I'm not sure which way to go

Ok, this is just a side hustle for me. Got my own wood working building behind my house. That’s where my laser is.

So I just get a new “local” customer. They tell me they want 100 tumblers, 500 cork coasters, and 400 anodized bottle openers. Cool.

They have 3 different locations, so I call today to see how much of each do they want split up with the 3 different phone numbers. That’s really all that is going to change.

I didn’t know when I met with them, that they want (3) of these orders. Each location getting the same order.

I’ve been thinking of getting a 2nd machine, and have been looking at getting a 2nd machine, specially a 30w fiber because of speed plus I don’t need a chiller with it. I have room in the shop for another monport 60 w laser, but then I’d have to spend for another chiller.

Just like these coasters. It takes 5 minutes to do 2 of them. Yeah, I can speed things up, but the text starts to look double engraved on some letters.

Anyway thoughts on what the 2nd machine should be? Give me some input. You guys will have forgotten more than I’ll ever learn on these. With the fiber, I’ll have to go through growing pains on it, before I can get it rolling. I could really snap through those cork coasters with one.

I can get the 30w with an 8" x 8" working area and a 300mm lens for 2800.00

Thoughts Please?

Wow, that’s a nice big order.

When I’ve been given these big orders I usually do a few things:

  1. Say ‘oof, thats… a lot of work’
  2. Make a spreadsheet detailing how long the work will take. Estimates are fine.
  3. Do the math on the profit, time to complete, and Cost Of Goods Sold (raw materials).
  4. Do that again, with the cost of a new machine accounted for.

That’ll give you the full picture on if, and how much, you should spend on a new machine.

As for the actual machine recommendation that depends on what part of the job it’s doing. I see you have a Monport CO2 laser already, so that will work great for the coasters and could also work for the bottle openers - though the detail required for the actual design will dictate if it can be used there.


Generally speaking, fiber is for man made and co2 for natural materials… Both have some overlap, co2 cuts acrylic fine, but the fiber doesn’t work too well on acrylic.

Tumblers and metal, anodized or not, work great with the fiber…

Mdf explodes when you heat up the glue part with the fiber with little effect on the wood… makes a real mess… a change in pulse width really changes the effect… but on the wrong material it’s the wrong tool for the job…

Quick pass hit these cork coasters really fast at low power… had to put out the fire… first time I’ve ever had to put out a fire with a laser.

IMHO, as an addict of these things… I have led, co2 and a fiber…

Being amazed at the first two I got an M60 JPT M7 MOPA with an F420mm lens (300x300mm).

It is an incredible machine… pulsed based, the pulse power is about 18kW.

The more control you have over the laser, such as q-pulse and a wider frequency control range the better…

This is some cheap stainless kitchen knives, from the dollar store, done with the fiber. It’s an annealing process, not engraved, to the touch you can not feel the marks. After I tuned it in, I did my expensive kitchen knives…

This is a piece of thick steel, it’s not engraved, it’s annealed. The dog tag show some of the resulting annealing colors… Only MOPA types with q-pulse adjustments and a wide frequency range does this well.

I’d suggest a fiber, as you can do 2/3 of the items quicker with a fiber and the co2 can be corked… :wink:

Get the best of what you can afford, like the rest of us… I’m getting old, so I can’t afford any more of these…

Good luck



Thanks all.

1500 cork coasters caught me by surprise.

Colin, all my materials I buy directly from China. I have around 140 tumblers on hand, and more on the way. Cost basis on my tumblers are 3.70 each. Cork coasters .35 cents each. I’ll be alright, I just don’t want to panic and just buy another laser because I can… :wink:

Jack, so you think that this 30w Fiber wouldn’t be a good fit for that application? I kind of was hoping I could just sit in a chair and slap one in, depress a foot pedal, and 30 seconds later, do another. You know. Production style work.

My plan as of today is to continue to process cork coasters for a day or so, then move over to tumblers. I plan on breaking up the 3 orders into smaller pieces so they will at least be able to use some of them for promotional purposes.

If I wait until I process 300 tumblers, 1500 cork coasters, and 600 keychains, they might not see anything for 2 weeks or so.

I did find a couple of these vids… So I “think” I might be safe … but still would like more of your knowledge…


BTW, kind of got my eye on this guy too.

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To me, it’s a simple business decision. I added my fiber laser because I had an order that I couldn’t do with a CO2 (Metal data plates) but I originally bought my CO2 laser (80W Omtech) because I was using a diode laser on my $35K CNC machine and running 1-2 hour long passes for cutting boards. Now, I can run the CNC while running cutting boards on my CO2 which really helps and running a $5K CO2 laser vs a $35K CNC machine drops the cost burden a LOT.

