Author Topic: If you could do it over, what would you buy?  (Read 1150 times)

FredWalter

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If you could do it over, what would you buy?
« on: December 13, 2017, 10:11:55 AM »
I'm new to laser engraving/cutting.

What I'm looking for in a machine is the lowest price for the largest "writing range", the ability to engrave on wood and leather, and the ability to cut leather and thin boards (<= 4 mm). I don't expect to use the machine very often, so it is ok if it is slow.

Currently banggood.com has a sale on
- all their "EleksMaker EleksDraw XY Plotter Pen Drawing Robot Laser Drawing Machine" products
- "EleksMaker EleksLaser A3 Pro"
- "EleksMaker EleksLaser A5 Pro"

If I am correct then all of the above machines, with the right laser head, will engrave, and with enough passes will be able to cut leather and thin boards.

If you were looking at buying one of the above, which of the above would you buy, and why? Would you buy multiple laser heads, one more suited to cutting, and the other more suited to engraving?

Is there any advantage to the A3/A5 style of machine, versus the XY plotter style of machine?

Here is the writing range and current sale prices (in US dollars on December 13, 2017) for the above machines:

A3 Pro,    "writing range" 380 mm x 300 mm,     no laser, $169.90
A3 Pro,    "writing range" 380 mm x 300 mm,  500mW laser, $199.90
A3 Pro,    "writing range" 380 mm x 300 mm, 1600mW laser, $299.90
A3 Pro,    "writing range" 380 mm x 300 mm, 2500mW laser, $197.90
A3 Pro,    "writing range" 380 mm x 300 mm, 5500mW laser, $529.90

A3X,       "writing range" 400 mm x 300 mm, 2500mW laser, $289.90

A5 Pro,    "writing range" 200 mm x 130 mm,     no laser, $159.90
A5 Pro,    "writing range" 200 mm x 130 mm,  500mW laser, $189.90
A5 Pro,    "writing range" 200 mm x 130 mm, 1600mW laser, $199.90
A5 Pro,    "writing range" 200 mm x 130 mm, 2500mW laser, $234.90
A5 Pro,    "writing range" 200 mm x 130 mm, 5500mW laser, $489.90

EleksDraw, "Writing range" 280 mm x 200 mm,     no laser, $155.90
EleksDraw, "Writing range" 280 mm x 200 mm,  500mW laser, $209.90
EleksDraw, "Writing range" 280 mm x 200 mm, 1600mW laser, $249.90
EleksDraw, "Writing range" 280 mm x 200 mm, 2500mW laser, $289.90
EleksDraw, "Writing range" 280 mm x 200 mm, 5500mW laser, $469.90

There is also an EleksDraw Pro, that has the same "writing range" as the EleksDraw but costs at least $100 more than the EleksDraw. It isn't obvious to me that it is worth the extra money.

banggood also sells other laser heads, some are black and some are blue. The blue ones cost a lot more than the black ones. Are the blue ones worth the extra money?

I am considering the A3 Pro, either with a 500mW laser or a 2500mW laser, and buying a 1600mW laser. (I've read in at least one place that the 1600mW laser is better for cutting.)

What are the pros/cons of 500mW versus 1600mW versus 2500mW?

ThothLoki

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Re: If you could do it over, what would you buy?
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2017, 10:58:34 AM »
I have an A3 Pro with a 2.5w Laser. I think that is the best kit for the price. Mine came with a black case Laser. The blue cased lasers are genuine Eleksmaker kits. They had an issue where there were to many clone kits with crap lasers and using their name. I bought mine when they just started, so I believe that I have an eleksmaker original but the older version. Nottingham82 and Zax both have the blue lasers and claim they are very good.

500mw will not get you far. It may engrave but you will have a tough time cutting. I say god or a 1.6 or 2.5 watt laser module. They seem very general purpose for most projects
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ggallant571

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Re: If you could do it over, what would you buy?
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2017, 11:01:18 AM »
My initial laser was a 5.5W A5. Much too small and the laser does not focus to a sharp point. Poor for cutting, great for etching 1000x1000mm slate coasters.
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Elephantman

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Re: If you could do it over, what would you buy?
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2017, 04:13:09 PM »
My initial laser was a 5.5W A5. Much too small and the laser does not focus to a sharp point. Poor for cutting, great for etching 1000x1000mm slate coasters.
1000 x 1000mm coasters.  That's 1 metre square.  I'd live to see the size of glass your drinking from.  Lol.

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mrehmus

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Re: If you could do it over, what would you buy?
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2017, 04:33:26 PM »
I'd buy a 40-watt CO2 unit or maybe 50 or 60 Watts. But now that I've had the 2.5-watt unit, I know that I need much more power to cut plastic at 1/4" thickness. The 2.5-watt unit works fine but it won't handle the thick stuff or difficult stuff like gasket material that has rubber in it.
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Landbo

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Re: If you could do it over, what would you buy?
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2017, 04:58:52 PM »
You should not expect to cut much more than paper, cardboard or thin veneer with a diode laser and achieve a good result. If you need to cut the mentioned matrials, invest in a CO2 laser machine.

My experience with a blue 2.5 watt diode laser on an EleksLaser A3 Pro says it's great for engraving but inconvenient for cutting. Therefore, I also have a K40 CO2 laser that has an output power of 37 W and yet too small to cut an 4 mm birch plywood at once.

Regards Leif.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2017, 05:05:58 PM by Landbo »
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mrehmus

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Re: If you could do it over, what would you buy?
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2017, 05:33:33 PM »
My experience with a blue 2.5 watt diode laser on an EleksLaser A3 Pro says it's great for engraving but inconvenient for cutting. Therefore, I also have a K40 CO2 laser that has an output power of 37 W and yet too small to cut an 4 mm birch plywood at once.

Regards Leif.

Would you elaborate on your experience with the 40- (32) watt unit? I am contemplating whether the 50- or 60-watt versions would be better. I am interested in cutting 1/4 inch (6.35mm) plexiglass and plywood. In the section on the 40-watt units if you would.
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