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  1. #1

    I have a Thunderlaser Mini60 - Still very happy after one year with it...

    Hi everybody.
    I stumbled over this forum recently. It seems to be a very comprehensive source of knowledge and experience. So I was wondering, whether I will find any other Thunderlaser users here.

    To me: I am the creator of the first Mini-Fablab in Zurich, Switzerland. The fablab has a lasercutter, a 3D-Printer and a cutting Plotter. Unfortunately not yet a cnc mill.
    The lasercutter is a Thunderlaser Mini 60, the 3D printer is an improved PrintrBot clone and the cutting plotter is a Silhouette Cameo. The first machine I wanted to have in the fablab was a lasercutter (see www.funlab.ch, my website is in german though).
    So here some thoughts from me regarding evaluation and experiences with my Thunderlaser Mini 60.

    Evaluation:
    I was looking at Epilog and Trotec lasers. In Europe these are machines very common. However, for my non commercial fablab much too expensive. So I was looking around for a cheaper chinese machine. In the internet you can find machines sold by some agents for around 500$ already. I encountered mainly two problems with such machines. Either they have a very small work area for cutting/engraving, not much power such as 30W or 40W or strange software with very limited function to work with the laser. And for these cheapies I found many many frustrated users which reported a lot of problems.
    So I found a German forum with about 20 Thunderlaser users with a lot of positive feedback for these lasers. So i started to gather more information from their website and finally asked for a price. The name of the person I communicated with is Ken, a very friendly Thunderlaser salesman. He is very responsive and I got all relevant Information within a few days. As I liked the price I ordered the Mini 60 with some add-ons. The price was not in the range of the cheapest machines, but other users have assured me, that the components and the buildup of the machine are much better and well worth the price difference.

    What to order
    I decided to order the Mini 60 with a motorized table, autofocus sensor and red-dot pointer. I also added the rotary device, which I have used seldom so far and the CW-5000 water chiller. The reason for the chiller versus a simple watertank solution was, that from other forums I learned, that stable temperature ensures consistent quality of the beam and increases life of the lasertube. The CW-5000 is not made by Thunderlaser but could be ordered through Thunderlaser.

    Manufacturing and Delivery
    My Mini 60 was not pre-built but they started to build my machine immediately after they received my payment. I did not pay using Paypal but made a normal bank to bank money transfer, which worked without any problems. Deliverytime was 3 to 4 weeks later. I decided to have the machine shipped by DHL airfreight directly to my house door. I think the machine left Hongkong on a Monday or Tuesday and On Thursday it was delivered in a huge wood box of about 130Kilos (see: http://funlab.ch/blog/?id=xh163nak )

    Setup and first experiences
    After unpacking and moving the machine into the fablab I had to position it on a self constructed metal stand, had to fill water into the chiller and connect it to the laser, observing the rigth flow directions. Otherwise the laser's control program does not start the laser because of a "no water" error signal from the flow sensor. Then mount the exhaust tube to get the smoke etc. out of the laser. Then add the USB cable and connect it to the computer, install the software with driver and coreldraw macro and give it a try. By now, they deliver laserGrav as the Software which communicates with the laser's DSP controller. 11 monthes ago mine was delivered with PHCad.
    It is possible to use the laser with PHCad or laserGrav only but it is more practical to develop designs in Coreldraw (certain versions only work) and then hand it over to the PHCad/laserGrav software with one click on a button, installed by the macro. In short, the machine worked without any problems from the start. The installed machine looks as can be seen here: http://192.168.1.10/blog/?id=4n2e5600

    Longterm Experience and Maintenance
    After some weeks, the CW5000 water chiller's pump stopped working. I contacted Ken and he organized a replacement pump, which I installed myself. This was much quicker and easier, than shipping the chiller back to china and wait for a replacement. This took only a few days until the laser worked again. Nothing to pay for that, was a garantee replacement. Over time the laser started to make some random problems. From the symptoms I described and forwarded to Ken, the Chinese specialist concluded a memory problem in the controller. I got a replacement controller sent to me immediately. This one is still on its way to me. I will have to replace it by myself, which is ok for me. But you have to keep in mind, that there is no service organisation here (at least in Switzerland) which you can call in case of a problem and who will fix the laser in hours. This is the drawback for the good price you get with a Thunderlaser machine. On the other hand this is not a problem for me, because I have the necessary skills to do the replacement. Exchanging the controller or the lasertube is not really a big challenge for persons having some mechanical and electrical skills.

    Overall satisfaction
    I am very pleased and happy with my machine and can recommend it. It has a good price, is good quality and has very responsive and helpful people in China to help in any phase of the process of buying, installing and using their lasers.

    Too positive ?
    I am only describing my personal experience with Thunderlaser related to my Mini 60 desktop laser. And no, I do not have any business or other relation to Thunderlaser. I am a Fablab guy and help all kind of people to learn about digital fabrication. Right now I am busy to build the second 3D-Printer, a dual extruder PrintrBot clone.

