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Recomend a cheapish CNC laser cutter

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large_ghostman

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Anyone own one of the cheaper type CNC laser cutters? Or put another way... what kind of laser power is needed to cut thin plywood?? (1/4 ish).

I need to find a rough price for them so I can cost something up, its part of my design and manufacture course. I should have factored it in at the start but overlooked it. I can find some online but I have no idea what power you need to cut with.
 

Pommie

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I work at a school one day a week and we have a Epilog Laser. It is 50W and can just manage 6mm ply. Alternatively, at our local library they have a section called The Edge where you can go and use various machines, laser cutters 3d printers etc. Maybe check if there is something similar close to you.

Mike.
 

large_ghostman

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I work at a school one day a week and we have a Epilog Laser. It is 50W and can just manage 6mm ply. Alternatively, at our local library they have a section called The Edge where you can go and use various machines, laser cutters 3d printers etc. Maybe check if there is something similar close to you.

Mike.
Hi Mike, sorry I was sloppy explaining.......... I dont want to use or buy one, part of the design and manufacture course includes projects. Some of them are mainly designed based and no building as such. The brief is to design some unique 'thing', but you have to cost it out etc including small scale/start up manufacture size. Its kind of testing us on business skills, so you design a theoretical product and then set a selling price. I have done all that, but forgot to add in manufacture costs! So I need to be able to say X number of units a months using Y machine that cost........... and so on.

Thanks for the links, looks like my theoretical widget, just made my theoretical start up go bust lol. Hmm might have to specify a composite foam and hot wire cutter ;), I am not going to design and redraw something else at this stage! Its no big deal, this part of the course is small amount of the overall marks. The project we build gets alot more marks. Dosnt look like I destined to be a manufacturer after al :D
 

JoeJester

Active Member
LG,

It's been said over this side of the pond that three of five startups fail. In fact most say that after a few failures, they become successful. Even Edison didn't get the light bulb right the first time out of the gate.
 

large_ghostman

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Lucky its only a theoretical exercise! I messed up the costings from the start, we havnt done that much on manufacturing side yet. Its alot more complicated than I thought.
 

JoeJester

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I don't know if you have the equivalent of what we have called the "small business administration." Their website offers a lot of info for those "thinking to start a new business". Then there's SCORE ... which are volunteers who have retired from their own business to help new startups.

The SBA is at http://www.sba.gov/
 

large_ghostman

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We have something similar Joe, but isnt going to help me. Turns out my widget needs 167,000 sales a day to break even lol. So I need a £65K laser cutter and production line........

Meah never mind, I will be ready next time!!! I am better at designing and building, when it comes to unit cost and units per day etc etc, I am rubbish! I have to be honest and say I would rather design and build than run a factory anyway :D. This part of the course has been the worse! Everything I wanted to design just cost too much to make to get the money back. Lucky enough this is a school exercise and not real life! Or me and my mum would be on egg sandwiches for the next 38 years :D
 

large_ghostman

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One thing I did find out, when a Chinese laser cutter says 50W, it dosnt mean tube power! It means PSU power! A typical 50W laser cutter has a 40W laser tube in it. Apparently I would need 60W CO2 laser cutter. Actually to make the units I would need I would need a shed load of them!! Or buy a Chinese factory and use that :D.

Sad but true my theoretical foray into business led directly to bankruptcy before a single widget was made :(. Oddly enough it was fascinating adding a single bolt or whatever to a product, it shocked me how much money that is in real terms on a production line!!

Might be 1-2p each for a single unit, but produce 500,000 a year and its serious money. Same with the leds I designed into it, looked good but cost them out on a large production run and your giving large amounts of profit away!
 

large_ghostman

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Sounds like you got some good info out of that class.
I took it for the Design and building side, but now and then it is a good eye opener! Also makes you look at products in a different way, I look at things and think 'why didnt they do X', now I look and i can see why some things are as they are.
 

large_ghostman

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Looking at the laser cutters, I am so tempted to get one of these cheap Chinese ones some day. There is a really good you tube channel from a guy that got one. He documented everything for around 18 months of having one, yes there are some major issues but he found ways around them. So armed with that kind of information I might one day get one. Still alot of money to save up for, but a useful bit of kit if you want to cut acrylic, or I could learn how to use the cnc mill I got!!!

Still unused 5 years after getting it! I dont think anyone worked out the Chinese instructions!! The rails are rusty now, so it would need a good clean. I have used the school one loads, but that is already set up.
 

large_ghostman

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Have you checked out cnczone to see if there is any info on your mill?

Mike.
Yeah loads of info on how to use it, little on reading the Chinese bits on the back on the unit and how to plug in a German super dremel (no idea what you call them) to the chinese control unit or how to read the Chinese software :D.

I should go look again though, the unit was custom made in the UK, but the company dosnt exist now.
 

large_ghostman

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OMG that site has grown!!! Where do you even start working out where to post! lol
 

large_ghostman

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Thanks Mike I finally joined and posted!!!
About time I took the plunge!! now I can get on and build some widgets
 
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