some materials do go up in flames.
    Stocking more goodies than just Smoothsteppers

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  7. #5
    so glad i joined this site, been really helpful thus far. I didn't even think about an extinguisher .... that is on the list for sure! more then happy to tolerate the whiff. will most lasers cut mound board (for picture frames) with out leaving any residue ??

  8. #6
    Mounting board will be charred unfortunately. There are tricks to keep the top and bottom surface clear though like putting masking tape where the cut is to go.

    You will need to experiment with it as I do not see me doing anything similar any time soon. Have a bunch of mounts to make in 3mm ply.
    Stocking more goodies than just Smoothsteppers

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