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CNC or Laser?

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by rjssigns, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    Sold my old printer to make room for the new printer. Wife recently said she wants a laser. I'd like to have a small format CNC with 4'x4' cut area.

    Products...? Industrial equipment tags for the time being. Other than that grow into the rig.

    What do the Signs 101 experts say?
     
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  2. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

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    Cnc router is much more flexible if you get a good one, laser has severe limitations to what it can process. We have both and I would start over again with a cnc unless all of my work could be done on a laser.
     
  3. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    Thank you for information. I also think a CNC would be a better choice. Found some Gerber 404's on the web. Look to be built like a tank.

    Now to tell the wife...
     
  4. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

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    Be a good guy and tell her she can have the laser.



    JB





    laser.jpg
     
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  5. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    Thanks James. I'll show her your reply.:D
     
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  6. shoresigns

    shoresigns Very Active Member

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    If you want to "grow into it", it probably makes sense for your first CNC to be a traditional one. Then, when you eventually outgrow it, add a laser and/or waterjet.

    Unless you need particular capabilities that a laser might be better for, like wood burning.
     
  7. fixtureman

    fixtureman Member

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    I have both and the CNC router used more then the laser.
     
  8. BIG EASY DOES IT

    BIG EASY DOES IT Very Active Member

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    Laser - Straight Cuts and Engraving. Going to be limited by the laser that you can afford. Will depend if your able to cut through wood and aluminum or if your only going to be able to engrave on wood and aluminum.

    Traditional Router - Cheaper price Point. Greater range of ability. Far more materials you can use. More finishing options as well.


    Although a laser would be perfect for small tag engraving. Just buy blank tags and engrave away.

    Going to get about 1/3 the size of a laser machine as you could afford if you went the traditional router way.
     
  9. rossmosh

    rossmosh Active Member

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    Industrial tags is way too vague.

    For a sign shop, I'd say a CNC Router is more valuable. It won't take that many cut letter projects to justify the cost.

    If you're looking to do smalls, the laser a more efficient machine in many regards. Setup and production is typically more straight forward
     
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  10. OPENSignsInc.

    OPENSignsInc. Member

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    Id get a CNC, you can sometimes get a laser module to strap to the side depending on what brand you get.
     
  11. mark-s

    mark-s Active Member

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    I went with a 4X4 diy cnc and love it.
    Can do nice size signs and smaller things.
    mark-s
     

    Attached Files:

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  12. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

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  13. TomK

    TomK Member

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    Mark S.Mark S. nice stuff! What kit did you buy and what software do you use, Vcarve? What about control UCCNC or a DSP?
     
  14. CanuckSigns

    CanuckSigns Very Active Member

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    We have 2 lasers, there have been times I have considered a CNC router, however there is a guy around the corner with one that we send stuff out to when needed.

    Keep in mind a CNC requires a bit more planning, they are loud and dusty, so you need to have a way of keeping the dust out of the rest of your shop.

    The lasers require punching a hole in the wall and running an exhaust system to the outside,. You can't cut anything with PVC in a laser, and most of the machines you would be looking at can't cut metal either, you are limited to wood and acrylic really.
     
  15. mark-s

    mark-s Active Member

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    TomK it was a pieces and parts thing, A friend of mine a tech wizard put it all together.
    I was just the helper.
    It works well and I love it.
    mark-s
     
  16. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    Wow neat rig! Not 40 grand worth of neat for me though.

    4'x4' CNC is what I'll focus on.

    If I need laser work I use a shop run by guys I used to work with. Their "big rig" is a 10,000w Hitachi. They also added a waterjet to their lineup.
     
  17. Christian @ 2CT Media

    Christian @ 2CT Media Major Contributor

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    We are trying to get a demo set up... We want the 6x12 with 9kw auto tool changer and 200w kern for acrylic cutting and metal engraving.
     
  18. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    Nice! Sounds like a beast and ATC is awesome. In prototyping class we ran Haas VMC's with tool changers.

    Can't wait to hear what you find out.
     
  19. Gene@mpls

    Gene@mpls Very Active Member

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    I have a Chicom laser [3x4' 130w] and a 2x4 shopbot and use the laser 50x as much- no holddown and very fast. Totally different beasts, a hybrid would not be a good idea IMHO. Depends on what you do.
     
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