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Laser Engraver

by JADobson
posted 10-11-2018 09:18 PM


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83 replies

83 replies so far

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BFamous

316 posts in 515 days


#1 posted 10-11-2018 09:41 PM

I don’t have any experience with laser engravers, but do want to chime in on bringing it in-house. There’s a reason your source charges $30 setup and $7.5 per unit. I’m guessing you mark that cost up a little to make it worth your while to be middleman. I can understand your thought process on in-housing it if you’re goal is to make a larger part of the profit. However, if your goal is to reduce the cost for your end customer and are planning on undercutting that 30/7.5, I think you’ll end up doing yourself a disservice. You still have to account for your additional time playing with the software and doing test runs, and also have to subsidize the cost of the machinery.

Just my $0.01

-- Brian Famous :: Charlotte, NC :: http://www.FamousArtisan.com

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Andybb

1920 posts in 998 days


#2 posted 10-11-2018 09:46 PM

Hmmm. I’ve toyed with that idea too. At $125 US seems like it would pay for itself pretty quick. You could probably just add a flat amount for engraving. If they are balking at $30 then maybe $10-$15, but I think you could probably get an extra $20 for “Custom Engraving” ?? I figure that as soon as I sold 8 engraved pens I’m ahead of the game. Right now, the best I can do is an inkjet transfer.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View Rich's profile

Rich

4493 posts in 984 days


#3 posted 10-11-2018 11:00 PM

I just ordered this one with a 3000mW laser, 3×3 engraving area and, by its design, no limit on the size of the item being engraved. It also has an upgraded laser, USB connector (the old style was notorious for breaking off of the circuit board) and improved software (still nothing to write home about but I’ve downloaded the software for this class of machine while doing my research, and the new stuff is a major upgrade).

It was listed at $121.02 which isn’t bad, but I usually like to wait for the 15% coupons. In this case I was afraid the units wouldn’t last that long, and I also noticed that the listing had a “Make an offer” option, so I took 15% off and offered $102.87 and they accepted it. There are a few other units available.

If I were making an offer again, I’d try for 20%.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/392126292887

Since it hasn’t arrived yet, I can’t comment on your question. It should be here in a few days and I’ll follow up if you’d like.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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JADobson

1442 posts in 2506 days


#4 posted 10-12-2018 01:59 AM

Rich – that one looks really good. Similar price and higher power laser. I wonder if they ship to Canada for free also. Need to investigate.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View Tooch's profile

Tooch

2006 posts in 2271 days


#5 posted 10-12-2018 02:53 AM

If you are on the fence about a laser engraver, I would highly recommend that you go for it. Not only for pens, but also for other projects like cutting boards, box lids, etc.

Since you are specifically looking for something to do pens, make sure it has a rotary attachment or can engrave cylinders. Without that specific function you will get a distorted image.

The software used for the artwork is just as important as the machine, so be sure to get one with a decent program like CorelDraw or Adobe illustrator.

As with any tool, you get what you pay for. The smaller engravers and all-in-ones (cnc, laser, 3d printer) promise a lot but require extra time to setup and wasted material with tests.

I’ve had a lot of use with mine over the past the 10 years and in my opinion it was worth the upfront cost

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

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Tony1212

316 posts in 2129 days


#6 posted 10-12-2018 01:09 PM



I just ordered this one with a 3000mW laser, 3×3 engraving area and, by its design, no limit on the size of the item being engraved. It also has an upgraded laser, USB connector (the old style was notorious for breaking off of the circuit board) and improved software (still nothing to write home about but I’ve downloaded the software for this class of machine while doing my research, and the new stuff is a major upgrade).

It was listed at $121.02 which isn’t bad, but I usually like to wait for the 15% coupons. In this case I was afraid the units wouldn’t last that long, and I also noticed that the listing had a “Make an offer” option, so I took 15% off and offered $102.87 and they accepted it. There are a few other units available.

If I were making an offer again, I’d try for 20%.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/392126292887

Since it hasn t arrived yet, I can t comment on your question. It should be here in a few days and I ll follow up if you d like.

- Rich

There was another thread recently that mentioned this laser engraver, but I didn’t say anything there.

I see this as possible replacement for branding irons to brand your work with your logo. If you look around, most branding irons are more expensive than this laser engraver but then you still have to purchase the actual head that leaves the mark.

Assuming this engraver is decent and you’re in the market for a branding iron, this probably the cheapest way to do it. It would also make changing the size or content of you logo trivial rather than having to re-order another branding iron head.

Plus there’s a lot more functionality in a laser engraver. So I am very interested in seeing how this engraver works.

Rich, please do a review when you get this. I am VERY interested.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

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Rich

4493 posts in 984 days


#7 posted 10-12-2018 01:56 PM


There was another thread recently that mentioned this laser engraver, but I didn t say anything there.

I see this as possible replacement for branding irons to brand your work with your logo. If you look around, most branding irons are more expensive than this laser engraver but then you still have to purchase the actual head that leaves the mark.

Assuming this engraver is decent and you re in the market for a branding iron, this probably the cheapest way to do it. It would also make changing the size or content of you logo trivial rather than having to re-order another branding iron head.

Plus there s a lot more functionality in a laser engraver. So I am very interested in seeing how this engraver works.

Rich, please do a review when you get this. I am VERY interested.

- Tony1212

The other thread was probably my post in Rick M’s hot deals thread. I copied most of the text from it for this post. Burning logos is the reason I’ve been looking for one to try, and the reason I wanted one that can engrave on any size board. I have a two-line branding iron I bought long ago but wanted something that can do my logo, dates, etc.