That said, I’ve done over 300 tumblers on my CO2 laser so far and my push over point for ME is when I see lead times on deliveries being pushed out. Right now, if I get an order for 50 tumblers from company A, I give them a 3 day lead time. Once that lead time exceeds 7 days, I’ll add a second machine because it means I can justify the additional expense. I don’t want to turn orders away and I don’t want to exceed 7 days on anything with the exception of some really custom stuff for corporations that require a lot of CNC machining and design + some lead time on getting materials. Really, it’s simply cost .vs revenue. The last thing you want is a machine sitting there that you use once a month. Ruins profitability. :wink:

So for the second machine, my plan is to add a 40W CO2 with a second rotary due to the size and my limited availability of space. My 80W does most of the cutting I need so the cheaper 40W would be great for the second machine. For now, I’ll probably use my fiber for tumbler overflow but long term, I’ll end up with a range of CO2 machines from 130W down to 40W.

Thanks Tex. Appreciate the insight.

Well, my first and only CO2 is paid for from my customers in Florida. I’m in TN.

I have a new local customer that threw this on me, which I don’t mind, but sitting around for 5 minutes to burn 2 coasters ain’t going to get it. At least with another CO2 maybe a 40w monport or a fiber, I can share the load between the two.

I’m ready to pull the trigger on the fiber, because I think it will engrave a lot faster than my CO2 one these cork coasters. Of course I know I can do more with it, but first things first.

I’m trying to reach out to a couple of people that have what I’m looking to buy, to see if they’ve done cork on them. If they have, with no big issues, then I’m off and running.

It will be either this one


or this one


I really want that Fiber though to be honest. :slight_smile:

Don’t think I’d try fiber on cork. Haven’t tried it but I can’t imagine it doing well. :wink:

That said, the fiber I just bought is amazing and you can certainly use it to do the cups and bottle openers while the CO2 does the cork.

Thoughts on what you see here?


Are you able to dial down the settings and work with speed to prevent meltdowns and fires ?

Those appear to me a novice to be fiber engraved.

Definitely fiber. I’ll have to give it a go. Doesn’t look bad.

Thanks Tex for your time.

Be well down there.

They’re using a CO2 galvo laser in those videos - not fiber. It has a different laser wavelength that impacts organics, fiber goes into organics, and starts fires.

Hi Collin. Yep, that’s what I’m finding out via Facebook Fiber groups. They all said I need to go to CO2 Galvo… A bit more than I wanted to spend to engrave cork coasters…


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But they are REALLY cool, soooooo :wink:

(yes, realistically, its a lot of dough)

I have a contact in East Tn, that has a 30 w fiber laser, and some extra coasters laying around. He’s going to run a test for me using the logo I’m using, and provide some feedback to me.

Yeah, I’ve been watching CO2 Galv Vids… Just reached out to Cloudray as well.

I’ve had only the cork under the fiber catch fire… don’t worry about that… it was the material…

I suggest you have a more detailed look at what you are purchasing.

There are two types of fiber lasers for hobby people… You’re looking at the q-switch…

  1. Q-switch
  2. MOPA

They operate differently and both have advantages and disadvantages.

I’d suggest you watch this video from Russ Sadler about how the machine actually works… Assuming you know what happens in the co2, the fiber information starts at about 32:11.

Q-switch has a limited frequency rage of 40kHz to 60kHz and a pulse rate in the 130 - 180nS range and is not user adjustable.

A MOPA, has a frequency range of 1 - 4000kHz, 1 - 500nS user adjustable pulse width…

It’s hard to do any kind of color like annealing that I posted with anything other than a MOPA… when it does work the annealing or color range is very restrictive.

Know what you are buying.

Good luck


Didn’t say you couldn’t, I don’t think the results are that great…

In the third video, I think my gantry co2 would out run it…

If you’re ok for the video, I’d still suggest a fiber.


Interesting. As much research as I did on fiber, didn’t see that at all.
I retract my previous statement, I think I’ll leave the cork to my CO2. :smiley:

Thanks guys for all your input. I’m out here hanging in the wind per se’…

Nothing is rushing me. I’ll piece mill out the order to them as I can get the order processed. I have more material heading this way already.

I just don’t want to drop 3 or 4K quickly without doing some due diligence…

One good thing. I got my engraving time from 6.30 minutes to 4.00 for a pair of coasters.

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Those people are all galvo heads :rofl:

Your gantry won’t be as fast, but it will be substantially lower cost than the addition of a galvo co2… Same frequency, just a different (and more costly) way of getting the beam there… lose a single mirror in exchange for a costly fiber cable… :face_with_spiral_eyes:

If you could do any of them with vectors, it would be very quick.

You can also change around the optimization options and run it in the preview… keep track of them, it’s hard to remember how you set them up… To complicate things, there are similar settings for each layer.

If you pick up a fiber, I’d throw a few coasters away and see if you can get a good enough result…

I’m sure that’s the idea behind Laser Everything group… :rofl:


Hello Jack. GALVO HEADS… I like that !

Anyhoooo, I did make contact with 2 folks yesterday. One is TX and one in TN. Both have fiber lasers. I think what gets lost is I’m not looking to “engrave” these coasters, but to slightly burn them, to create the contrast.

My buddy Jason, the guy I bought my rotary from has done coasters with his Fiber. The guy in Tn, is going to run a test for me with his. He has some spare coasters laying around.