Should I buy the Boss laser FM?

Hi I’m very very new to the laser engraving industry and looking on making a purchase on the boss laser FM series. Is it overkill for me? My sales rep from BL mentioned that all I need to do is use lightburn and I’m off to the races.

I plan on engraving letters and different types of fonts on jewellery such as rings,pendants and bracelets. I’m looking for recommendations on the pros and cons about the FM series and if I should be exploring other machines that are less expensive.

Also is lightburn an easy piece of software to use? Almost 50 and have been in the IT industry for 25 years. Thanks

I can’t speak to the question of Boss lasers, but Lightburn is literally “the best thing since sliced bread” and I couldn’t live without it. If you can imagine it, Lightburn will help you make it reality. For me, it is a very intuitive piece of software to use, and I’m still discovering features that make my job easier. You can’t go wrong with this program.

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I also cannot offer any insight into Boss Laser…

Lightburn has seriously improved my workflow. I keep finding new features that make my life easier. I used LaserCAD that came with my DSP controller before I got LB and it was a major pain. Artifacts and strange behavior from my laser… @Colin turned me on to Lightburn and it literally fixed ALL my laser issues. I would strongly recommend using it as indeed it is very easy to use.


These are pretty expensive, since most of the components are likely Chinese.

First an foremost is what is it’s intended use? If it’s just for jewelry, there are a number of lower cost non fiber machines that operate with the same 1064nM wavelength as a fiber, that will mark jewelry just fine at 1/5 the cost.

As far as I know, Lightburn support anything that EZCad2 will run with… This means it’s likely a Chinese control board… There are mentions of other control boards, but I’m not that familiar with US/EU controllers… Most have proprietary software.

Although a US company, they don’t mention what kind of control board or laser source is actually in the machine.

I know Boss is from the Florida area, but there is no mention of where the parts come from or what components they put in their lasers. I haven’t heard anything bad…

You will have some abilities to deal with Boss that isn’t available with the Chinese manufacturers since they are US based, they have to comply with our laws… the Chinese may not.

The price, as I mentioned is rather steep, but if it comes with good support and it’s needed it might pay off. Especially if you are doing this commercially.

This isn’t bad information from CNC Sourced site…

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I have a JPT M7 MOPA that is 60W and it was under $7k, even less now.

The dependability of the Raycus source is considered less than that of a JPT. Both are supposed to give you about 10kHrs of operation… or about 5 years MTBF.

There are other options, but this should give you some areas to think about…

As far as Lightburn goes, with a 25 year history in IT, you, like me will over complicate what you want done and make it more complicated than it is, because of your IT background.

Of all the software I’ve ever used, this is the most intuitive software ever. You will know how to do something with a few steps in some cad program and figure out how to do it with a similar work path in Lightburn… However, as you get more used to it, where it took you multiple steps, Lightburn might already have a button for it… you’re just unaware… It really comes under the title of awesome.

If someone would have told me this a few years ago, I’d chuckled under my breath… not anymore. There is no software for lasers that is any kind of competition for Lightburn.

I run Linux, others have a Mac and there are poor souls that are still using Windows… works great on all of these platforms.

I started programming when you had to punch the cards, take them to the operator who feed them through a reader then the job was batched out… You also got charged for the CPU time…

I still miss punched cards, they were the perfect bookmark and were great for notes…

Trust me… :wink:

We are around if you have questions… if you do, sing out…

Good luck… many tough choices… :face_with_spiral_eyes:



This was an amazing response and thank you. Now I’m looking into the OMTECH brand.
I’m mainly doing Jewelry engraving so now my question is what power of laser do I need? Is 20w fine or do I need to go higher (30w or 50w?).

I appreciate the detailed response to everyone.

There is a difference between laser engraving and laser marking.

Engraving actually takes metal away. This leaves a mark that you can feel with your fingers and in which debris can collect from the surrounding environment. Someone wearing it may get dirt or whatever in the engraving.

Marking is where the laser heats the surface which then oxidizes. This mark is smooth to the touch and there is nowhere for any external debris to rest.

I’m sure you’ve seen engraved, here is a couple of stainless steel kitchen knives from the dollar store… You cannot feel these.

You’re using very small pieces of metal, so I’d guess that 20W would be more than plenty for marking/engraving. I do 3d coins and rarely get above 40% power…

What I’ve found is the shorter the lens (usually based on lens focal length) the less power required and the more critical if the focus. It also produces a smaller focus point or dot.

Check out the rotary part of the device to ensure you can manipulate things like rings where you want to engrave the inside.

If you are doing this commercially, you may benefit from a company you can call up and ask… We can help you, but we can’t fix a broken machine or many other things that the manufacturer can do for you.

I bought my machine from Cloud Ray, they were good to me, but I’ve seen some of the answers to others provided and I wonder sometimes… If you want support you probably want someone in whatever country you are in.

There are a lot of machines out there that require specific software to run… be care if they don’t run Lightburn.

Does any of this help?

