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Unread 11-08-2018, 10:40 PM
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Laser Cutter under $3000

Our team has been looking at buying a cheap laser cutter. Currently we have access to a full machine shop, but any prototypes take a few days to be made. We are looking into buying a budget machine such as this: https://www.smartdiys.cc/products/fabool-laser-co2

I am wondering whether this is worth the cost, as a local library has open hours to one on a weekend? Also are there any more powerful lasers from china or elsewhere that are reliable?
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Unread 11-08-2018, 11:36 PM
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Re: Laser Cutter under $3000

I don't know much about that laser specifically but their website scares me. It doesn't seem to list a wattage for the laser and no one has reviewed it on the website. Also many of the "optional accessories" listed on that site, I view as being very necessary to using a laser cutter for any productive FRC prototyping work.
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Unread 11-08-2018, 11:41 PM
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Re: Laser Cutter under $3000

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Originally Posted by AllenGregoryIV View Post
I don't know much about that laser specifically but their website scares me. It doesn't seem to list a wattage for the laser and no one has reviewed it on the website. Also many of the "optional accessories" listed on that site, I view as being very necessary to using a laser cutter for any productive FRC prototyping work.
This is where I saw it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nw_MiWx1Wcc&t
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Unread 11-08-2018, 11:55 PM
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Re: Laser Cutter under $3000

I'll leave it to other people to recommend alternative laser cutters, but as someone with experience in both hobbyist-level CNC laser cutters (the (in)famous K40s) and higher-power research lasers, the "Fabool" raises some major red flags for me:
  1. Other than "high-power", I can't find the actual wattage of the laser tube listed anywhere.
  2. The description for the recommended "Flame Damper Kit" says, "Flames are prevented by applying air to the irradiated part of the laser light using a compressor." Yes, nozzle air should be used with laser cutters. No, that's not the reason why.
  3. "Our condenser surface is coated so you do not have to get a proof of possession." I can't even fathom what that means.
  4. While the lid may block the laser wavelength (CO2 lasers emit ~10.6 um light, which acrylic is pretty opaque to), I wouldn't bet on it blocking enough of the UV that's emitted from the hot workpiece to be eye-safe.
  5. It just generally looks fairly low-quality. One of the main purposes of nozzle air is to keep particulates from shooting up and contaminating the lens. This doesn't actually do that, because there's no tube around the lens. The air just kinda blows down onto the workpiece.
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Unread 11-09-2018, 12:02 AM
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Re: Laser Cutter under $3000

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Originally Posted by CarlosGJ View Post
I'll leave it to other people to recommend alternative laser cutters, but as someone with experience in both hobbyist-level CNC laser cutters (the (in)famous K40s) and higher-power research lasers, the "Fabool" raises some major red flags for me:
  1. Other than "high-power", I can't find the actual wattage of the laser tube listed anywhere.
  2. The description for the recommended "Flame Damper Kit" says, "Flames are prevented by applying air to the irradiated part of the laser light using a compressor." Yes, nozzle air should be used with laser cutters. No, that's not the reason why.
  3. "Our condenser surface is coated so you do not have to get a proof of possession." I can't even fathom what that means.
  4. While the lid may block the laser wavelength (CO2 lasers emit ~10.6 um light, which acrylic is pretty opaque to), I wouldn't bet on it blocking enough of the UV that's emitted from the hot workpiece to be eye-safe.
  5. It just generally looks fairly low-quality. One of the main purposes of nozzle air is to keep particulates from shooting up and contaminating the lens. This doesn't actually do that, because there's no tube around the lens. The air just kinda blows down onto the workpiece.
Agreed. The way this was written to me is an indication about how much this company cares about the technical details of their product. At a minimum I would be aggressively searching for reviews and videos.
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Unread 11-09-2018, 06:05 AM
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Re: Laser Cutter under $3000

Our team doesn't personally have a laser cutter but I've heard of some people going with G.Weike, a Chinese brand. They create the machines for Boss Laser and Full Spectrum Laser who then mark up the price significantly. If you read the review they're pretty hit or miss for G.Weike so I'd advise reading for yourself.

I got a quote for a 150W LC1390N, something surely enough for FRC use (unless you want fiber) with a 1300mm x 900mm platform, for in the ballpark of 4k with $150 for shipping included in that price. I'm sure with a few adjustments you could find a machine totally in your price and spec range if you're interested.
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