« on: January 20, 2017, 04:32:32 PM »
Thanks for your thoughts George.
I think we have to also remember that these are the lowest cost (cheap in price and materials) laser machines you can buy and still say you have a 'laser machine'. Unfortunately, they all are made in China and there is a problem with the language, the lack of manuals and no assembly instructions (most of the time). So, yes, almost everyone ends up googling for help and finds this community support forum!
I'm still absolutely amazed at how much more complex and expensive it is to move up to a more powerful CO2 laser machine. You can find them all over Ebay and Amazon for $445.00 but that's only the beginning of what you'll end up spending to get a good, working CO2 laser machine with 40 watts of power. And the interface and software to make them work...ugly...there is just no other word for it. Talk about not knowing what you're getting yourself into, these CO2 laser machines are about as bad as our 2.5 watt DIY laser machines. Both classes of laser machines have steep learning curves.
When you buy a 40 watt CO2 laser machine, you actually think you're going to get a 40 watt CO2 laser tube. Not hardly. And if you buy a 50 watt CO2 tube, you actually think that you're not only going to get a 50 watt tube, you also think you're going to be able to push that laser to 80% 90% 100% of its power! These are far more complicated machines that what we are using now and what you're buying you ain't getting and what you think you can push them to, you can't. Now, enough about CO2 machines!
I've kept my 1.6 watt laser machine pretty stock because most of my BCL users have done that. I've not added any limit switches or Z axis capability because 98% of my BCL users have not.
The biggest problem I see with these laser machines is that users want to jump in and try to use them without reading all the background and understanding what it takes to get the advanced CAM software (T2 and BCL) working successfully. Then there are those so new they are still trying to figure out how to get Benbox software to work. Well, I've been there and done that...about a year ago! What a difference a year makes eh?
I admit BCL has a learning curve and I think its fair to say T2 does as well...but think about what these two software programs do: they allow you to take your low power DIY laser machine and do things never intended by the factory who made them. And never ever forget that the large majority of CAM software companies and developers will not support our low power laser machines. They just have no interest in what we are doing. Thank God for T2 and BCL is all I can say (I can say that because I'm doing things with BCL that Benbox software can't do in its wildest dreams).
So, back to my statement of users wanting to just jump in and starting burning on wood. The assumption is that all DXF files are created equal. Users understandably have no idea how many variations of formats there are. If you can download one from the internet, then by God it should work everywhere you want to use it. Right? Uhh, no. Not true at all.
I have 4 different CAD programs and they all handle DXF files with internal corruptions differently. Some won't load a corrupt DXF file, some will. Those that will load it won't display it, while others will. It's a real mess honestly, but one of the reasons is that the file format has been around for so long.
When someone downloads a DXF file from the internet, they assume it was done correctly. I think about 50% of the time it wasn't. As the topic of this thread, the biggest missing link in DXF files that 'won't load' is that they are missing the Units of Measurements. What makes it more confusing is that there are 3 settings that should be all matched...and each CAD program has a different name for them!
I think in time, users will get smarter about DXF files and check that the Units of Measurements are all set as they want them to be...!!!
As for me, I'm still thinking about adding a 40 watt CO2 laser machine to my workbench...ahhhh I've been warned about going down THAT rabbit hole...!!!