best laser cutter under 5000?

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jram
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best laser cutter under 5000?

Postby jram » Mon Nov 28, 2016 6:44 pm

Hello All,
Looking for advice on a laser cutter and have 5000.00 to spend, could go a bit over with shipping. I am willing to consider a Chinese machine if the support is good, and/or I can easily replace items when and if they break. Looking for the largest I can get in this price range. I am also willing to consider a kit. I know there are forums specifically for this but I've received excellent advice from many of the folks on here so I thought I would give it a shot once again(I posted a while ago regarding CNC routers, I ended up going with the Xcarve 1000mm and we are a few days from completion, looks like a nice kit so far! Any help is appreciated.

A few more details. Looking to cut acrylic and mostly 1/4 inch ply as well as felt and a few other fabrics.
Machines- Rostock Max v2 with E3D v6, Corsair 750 power supply, PEI bed,injection molded carriages and new arms. Aluminum mount. X carve with x controller. Stratasys Uprint SE

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Xenocrates
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Re: best laser cutter under 5000?

Postby Xenocrates » Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:03 pm

I've got an Automation Technologies Incorporated 60W laser. It came with a chiller, air pump, and exhaust fan w/ ducting including in the price, and was shipped in a pretty sturdy crate (~23/32 veneer plywood, with additional reinforcing on the corners and sleds on the base). Or at least, we picked it up in Chicago crated like that (They have a warehouse/store there). They offer a 90W version for 4600$ (I wouldn't go more than 80W on the tube though, to extend the life). These machines have pretty good hardware, to the point where our biggest pain point was that the included tubing for the air line did not fit to the fitting on the air compressor properly without being heated, and that the air compressor used a non-standard thread. The software to control them is somewhat buggy and doesn't have the best manual. (Soft dog is Software Dongle by the way), however the controller could be replaced with something like a Smoothieboard or a GRBL controller.

They also promise a 3 month tube warranty and US service for a year (Extra 600$ for 2 years warranty). I've not had to use it yet however, which says nothing about their support, but a decent amount about the machine. I might also buy a rotary attachment while you're ordering from them, just to get it out of the way.
Machines:
Rostock Max V2, 760W corsair modular PSU, PT100 enabled E3D V6 and volcano, self adjusting carriages, Raymond style enclosure
Automation Technology 60W laser cutter/engraver

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
01-10011-11111100001

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jram
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Re: best laser cutter under 5000?

Postby jram » Tue Nov 29, 2016 9:33 am

Thanks Xenocrates,
What is the maximum thickness you've been able to cut on the 90w machine? Also, how are you venting your machine?
Machines- Rostock Max v2 with E3D v6, Corsair 750 power supply, PEI bed,injection molded carriages and new arms. Aluminum mount. X carve with x controller. Stratasys Uprint SE

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Xenocrates
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Re: best laser cutter under 5000?

Postby Xenocrates » Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:23 pm

jram wrote:Thanks Xenocrates,
What is the maximum thickness you've been able to cut on the 90w machine? Also, how are you venting your machine?


I've got the 60W version, but we can cut 1/4 baltic birch plywood (We could likely do thicker with a more powerful air assist, multiple passes, lower speeds, or pushing closer to the amperage top-out on the tube.) We currently vent it through a hole in the wall of the barn right behind it. In my experience, the machines come with the needed flexible ducting. Use the plastic semi-rigid stuff to go from the laser to the exhaust fan, then use the flex tube to connect it to a rigid duct that either goes through the wall or ceiling. Some filtration could be done, especially a mesh to keep the blower from eating larger particles, but be aware that any intense filtering will need either a supplemental blower, or may reduce the flow rate enough for the laser to really stink.
Machines:
Rostock Max V2, 760W corsair modular PSU, PT100 enabled E3D V6 and volcano, self adjusting carriages, Raymond style enclosure
Automation Technology 60W laser cutter/engraver

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
01-10011-11111100001

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jram
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Re: best laser cutter under 5000?

Postby jram » Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:48 pm

Thanks Xenocrates, I just looked at the 4,995 version and I think I'm going to go with that one. I can't seem to find a better deal for that size anywhere. I looked at Boss lasers but they are way out of my price range. Thanks for the help!
Machines- Rostock Max v2 with E3D v6, Corsair 750 power supply, PEI bed,injection molded carriages and new arms. Aluminum mount. X carve with x controller. Stratasys Uprint SE

RichWP
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Re: best laser cutter under 5000?

Postby RichWP » Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:06 pm

Might be too late, but I just saw this:

http://www.tested.com/art/makers/589537 ... er-cutter/

Looks pretty neat.

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Xenocrates
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Re: best laser cutter under 5000?

Postby Xenocrates » Sat Dec 03, 2016 2:45 pm

RichWP wrote:Might be too late, but I just saw this:

http://www.tested.com/art/makers/589537 ... er-cutter/

Looks pretty neat.


See the thread here about why I'm not a fan of the glowforge, and other's opinions on it. Needless to say that if a 60W laser has issues cutting 1/4 at a reasonable clip, the 40 (Or 45) watt tube in the Glowforge just won't do it in a single pass. Beyond that, go ahead and read the thread if you're curious.
Machines:
Rostock Max V2, 760W corsair modular PSU, PT100 enabled E3D V6 and volcano, self adjusting carriages, Raymond style enclosure
Automation Technology 60W laser cutter/engraver

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
01-10011-11111100001

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jram
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Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2014 10:17 am

Re: best laser cutter under 5000?

Postby jram » Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:00 am

It's been a while since I've posted as funds for the laser cutter are not distributed until July 1. Now I have another laser cutter to consider.. I have just been given another grant for around 17,000 to buy a 36x24 or larger laser cutter. That said, I have researched extensively and have narrowed it down to Boss laser or Thunder laser from China(they are a sponsor on CNC zone. Does anyone have any experience with Boss or Thunderlaser? I've had some input from folks at CNC zone but just trying to make sure I cover all bases before purchasing. I really wish we could afford an Epilog of Full Spectrum but they are still way out of range and the replacement parts look to be really expensive! I looked at the Glowforge thread, what a mess! I have recently been reading about the Full spectrum Muse but that seems like something I should stay away from as well.
Machines- Rostock Max v2 with E3D v6, Corsair 750 power supply, PEI bed,injection molded carriages and new arms. Aluminum mount. X carve with x controller. Stratasys Uprint SE

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Xenocrates
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Re: best laser cutter under 5000?

Postby Xenocrates » Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:00 am

I'm a big fan of Boss. The college owns a monster from them (4x4, 200W nominal, 220W tested), and I know another person who owns one and uses it for miniature terrain. The installers are well informed and helpful, as well as pleasant to talk to, and the machines work with pretty minimal fuss. Plus the warranty IMO means a lot more from an american company than a chinese one.
Machines:
Rostock Max V2, 760W corsair modular PSU, PT100 enabled E3D V6 and volcano, self adjusting carriages, Raymond style enclosure
Automation Technology 60W laser cutter/engraver

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
01-10011-11111100001


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