Good luck…


Jack, as one of those “poor souls” we just have to struggle with what we have (and know). Maybe one day. :laughing:

Why use Lightburn along with learning to use it, when free software come with the machine?

Simply because it’s better.

Windows did nothing but bloat. Faster machine, so much more code, the user doesn’t see much.

Found the G5 Mac, liked it, still do… Apple switched processors and left me with un-supported and expensive hardware…

I had watched Linux develop early. Originally was virtually no software for it except what users had written…

When my Mac OS ceased to be usable, I went to Debian Linux. Debian is the pure distribution of Linux, that I think, Linus Torvalds had intended. It’s all open source, including the drivers.

Now I use Ubuntu, good mix of opensource and commercial software like Lightburn…

I find old junk pc’s and have been able to load and run Linux on all of them… not so with Windows.

All of these tech companies, like everything else, has planned obsolescence. If not they would go out of business.

People don’t like to change… change is unavoidable, it will occur no matter what we want.

I understand, some changes I don’t like … most of the time in history, change has been good.

Have fun…


As usual Jack, you are right. At some point I would like to dip my toe into Linux. I’m using a dedicated micro PC to run my newly acquired ZF2028-60E. I need to turn the computer on at least 10-15 minutes before doing any work, just to give it time to finish all its internal housekeeping. Some day.

Linux is everywhere… GNU licensed software is in all of your products…

If you have some kind of entertainment system, very likely it’s firmware is GNU Linux based… that’s the little GNU license paperwork pamphlet that came with the dvd player…

The PI has a Linux version on it. The Lightburn bridge is Linux based.

You can build a Linux version with the minimal of software components, so it can run with less memory and a hd isn’t required…

Since you have the source, you could theoretically build it for any processor. There is already a long list of supported cpu/architectures out there.

What most people like, it doesn’t hiding everything behind a obfuscate wall of software that restricts what you can and can’t do…

As a technical person, I just find it much easier to deal with…


Thanks for the response Paul. Do I need an additional piece of software such as Corel Draw or Adobe PS to work with lightburn or is Lightburn the only software I’ll need?

I can’t speak with any authority about those two, as I have not used them (hopefully someone else will chime in). I’ve tried Inkscape and Gimp (both free) but found them not very intuitive, at least not for me. I use Rapid Resizer (online app) quite a bit, it takes jpg files and converts them into svg, dxf or pdf format. I use it when Lightburn’s trace function doesn’t give me exactly what I need. Most of the time, if I have a reasonably clean svg image, I import it into Lightburn and use the node edit tool to get it perfect. Once I have my speed and power set, I’m ready to engrave (or cut, as the case may be). There is a lot of great software out there, I’ve just settled on the few that work for me.

Good luck!

Don’t know exactly what you did, but I guess you were also a cowboy since you spent time on the Western range :wink:

Sorry, couldn’t resist…

I spent a few decades with computers, unlike most I was originally a hardware person so I had to learn lots of packages when I expanded to specializing in hardware and software.

It generally boils down to you knowledge of the target area. If you were a person dealing with digital images …then you would know there are many ways to manipulate/modify the data to achieve the desired results. Unless you are aware of these options and how to use them, makes intuitively obvious difficult to attain.

Macintosh called the early pulldown menus intuitively obvious and they were… there were only a few operations you could do in the file menu. How many options are there in you products file menu?

In simple terms, the more abilities a software product has, the more complicated and probably less intuitive to someone not used to what most it does.

If you got a hold of Photoshop, I think you’d probably be as lost as you were with Gimp…

I learned what I know about Gimp via the documentation, but a very functional part of it came from YouTube videos. Pick something you want to do, then watch a video on how to do that. You’ll pick up more every time about how other inter related parts work.

To learn them well take time using the product, any product… of all the package I’ve ever used, I’m still amazed as how smart Lightburn is…

Good luck


Missile launch support. The western launch “range” is Vandenburg AFB and Point Mugu NAS, the eastern range is Cape Canaveral AFS. We were terminators of errant flight.

As am I, I seem to stumble across a “new to me” feature every week. It’s like “oh, it can do that…cool”. I would gladly pay twice what they’re ask for it…just don’t tell Oz that (or any of the other Devs). As you say, I need to get into the Gimp documentation again and watch the YT videos.

Lived on the beach in front of LAX and we used to watch Mugu launch all the time… it was the ultimate fireworks show… especially when you guys had to act :wink:


When we terminated this Delta II in 1997 (the Air Force doesn’t like to say blown up or destroyed, too harsh) I was in a building about 2.5 miles from the pad. Our parking lot was at the edge of the debris field (just out of view in the foreground). We saw it go before the shock wave hit the building, giving us time to dive under our consoles (not that it would have helped). Nothing hit us but a lot of the suspended ceiling panels fell down. When the wave hit, I thought the next thing was going to be a chunk of burning solid rocket motor. That would have been fun :face_with_spiral_eyes: Now that’s what I call fireworks!!

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