My 3018 is not going to get the job done

When I bought the 3018 (on a whim) I had planed to use it for woodworking, and it came with a laser, which was nice. Now, 3 weeks into my Lightburn trial I realize that the 3018 is not going work out as a laser engraver, and I need a dedicated machine. I will be buying Lightburn at the end of the trial, so the question I put to you seasoned veterans of this hobby (nay, obsession) is what to replace it with. I would like to stick with Amazon for the fast, free shipping and there are some discounts being offered on one or two of the machines. The three that are within budget are: ATOMSTACK A5 Pro with a 5.5W laser and a working area of 400x410; the ORTUR laser master 2 (LU2-4) with a 5.5W laser and a working area of 400x430; and a NEJE engraver master 2S with a 7.5W laser and a working area of 460x810. I can see in the categories list that there are sections for all three brands/machines, so my question is, are these three worth considering, should I stay away from them, and if so, what should I consider as a beginner hobbyist that’s in the $400 to $500 range (that’s my budget). I would greatly appreciate any words of advice you can offer. I’ve had fun with the limited abilities of the 3018 using Lightburn but I need something better.


Well most anyone responding would ask a better description of what you actually expect to engrave…IE…what type of wood…how deep…is it just surface engraving…how about speed…do you have time for a slower speed from a diode or do you need faster from even a 40 watt machine. Do you ever plan on cutting…and so on.
Without having any idea what you are engraving both from a designs stand as well as substrate no one could accurately tell you what would work

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Fair enough, good points all. The 3018 is very slow when using the laser. If I run the X axis any faster then 500 or 600 I start losing steps (as you may know it uses a lead screw not a belt), so anything of any size takes 4 or 5 hours. I would like to cut out 3D puzzles and animal kits. I want to engrave on tile and wood (lids from wooden cigar box’s) for gifts to family and friends. I’m just a hobbyist who can no longer do the woodworking projects I used to (custom furniture and such) because of a back injury. I know I need a belt driven machine, I know I want to cut out projects from thin plywood, and engrave images & pictures on various materials. I watched a video of a guy assemble an ORTUR laser master 2 and then do a lot of really neat things with it on tile, wood, leather and plastic. I’m not going to go into business with it, I just want something that I can have fun with and not have to spend a good part of the day babysitting it (and possibly getting half way through and it starts losing steps and ruining a project). I was hoping someone who had some experience with any of these machines could chime in and let me know what they thought about their machine.


O.k. So it seems you are focused on hopefully using a diode laser verses a CO2 laser….which would keep you in that 500 or so dollar range.
I would defer to those who use diode lasers regularly as I use several CO2 lasers myself and have an Eleksmaker 2.5 diode but that is just for tile. So for me to accurately say wether a diode can do all you want would be a well educated guess. We will let those that use diodes answer. Certainly they can do most if not all…cutting wood is the only issue you would run into and that would depend on the laser and wood thickness as far as success goes.
I would read the diode specific forums and see what people have been doing with them and you should get an idea.
Personally I would think any of the top three diode machines would be as good as the other two with each having its own idiosyncrasies. They are Gcode machines so you’ll be on that end which is fine just a bit different than running a CO2 on a ruida controller….diodes run a grbl controller.
Anyway hopefully a diode dude will reply but if not the best info is to read the different grbl forums and see.

Thanks for the reply, I’ve done just that. Looking at the three forums for the three brands I mentioned it would seem that NEJE has a lot of quality control issues and poor customer service, Atomstack has a bit better following and Ortur by far seems the best choice out of what’s available on Amazon for the price. It took about three weeks to get my 3018 to work with Lightburn (it’s a GRBL machine) and it just showed me I need a purpose built machine (within budget) if I want to do something useful. I wish I could afford a CO2 laser but that’s just out of my league. I’ve posted on the Ortur forum but so far no reply. I’m going to make the same post on the Atomstack forum and see what happens. Thanks for your input,


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