Laser machine recommendations for fab shop with 100 employees

Hello,

I’m new to the forum, but could not find this topic anywhere else:

I’m looking for recommendations. My company is looking for a laser to take some work off the waterjet. It could potentially be running for a full 8 hours on certain production jobs, so reliability is critical. We’d like a minimum cutting area of 40in x 24in. The larger the better, but we still need it to fit inside the office building. We’re not looking to put it out in the shop. Owner is not averse to cutting a hole in the wall to get it in the building. Looking for something around 100W or more that can cut acrylic, neoprene, other materials. Here are some of the brands I’ve looked at:

eBay
ThunderLaser
BossLaser
Full Spectrum
RabbitLaserUSA
G.Weike

Epilog
Trotec
Universal Laser Systems

Am I missing any brands I should be researching? What I’m trying to avoid is recommending a purchase to the owner only to have it cause a lot of production delays due to maintenance. I’ve seen a few that offer two independent lasers in the same machine for double production speed and redundancy. Is this a gimmick?

Thank you so much for your time.

1 Like

I’m the guy that replied to your email to LB yesterday.

Good that you found G. Weike, that’s a popular one I’ve seen around. The Rabbit also comes around.

These are not compatible with LightBurn.

Epilog and ULS are US Made, RF excited, air cooled tubes. Great stuff, super expensive though.

The other items in the list are the Chinese CO2 machines. Companies like Boss rebrand them and give you a warranty and a phone number to call for support. You’re still going to be doing your own maintenance though, no way around that. Just depends on how much you want to pay for “peace of mind.”

Anyways, plenty of people here that run these machines, and I hope you get some answers!

Thanks for the quick reply! I’m pretty sure i sold the VP of my company on either the G.Weike or ThunderLaser. Do you have any idea which would be better for running 8 hours per day?

I do not, as I have not had hands on experience with machines from either brand.

I can tell you that you will definitely want a CW-5000 series chiller for your water cooling. The 3000 series is passive and mostly useless. The 5000 series actually chills the water.

I have a G.Weicke and love it. It runs 8 hours a day without an issue. They OEM for Boss Laser in the U.S.A. Solid machines.

Thank you both for the tips. I’m pretty sure we’re going to order directly from G. Weicke (requesting a Ruida controller, of course).

Any chance you’d be willing to share your company name? I’d love to show VIPs a website with example work done on a G. Weike.

Also, any chance you’d be willing to share the model and how much it ended up costing you from factory to your doorstep?

I mbought the machine locally used for $1350 It was a steal. I have been told door to door is around $5K . Unfortunately I can not show example product as it is all custom prototyper work for clients, however the company is Revision 13 Prototypes

http://www.revision13prototypes.com/

Thanks again, for all the info.

If your job is going to be on the line because of this and it must be able to run 8 hours a day every day, quality build/design with excellent components and decent USA-based technical support would be “musts” in my mind. I would first recommend a Trotec. Then an Epilog. Boss would be a distant third and I would definitely cover your axx by documenting your recommendation for a Trotec first and that the Boss was a compromise based on economics.

2 Likes

for the price of the trotec, you can but 5 chinese machines of the same size. if you have decent ones (not ebay K40 “adjusted” with a hammer), you can afford to have 2 or 3 machines and/or spares (motors, belts, tubes, power supply) and still plenty of money.

obviously, you still need to know how to maintain them, but if you source a good machine, maintenance is easy if you have a technical background.

We finally ended up going with a GWEIKE. My job is definitely NOT on the line, and the machine is not initially planned for production work. We would like to be able to transition to running it longer and more often, however. Interestingly, Doug, you mentioned the Boss as a distant third, and Boss is manufactured in the GWEIKE factory. There are even photos on the GWEIKE website of their factory floor with a line of GWEIKE lasers next to a line of Boss lasers. We already maintain and service 3 Trumpf CO2 lasers in our shop, so we should be able to handle the service and maintenance. My CFO wired the money to China yesterday.

“We already maintain and service 3 Trumpf CO2 lasers in our shop, so we should be able to handle the service and maintenance.”

Well, there is a very important tidbit of information that would have helped everyone regarding their recommendations! :wink:

1 Like

ooh, good point!

That’s how you know you’ve spent enough! For smaller sums all my suppliers just want cash via western union. A number of them take PayPal, but the ones that don’t are very memorable.

Well, we had to cut a hole in the wall, but the machine is in the office. We still have some installation to do. It took less than 11 weeks from the day we sent order and payment to having the laser sitting beside my desk. DHL did a great job as my customs broker. I gotta say, the machine looks extremely well-built, and everything was packaged really well. There seemed to be a layer of oil over all the external surfaces (I’m guessing to prevent any corrosion from sea water on the way over). I can’t believe they’re able to sell a machine of this quality for this little money. There was no owner’s manual included, however. Anyone know where I can find the owner’s manual online for a Gweike LC1390N? There was a helpful 9-minute installation video on YouTube, but I’m going to need more than that.

This is a long shot, but I’ve heard that GWeike makes the lasers that Thunderlaser sells and their Nova 51 has the same bed footprint (1300x900) as your GWeike so maybe the Nova 51 manual would be useful:

You might also see if Boss sells (and documents) the same size. Seems a mite odd that the GWeike manual should be so hard to find.

1 Like

BACK UP YOUR MACHINE SETTINGS!!!

Cannot stress this enough with new users looking to learn/tweak their new machine.