I’m in the UK and have been thinking of cancelling my order for the basic for a while. I have been looking at the 60w eBay laser. I’m aware of the obvious differences like glowforge will be better quality, smaller, easier to use and the 60w ebay laser has a bigger bed, more powerful laser, cheaper.
What I would like to know is how bad/good are these cheap lasers? I have heard that they say 60w but are actually less. What is the difference of the quality of cutting and engraving?
I paid £1900 + £600 tax for the glowforge and the 60w ebay laser is £1382. I could get the 60w by the end of the week or wait months or years! for the glowforge.
I have the 100w version of that laser. First once it arrives make sure you a bunch of zip ties to zip tie all the hose lines to ensure they don’t pop loose as well as tighten/ensure all hardware is tight. Look at your tube manufacturer and get a copy of the data sheet. Install an Amp meter and process your jobs based upon the data sheet to get maximum tube life hence the Amp meter. Complete a through cleaning to remove any left over debris from the manufacturing process and if it comes with an aquarium pump for your cooling system shell out the cash to get a proper water chiller and add some water wetter to the solution. Here is a link from amazon for the water wetter. https://www.amazon.com/Red-Line-80204-Water-Wetter/dp/B000CPI5ZK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502823584&sr=8-1&keywords=water+wetter
One last thing do not I repeat do not plug everything in to the power receptacles on the back side of the machine get a good surge protector.
The biggest deal will be the workflow. (Re)alignment and focus. What tools you use to get stuff to the laser.
(I am particularly hot on this because I just had an idea about taking my fancyish camera to the eclipse. I turned on the GF to let it calibrate, drew a circle in inkscape the size of the camera’s front filter, uploaded it. Put a pair of eclipse glasses on the bed, traced them and selected outside cut. Aligned the two bits of artwork in the GFUI and laid them on top of some scrap cardboard. Looked up the settings. Pushed the button. About as long as it took you to read this.)
I am one of the CCL owners and I am also waiting on my GF. I also have a Pre-release unit.
I haven’t used the K40 since I got the PRU. I have only used the Redsail (which I put in the same overall category although its build quality and capabilities are far above the K40 - probably somewhere between the GF and the one you linked to) twice in the past 4 months - once where I needed the physical capacity (it has an 18x24 bed with a 9 inch adjustable Z axis) and once while GF was tweaking the heat management in the software.
They work. They can work very well. They require a lot of technical expertise - more as you go further down the price range. Their tubes are usually nominal ratings (e.g. what the tube is capable of when overdriven). For instance my K40 40W tube meters out as 32W. It is possible to drive it at 40W but then its life would be measured in hours, not thousands of hours. Software is cobbled together. You will need to work at that too. Support is nearly non-existent.
The benefits (in addition to the price) are a tinkerer can modify the heck out of them and they usually have a larger bed with Z axis and rotary support.
I’m a tinkerer so I’m okay with it. The whole Rube Goldberg nature of it is definitely an issue for anyone looking for a finished product. I’m a longtime Corel user so once I got my X8 working with it the workflow wasn’t bad - except for having to send the operations one at a time was pretty tedious. I worked with the LaserWeb guys and now the Whisperer project and I’m backing the Gerbil Kickstarter just to keep exploring the options. But you’re talking Model A vs Tesla when comparing the K40 to the GF.
I have a 100w Chinese laser. I intended to just have the glowforge but obviously the delays have taken a toll. There was an opportunity to get one for my work so I was able to justify getting it. I’m still waiting for my glowforge but honestly that’s just because I bought it originally to be a home machine and the other laser resides in my workshop. I am holding on only because I think it will be fun to laser at home as well.
One thing I will say, the internet community seems entirely too whiny about these things. The base software is clunky but you can control it through plugins for other (more familiar) software. I read so much about the difficulty or annoyance in job setup but it honestly takes me 2-5 minutes to get everything up and cutting. That’s just initial setup. It’s even less between jobs. Same to shut everything down. All the talk actually had me worried I wouldn’t be able to handle it. It’s really nothing.
Some people complain about the chiller taking up space but space wasn’t an issue in my case. Also after finding out that my glowforge basic may not run if my room gets close to 80 makes all the complaints about a chiller humorous. Id rather have the chiller and have my machine work year round.
The machine I have is big but it (the one I have) also has a much larger material envelope. Especially in the z axis. And again, for my situation space wasn’t a big issue.
I read a lot of complaints about damage or broken components which worried me. I can’t speak on that though as mine arrived fine.
I only have the experience of one (myself) but I really feel like these machines (at least the ones like mine) get a lot of flack unjustifiably. Mine is a great machine.
I have no doubt that the glowforge software is MUCH smoother and intuitive but honestly, I feel like I’m gonna be disappointed overall. I do feel like it’s gonna be great and I want to laser at home so I’m still waiting. But I just don’t feel like I’m gonna look at it like all this wait was worth it.
Just for context, I had no laser experience at all before this, but I have a 3d printer and a cnc mill so cad and job setup I am familiar with. Some people here have way more prior knowledge than i had/have so take my experience for whatever it is worth.
There are some here that have similar machines and have posted here about them.
There seems to be a lot of laser experience on this forum outside of the glowforge.
Dan invited us to talk about other machines here and has even posted one himself.
Have you checked out Russ at Sarbarmultimedia on YouTube? Fellow from the UK. Quite a few of his videos almost pushed me over the edge to getting my own laser made from chinesium. I do believe if I hadn’t gotten a pre-release I would have gotten a K40. I don’t think I could have waited so long without a laser had I seen all the cool stuff being made by the pre-release crowd.
A big part of Russ’ success is that his machine uses RDWorks software. A K40 is using either pirated design software or a very weak proprietary CAM software. The K40 works well if you have real Corel Draw or if you mod it to use one of the Open Source apps like LaserWeb. You are infinitely better off having gotten a PRU.
The big Chinese lasers (80 or 100W) generally are better built and seem to be tending towards using RDWorks which is a good thing.