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  1. #1
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    Which Laser cutter to buy for a beginner?

    I seen this had been asked before but from what I can see it needs updating as threads I have read are from 2012 sort of age and things change quick and prices come down

    I have been thinking about starting to learn how to use a laser cutter and well need to know Which Laser cutter to buy for a beginner?

    I know some people say spend as much as you can afford which in my case is not a lot so which budget laser is best for a beginner and what do you lose out on buy buying a budget machine.

    thanks for any advice

  2. #2
    wklaserliu
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    Re: Which Laser cutter to buy for a beginner?

    Quote Originally Posted by sealover1 View Post
    I seen this had been asked before but from what I can see it needs updating as threads I have read are from 2012 sort of age and things change quick and prices come down

    I have been thinking about starting to learn how to use a laser cutter and well need to know Which Laser cutter to buy for a beginner?

    I know some people say spend as much as you can afford which in my case is not a lot so which budget laser is best for a beginner and what do you lose out on buy buying a budget machine.

    thanks for any advice

    hi Sealover,

    dear as a begainer and not much budget,then you can buy a small machine for try

    our storm600(600*400mm) 35w ,10cm up&down table, air fan, air pipe ,water pumpetc :USD1200 FOB price

    lso on our web there are also many other models,

    for more news you can contact me :

    skype: wkquiven
    chloe@wklaser.com

    Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #3
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    Re: Which Laser cutter to buy for a beginner?

    I think this article will help for you https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/guide...chine-apple-he

  4. #4
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    Re: Which Laser cutter to buy for a beginner?

    having done some research I think I will be buying a cutter from the UK England as people are saying they have had problems getting any help after paying for there cutter and if it does breakdown it would cost to much to send back for repair.

  5. #5
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    Re: Which Laser cutter to buy for a beginner?

    You will have less issues with a domestic laser. Chinese lasers are cheaper but have more maintenance and less capabilities when engraving. Domestic lasers also have metal or ceramic tubes typically, they last much longer and are more reliable over months and years than the glass tubes.

  6. #6
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    Re: Which Laser cutter to buy for a beginner?

    Quote Originally Posted by sealover1 View Post
    having done some research I think I will be buying a cutter from the UK England as people are saying they have had problems getting any help after paying for there cutter and if it does breakdown it would cost to much to send back for repair.
    Don't be fooled.

    Just because you bought it locally doesn't mean you'll get any, or any better, support, or a better product... you might, but buying locally does not guarantee this.

    Metal and Ceramic tubes are generally RF excited, glass tubes are DC excited, there are arguments on both sides, glass tubes are cheap and circuitry is expensive, RF "tubes" are expensive and circuitry is cheap. EDIT - sorry, tired, got that the wrong way around...

    Don't matter what they are the loss of hydrogen from the mix or the mix being cooked is what kills them, and hydrogen being monatomic permeates just about everything over time, ceramic and metal are no better than glass.

    A good physical XY(Z) table is important, as are good steppers and couplings and belts and drivers, you see we're racking up the money already.

    Good, as in usable, software is also vital, but for my money PROPRIETARY software is evil, it locks you in to that makers interface and way of doing things, sooner or later this will always bite you in the ass, he who controls the design files controls everything else.

    You also have to remember the market is fairly new, same as CNC, there are established big name players, and all they know is their own way, and newcomers reselling other stuff, and they only really know their way, HTC in the UK comes to mind.

    Buying a Bridgeport vertical mill will not make you a turner, on the other hand, buy a Sieg X2 and you'll never learn anything useful or become a turner, you'll spend most of your time adapting to the peculiarities and shortcomings of that particular machine.

    The definition of help is something that solves your problem, while that may sound easier if the person you expect to help you is only 100 miles away, it's still a hopeless task if they themselves do not have the ability or experience or stock or you name it, and them being only 100 miles away doesn't give you any ways to remedy that.

    HTH etc

  7. #7
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    Re: Which Laser cutter to buy for a beginner?

    To clarify, by domestic I mean one manufacturered in the US or Europe. Trotec, Epilog, Universal. Chinese lasers sold in the USA/UK are still Chinese lasers. Chinese lasers are work fine and cheaper but have more maintenance and less capabilities when engraving.

    I disagree on the glass vs metal/ceramic tubes. I'm not sure even what data you are basing this on, there is no data out there that would say a glass tube would consistently beat a meat/ceramic tube. Unless it's published by the glass tube manufacturers lol! Metal/ceramic last longer, have less malfunctions, provide a more reliable beam, and do not have to be cooled by water.

