Laser buying experience. China to the Isle of Man

Over the last few years I’ve purchased five lasers (three CO2 and two fibers), for all but one I have dealt directly with the manufacturer in China. A few months back I decided to replace one of my CO2 machines, reason for doing so was to get all three running on the same software using Lightburn and also the new machine would have a slightly bigger bed and a more powerful tube. I thought I would document the process so others thinking of purchasing a new machine could see how I went about it and the costs involved in getting it to the UK and for me onward to the Isle of Man. No doubt my process is similar to what hundreds of other purchasers have gone through, so not all might find it useful.

When I decided to buy a new machine I already knew what manufacturer I wished to use. A year or so ago I purchased a Mira 5 made by This is a small 30w machine with a RF tube, where design and build quality is a couple of steps above most Chinese machines. Communication with the factory was good so I decided to approach them again.

The machine I settled on was their Nova 10, which has a 1000 x 700mm bed and I selected the 100w RECI tube to go with it. I contacted the company through Alibaba and ended up dealing with the same person I dealt with previously. After a few messages back and forth, they provided a quotation for the specification I required, this came to £3,585.63 (US$4,535.00). The factory said they don’t arrange delivery of this size of machine in single orders, so it was an ex works price and I would have to sort out collection, delivery to docks and onward shipping to the UK. This may sound a bit daunting and arranging each of these individually could be quite difficult. This is where a good customs broker comes in. In the past I have used a company called F.S. Mackenzie Limited (FSM) when I purchased a 750kg hydraulic press also imported from China, so I emailed them again. They have local agents in China and I put FSM in touch with Aeon so they could arrange things between themselves. In the meantime I received an Invoice from Aeon for the machine. A while ago I upgraded my Bank Account so I could do international bank transfers, this saved having to go to the bank and arrange a transfer, also the transfer fee was that bit lower making the payment online. Once paid I soon got an acknowledgement from the factory to say they had received payment and my order was being sent to the factory floor. FSM sent me a quotation which included pick up from the factory and delivery to the docks, onward shipping charges, destination fees, handling charges, UK custom clearance fee and onward delivery in the UK, this came to £720.86.

Around a week later I received notification that the laser had been picked up, I was sent some shipping info from the factory which included the name of the ship the laser would be on, so being sad I could track its progress using a ship tracking app. Now it was a waiting game.

Once the container ship reached the UK, FSM got back in touch as they now had the Import Duty and VAT charges available. Duty came to £132.55 and VAT £817.98, this was paid by Bank Transfer. A couple of days later I received notification from FSM that the laser had cleared customs and would be delivered to another shipping company in Skelmersdale, for those of you in the UK you would skip the next step, as delivery would be straight to you, but as I live on the Isle of Man a journey over the Irish sea was required. One of our local courier companies has a depot in Skelmersdale and it’s often cheaper having large items dropped at their UK depot for onward shipping to the Isle of Man. Their charge for delivery to my home address was £211.04.

Total cost of the laser including all charges and delivery costs was £5,468.06. I know you can get similar sized machines on eBay for around half the price, but a lot of these sellers are just box movers, so I doubt if the support will be great. The quality of these eBay machines I would say is a lot lower than the Aeon machine.

I hope this was of some interest and I will be happy to answer any questions.

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Thanks for documenting your experience! Really helpful.

I’m thinking of purchasing either an Aeon Mira 5 or Mira 7 (have to workout if I have space for the latter!). What are your thoughts/experience with the Mira 5. Would you recommend it for a small business?

It’s a very well built and good quality machine. Mine has the 30w RF Metal tube. If I was buying it again, I would go for a larger powered tube 50 - 60w, which would make it much more versatile. I also wouldn’t get the wi-fi, as its quite primative, I disconnected mine and hard wired the machine to my network.

Very helpful, thanks for taking the time. Alan Downpatrick NI

That’s great info, thanks! Did your machine come with auto focus? I thought it was an included feature, but in the literature I’ve been sent, if I’ve understood correctly, it says its an add on

Yes it was an add on, not too expensive though.