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Unread 09-14-2018, 04:30 PM
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Recommended laser cutters for FRC?

Our team is looking to grow our in house capabilities this year, particularly in the area of being able to rapidly prototype things out on a laser cutter. I'm looking for advice on cutters that your teams have some experience with - there's definitely a huge range out there, and I'm trying to simultaneously avoid breaking the bank or getting burned on a cheap Chinese model that breaks after a few months. Any inputs / suggestions?

Thanks in advance, all.
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Unread 09-14-2018, 05:15 PM
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Re: Recommended laser cutters for FRC?

What materials are you looking to cut with your laser cutter?
What type of ventilation do you have in the space around your laser cutter?
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Unread 09-14-2018, 05:17 PM
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Re: Recommended laser cutters for FRC?

Probably only plywood / MDF and maybe acrylics. Primarily rapid prototyping and cutting acrylic for electronics / engraved sponsor logos / etc. We would almost definitely need something with filtering / ventilation built in.
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Unread 09-14-2018, 05:40 PM
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Re: Recommended laser cutters for FRC?

We purchased a Nova 35 100W laser from Thunderlaser this summer. It's more expensive than importing one your self but it's less of a hassle. It was around $8,000 total for the machine and it comes with everything you need to set it up and that price includes shipping, etc. It also has US based support if you buy it from the US distributor. There are definitely other quality machines or even the little 40W ebay lasers are usable for some things if you want to spend a lot less money.

We have ours hooked into our dust collector to be able to extract fumes outside. Normally the blower that comes with it does a good enough job but when we are cutting lots of plastic we will turn on the dust collector to really pull all the fumes out.

We have been able to cut 1/2" plywood easily (and sort of 3/4" but we are still working on doing it well). We have also cut acrylic, thin polycarb, delrin, MDF, Masonite, PET(G), and more.
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Unread 09-14-2018, 05:50 PM
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Re: Recommended laser cutters for FRC?

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Originally Posted by AllenGregoryIV View Post
There are definitely other quality machines or even the little 40W ebay lasers are usable for some things if you want to spend a lot less money.
That Thunder Laser looks pretty cool. I've looked at a lot of the cheaper ones online, but I'm a little worried about getting a cheap import that just breaks down after a few months. For example, I was looking at this: https://www.amazon.com/Engraving-Mac.../dp/B01I1H3G04 but there seems to be a repeat issue in the reviews with it breaking quickly. Any suggestions on how to go slightly budget like you're suggesting without having to worry about it being really unreliable?
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Unread 09-14-2018, 07:28 PM
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Re: Recommended laser cutters for FRC?

For the cost, we've been pretty happy with the Boss Laser LS-1630 we got about a year ago. But, we haven't done a whole lot on it yet. Raster engraving is fairly slow compared to a Universal laser, but it's a fraction of the cost.
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Unread 09-14-2018, 07:59 PM
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Re: Recommended laser cutters for FRC?

Be careful with laser cutting. Aside from the incredibly nasty fumes from plywood glue and acrylic / plexiglass, cutting metal vaporizes into e particles can end up in your lungs.

Ventilate the heck out of it. We have the ones here set up with spark arresters (after a couple of the paper filters caught on fire) and several layers of decreasing sized hepa filters. And don't let team members change the filters if they don't understand the danger. Microscopic metal dust isn't fun in the lungs.
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Unread 09-14-2018, 08:30 PM
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Re: Recommended laser cutters for FRC?

Full-Spectrum Laser has really good options in their "pro" line 3500-10000
https://fslaser.com/Product/Pro3624.
https://fslaser.com/Product/Hobby
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Unread 09-14-2018, 09:24 PM
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Re: Recommended laser cutters for FRC?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Line View Post
Be careful with laser cutting. Aside from the incredibly nasty fumes from plywood glue and acrylic / plexiglass, cutting metal vaporizes into e particles can end up in your lungs.

Ventilate the heck out of it. We have the ones here set up with spark arresters (after a couple of the paper filters caught on fire) and several layers of decreasing sized hepa filters. And don't let team members change the filters if they don't understand the danger. Microscopic metal dust isn't fun in the lungs.
We definitely aren't looking at anything that could cut metal, just woods and acrylics. I'd leave metal to a CNC or other tool. I definitely agree about needing appropriate ventilation and all though.
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Unread 09-14-2018, 09:50 PM
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Re: Recommended laser cutters for FRC?

We are looking at the BOSS HP-3655
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Unread 09-14-2018, 10:57 PM
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Re: Recommended laser cutters for FRC?

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We are looking at the BOSS HP-3655
I believe this is the machine that Los Angeles Trade Tech college has. You might want to try figuring out who is in charge of it there and see what they say about it.
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Unread 09-14-2018, 11:29 PM
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Re: Recommended laser cutters for FRC?

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We are looking at the BOSS HP-3655
Wow it can cut 18ga steel and 3/4 plywood laser cut bumpers would be amazing
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Unread 09-15-2018, 12:16 AM
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Re: Recommended laser cutters for FRC?

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Wow it can cut 18ga steel and 3/4 plywood laser cut bumpers would be amazing
Holy smokes. Okay, that machine looks amazing but probably overkill for what we're looking for. Hahaha.

Ideally, I'm looking for a solution under $10000. Under $5000 would be A W E S O M E.
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Unread 09-15-2018, 12:25 AM
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Re: Recommended laser cutters for FRC?

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Microscopic metal anything dust isn't fun in the lungs.
FTFY. Black lung, emphysema, mesothelioma, lung cancer; I suspect the list goes on.
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Unread 09-15-2018, 12:27 AM
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Re: Recommended laser cutters for FRC?

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Originally Posted by trycatch View Post
Holy smokes. Okay, that machine looks amazing but probably overkill for what we're looking for. Hahaha.

Ideally, I'm looking for a solution under $10000. Under $5000 would be A W E S O M E.
Go with the lower boss laser or fslaser then they are cheaper but still great quality
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