    Also disagree on the proprietary software, Trotec proprietary software is the industry leader, far above the Chinese lasercut stuff. eLaser says avoid proprietary software because all the chinese machines use a few basic programs, this is NOT an advantage however. They work ok but lack some of the nice features of US/Europe manufacturers software like direct printing from illustrator/corel (some Chinese software prints from certain versions of Corel but not all).

    One thing I do agree with on elaser's assessment is Chinese lasers are much less expensive. That is an advantage in their court.

  8. #8
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    Re: Which Laser cutter to buy for a beginner?

    Quote Originally Posted by KeithOKC View Post
    To clarify, by domestic I mean one manufacturered in the US or Europe. Trotec, Epilog, Universal. Chinese lasers sold in the USA/UK are still Chinese lasers. Chinese lasers are work fine and cheaper but have more maintenance and less capabilities when engraving.

    I disagree on the glass vs metal/ceramic tubes. I'm not sure even what data you are basing this on, there is no data out there that would say a glass tube would consistently beat a meat/ceramic tube. Unless it's published by the glass tube manufacturers lol! Metal/ceramic last longer, have less malfunctions, provide a more reliable beam, and do not have to be cooled by water.

    Also disagree on the proprietary software, Trotec proprietary software is the industry leader, far above the Chinese lasercut stuff. eLaser says avoid proprietary software because all the chinese machines use a few basic programs, this is NOT an advantage however. They work ok but lack some of the nice features of US/Europe manufacturers software like direct printing from illustrator/corel (some Chinese software prints from certain versions of Corel but not all).

    One thing I do agree with on elaser's assessment is Chinese lasers are much less expensive. That is an advantage in their court.
    Read sam's laser faq if you like.

    opinions are one thing, facts are another.

    DC excited glass tubes have a different manufacturing cost base to RF excited metal / ceramic cavities.

    DC excited glass tubes produce a different beam type to RF excited metal / ceramic cavities.

    Nota Bene, I am staying well away from a pissing contest about which is "better", I state different, which they are.

    When it comes to OPINION then I am of the opinion that DC excited cuts acrylic far better than RF excited, that is my opinion.

    Your statement on the software IS however an opinion.

    Trotec, which you apparently love, are like Epilog and Apple, they come with walled garden software that does everything you want to do, and if they do not do a thing, then you do not want to do it citizen.

    It may well please YOU to use software that treats your laser like a printer that you send a pdf to, and it may well please you to claim that this ability makes trotec software superior to alternatives that do not, however this is just an opinion.

    Some of the absolute worst design files I have been sent have been sent to me in adobe illustrator or pdf, incidentally from people with trotecs and synrads that were NOT working, so they end up sending them to a guy with an inferior DC exited glass tube laser, a guy who then has to use rhino etc to re-do their files so they actually work, delete all the doubled lines, join all the unjoined stuff, correct the end nodes, etc etc.

    "Software" for a laser does not begin and end with the bundle supplied with the machine, which should be control software and no more.

    Design should be done in proper / suitable / appropriate software, and again what constitutes this is personal opinion, mine is rhino is best for dxf's, and dxf's are best for design files for a laser, not least because they are universal, this bit can be exported to the cnc mill, this bit can be exported to the plasma, this bit exported to the laser, and all the produced parts just work together.

    Not trying to get into a flame war, just trying to clarify my opinions on such things as proprietary software, what is laser software, DC vs RF, etc etc.

    It's a LOT easier to pay off a 12k chinese copy of a 50k trotec, where the biggest differences (same us made lenses, slides, rails, etc) are DC excited glass tube vs proprietary and patented ceramic RF cavity and proprietary software, than it is to pay off a 50k trotec....

    It's also a LOT easier to repair a non proprietary machine, Reci will sell ANYONE a 150 watt tube, etc etc etc.

  9. #9
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    Re: Which Laser cutter to buy for a beginner?

    Follow up to myself

    re the illustrator files that "do not work"

    my definition is the file as sent had one job taking 3 minutes 22 seconds, and the output job quality did not impress me a lot

    after reworking properly in rhino the job took 1 minute 55 seconds (that matters when doing 250 off) and while they allowed for 5% overage I have 1 out of 250, or 0.4% overage. Bit of a difference...

  10. #10
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    Re: Which Laser cutter to buy for a beginner?

    Chinese laser advantage is the cost, that's it.

    Universal, trotec, and epilog "the originals" the chinese copied per your statement are more expensive for a reason. Not saying that the arguement cannot be made that 2 chinese or 3 chinese lasers to one universal/trotec/epilog is a better deal. If you're cutting all day by all means get the 3 chinese lasers you'll have a lot more productivity I agree on the cost standpoint that the Chinese are much less expensive. However if you want less maintenance, local support, and superior engraving. A chinese machine with a stepper motor simply cannot compare to the domestics.

