Is there a "one size fits most" wattage sizes for hobby work?

I’m learning as I go. Thank you to this community for the help!

I’m still shopping, and collecting knowledge on product selection as I go.

I note that those with higher wattage glass tubes (DC) indicate that they are not good for delicate detail work such as photo replication. The tubes just dont come on until about 8 to 10% and that overwhelms the target with too much energy.

Looks like metal tubes (RF) are better at this, but the cost of these tubes is about 10x the DC tubes. I could more easily afford two DC setups before I buy even on RF based system.

So. I’m going to get a DC system. I would like to do the following :

Cut hardwood up to 1/4" thick. Not too worried about cut speed. Most of my cutting will be 1/8"
Engrave said wood
Do some printing on metal using the spray on metal marker stuff
Photo etch wood
Cut thin colored acrylic (.125" ?)
Cut foam core
Cut cardstock

My guess is that a 100W laser is too beefy for photo work. I’m now leaning towards a 60W, assuming I can find a 20" x 20" bed with a pass through slot on one side.

Is the 60W still too much for photo work, foam core and cardstock?

Is it too wimpy for for cutting hardwood, such that I am going to be tempted to turn the power up and thereby drastically shorten the life of the tube?

I have simple tastes. I want it all :slight_smile:



You could consider also buying a separate diode laser for image work for approx. $ 300 and an 80 Watt co2 for cutting. This is my setup with the exception of I have next to a 5.5Watt diode laser a K40 and have not found my perfect 80 Watt co2 laser for the money yet. … (but, there is almost Christmas, who knows what it brings :wink:

After some experience with the rabbit and the hare as far as machines go I would also go for a 60 watt, max 80 watt.

It fits nicely into the work you set out. For something that needs a little extra umph, do two passes or look at investing in a good air assist system with a compressor to give you 25 to 45 psi for the big cuts and 3-5 psi for your engraving.

Hope it goes well.