Laser engravers..........what's out there? - Page 2
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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by lionelt View Post
    What materials have you marked?

    Would is mark stainless steel?
    I've marked some parallels and a 1-2-3 block just to test it on steel and it worked fine. Haven't tried stainless but I suspect it wouldn't be an issue.

    My reason for buying it is to quickly mark anodized aluminum parts, so most of my experience so far is doing that.

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    This is the Boss laser I was referring to, in my post.
    This is a simple job, in 4140cht.
    The milling time was 2 minutes, and load/unload.
    Now, the marking takes seconds.

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    I have been using this one from TYKMA, and it is amazing. The software is easy to use, and the machine has marked any material I've thrown at it. I think it runs about $40k, but they have smaller machines which are $20k.

    Oh and I forgot to mention the preview feature is great. It traces what your marking will look like in red laser, and allows you to position your part on the fly.

  5. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by edward.santos View Post
    ...[T]he machine has marked any material I've thrown at it.
    Caveat: Fiber lasers won't mark organic material. I tried marking wood but it only burned the pencil mark off.

  6. #25
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    My "feel" is that the laser market is like the PC market in 1990.

    CO2 lasers have been marking most products in the world for about 20-30 years.
    Obviously they work, fiber lasers were not widely available or much in use 10 years ago - but industrial tooling was still marked, no.
    CO2 lasers cut heavy steel plate - dismissing them as toys is ingenious.

    Endless solutions like ceramark sprays, lasered, leave good permanent marks on all sorts of substrates.
    Fast, good quality, permanent, cost varies.

    Fiber lasers are potentially much more efficient.
    This should not matter for marking and engraving where power costs are immaterial.

    Fibers can deliver very high power (relative) very efficiently vs co2.
    Much better for cutting heavy steel sheets for marine and assy industries (now trending to fiber).

    Endless light hobby and chicom imports do a decent job on engraving tens of thousands of products per day.
    So obviously it works, and the engraving is good enough.

    So if You buy a 30k$ engraver, fiber, it will be a tiny bit better than a co2 laser prosumer.
    Technically.
    Probably no-one will care, and most won´t notice.

    But the sw, and reliability, may be better- US.
    Yes.
    Or no.
    And if the sw is not better or does not work -- mostly you are sol with US suppliers on advanced features. As well.
    Try it with adesk (10+ products), siemens, proe, catia, whatever.

    The top us laser companies will of course have ongoing support at high cost ..
    but they still wont fix your problems with nested interlacing curved polygonals, for example.
    Neither will Rand Mc. (Rhino), Adesk, Solidworks or anyone else.

  7. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by welderboyjk View Post
    I think you need to define "various materials".
    Co2 and fiber have different wavelengths. Makes a difference on clear plastics.
    If all you are doing is metals. Bare or anodized I can send you pics of what a fiber can do on both of those.
    Can a CO2 laser mark colored anodized (Black,Blue,Red) parts without using a spray ?.

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    doug - what kind of safety measures are required around that machine? I was under the impression that fiber lasers would make instant blind spots on the unprotected human eye??? and that one is clearly not in any sort of cabinet... (but load/mark/unload sure looks fast.... (:-)

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  10. #28
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    we have a 3 universal laser cutters/engravers where I work. X-660, X2-660, and VLS6.60. I've never used anyone else's machines, but I like these a lot. They cut wood/acrylic/paper/etc. They engrave anodized aluminum. Make fabulous gaskets from Buna-N rubber and rubber fiber gasket material. They will make poison and problems for you if you cut halogenated plastics, so be wary of what you are cutting. Polystyrene products also produce nasty fumes, and can also go up in flames in unfortunate ways. I think these can etch glass, but I've not given that a shot yet. They do a nice job doing linear work, cutting images or large fields of stuff defined by a raster image is slow and tedious. There is no built in kerf offsets on these machines.

    On a large industrial machine that will cut 11 ga steel, perhaps the software that controls the machine is more versatile? Those big, high power $100,000 lasers can often cut relatively thick wood in addition to metal. I had a guy in Wisconsin 15 years ago who cut a whole bunch of stuff for me from 1/2" MDF There's an angle to the cut edge, much like with a plasma cutter, but it's pretty nice how straight and accurately it places the cuts.