    Hanspeter

  2. #2
    Registered
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    5
    My name is Wesley "Chip" Hall and I am the Chief Technical Officer for All American Technology Services located in Asheville North Carolina USA

    Two years ago we started doing research on buying a laser cutting and engraving system for UID and laser cutting materials for our business. Mostly plastics acrylics and wood...

    We stumbled upon ThunderLaser on eBay and after comparing all of the other manufacturer's laser systems, it quickly became apparent that ThunderLaser gave the most options, sizes, quality, features, and service for the money. We purchased the laser on eBay sight unseen, and I quickly got a call from Ken at ThunderLaser. He verified the order with me over the phone, and expressed that it was highly unusual for anyone to purchase a laser system without first contacting him first. We told him it was not even a question as to what we wanted. (we had all of the other manufacturer's product specifications and ThunderLaser systems met or exceeded them in almost every way)

    We ended up getting the MARS 120 with Pass-through Door, Auto Focus, 100 Watt Laser, Motorized Table, and Red Dot pointer and an extra laser tube to ensure no downtime. (it is still sitting in the box collecting dust on a shelf as we have not had to use it yet because the one they installed in the machine is still growing strong after 7000 hours on the tube and we use it a lot at 70 percent power or higher) They started building it custom for us, and it shipped to us three weeks later to our local shipping port of Wilmington, NC. Customs was no big deal, and the HUGE Plywood crate arrived in good order several weeks later... After un-boxing the laser... we quickly got to work getting it up and working... Set-Up was easy and self explanatory and made even easier with the videos provided online on www.thunderlaser.com .

    Since we purchased this laser a year and a half ago, we have grown tremendously... and the laser system we bought from Ken at ThunderLaser has only had a few problems that Ken and his support staff have quickly resolved EVERY TIME with little or no downtime in our production of our products. We have already been making plans to buy even more lasers from ThunderLaser Systems because of their excellent service, great warranty, and good communication.

    If anyone has any questions about ThunderLaser Systems contact me directly at chip@allamericantechnologyservices.com and I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

    Thank You to Ken & ThunderLaser Systems for all of the support, and great product!

    Cherise Hall - CEO - All American Technology Services L.L.C.

    Wesley "Chip" Hall - CTO - All American Technology Services L.L.C.

    Blaine Johnson - Sales Manager - All American Technology Services L.L.C.

  3. #3
    Registered
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    96
    Two brand new users registering just to post about the joy of buying a Thunderlaser? What are the odds?

  4. #4
    thunderlaser
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Winks View Post
    Two brand new users registering just to post about the joy of buying a Thunderlaser? What are the odds?
    Hi Winks,
    Thank you so much for your good question!
    And it is not odd at all!


    First, please visit our Thunder Laser website directly to learn something about our promotion:
    http://www.thunderlaser.com/about-us/promotion.html


    we have a special activity for the new customers and old customers.
    As long as our customers are willing to share their experience of buying
    from Thunder Laser and using the machine, we will give them some discounts in return.
    And all they need to do is posting their honest comments in this forum.
    They don't need to tell any lie or flatter us.

    We think this is a win-win strategy for both our customers and Thunder Laser.
    The customers will get some discounts, and our company get a very good promotion.

    Also, from their comments, they never say Thunder Laser machine is always perfect. In fact,
    they had some problems with their Thunder Laser machines before.
    And if you ask us how good our quality is? We can tell you that our quality is ok.
    But it does not mean the machine never breaks. We would say that every part inside the machine is possible to have some problems in future.(but of course, most of the time, their are working
    ok =) )

    However, we can promise all Thunder Laser customers that no matter what happens to your machine, Thunder Laser will always stand behind your machine and give you tech support as soon as we can.We will send out the parts for replacing as soon as we find the problem. Usually, it will take about 5-7days for you to receive the parts for replacing after we sending out by air way express.And during the warranty, you will get the replacing parts for free!

    If you still have any more questions, just contact us freely.

    By the way, you can learn more about the comments from our old customers from this German laser forum: http://www.laser-engravers.de/index....rd&boardID=118


    Many of our customers are discussing the problems and trouble shootings of our Thunder Laser machines there. If you do not know any German language, you can use Google translator to help to translate into English, then you can get most of the meaning.


    sincerely

    Thunder Laser Team

    www.thunderlaser.com

  5. #5
    Registered
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    0
    Hi Folks
    I am Ernst from Austria and i got my Mini 60 from Ken a few weeks ago - i am verry happy with it - i live verry close to trotec (25 km) and i buyed a thunderlaser - Ken is verry fair and helps verry good and fast - the laser cutter / engraver is fast and cheap so i took the thunderlaser - i like the way thunderlaser handle problems - its easy going and the fast in finding solutions.

    I hope i am back here in a year and write the same as the first here - than all is as good as in the beginning.

    Start with Ken and Thunderlaser was cool - now let us see how it works!

