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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by evilblackdog View Post
    It's not so much an accuracy issue but I sell AR500 steel targets and through the wonder of marketing Laser cut targets are considered superior.

    Dang.

    Surely targets made from military grade abrasion-resistant, through-hardened multi-Brinell armor steel, could be marketed by someone as being cut using the incredible (!!!) power of plasma. It being the universe's fourth state of matter and all? Seems only dark energy, not mere lasers, should out-hype it as a tough-material cutting force?

    Curious if the laser-cut targets require a pass to clean up sharp edges? That seems the main actual/potential drawback to Digger's idea of high definition plasma.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteM View Post
    Dang.

    Surely targets made from military grade abrasion-resistant, through-hardened multi-Brinell armor steel, could be marketed by someone as being cut using the incredible (!!!) power of plasma. It being the universe's fourth state of matter and all? Seems only dark energy, not mere lasers, should out-hype it as a tough-material cutting force?

    Curious if the laser-cut targets require a pass to clean up sharp edges? That seems the main actual/potential drawback to Digger's idea of high definition plasma.
    How much slag is acceptable ?
    You can dial it in to get very little, plus these are "Targets", nothing that get's welded
    to something else.

  3. #23
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    The reason people dislike plasma is because many people who run plasma tables absolutely suck at running plasma tables.

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  5. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by allloutmx View Post
    maybe I interpreted your OP incorrectly. I read this as if you already owned a laser and were looking for additional equipment. After reading this reply and re-reading your OP it sounds like you want to bring the work in house instead of farming it out- and need advice on your initial purchase?

    8hrs a week x 52 weeks and costing you 125k this year means your spending $300 an hr on laser time? Holy hell. I know EDM guys cheaper than that
    have you tried to find a more reasonable shop to outsource to???? that sounds nuts. what thickness material are you cutting?

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  7. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyanidekid View Post
    have you tried to find a more reasonable shop to outsource to????
    I'd look into this further. My laser guy charges 150/hr.


    That said, just don't send them to Montana...

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  9. #26
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    Go with fiber. Check out what is needed for floor space too. Most likely a shuttle machine so space for that, and space for sheets to lay flat nearby. Also need some safe easy way to load sheets onto the table. I use a vacuum lifter because it works on all metals. I have a tilting lifter so can also pick up sheets that are leaning on my A frame cart. Cart easily holds 30 sheets of 16 gauge 4x10 each side, has slots in the center to store a few sheets of .250 and .375. I have another special cart that allows me to slide these thicker sheets out and lay flat for the vac lifter.
    So you need the laser, dust fume extraction, and supply of Oxy and or Nitrogen. And really handy to have a bridge crane. My crane system actually has a seperate bridge dedicated to the vac lifter.

  10. #27
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    Yea, something seems off with the numbers. It points to being grossly overcharged but I don't want to jump to too many conclusions.

    Once I saw a guy's business get really big really fast...he was buying material from the most expensive place possible and I knew A: It couldn't last and B: He was going to get mad at the markup he was paying, even though it was his fault for not making a few calls.

    OP: Make more than a few calls.

    The right place will also pack and ship for you. (There is a small danger in that, but maybe send only one item out for that test.)


    _____

    I was at an auction recently where a Trumpf fiber laser went for $300k. Very nice with magazine loader. Invoice in 2016 was $1mil.

    (That bid had to be approved as it wasn't absolute, so who knows what happened exactly).

    Good luck with it.

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  12. #28
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    Think of it this way, if you are getting charged enough to justify a laser purchase with only 8 hrs a week of cutting, one of three things is possible;

    1) your math is off, check your numbers, are you including all costs (others have listed some but include running electric, cutting expendables and operating expenses such as gasses and electricity, financing, labor, repairs and time learning to run it).

    2) you charge a Huge markup on steel targets.

    3) you’re getting overcharged.

    There are plenty of low volume shops where a 500k fiber laser makes sense, medical, aerospace, high end prototype work, but one shift one day a week of steel targets?

    Have you considered bidding out an order for say 6 months worth of cutting? If you are going to invest up front at least compare.

    Maybe try marketing high definition plasma as a “we pass the savings on to you” proposition?

    Look, I want a fiber laser too, but ya gotta be realistic.

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    Worth noting steel with oxygen takes half the power to cut and about 5% of the gas than aluminum with nitrogen.

    Shuttle tables are a must. The only reason to not get a shuttle table is if you absolutely cannot afford it or fit it. Dust collection is also a must but generally included.

    Hytek tools has excellent pricing and reasonable specs. I would use them for a laser that you use 20 hours or so a week.

    Amada has excellent financing and that is the route we will be going when we upgrade for a full time production fiber machine.

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    I would strongly suggest shopping around and continuing to farm it out.

    You buy a powerful cutting laser and you're primary business is now laser cutting, not selling and supporting your products.

    Used lasers are hard to get your money out of. Not many tales of buying a laser, using it for a few years and then getting 80% investment back.

    I cannot possibly imagine steel target sales continuing to clime forever. I think your situation is a product of the current pandemic environment and your sales will fall off a cliff when people stop getting free money for sitting on their asses.

