Which laser cutter?

Derek

Member
Location
UK, Midlands
Hello all

I know 'which [tool type] should I buy' can be answered by possibly millions of discussions found all over the internet, but I'm interested in the views of those here, whose results we have all seen, and whose knowledge is worthy of respect.

At work, we've had to contract out various printing and cutting for 'placeholder' parts that we use in development work, so I've successfully argued that we should buy our own tools. No bias or hidden agendas at all. Honest.

I seem to recall that Martin is using an Elegoo Mars 2 Pro and Amazon has a good deal with the printer, a cure/ wash tank and resin, so that's a good mark in my book. There are more expensive resin printers out there, but what we spend on that, is taken from our laser cutter budget.

From the few here who have used laser cutters, could you give any tips what to look for- ie in terms of power output to cut through 3mm ply; for work we just need to be able to print irregular shaped 'plates', which aren't load bearing so, this ply would work quite nicely. What a pleasant coincidence, eh.

Again, apologies if I'm re-inventing the wheel here. The masses of data on the internet only becomes useful information if one knows one can rely on it; 1,000s of opposing viewpoints doesn't help.

Many thanks
Derek
 
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timbersgalore

Member
Location
England
Derek

Assuming that you don't want to spend thousands the only choice is a generic 40W CO2 laser from China see amazon. There are solid state lasers but their power in not enough to cut plywood.

They all tend to use clones of the same parts. The difference bettwen them is build quality plus some refinements. The laser needs water cooling and most kits include a pond pump. Don't expect a refined product you are likely to need to spend a few hours/days getting it all to work.

There is a gerneric china controler board which controls a pair of stepper motors. You can use Coaral draw with plugin thought you would be better off ignoring this and downloading K40 Whisperer (https://www.scorchworks.com/K40whisperer/k40whisperer.html)

Before deciding read up online "K40 Laser" so that you understand what you are getting into. I am not aware of anything <£1000, that is up to the job, that is not a K40 Laser at heart.

Timbers
 
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Phil O

Member
Location
Plymouth.
Timbers,

There's a company in Oz that has had good reviews on RMweb for a budget laser cutter, sorry I don't have any other info, but I'm currently on a touring holiday and I'm using a tablet, which I have only basic knowledge of how it works. I think that if you search RMweb for laser cutters you should find it, there are 2 versions and a third pending.
 
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Pricy but looks like it would work out of the box unlike a K40 laser. I would not want to spend £2K on a 15W machine.
There's also the Emblaser Core which is about half the price, but it is a kit of parts to build and it doesn't have the protections of the Emblaser 2, so you need to wear protective goggles when using it. It's the upgraded version of the original Emblaser 1 which I got a year or two ago and that has done a lot of good work for me.

Watch out if you get one since it comes from down under and attracts import duty and maybe more after Brexit.

Jim.
 
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Derek

Member
Location
UK, Midlands
I did wonder about the Emblazer as it has a very low wattage laser, but apparently you cannot compare the W from 'solid state' with the W from a CO2 laser. I've no idea what the actual difference is, but the Emblazer seems to be popular.

However, I've heard mixed comments as to whether it can cut through such toughened material as... 2mm ply.

Jim, as far as I can see from places like Amazon, the goods when you order them are already in the UK and as such will already have had import dues. Since Australia isn't in the eu- I don't think they've got that ambitious- I can't see how it would increase the costs relating to Brexit.*

(* that is a genuine observation/ comment/ question and not a goading for an argument with anyone. Five years on it seems there's more politics in model railway forums than political forums)
 
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Jim, as far as I can see from places like Amazon, the goods when you order them are already in the UK and as such will already have had import dues. Since Australia isn't in the eu- I don't think they've got that ambitious- I can't see how it would increase the costs relating to Brexit.*

(* that is a genuine observation/ comment/ question and not a goading for an argument with anyone. Five years on it seems there's more politics in model railway forums than political forums)

Derek,

As far as I am aware, new Emblaser products are only available from the maker in Australia. I think I remember when I got mine I had to pay the price + VAT + delivery + Import Duty.

I did a quick check on Amazon and there are actually two Emblaser 2 machines advertised but they are secondhand from what looks like a company in Germany. They are at a good price of around £580 - Emblaser are pretty good at support and replacement parts so they could be a good punt for getting a cut price machine. But there could be VAT and maybe import duty as well after Brexit - who knows? :):)

I wasn't aiming to be political about Brexit - just pragmatic since there seem to be unexpected consequences of importing since we left the EU.

Jim.
 
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Derek

Member
Location
UK, Midlands
Thanks Jim

I've just found this. It advises that we should be able to avoid the Australian sales tax if it's for export, which is 10%. So with Aus. sales tax deducted and UK VAT added it should work out about 10% higher- but in our case as we need it for work, we'll get the VAT back, so just import tax which I've yet to find a price for...


Appreciate it wasn't a political comment, thank you. I am just wary about the subject as in 'the other place' it's inevitable that it will spark something. What I meant though was the change to imports/ exports for the rest of the World hasn't changed.

Thanks
Derek

EDIT: To add link
 
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From memory Ralph (Palatine Models) uses one but doubts it can handle plywood of the thickness required and prefers mounting board duly treated with shellac for sleepers. Some details on here somewhere...
 
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Martin Wynne

Admin
Location
West of the Severn UK
Info
Please do not send requests for help direct to me via email.

Post your questions on the forum where everyone can see them and add helpful replies.
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Derek

Member
Location
UK, Midlands
Thanks Stephen. That's the Emblazer out of the window. Time to look at Timber's K40 suggestion. I'm not sure if I buy a unit for work costing £thousands that I'd still have a job left and be allowed to go in and use it.

Derek
 
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