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Recommendations For a Laser - 60w vs 80w

Discussion in 'Laser Cutters' started by xxtoni, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. xxtoni

    xxtoni Member

    Jan 14, 2012
    Hey everyone,

    We're finally looking to buy a laser, probably in the next few days.

    I don't know a lot about lasers (hence why I'm opening this thread) so I'm not sure which one to pick.

    From research I've done before I know that 80w would probably be ideal for our use. I've been looking around and the most common ones around here seem to be 60w or 80w.

    Our main material for the laser is going to be acrylic, mostly cutting.

    My biggest doubt about the 60w laser is about whether it will be able to cut everything we need. We will need it to cut: 3mm, 10mm and maybe 30mm acrylic.

    I'd appreciate any general advice as well.

    Thanks in advance
  2. fixtureman

    fixtureman Member

    May 16, 2012
    Medina Ohio
    The 30mm will be the problem. Send some sample material to each company and have them cut the same file and video the cutting. That will give you a good idea of how each laser will preform. If they bulk at that then tell them that they are out of the process.
  3. Thor

    Thor New Member

    Jul 11, 2012
    I agree

    I agree with fixtureman regarding the wattages not being adequate. What manufacturers are you considering and what is your budget? I would highly recommend either Epilog or Universal. Both are bullet proof machines and both have amazing and ethical tech support. If you called either they would honestly tell you what minimum wattage you need. Whatever they tell you I would bump that number 15-20%. Its a production output thing. If you really want to drool check out the Mac Daddy of all CO2 lasers Kern. If your going to be burnin much at all then please, please don't even consider the Chinese machines. Incrediblly affordable and not worth the box shipped in. I would also strongly consider preowned from an individual. Do your research and you'll find lots of well maintained machines on line that have lots of years left in them and it will save you a bucket load. If taken care of Epilog, Universal and Kern really are great machines with minimum maintenance costs. Hope that helps. Happy Burnin!
  4. DSC

    DSC Member

    Mar 24, 2010
    Laser Cutter

    I just spoke with our local rep at Epilogue lasers today actually.. I am looking for a machine that is 75W and will cut 1 inch material at 2 passes.. they offer a 120W that will do it faster as well..

    We do not have a consistent need to cut 1 inch, so we are most likely going to go with the 75W and use it for cutting material up to 1/2" and using it for etching materials as well...

    Also this machine is only a 2' x 3' machine, but we have a cnc that can cut that size plate for us, so it will fit our introductory needs..

    Let me know how you do! I am looking into getting one soon too.. but will probably pul the trigger in mid fall..
  5. xxtoni

    xxtoni Member

    Jan 14, 2012
    The 30mm is not really a requirement, more of a curiosity. We have a CNC mill and we'll be cutting it with that so we can ignore it for the laser at this point.

    The ability to cut 10mm though is extremely important to us. In your experience what is the lowest wattage you can cut 10mm at and what are the results like ?

    I found a 60w machine with a very good price but I'm a bit concerned that we won't be able to cut 10mm with it so I have my reservations about it.

    Anyone have experience with cutting 10mm acrylic with 60w or lower ?
  6. laserbell

    laserbell New Member

    Jun 1, 2012
    It is possible to cut, but does not have a good effect, in my experience. If you plan on cutting 10mm and thicker, you should get at least an 80 watt laser in your new laser machine. I find that the CO2 glass tube lasers are not as powerful (in a watt to watt comparison) as the RF (Radio Frequency) lasers, otherwise known as metal tube lasers. A rough estimation, from selling and operating both RF and glass tube lasers, is about a 20%+ difference. In other words, an 80 watt glass tube is roughly the same as a 60 watt metal tube.

    There are problems created when using an underpowered laser to cut thick materials. One problem is that the material is heated much more during the slow cutting process, as compared to a higher power laser that cuts faster. As a result, several things can happen. The cut quality is reduced. The material absorbs a great amount of heat and this causes internal stresses that can play out over time. For example, in three months that laser cut piece may be warped.

    I find that the majority of buyers for the CO2 laser engraving and cutting machines are primarily working with quarter inch and less acrylic, though often times I get asked about much thicker materials but after some questioning, the buyer has not used the thicker materials but may want to use them in the future.

    If you plan on cutting a lot of acrylic thicker than a quarter inch then you need to consider flame-up. It is a serious concern and happens often with the thicker materials. When you cut acrylic it puts out a combustible gas that can create mini-explosions on your laser cutting table. You need to have very good air flow above and below the material while cutting. I had a sign customer complain about the popping explosions and the acrylic kept jumping during cutting, then as soon as it moved, it was then out of alignment so some of his lettering was ruined. We use an undercarriage pipe on a larger plastic cutting laser machines. For the smaller ones, we compensate with the blowers.
  7. xxtoni

    xxtoni Member

    Jan 14, 2012

    Thanks for the reply.

    Since I've opened this thread I've decided on a 80w and I'm gonna get it from a dealer that I have a great relationship with. They're gonna service it as well and all.

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