Total NOOB w.laser envrager ?? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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Default Total NOOB w.laser envrager ??

First, thanks for looking. Long story short - I've been asked by 2 wineries to make wooden serving trays, cheese boards, cornhole boards and kitschy signs with their logos laser-engraved on them. (Sounds like a good idea as gifts for family and friends, as well.) So, through Google searches I see a laser engraver/cutter can be had pretty reasonably up to as much as I want to spend. Not looking for an industrial model, just one that turns out 2-3 pieces per day with 4" to 12" patterns on wood.

I know absolutely nothing about them and am looking for some beginner's guidance. What am I getting into that I should be aware of before even making a purchase? What purpose-specific questions should I ask myself before purchasing one? Specs that I should look for? Options/features? Additional tools I should get in advance of trying my first job? Ongoing costs that I should consider?

Thanks for any guidance!

J.R.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 12:46 PM
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Which laser(s)are you considering? Mine is a Chinese made 5.5 watt diode laser that'll burn 15" X 11" . The software that comes with it is totally useless for my needs. The best software is called T2 laser. Costs about $40.
Depending on where you use it, you may need to rig up an exhaust system. It will make smoke.
It's not fast. A 5X5 portrait will take me 80 minutes but, logos text and, etc. Will be much faster.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much, Gene. So, is it really that easy? Buy a laser, install software, and start laser-engraving JPegs, PDF's, etc.? I mean, I know there's going to be a learning curve, like setting depth depending on wood type, power settings depending on materials, etc. Is there normally a guide for those setting included with the laser engravers or one to be found online?

Would a garage with the door open be enough venting, or is it a bad idea to do these jobs in an open environment like that?

This model is listed as Amazon's Choice, so I'm considering one by Amazon listed as: DIY CNC Laser Engraver Kits Wood Carving Engraving Cutting Machine Desktop Printer Logo Picture Marking, 40x50cm,2 Axis (5500MW) Amazon says it's sold by BACHINCCNC.

Thoughts on this model for laser-engraving cornhole boards, wooden food trays, cheese boards, etc.? Given the size of cornhole boards, I would likely be setting the engraver on top of them...would the 2-axis limitations be a problem, or would I just focus the laser to the board?

Again...thanks so much for your thoughts and help!
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 03:59 PM
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Welcome to the forum, John! Add your first name to your signature line to clear the N/a in the side panel. Add your location, as well.

Be sure to show us what you get 'cause we do like photos of shops, tools, projects, etc.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-21-2020, 08:43 PM
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Welcome to the forum John.

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Enjoy the knowledge of others that can be found within.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-22-2020, 07:52 AM
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Welcome to the forum.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-22-2020, 08:17 AM
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Here's a link to a very good overview of buying and using a laser:
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-22-2020, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sniperjohn View Post
Thanks so much, Gene. So, is it really that easy? Buy a laser, install software, and start laser-engraving JPegs, PDF's, etc.? I mean, I know there's going to be a learning curve, like setting depth depending on wood type, power settings depending on materials, etc. Is there normally a guide for those setting included with the laser engravers or one to be found online?

Would a garage with the door open be enough venting, or is it a bad idea to do these jobs in an open environment like that?

This model is listed as Amazon's Choice, so I'm considering one by Amazon listed as: DIY CNC Laser Engraver Kits Wood Carving Engraving Cutting Machine Desktop Printer Logo Picture Marking, 40x50cm,2 Axis (5500MW) Amazon says it's sold by BACHINCCNC.

Thoughts on this model for laser-engraving cornhole boards, wooden food trays, cheese boards, etc.? Given the size of cornhole boards, I would likely be setting the engraver on top of them...would the 2-axis limitations be a problem, or would I just focus the laser to the board?

Again...thanks so much for your thoughts and help!
That looks like a decent buy.
An open garage door would be enough for venting. A standing fan might help, too.
For work larger than the machine's work area, boards of the same thickness of your work would be placed under the pads. In T2, the image can be rotated so, you can orient the board, either along the X or Y axis, for your convenience. Then, you'd adjust the focus.
There IS a learning curve for using both the machine and the software. Have lots of practice scrap available. Cardboard is the cheapest practice material. MDF is good, too.
If you use T2, there are a bunch of really good You Tube videos available. Search for Laser Graffiti. And, T2 laser instruction.
On your laser lap top, down load a bunch of fonts. T2 will use them when you are constructing text.
above all, have fun!

Gene Howe
Snowflake, AZ

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-22-2020, 10:43 AM
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There are a lot of factors into getting a quality, or even decent result when using lasers. There is a massive range of laser types and materials. Laser engraving applies more to metals than wood, where it is really just burning in the image onto the wood, and wood having different grains and densities will result in varying quality results, even in the same piece of wood, so consistency may be an issue. Like the previous poster noted, have lots of practice scrap materials on hand

I suspect a cheap diode laser will leave you with poor overall results, especially on the cheaper end. you can pickup a cheap CO2 laser setup (the K40 seems popular and easily modified and upgraded, check out the laser builds over at the openbuilds forums), it is not terribly difficult to build a decent CO2 laser engraving/cutting system, from on the cheap to very elaborate and expensive.

There is a ton of software out there, and these days, pretty much anything that uses GRBL will work. For software design, Inkscape is great for logos and lettering for a free product.

Last edited by jvanbrecht; 01-22-2020 at 10:45 AM.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-22-2020, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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Default Thanks!

Lots of info and that was a great video. Keep the thoughts coming, I sure do appreciate them!

J.R.
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