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TSanting

5 posts

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#255870 3-Sep-2019 23:24
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Hi there

 

 

 

I am looking to buy a laser engraver from aliexpress.
Was hoping anyone had experience with buying from them.

 

 

 

Or if anyone have tips on what to look for in a laser engraver.

 

 

 

I need something easy to operate
was hoping something I could use together with Vectric VCarve.

 

Preferably in English with good instructions.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks

 

Tom  


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Affiliate link: You will find anything you want at MightyApe.
Mark
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  #2310398 4-Sep-2019 09:11
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I'm also looking and hoping someone else has taken the plunge first :-)


frankv
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  #2310536 4-Sep-2019 11:22
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After a lot of comparisons, I've bought this combined CNC/laser engraver with a 5.5W laser. I bought the PRO version because it looks to have much stronger X axis mount (probably not an issue if all you want to do is laser engraving), without the offline thing because I have spare Raspberry Pis. I can always buy a more powerful laser (lots of "15W" lasers on AliX) or an offline thing for it later if I want. I figure 5.5W is probably enough to get an idea of the practicalities of this kind of thing. I haven't assembled it yet (wanted to buy it before GST got added on to under $400 items, and have other stuff on the go ATM), so can't give any feedback on assembly or how well it works.

 

But, from what I read,

 

  • You need to be very suspicious about any claimed laser wattage. Typically, if you run the laser at full power for more than a couple of minutes, you will burn it out.
  • Buy from a vendor who specializes in this stuff, not a drop-shipper with a million different lines of stock.
  • Buy from someone with lots of orders and plenty of good feedback. (Beware of places with a couple of pieces of "excellent" feedback).
  • You probably won't get free shipping on a large item. On the plus side, shipping can be 3-4 days. Remember that GST calcs include shipping cost.
  • The vendor may offer to state a lower value to evade GST. You might get away with it, or your shipment might be confiscated, or worse.
  • Mechanisms on sub-$400 CNCs all seem to be similar to 3D printers (stepper motors and belts) so I guess XY resolution will be about 0.012mm.
  • You need more power for deeper cuts. I don't think you can do much with less than (say) 2W.
  • Engraving works best on stuff that is dark coloured, so don't expect to engrave or cut stainless steel or aluminium unless you're in the multi-K price bracket.
  • Laser cutting/engraving makes noxious smoke, so you'll also want a fume extraction system.
  • Obviously, wear eye protection appropriate to the colour of your laser.

FWIW, I've bought a couple of 3D printers from AliX, and was very pleased with the quality. Assembly instructions were pictorial and not terribly good. Nevertheless, I was able to put the 2 printers together without too much trouble. Online support via email was also very good, although obviously not native English speakers. Don't put feedback on until you've actually got it all working.

 

 


Tracer
343 posts

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  #2311530 6-Sep-2019 00:06
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I am always really paranoid about eyes when I look at those cheap ones. The whole machine is cheaper than single components in reputable machine safety systems...




TSanting

5 posts

Wannabe Geek


  #2311543 6-Sep-2019 06:16
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I have bought multiple items from ali over the years and so far never had any out of the ordinary issue.
their machines are very small thats one reason for price
they sell a lot
and they are the source so no extra hands

 

 

 

main reason im asking for help this time is as im going to buy a product I dont know much about


TSanting

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  #2311545 6-Sep-2019 06:20
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Frnkv

 

 

 

thank you for the help really good tips.

 

 

 

so far I liked this one.
main reason I am looking at this stile isthat i can place bigger items under.
itwill be used to enhrave logo on finished product some of themare quite tall so this machine can be reaching off a table.

 

 

 

 

 

Any thoughts?

 

 

 

thanks

 

Tom


frankv
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  #2311582 6-Sep-2019 08:46
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TSanting:

 

so far I liked this one.
main reason I am looking at this stile isthat i can place bigger items under.
itwill be used to enhrave logo on finished product some of themare quite tall so this machine can be reaching off a table.

 

 

No link for a machine to look at.

 

Focal length is typically about 20mm, so I guess any significant difference in the height of the laser above whatever is being engraved will mean reduced performance... blurry edges and less cutting/engraving power.

 

 


neb

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  #2311937 6-Sep-2019 18:51
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TSanting:

Or if anyone have tips on what to look for in a laser engraver.

 

 

Whatever you get, see the comments in a earlier thread on this topic about getting one with a hood that closes + safety interlock. One stray reflection off something shiny and you could lose your vision.