    Ernst

  6. #6

    Re: I have a Thunderlaser Mini60 - Still very happy after one year with it...

    Anyone else with any feedback on these units? I started looking and stumbled upon the Mini60 and really liked what I've seen about it so far.

  7. #7
    Registered
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Posts
    128

    Re: I have a Thunderlaser Mini60 - Still very happy after one year with it...

    Quote Originally Posted by AllAmericanTech View Post
    My name is Wesley "Chip" Hall and I am the Chief Technical Officer for All American Technology Services located in Asheville North Carolina USA

    SNIPPED

    We ended up getting the MARS 120 with Pass-through Door, Auto Focus, 100 Watt Laser, Motorized Table, and Red Dot pointer and an extra laser tube to ensure no downtime. (it is still sitting in the box collecting dust on a shelf as we have not had to use it yet because the one they installed in the machine is still growing strong after 7000 hours on the tube and we use it a lot at 70 percent power or higher)

    SNIPPED

    Since we purchased this laser a year and a half ago, we have grown tremendously...

    SNIPPED
    8 hours in one "working" day, 52 weeks in a year with 5 "working" days a week , so 8 hours a day for (52 x 5) 260 "working" days a year = 2,098 normal "working / office" hours in one year.

    You could do double day shifts and run to 4,000 hours a year, or double day shifts and six day weeks and run to 4,800 hours a year, and that way you'd *just* get your 7,000 tube hours in the stated year and a half.

    But, running a laser all day every day *is* the stomping ground of the big commercial laser companies, by definition your revenue stream isn't a problem if the machine is working all day every day double day shift six days a week, having a three week shipping window for parts is.

    The Trotec and Kern etc sales droids in NC would have been fired for missing a sales opportunity like this.

    EDIT BELOW HERE

    after posting this, I googled the OP, turns out it is a husband and wife team / small business home decor page that make and sell mylar stencils, no way that is a double day shift six day a week operation.

    They may well have purchased a Mars from TL, and they may well be happy with it, but the review itself contains details that I personally find extremely implausible.

    I got no specific dog in this hunt, I don't sell lasers, or represent anyone, I was just bored and reading posts, and those "7000 tube hours in 18 months" leapt out at me.

    I'm a time served marine engineer by trade, and Cat were known back in the day for a nobody else in the world offers this 5000 hour / 5 year warranty on their big diesels, and it took bloody ages to rack up 5000 hours on anything that did not run a heavy daily duty cycle.

    So the 7000 hours in 18 months immediately hit me.

  8. #8

    Re: I have a Thunderlaser Mini60 - Still very happy after one year with it...

    Good point. I emailed him and I'm curious to see what they say...

  9. #9
    Registered
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    Sep 2014
    Posts
    128

    Re: I have a Thunderlaser Mini60 - Still very happy after one year with it...

    CTO of a husband and wife hobby business is also more than a little icing on the cake. If that cake is iced, how am I supposed to accept anything said in the review as being fair and balanced.... Plus, over 70% power on a 100 watt reci laser tube is ballpark 70 watts depending on the controller, and yet, 99.99% of the core business is cutting mylar stencils whose thickness can be measured in GSM, again it's total bull**** I have a 100 watt nominal 131 peak reci in a 1390 x 900 bed, 95% of the stuff I am doing is 50 watts or less... at 40 watts I can cut 16 mm pine board or 25 mm acrylic, albeit slowly, but well... so WTF are they using 70+ watts on? And no, it sure isn't the speed, as the machine in question can't move the head fast enough to absorb 70 watts in mylar film

  10. #10

    Re: I have a Thunderlaser Mini60 - Still very happy after one year with it...

    Hi everyone,
    thanks for being interested in thunder laser products!

    about life hour of laser tubes,
    in fact, many tube manufacturers say their tubes can reach 10,000 hours,
    you can find such information from this site too:
    http://www.recilaser.com/en/productI...f673270de5.htm

    and according to our customer's feedbacks,
    the average life hour of a laser tube is usually about 2500-4000 hours
    according to how the customer use the machine. this is what we tell our new
    customers before their purchasing.
    FAQ - Thunderlaser

    But sometimes some lucky customers'tubes does last longer.

    If you would like to learn more about thunder laser systems,
    we welcome you to visit our websiste: Thunder laser cutting and engraving systems - Cutting, Marking and Etching Machines
    you can also feel free to call us too.

    thanks for your time!

    sincerely,

    Thunder Laser Team
    www.thunderlaser.com

  11. #11
    Registered
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    5

    Re: I have a Thunderlaser Mini60 - Still very happy after one year with it...

    You are correct about us owning a stencil business, but that is just a small part of what we do with our lasers... We make trophies, sighs UID plates for a GSA contract we have, and custom engrave guns, make wooden ornaments, and cut leather, cut quilt pieces etc etc. So if you have any doubts of the hours on my machine feel free to contact me directly. chip4255@gmail.com

    P.S. I wrote the review for Thunderlaser Systems a year and a half before it was posted.

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