    I actually just ordered a Chinese laser for cutting, I'm confident it will do well for my cutting needs. The Chinese lasers are excellent at that. However I'll stick with my Trotec for engraving. I'm a firm believer each tool has it's place

  11. #11
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    Re: Which Laser cutter to buy for a beginner?

    If you do not have a big budget I recommend a cheepie K40 with a lightobject.com DSP conversion. You will wind up with a 35W glass tube laser with upgraded optics and a good working control system and adequate software for about $1,000.

  12. #12
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    Re: Which Laser cutter to buy for a beginner?

    K40 bad choice even with up grade come on people recommending a K 40 even the company that sells them will tell you there junk. and spending a bunch more money to try to make it better will only give you more expensive junk
    sure some really techy guys can up grade them and make them work for a while but most just give up and junk their lasers. If your very mechanically inclined and want to tiker for ever then buy a k40. If you want a laser that works with minimum work then save yopur money and buy a decent Chinese Laser. Save a LOT!!! of Money and buy a Trotec.

  13. #13
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    Re: Which Laser cutter to buy for a beginner?

    I wish the moderator of this site would create a K40 folder so we don't have to read the same story over and over again.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dean448 View Post
    I wish the moderator of this site would create a K40 folder so we don't have to read the same story over and over again.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    But it cost me $500 + $500 upgrade what do you mean my $1000 laser is junk? It should be able to do everything a $30,000 laser can except smaller right? Lol joking... Rule #1 if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

  15. #15
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    Re: Which Laser cutter to buy for a beginner?

    Quote Originally Posted by KeithOKC View Post
    But it cost me $500 + $500 upgrade what do you mean my $1000 laser is junk? It should be able to do everything a $30,000 laser can except smaller right? Lol joking... Rule #1 if it sounds too good to be true, it is.
    Sort of like buying a car you can get a Kia or a Rolls Royce they will both get you to you destination but the Kia can go places the Rolls can't. I had an old Datsun pickup and my boss had a big gmc 4X4 and he laughed and said to follow him so I did we went through some pretty wild fields and then It was my turn to lead he could go between the trees that I went through.so bigger and more expensive is not always the best

  16. #16
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    Re: Which Laser cutter to buy for a beginner?

    Quote Originally Posted by fixtureman1 View Post
    Sort of like buying a car you can get a Kia or a Rolls Royce they will both get you to you destination but the Kia can go places the Rolls can't. I had an old Datsun pickup and my boss had a big gmc 4X4 and he laughed and said to follow him so I did we went through some pretty wild fields and then It was my turn to lead he could go between the trees that I went through.so bigger and more expensive is not always the best
    Lol funny story but not at all the same as buying a laser. A $1000 laser isn't even a Kia, a $4000 laser + $1000 in importing/shipping costs is a Kia. A $1000 laser is like a go cart in your scenario. Kind of iffy, may get you across country, but it's going to be a long ride and a lot of trouble. Best for short trips around the block...

  17. #17
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    Re: Which Laser cutter to buy for a beginner?

    Quote Originally Posted by KeithOKC View Post
    Lol funny story but not at all the same as buying a laser. A $1000 laser isn't even a Kia, a $4000 laser + $1000 in importing/shipping costs is a Kia. A $1000 laser is like a go cart in your scenario. Kind of iffy, may get you across country, but it's going to be a long ride and a lot of trouble. Best for short trips around the block...
    Yeah, but there is a grain of truth in the analogy......

    actual beam power + optics gets you spot size and watts delivered per square metre, provided you can get say a million watts per square metre into a spot 0.3 mm diameter you can do the job, whatever the name on the hood ornament, the work under the focus lens isn't a snob...lol

    My missus has a 10 year old kia, we just threw just over a thousand at it to make it as good as factory new, I'm riding around in a brand new mk7 golf diesel, the kia drives smoother and better, sure, it doesn't have adaptive cruise control or auto hold or electric brakes and steering and bluetooth and so on, but if you want to drive from A to B.....

  18. #18
    Endurancerobots
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    Re: Which Laser cutter to buy for a beginner?

    if you have 3d printer or CNC device you can try with diode laser attachment.
    try Endurance L-Cheapo (I am not sure that as a new user I am allowed to post links)

    But it is cheaper than almost any CO2 engraving machine...
    But, yeah, when you work with lasers, make sure you do it in special goggles.

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