    Figure out what you want to cut/engrave.
    Figure out how big your work pieces will be.
    Figure out what type of materials you want to cut/etch/engrave.
    Figure out how tedious you are willing for machine maintenance to be. - the universals are very user friendly in terms of being easy to maintain.
    For an average sized 18x32 universal laser cutter, you're going to need 500CFM exhaust.
    Find out what replacement optics and laser sources are going to cost, and how long one can expect them to last.

    Our oldest machine is from either 2002 or 2004, and still going strong, but we've also replaced all of the belts and rollers, and the laser source gets replaced ~ every 2 years at a cost of nearly $2000

    There are CO2 systems that cut metal, they require a gas assist of some sort:
    https://kernlasers.com/wp-content/up...al-Cutting.pdf

    for more info on metal cutting:
    CO2 vs. Fiber Laser Technology: Which is right for you? – Bystronic Inc.

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    Laser recharging can be done a lot cheaper than $2k, check with this place: Laser Repair - Evergreen Laser Corporation They will do a 50 watt ULS for under $1000 and warrants it for a year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bryan_machine View Post
    doug - what kind of safety measures are required around that machine? I was under the impression that fiber lasers would make instant blind spots on the unprotected human eye??? and that one is clearly not in any sort of cabinet... (but load/mark/unload sure looks fast.... (:-)
    I (and /or anybody else in the room) wear safety glasses, for the frequency of the beam.
    I have looked at it while etching, without glasses, and could not tell a difference. Of course, that was only for a few seconds, but I would not recommend it.

    We put the laser in a room that can be closed off from the rest of the shop, so no enclosure was wanted.
    There is no appreciable fuming from etching steel or aluminum, that I can tell, so we don't run an exhaust either.

    Doug.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hanermo View Post
    < edited for brevity >
    CO2 lasers cut heavy steel plate - dismissing them as toys is ingenious.
    Endless solutions like ceramark sprays, lasered, leave good permanent marks on all sorts of substrates.
    Fast, good quality, permanent, cost varies.
    Fiber lasers are potentially much more efficient.
    This should not matter for marking and engraving where power costs are immaterial.
    Quote Originally Posted by hanermo View Post
    Fibers can deliver very high power (relative) very efficiently vs co2.
    Much better for cutting heavy steel sheets for marine and assy industries (now trending to fiber).

    Endless light hobby and chicom imports do a decent job on engraving tens of thousands of products per day.
    So obviously it works, and the engraving is good enough.
    Quote Originally Posted by hanermo View Post
    So if You buy a 30k$ engraver, fiber, it will be a tiny bit better than a co2 laser prosumer.
    Technically.
    Probably no-one will care, and most won´t notice.
    Hanermo,

    I am largely ignorant on this, but have been shopping lasers for a while now, so am both VERY surprised by your statements, as well as very curious as they seemingly contradict most of what we have been told, and seen. All we want to do is mark carbon and stainless steels. Not engrave. Not etch. Mark. As in, simply apply readable part numbers and maybe even shop info. ( on our products )

    I have yet to see a low to mid range power CO2 laser able to do this without extensive accommodations.

    As well, unless using the appliques to allow very light marking of very low quality on said materials one apparently needs to be in the 80W - 100W range to achieve any reasonably good marking on these materials.
    It's also very slow, comparatively.

    So, I'm interested in hearing what about this that we have been misled about? This comes from the various companies that themselves sell only CO2 machines. And they all responded that their machines won't do what we want.

    What is the disparity, here?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    Laser recharging can be done a lot cheaper than $2k, check with this place: Laser Repair - Evergreen Laser Corporation They will do a 50 watt ULS for under $1000 and warrants it for a year.
    Thanks for the heads up! I Just wrote to them to inquire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zahnrad Kopf View Post
    So, I'm interested in hearing what about this that we have been misled about? This comes from the various companies that themselves sell only CO2 machines. And they all responded that their machines won't do what we want.

    What is the disparity, here?
    Here's the difference:



    And the guys trying not to sell you stuff are right. CO2 works decently at kW power, and can compete with fiber on thick material (for a variety of reasons that aren't important to your application). The poor absorption at low power will hamstring you.


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