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Cheap Chinese Burning Lasers ANYONE???

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plasmartist
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Cheap Chinese Burning Lasers ANYONE???

Postby plasmartist » Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:33 pm

Has anyone messed around with the chinese burning lasers on their tables? You can buy lasers ranging from 2w up to 15w for under $200 on ebay that come with standard 110v plugs. My thought process is to plug one into the auxiliary port, much like you would a scribe or router, and use the scribe tool settingsfor it with a slow travel speed. Figured this could be a fun addition to cut thin wood, plastic, etc. But before I potentially throw $200 into the trash can, has anyone else tried doing this before. I talked to Tom a CandCNC and he said that many of those lasers won't last, but the curious side of me still wants to do more research. Thanks in advance for chiming in.

gamble
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Re: Cheap Chinese Burning Lasers ANYONE???

Postby gamble » Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:20 pm

I am curious as well
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AdrianH
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Re: Cheap Chinese Burning Lasers ANYONE???

Postby AdrianH » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:22 pm

Also interested in this as I have been wondering is the laser would at least etch the surface of metal, or just stick on my table for the odd bit of wood marking, will not call it engraving.

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Re: Cheap Chinese Burning Lasers ANYONE???

Postby Old Iron » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:25 am

A friend of mine has one and every time we start talking lasers, he starts laughing about his and how it won't cut much of anything.
If ya have the Franklins to let go of then go for it.

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rdj357
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Re: Cheap Chinese Burning Lasers ANYONE???

Postby rdj357 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:22 am

Those lasers are OK for light etching on wood or etching the powder coating off of metal. Some of them will cut very thin wood. The more powerful ones usually do not have sufficient heat sink and burn up.

If you want enough power to do anything (engraving and cutting organic materials) then you'll need to move up to a Chinese water cooled CO2 tube laser OR a fiber laser of some sort. (Another option is $$$ for a steel tube CO2 laser like Epilog) If you're going to do that you might as well get a separate machine that will be capable of the high speeds that the laser can take advantage of.

Long story short, they're a cute toy on a plasma table. They wont' do much and with any serious use won't last. The mechanics of a plasma table will not provide the speed that the laser could take advantage of for scan engraving. If you want a laser, buy one as a separate machine or build one with a fiber source based on the acceleration and velocity required to get the most out of it.
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gamble
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Re: Cheap Chinese Burning Lasers ANYONE???

Postby gamble » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:23 pm

rdj357 wrote:Those lasers are OK for light etching on wood or etching the powder coating off of metal. Some of them will cut very thin wood. The more powerful ones usually do not have sufficient heat sink and burn up.

If you want enough power to do anything (engraving and cutting organic materials) then you'll need to move up to a Chinese water cooled CO2 tube laser OR a fiber laser of some sort. (Another option is $$$ for a steel tube CO2 laser like Epilog) If you're going to do that you might as well get a separate machine that will be capable of the high speeds that the laser can take advantage of.

Long story short, they're a cute toy on a plasma table. They wont' do much and with any serious use won't last. The mechanics of a plasma table will not provide the speed that the laser could take advantage of for scan engraving. If you want a laser, buy one as a separate machine or build one with a fiber source based on the acceleration and velocity required to get the most out of it.

I've heard some will etch an anodized finish but they can't do powder. Not sure what size is needed. I'm more curious on if there is any maintenance, cleanup, smoke/fumes, other hazards. I'd like to use one for cutting acrylic up to 1/2" or maybe a little less and curious if there is any clean up involved.
When I did my research about cnc plasma most people said dross isn't bad and clean up is quick but then I found out that cleaning it up and after work sucks :lol:
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rdj357
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Re: Cheap Chinese Burning Lasers ANYONE???

Postby rdj357 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:08 pm

gamble wrote:I've heard some will etch an anodized finish but they can't do powder. Not sure what size is needed. I'm more curious on if there is any maintenance, cleanup, smoke/fumes, other hazards. I'd like to use one for cutting acrylic up to 1/2" or maybe a little less and curious if there is any clean up involved.
When I did my research about cnc plasma most people said dross isn't bad and clean up is quick but then I found out that cleaning it up and after work sucks :lol:


Other than what I've already said - related to this kind of laser (blue light) you need to wear eye protection when using it on an open table. Reflected beams can blind you at this waevlength. They are much more dangerous than CO2 lasers in that respect. Lasering powder coat or anodized coating will not make much smoke but cutting or engraving acrylic or wood will. You can NEVER laser any material with chlorine such as vinyl, it will make airborne acid and that's not great for you to breathe or for your machinery to deal with. Acrylic cuts are clean since the acrylic vaporizes directly.
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plasmartist
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Re: Cheap Chinese Burning Lasers ANYONE???

Postby plasmartist » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:40 am

So I ordered a smaller laser on amazon prime, it's only a 500 mw, so half a watt. But at $40, and no hassle returns through amazon prime (in the event that it is a total gimmick) it should give me a head start for proof of concept. At this level it is going to burn the surface at best, but it will give me a good idea of the tracking quality, ie if the vibrations of the table are going to manifest in the image. If I like this one, my next laser is a 15 watt that I saw on ebay for $110 direct from china. I have ordered a crap ton of heat sinks and thermal grease to hopefully help keep it cool, I may even tear into some old computers to rob some fans etc. From what I have read, the 15w laser has the power to cut wood at about an 1/8", and you can run multiple passes for thicker material, there have also been rumors that it can do very light etching on non reflective metals. I currently have a scribe, so metals aren't really my concern, but it would be nice for that random customer that wants something engraved that isn't currently connected to a 48x96 sheet.


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