Needing help picking a laser

I’ve been looking for a laser. What I’ve currently been looking at is the 60w 20x28” red or yellow on eBay. But I have no clue what features I need. Is there a difference between yellow and red (apart from the obvious, color!)
Has anyone bought a laser on eBay? How did it go? What seller did you buy from?
Ok so my primary objective with a laser is to cut adhesive backed cotton fabric for appliqué on quilts. Which I know is doable. I just don’t want to be dumb and get the wrong machine.
It definitely has to work with Lightburn since I’ve already fallen for the user friendly features of the software.
I have a 15 needle embroidery machine that’s from China. It works perfectly and I have no issues operating it. But when I bought it I got it from a United States import company. Should I do the same with a laser, and if so can anyone point me in the direction of such a company.
I also have a $50k top of the line American made Longarm for quilting. Because of that I’ve looked at American lasers but I can’t see the justification in purchase price at this time. Because I’m new to lasers I don’t see an obvious cost justification based solely on quality/features. If I should wait and buy American what is the reasons behind that decision?
Water chiller, yes or no?
Hopefully I’ve made my questions clear enough to answer.
Thank you so much for your input, info, time, & knowledge.

I bought a 60-watt 16x24" Thunder Laser Nova 24 laser from the US reseller who take care of all the import and shipping issues that I didn’t want to deal with. It cost me a fair bit extra but was worth it to me since I didn’t have to deal with customs, duty, paperwork, and freight transport. The laser has been working fine for the past 18+ months.

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Our preferred controller is a Ruida 6442G or Ruida 6445, just for the way they work. In general, if you find a machine that uses a Ruida controller (or uses RDWorks software, which is Ruida specific) LightBurn will work with it. Beyond that, you’re simply looking for machine features and a reputable maker / seller.

A water chiller is a good investment (don’t get a 3000 - it’s just a radiator, get a 5000 which actually has a heat exchanger).

If you purchase from an American seller, like BossLaser, AP Lazer, or similar, what you’re paying the premium for is their support if something goes wrong - they support their machines and users well, and their build quality tends to be better than the “generic” model EBay lasers. If you are comfortable maintaining your own hardware, and are reasonably handy, a no-name brand will save you a bunch of money, but for support and maintenance you’re usually on your own.


I’m trying to find updated advice like this, almost 5 years later, what are the best controllers to buy to use with LightBurn?

Ruida is still the leader for many mid-range laser systems. If you are looking for a diode laser setup, ensure the controller supports GCode. What is your budget range? Are you wanting to build a system yourself or buy a complete system ready to go?

Thanks Rick! I’ve got a large Chinese CO2 laser with a Leetro board that runs something called “Laser Cut” which is not good software.

No complaints about the Leetro controller itself, if it was supported by LightBurn I’d just keep it.

It’s pretty standard, X, Y, and adjustable Z axis, Rotary axis, air assist, and water cooled laser.

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Ah, yes. We currently support controllers from Ruida, Trocen, and TopWisdom for the DSP/CO2 market. Several members have replaced controllers and posted here on the forum. Might be helpful to use the search (upper-right every page) to review some of the steps / issues that came up along the way. :slight_smile:

Thanks! I’ll do that. Would you be willing to go as far as Oz’s 2019 comment and suggest a specific brand or model as preferred? It’s ok if they are all equally good options now.

LightBurn provides compatibility with these controllers. Which controller model provides all the goodies you might be looking for is a bit harder for us to recommend. :slight_smile:

Awesome thanks! I do wish you had a more comprehensive controller / feature compatibility list somewhere but your “Free Trial” is the perfect solution to the common case: someone who wants to try lightburn with a machine they already have.

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