The laser cutter has been AMT's #1 most popular machine pretty much. 3D
printers are getting more popular in the last year or so now that they
don't suck as bad as they used to in the times of reprap darwin and
makerbot cupcake. Laser cutters are the perfect balance of easy to use, and
usefulness and power of their output. Sure CNC milling machines can cut
more materials, and do 3d not just 2d, but there's a lot more involved in
setting them up and using them for a project. (work holding, creating
toolpaths, selecting bits and feed and tool speeds, etc)
Back when AMT bought their laser, building your own from any of the
existing plans cost about the same as getting one shipped pre-built from
china, so we went that route. It was a hassle dealing with customs etc, but
when we got it, it worked pretty much out of the box. Minor annoyances here
and there, and it doesn't match the quality of the $100,000 ones, but all
in we paid about $7000 for it (~$5500 to the laser company, ~$1500 for
shipping an 800lb device from china, customs, renting a truck to move it),
for an 80W laser with a 47x31.6 (just over 4' x just under 3') cutting
area. I'd imagine they should be a little bit cheaper now, that was 3 years
ago, tech moves fast these days.
Also note that for a laser cutter you want a much much faster X axis than
you would ever need on a CNC machine, for engraving. I'm talking like 1000+
mm/s (2362+ in/min). Because for engraving images you have to raster every
single line, and thats a lot of ground to cover when the laser beam is
Lastly you really need ventilation for it, to exhaust to outside all the
smoke & fumes it generates. So think about how you're gonna set that up
well in advance.
On Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 7:30 PM, <hol(a)gaskill.com> wrote:
i would be into building one around a good laser.
working on 4x8 CNC
build right now taking baby steps, but should have the x-y stage done in
the next 2 months. jake you're good at cnc builds, right? would be nice
to work on something for the space. if the linear stage is powerful
enough, it would be nice to have the option to slap on a plasma cutter in
place of the laser.
On 2014-07-23 18:36, Jake wrote:
i have visited two hackerspaces here in Toronto, including http://hacklabs.to
and it's clear that a hackerspace needs a laser cutter. Sudoroom doesn't have
one yet, so we should start thinking about which one we will get.
I heard we had $12,000.00 too much in the bank, and here at TTL they have a HUGE laser
cutter called the Lasersaur. It's a kit, sortof, but it's a very serious machine.
It uses a 100 watt laser! and that means it can cut through 3/4" plywood (in
okay maybe we're not ready for something like this quite yet, but when we're
ready we should keep it in mind. We can skip over the step of getting a cheap lame cutter
like those other hackerspaces.
speaking of other hackerspaces, hacklabs has one from Universal Laser Systems that they
got off Craigslist for $500 because the controller was fried. They built a motor control
system (the hard way) and then they had a nice laser cutter! I think it's 25 watts.
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