I have a small business making computer parts and for the past 5 years have been making mostly aluminum, delrin and copper parts with 2 HAAS mills. We determined that a laser to cut acrylic would be a big money saver for us. I really wanted a big 4x8 with 300 watts but none in stock here in the US and it would be September / October before it would arrive here. so…
A few weeks ago I picked up an ebay special.
20x24 laser with 100w tube.
Spent two days getting it up and running (mirrors and head were all out of alignment).
During that time I became very disillusioned with the supplied mirror mounts and head.
The lens is 18mm and the lens tube is designed for 1.5" focal length.
I will be cutting 6 to 12mm acrylic and felt I needed a 2 to 2.5" focal length lens. I picked one up on Amazon (CloudRay).
Now I feel that I need to upgrade everything to CloudRay 20mm with that multi focal length tube they have.
The hardware I have looks nothing like anything from Cloud Ray.
Anyone have any experience upgrading the generic China laser to Cloud Ray?
Of course we have a complete machine ship as well as powder coat so making adapters is not a problem. However, the less time spent on it the better.
For me the big problem is… the 2.5" focal lens puts my laser head way above my part and the air blow is almost non-effective at that distance.
Any help or advice?
If you have some time, search on You Tube for Sabar Multimedia or Russ Sadler. Russ is a retired engineer who started out with a 2040 Chinese Laser and has documented every aspect of turning it into a machine that rivals the output quality of Trotec or Epilog. Along the way he worked with Cloudray to develop his own design Mirror mounts and Lens Tubes/Nozzles
He his currently building a “Russ Spec” machine for Cloudray.
Ditto on Russ, and most of his designs are available in dxf format on the RDWorks forum.
You will have to watch a few things, these machines are in no way standardized. His machines have the X stepper on the left, mine is on the right. Some will have 12mm bearing blocks, others will have 15mm. He has adapters for most.
I took his #2 mount that had to deal with a stepper motor, and redesigned it for no stepper and a slightly different alignment tab. I’m in the process of adapting his #3 head and mirror set up. I have smaller pulleys on my X axis drive, and don’t have the room for his angle braces in his sliding mount.
I strongly recommend upgrading to the 25mm mirrors and 20mm lens. Your 100W tube / beam is kinda pushing it for 20mm mirrors when they are turned 45 degrees.
If you are using the laser for a paying business, you might want to consider dumping the (what sounds like a) cheap import and buying a better class of machine that has good US support. Thunder Laser is one company that comes to mind - they have US-based support and so far (2+ years) I have been very happy with my Nova 24. I think that the lead time is around 30-60 days for orders placed now. If that’s a problem, maybe consider paying someone else to cut your parts for you while you await delivery on yours.
I had already watched quite a few of Russ’s videos starting a couple of years ago.
I designed and made a laser using a 15watt blue laser. It works great and I thought about marketing it since it’s nothing like those ebay chinese models.
Yesterday I ordered a C series set of mirrors and head with the tube for multi focal lengths. I will have to make brackets for everything but that shouldn’t be a big deal.
If I have time I may document everything and post it up.
My first thoughts were exactly that. Get a commercial quality laser. However, since we had never used a laser in any type of production I was reluctant to spend $50,000+ on something we may or may not use.
My idea was to buy a cheap chinese laser and see if we would/could make use of it.
In just a few short weeks it has proven to us that we need a laser.
I’ve been looking at different brands and models.
Weighting price, lead time and features and I’ll make a decision soon.
Mean while the cheap chinese model is busy making money.
My criteria is: 4 x 8 sheet capacity, metal cutting as well as acrylic, servos instead of steppers and something in the 300watt range.
Boss laser makes one and the price is $20,000
Anyway, this is getting long.
A lot of Russ’ mount designs are available on the RDWorks forum. I have a few more I’ve gotten direct to make a #2 and #3 mount. I made his #2, #3, and the lightweight aluminum mount from acrylic. The #3 and lightweight designs are yet to be mounted do to time constraints, but everything came out nicely once adapted to acrylic and my machine specs. I have some pics if you want to look at the pieces.
I’m also looking at a wide machine as a future DIY build. Back feed of full sheets with around a 36" usable cutting depth. If you want to drool over a truly large machine, check out this monster.
James I would suggest you seriously consider taking a look at Thunder Laser USA. They provide very high quality machines at a price point way below that of Boss, Trotec , Epilog etc.
More importantly their customer support is nothing short of 1st class. Have a look at their Facebook group, website and third party You Tube videos.
I looked at a lot of the cheap Chinese machines but then decided to pay the extra and go for a Thunder Nova 24 with a 60watt tube. Boy was that ever a great decision. I am at the other end of the world but even here the customer support has been superb both pre and post sale.
I have no affiliation with Thunder other than being a happy customer.
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