Tinkerisk
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  #2311940 6-Sep-2019 19:02
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I have a Eleksmaker EleksLaser-A3 Pro w/5500mW laser - AND I DON'T RECOMMEND TO OPERATE IT WITHOUT AFTER SALES SAFETY ADDITIONS already mentioned! Otherwise it's very useful. AND: forget about the protection glasses included - they're worthless.





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TSanting

5 posts

Wannabe Geek


  #2311942 6-Sep-2019 19:07
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Frankv sorry here is the link NZ$ 299.04 29%OFF | NEJE Master 7W High Speed Mini CNC Laser Engraver For Metal Engraving Carving Machine Laser Cutting Engraving Machine
https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/mPkrfnzQF


Neb thank you for the advice its going to be used for timber and i will have glasses as well as build a shield.
But as its going to be used on bosls sticks boards and bigger stuff i need the one arm type

frankv
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  #2312016 6-Sep-2019 22:58
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I think it's overpriced... I got a sturdier 300x180 mechanism with a 5.5W laser AND a router spindle for under $400. Ignore the 29% off... fake discounts are ubiquitous on AliX. Even if it is real and this supplier does stop giving that discount, someone else will be giving something very similar on the exact same item. When I buy on AliX, a find what I like, then skim through the "More To Love" similar products at the bottom of the page for other cheaper suppliers. Pretty soon you find what the best price is, within a few dollars. Then throw out the ones with 0 or 1 orders and bad feedback, and buy the cheapest remaining. e.g. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000047900132.html is $254+$15 shipping for an identical item.

 

It's only 150x150mm... my experience with 3D printing is that's too small to be practical, hence I went for 300x180. But maybe you have specific applications in mind for use that will fit in that area.

 

They say "please take notice that the laser head is easily-consumed products ,so we promise to supply again within three month if the laser head is Inhuman damage.so if you laser head is Inhuman damage , please do not give negative comment thanks for your support. " Reading between the lines, I think this means that they get a lot of laser failures. Which is pretty much what I was saying about these things not being usable at full power for more than a few minutes. And every 3-6 months or so you can expect to have to buy another one.

 

.075mm resolution isn't that great... 1/13 mm. Maybe that is the size of the laser dot, and the mechanism can do 80 steps/mm like most 3D printers?

 

It's good that it uses 2020 aluminium extrusion for the rails... that's pretty much standard 3D printer construction nowadays. Robust and rigid.

 

It's good that the laser is fan-cooled, and has a 3-wire connector. Pictures show 3 wires, although the text says it also has 4th wire as a temperature sensor. Probably the pictures are of last year's model. Probably if the temperature is monitored and controlled, it will improve the longevity?

 

I don't like the cantilevered arm design... it may mean that the mechanism sags (or even tips over?) when the head is at the far end of the arm, giving an uneven finish. You'll probably need to anchor the thing securely to the tabletop.

 

Some parts are made of acrylic... acrylic is not good when stressed, and over time will crack.

 

Don't be swayed by all the software and "cloud gallery"... that will be links to places like Thingiverse and open-source sites.

 

 


toejam316
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  #2312055 7-Sep-2019 07:26
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Probably a very relevant YouTuber and a very relevant video

 

 

This guy does a lot of stuff with lasers, and can give you a pretty good idea of the whackiness of the lasers you get out of China, and the "safety equipment" included with them. Definitely worth a gander before you go too far down the rabbithole.





Anything I say is the ramblings of an ill informed, opinionated so-and-so, and not representative of any of my past, present or future employers, and is also probably best disregarded.


TSanting

5 posts

Wannabe Geek


  #2312071 7-Sep-2019 08:54
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Thank you Frankv  

 

 

 

Ill have to do more reading.
I do have specific use the main job will be placing logo on woodwork and decorating small items not larger the coasters.
so 150x150 is big enough and it will fit in my office (where I planed to have a duct fan going out.
saying that I want to plave things like bowls chopping boards etc. to place logo on.
now a bpwl can be 200mm high which makes it hard with fixed bed.

something like the bottomless frames might work but thought the counterlever arm mean i can attach it to wall and have it free under.

but what you said about the laser make me rethink.


as for safety I will order glasses and shield from a NZ supplier where I know it will protect me.

 

 

 

Thank you every one for the help.
and please continue to post you experience with laser engravers.


neb

neb
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  #2336387 13-Oct-2019 18:52
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An update on this thread for people who may have missed it, Laser cutters sold on Amazon and elsewhere are cheap, fun—and dangerous.

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