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  17. #31
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    OP you might want to connect with Gary Ramsey?
    Check out all his series of videos, he imported a 1kw unit from China.
    Lots of good info about the machines and the business on his channel

    I imported a Fiber Laser Cutter From China - YouTube

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    I use to work at a local steel yard and they buy all kinds of good and junk AR plate, guess what they turn them into? Steel targets. They even have a full deer cut out of mild steel and a swinging AR 500 plate at the heart.

    They sell all the AR into customer items but use the remainder or damaged pieces for whatever they can sell.

    In my opinion, and take it as that, you have a great middle man business. I would ride it as long as possible because if the bottom ever falls out on it, you have 0 liabilities. You dont ever need employees, and you dont ever have unwanted expenses.

    One of my food customers is breaking 100 million in sales this year. They have been in business for 15 years. They just built their first processing plant last year. So they were farming it out for that long.


    Also, as another note, you need building space, forklift, electric etc.... ya ya ya, stuff. But you also may not be getting the steel any cheaper. You may end up paying more for it. It all depends on your situation.



    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    I would strongly suggest shopping around and continuing to farm it out.


    I cannot possibly imagine steel target sales continuing to clime forever. I think your situation is a product of the current pandemic environment and your sales will fall off a cliff when people stop getting free money for sitting on their asses.
    Or people eventually just can’t find anymore ammo. BUT pandemic firearm buyers will continue to stay strong for a bit. 9 MIL new gun owners last yr and growning. If 10% of them stay active and just 3% of them move to regularly enjoying shooting sports on top of the existing market, I would say ya demand will continue to be there.

    If you have vendors delivering on time - (my #1 issue) then negotiate your laser prices. If your on track for over $120k for the next 12 months you vendor will not want to loose you.

    SPACE is the #1 reason I don’t have a laser table. Yrs ago I had a 8x4 plasma table for faster photo work. It was great to have but the amount of space it takes to hold sheets, move sheets and the table itself it a lot. I did the math and our rent was more than the savings having the table provided. Sold it. For a laser with a shuttle we would need a whole new building. We do about $400k per yr in laser and forming, still farming it out but we stay on top of our vendors and use more than one vendor.

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  21. #34
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    The "business" appear to be simply burn and take off of table, right into shipping box.

    As Bondo has mentioned, anyone with a laser/plasma table makes these.

    They will copy your designs, and toss them in the nest for better utilization.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter from Holland View Post
    8 Hours cutting time is 12 hours on the job probably
    That should mean you are picking your nose now a day and a half each week ???
    Or you plan to work 12 more hours ???
    Or leave some other jobs unattended??
    Only you can do the math

    Peter
    I'm not overworked right now for sure, and I figured that most of the time spent running the laser I could spend on my other duties while the laser did it's thing.

  23. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strostkovy View Post
    Wait, how much of that laser cost is material cost?
    The costs I gave were just the laser time (not the material) although my cut time/week was more or less a wild ass guess (I'm guessing too low).
    The laser cost was simply from knowing that approximately 60% of my total bill is for the laser time while 40% is for the material. in 2020 I purchased approximately 82,000 lbs of steel.

  24. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by allloutmx View Post
    maybe I interpreted your OP incorrectly. I read this as if you already owned a laser and were looking for additional equipment. After reading this reply and re-reading your OP it sounds like you want to bring the work in house instead of farming it out- and need advice on your initial purchase?

    8hrs a week x 52 weeks and costing you 125k this year means your spending $300 an hr on laser time? Holy hell. I know EDM guys cheaper than that
    My cut time estimate must be too low then. I was just basing that off of a comment from my sales guy some time back. I've worked with several different companies over the past 5 years and my current one has been has been the best and most cost effective to work with. I've had orders quote with just the laser time and with both laser time and material and the breakdown was 60% cut time and 40% material overall which is how I'm extrapolating that I spent $73k last year on laser time (I spent $122k overall)

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    Quote Originally Posted by swarfmeister View Post
    We have a Trumpf 3030 fiber machine that runs 2 shifts a day and half a shift on Sat. Our previous laser was also a Trumpf CO2 and was run by our same department lead. He claims the fiber machines are a lot less "needy" than the CO2s were. This is a 5kw machine with auto loader. It takes up a lot of floorspace, but we crank a lot of metal through the machine. While it's pretty reliable, it's something you need to be more proactive about than you would with say your average VMC. Also, in addition to what has been noted as far as electrical requirements, there is the issue of consumables, cutting gases, programming support, and material storage. Whichever way you go, there's going to be a learning curve associated with it, and you're going to have to allocate or develop support resources in the feeding and care of categories.
    Thanks a lot for the input! I have 0 experience running a laser so I want to start on a machine that I don't have to "wrench on" all the time. I'm pretty technically inclined so I think I'll be alright figuring things out. I already create all my own dxf's so it's just a matter of using a nesting software and figuring out the lasers quirks. I want to focus on creating my own direct to consumer products so there will be a limited number of materials I cut with it so that should be a boon when it comes to getting it dialed in for what I want.

  26. #39
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    Another thing to keep in mind is that the laser company is most likely charging you 10-20% markup on material for their efforts in ordering/stocking it/tying up recourses. Which is normal/understandable, but this is also money you get to keep by bringing it in house.

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    I must be way off with my cut time/week. I've used several shops in several states and the one right in my home town is the most affordable and best to work with.


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