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  1. #1
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    Default Opinions on laser welders

    Looking for opinions on buying a New, good quality laser welder for a reasonable price.

    I am considering buying a laser welder for my shop. I will not be doing industrial grade work or anything that requires certification. I do occasional die grade repairs on tool steels, titanium, precious metals, stainless steels etc. I'm not looking for a ROI that makes sense, but I'm looking to spend @ $15K and looking to find any brands I am not familiar with made in America, Spain, Italy or Germany. I'm looking at a Sunstone/Orion LZR75 for example.
    I don't really want to get involved with a used machine with no history.
    Any questions or answers would be appreciated.
    Ron

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    The top 15 brands of laser welding machines might be helpful for you to make the decision:
    Top 15 Laser Welding Machine Manufacturer in 2021 | MachineMfg

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    Hi ishane1112:
    Were you aware MachineMfg is a Chinese site?
    The evidence is hard to find, but the Terms and Conditions page reveals it (aside from the quirky language and the obvious bias toward Chines laser manufacturers)
    Here's a snip from the website.
    machinemfg.jpg

    Now I have nothing intrinsic against Chinese equipment manufacturers, but in this domain, their reliability has apparently been an issue.
    So I recommend caution when reviewing purchasing advice from this kind of source.

    Cheers

    Marcus
    Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
    Vancouver Wire EDM -- Wire EDM Machining

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    Quote Originally Posted by implmex View Post
    Hi ishane1112:
    Were you aware MachineMfg is a Chinese site?
    The evidence is hard to find, but the Terms and Conditions page reveals it (aside from the quirky language and the obvious bias toward Chines laser manufacturers)
    Here's a snip from the website.
    machinemfg.jpg

    Now I have nothing intrinsic against Chinese equipment manufacturers, but in this domain, their reliability has apparently been an issue.
    So I recommend caution when reviewing purchasing advice from this kind of source.

    Cheers

    Marcus
    Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
    Vancouver Wire EDM -- Wire EDM Machining
    I feel like in your price range you won't be able to get away from Chinese stuff.

    Though my domain is cutters, not welders.

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    Hi Strostkovy:
    Good point...my German machine (Rofin Baasel) had a new sticker price of about $45,000.00 in 1996
    I bought it used for $11,000 and put another $5,000 into it to get it running.
    I believe there are still some Spanish models being sold in North America for the OP's target price range.
    I recently priced a much newer version of mine (but still used) at $18,000.

    It's a pricey toy for sure!

    Cheers

    Marcus
    Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
    Vancouver Wire EDM -- Wire EDM Machining

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strostkovy View Post
    I feel like in your price range you won't be able to get away from Chinese stuff.

    Though my domain is cutters, not welders.
    yep, even a good mig welder is barely underneath that. id guess laser is 40K+

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    IPG LightWELD is about 30k USD. That is the only American/Russian/German CW laser Welding system I know about. 1500 watts, but probably only for Chinese market.

    Chinese systems are about 10k usd. They can be cheaper because they use chinese laser source like Raycus and such. And chinese components that are not necessarily worse off, just simpler. But I suppose you wont be able to find non-Chinese components for a handheld laser welding system.

    There are many more system integrators than you can start to imagine because it is actually a very simple system. It is just totally unsave to operate kilowatt laser handheld, without enclosure. So that may hinder Western system integrator for the time being. I don’t even know if it is legal in many countries.

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    Hi TommyLaserIndo:
    That 1500 watt machine is a continuous wave laser that kind of works like a TIG torch but using coherent light rather than electrical current as the heat source.

    What the OP is looking for (I know this because we had a long phone conversation on the subject) is a pulsed glovebox machine like mine which is about 60 watts.

    The general problem with lasers over other types of welders is that a Class 4 laser (the most dangerous) needs a lot of precautions to be run safely and the handheld continuous wave lasers are by far the worst in that regard.

    The specific problem is that you can be blinded just as badly from 50 feet away as from inches away...it's a beam of light, all of one wavelength and all traveling in exactly the same direction, so the beam is only very slightly degraded over distance.
    Also anything reflective is a super nasty hazard...things like metal....the metal you hope to weld!

    Pulsed lasers like mine typically come enclosed with all kinds of interlocks so they can be operated safely in an uncontrolled environment (Class 1 laser).

    So the IPG Lightweld is not a machine for casual purchase...the promo literature from the company glosses over that fact, but it and all un-enclosed class 4 lasers (including the un-enclosed pulsed ones) demand all sorts of complicated shit you don't need for something like a a TIG torch, for example.

    So sadly, it's not a reasonable purchase for the OP...he needs a glovebox machine, and since he's a knifemaker interested in repair and micro fabrication, he wants a 60 watt, pulsed unit like mine.

    Cheers

    Marcus
    Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
    Vancouver Wire EDM -- Wire EDM Machining

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    In general, industry is quite relaxed about the UV light emission from arc welding, MIG, TIG and SMAW, but it is quite harmful to unprotected eyes and skin. Lasers on the other hand get a little more respect for some reason. ANSI Z136.1 describes the safe use of lasers. An industrial welding laser utilizes a focus lens of relatively short focal length. The laser power rapidly diverges past the focus point. ANSI Z136.1 provides a few equations where, with the particulars of the laser in question, the safe distance for an unprotected party from the source can be calculated. With the lasers that we are discussing here it’s probably well short of 50 feet. ANSI Z136.1 is the document that talks about what Class 1 and Class 4 means. If you buy a Class 4 machine exposure safety is your responsibility. Some take safety seriously but many less so just like arc welding.

    Some terminology: A “glove box” is one where the internals are sealed and inert gas filled. Sealed gloves are provided to do work inside the box. A laser “hand welder” is often used for die repair and other small part welding as you hold and move the part with your hands while welding. There are cuffs around your wrists with interlocks provided to keep your eyes protected. Your hands are exposed so they are Class 4 machines. There is a special “Yelp!” that a user emits after getting zapped in the finger. Just like with TIG.

    Porschefix, Take a look at LaserStar, (I have no affiliation). US made and offer considerable support. You need to find a little more money. A laser hand welder is much easier to use than TIG and can weld a greater variety of items.

    Ike


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