Cheapo Laser Cutter

Wow. I'm interested in laser cutting 1/16" plywood for R/C airplane parts. Until yesterday I had no idea such a thing could be had for $400:

https://www.amazon.com/CNCShop-Engraving-Machine-Engraver-Woodworking/dp/B012F0LKHE

I was vaguely aware of homebrew diode-based CNC systems that could burn an image, but thought any usefully powered cutting system would cost $10k++ or whatever.

Supposedly the cuts are .001" resolution, burn marks can be minimal, and the cuts are fast. (video below)

According to reviews the software is junk, but I'm just interested in the hardware. Worst case scenario I would spend a couple days interfacing a micro to the stepper drivers, doing a canned production routine.

I'm posting here because some of you might find this interesting, and for getting feedback. For example, if I am envisioning just doing a custom controller, maybe I should be looking at a different (and maybe even cheaper) product in the first place?

I am the Master, and technology my slave.

Comments

  • 5 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • I've been watching reviews on them. The box is pretty small 300x200mm work area.

    It seems easier to get this X-Y kit https://www.monoprice.com/Product?p_id=13960 and mount a laser on it. You still need an enclosure, but your work area would be much larger. It would end up costing less and be much easier to fix.
  • xanadu
    It seems easier to get this X-Y kit https://www.monoprice.com/Product?p_id=13960 and mount a laser on it.

    Nice little kit


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  • I have found that the Shapeoko was a great introduction to CNC learning and hobby work.
    It is mature, well documented and has a good support community.
    Many users have adopted it for laser cutting.
    It is also easy to interface the Shapeoko controllers to Fusion360 for an efficient CAM workflow. Once again, there is good forum support.
  • The_Master wrote: »
    I was vaguely aware of homebrew diode-based CNC systems that could burn an image, but thought any usefully powered cutting system would cost $10k++ or whatever.

    Supposedly the cuts are .001" resolution, burn marks can be minimal, and the cuts are fast. (video below)

    According to reviews the software is junk, but I'm just interested in the hardware. Worst case scenario I would spend a couple days interfacing a micro to the stepper drivers, doing a canned production routine.

    Those $400 Chinese lasers are junk. Junk hardware, junk laser tube, junk electronics, junk support. You can get a decent Chinese laser for a couple thousand, or a domestic one for five times (or more) as much.

    I would definitely stay away from the $400 lasers. Better to get something like a Shapeoko and add a diode laser to it if you really want to laser something.


  • I bought a 700mm x 500mm, 100W Chinese import for $2500, delivered, and have been quite happy with it. I've heard from a variety of places that anything less than about $1200 is going to be *very* questionable and have a lot of corners cut. Just the laser controller for mine (the thing that controls the laser and stepper controllers) is about $350 by itself. A 40W laser tube is about $240. Now add steppers, motor controllers, optics, wiring, cable chain, enclosure, air pump, water pump, tubing...

    Then think about the fact that this one, with a solid state 2.5W diode, is *also* $400: https://www.amazon.com/BIQU-Evgraving-Machine-Engraving-Engraver/dp/B01HCX191G/ref=pd_sbs_201_6
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