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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    finally i am back to this forum and i love it

    Hi all
    its been forever since i have posted here. I have had 4 surgeries since i last posted just can't get the pain pump to keep the pain under control. they have told me now that i am not going back to work again. so i have to plan on being in this wheelchair for the next 40 years if i live till i am ninety. So i am looking for some plans to make your own laser engraver and think that might help make me a little money to add to my little disability that workers comp pays. very little. I have a couple carve wright router cnc machine that do ok in making signs and awards I hope. I got my first order for this spring animal shows at a couple fairs, so that is great so i am thinking that i have to learn all the cnc stuff and G code stuff I should use it as much as i can.
    I think the laser engraver would be a great tool to build or buy used. I have the plans for a CNC router machine, i think they were Joe's plans maybe, i have to dig them out and get over to that thread and see if there is something better to build now or just go ahead and build that machine, but i better see if he has made any changes since i got the plans a few years ago.

    Is there any other type of CNC machine that I can build. I would like to have one of the cnc machines the cut vinyl for signs, maybe there is a used one of those out there or one that i can build. I love building things and it keeps my mind off my life and that is what the doctors have told me i have to figure our how to do.

    Its nice to be back and i have a ton of reading to catch up on since the last post i read was 2 years ago, i will never get caught up, but i will try.
    Thanks all
    Tim E. OH

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Hi Tim,

    Sorry to hear of your pain, but we're glad to have you back on the forum.

    The Carvewrights should be able to do plenty of business, but to supplement it I would probably suggest a vinyl cutter compared to the laser. A laser would add some engraving ability and/or improved Acrylic cutting but the market is much smaller than the vinyl sign market. Of course there's more competition in the market too, but you would have much lower overheads and could win the smaller jobs other sign shops choose not to take.

    If you have any marinas locally, you can sell boat names/registration tags for a good profit margin - other graphics too. There are many opportunities with a vinyl cutter, and you can buy one for a couple hundred bucks.

    Here's an example from my own business. The return on investment for the CNC router was less than 6 months, compared to the vinyl cutter that paid for itself in the first month and the laser that 18 months later is only just beginning to make a profit.

    I would buy a used or new vinyl plotter/cutter rather than making one.

    Good luck - and I hope your health improves beyond the Dr's expectations.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    hi Zax

    thanks for all the info. It really sound like i was heading the wrong way. I never thought about vinyl cutter i thought they would be too much money, i am glad you set me straight on that, i am glad i posted here before i started to build a machine. i will have to look into buying a machine, am i better off new or used. what brand do you think, is there one size that is better than another. Is the learning curve hard on that machine. It sounds like i should be able to do that. I think since i am trying to get into the award making business in my woodworking end of this and now I think you are right adding the vinyl cutting machine to my shop would be a great idea. where on the net is a good place to start looking for new or used machine.
    thanks for the info

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Well it's slightly off topic for a laser engraving forum, but...

    There are 2 main types of feed mechanism for a vinyl cutter, friction and sprocket (well I guess there are technically 3, if you include a flat bed cutter). Then there are drag knife or tangential blade machines.

    A spocket feed, tangential blade machine is arguably the best but cost considerably more. I would only suggest these if you are cutting very thick vinyl (sand blast or similar) or doing very small text. If neither of these are true I would buy a much cheaper friction feed machine with a simple drag knife cutter. These allow you to use cheaper vinyl, off cuts and cut faster.

    You would be able to do most jobs with a 30" width cutter, but could certainly start out with a smaller desktop 12" unit. I have the USCutter MH-1351 which is a monster (50" cutting width) but works great for doing trailer graphics. They have smaller models, and are great value.

    The plotter can also cut masks which can be used for glass, tile or stone plaque etching (either chemical etching gels for the glass or sand blasting).

    Feel free to PM me with additional questions,


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