With the interest out there, I’ll definitely do a review. I know some of the pros and cons already from researching my choice but it’ll be interesting to see how it performs for my needs.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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Andybb

1920 posts in 998 days


#8 posted 10-12-2018 05:45 PM

Rich is on the case so now I’m really interested in seeing what he has to say. Won’t be the first time I’ve purchased something based on his recommendation. Haven’t been disappointed yet. $102 is affordable. Just wondering if the software is user friendly and if it can do cylinders (pens). There is a $79 2000mW version too.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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JADobson

1442 posts in 2506 days


#9 posted 10-12-2018 07:01 PM

Thanks for all the input fellows. Anxiously awaiting Rich’s thoughts!

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

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gwilki

301 posts in 1868 days


#10 posted 10-12-2018 07:24 PM

@JADobson: I’m in Ottawa and pay $15 for laser on pens with no set up charge. You may want to shop around.

If you do go with your own engraver, I would appreciate if you would report back on how it works out. I tried a buddy’s “cheap” ($1800 Cdn) Chinese unit a year or so ago, and it wasn’t bad, but the unit lasted less than a year and parts were non-existent. He is now saving for an Epsilon (I think that’s the name.) It is over $5000, but is tried and true. Whatever you end up with, be sure it comes with, or that you can add a “rotisserie”. Even the $5000 model does not come stock with one, and they are not cheap.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

View SignWave's profile

SignWave

472 posts in 3430 days


#11 posted 10-12-2018 07:24 PM

I have the EleksMaker a3 from Banggood with a 3.5W laser, so the following is based on this machine.

With the provided software, and a simple jig to do repeatable alignment, I think it would take a 10-15 minutes to engrave text on one side of a pen, including setup. If you’re planning on doing a lot of engraved pens, then this would definitely work and pay for itself in short order.

1.5W is probably enough to do light engraving. A smaller laser will need to run slower to do the same work as a more powerful one, but for engraving a small area, it’s probably not enough to worry about. I wouldn’t go with any less power, though.

Having said that, most of the diode lasers are pretty limited as far as cutting capacity. I bought mine on sale for under $200 because it seemed like a good deal, but I find myself wanting to get a 40W CO2 model for not much more. It would be able to cut more, faster.

Those models you listed have a very small work area (80mm x 80mm). For a bit more money, you can get something with much larger capacity.

The one I have is GRBL based, fwiw, that means that it will work with any software that supports GRBL via usb. I use LaserGRBL (free) because it is more flexible than the software that comes with it. I had no problems setting up or running either software, though. I also did the trial of T2Laser, but wasn’t compelled to purchase the license.

The EleksLaser works reliably for me. A few times I’ve repeated a run from start-to-finish to get a darker engraving on the second pass, and it lines up perfectly each pass so long as you don’t touch it between passes. The CNC part works very well for what it is. I did upgrade the two stepper drivers to TMC2208 which made it both quieter and smoother. I am glad I did the upgrade, but the drivers that came with it are fine.

If you look at other reviews of the EleksMaker a3, you’ll see a complaint that the laser starts at full power, which is a problem. Since I got mine with a different-branded laser (also from Banggood), I had to get a separate PWM-to-TTL converter for $7 to do variable power within an engraving. The trade-off is that I don’t have that problem.

Sorry for the rambling, I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any specific questions.

-- Barry, http://BarrysWorkshop.com/

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Rich

4493 posts in 984 days


#12 posted 10-12-2018 08:37 PM


Those models you listed have a very small work area (80mm x 80mm). For a bit more money, you can get something with much larger capacity.

- SignWave

The earlier models were limited in the size of what you could engrave since it had to fit in the box and one of the axes of motion was the platform moving. The current generation can sit on any size board. While the engraving area is limited to 80×80 mm, I decided that is enough for my needs. Additionally, size was an issue for me. I need to be able to store it when not in use and the larger models like the Eleksmaker take up more space than I wanted.

It all boils down to what you want it to do. If I wanted to do A3 size engravings of Elvis and John Wayne, I’d go with the larger unit. For logos, 3×3 inches is plenty for me.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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SignWave

472 posts in 3430 days


#13 posted 10-12-2018 08:49 PM

I understand that 3×3 is plenty for pens. I was thinking of all the other things one can do besides pens. Choose the tool that works best for you ;)

Does anyone know if those smaller ones support GRBL, or are there alternate software programs that you can use with them? Just curious.

-- Barry, http://BarrysWorkshop.com/

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Andybb

1920 posts in 998 days


#14 posted 10-12-2018 09:49 PM

For anyone else who is interested the Amazon reviews say it will do cylinders like pens etc. Now I guess I’m just curious how it knows it’s writing on a cylinder or does the small size not matter as far as distortion goes?

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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ohtimberwolf

931 posts in 2747 days


#15 posted 10-12-2018 10:24 PM

Here is a link to the one that Rich suggested. Utube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgwXUBSKVm8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7Wr7kpPScc

-- Just a barn cat, now gone to cat heaven.

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Andybb

1920 posts in 998 days


#16 posted 10-17-2018 06:41 PM

I grabbed this machine off of Amazon using a $100 gift card that I had.

I also did a little research on these. They are inexpensive because they are made using the stripped down laser and transport systems built into a gazillion blu-ray and cd burners with virtually no modification other than the circuit board. They are basically all the same, so Neje, Meterek, Qiilo, Sixdu, Decaker…etc. same guts. This one came with software that says Neje on it, so it’s generic. Here is a vid of someone dismantling one.

I short..It works great once you figure out how to turn it on and how to use the software. As expected, the instructions absolutely suck but that is just a minor inconvenience. Loaded the drivers and the software found the machine without any issues. It seems that 3 things control the quality of your results. Burn time, # of repetitive passes and material you are burning. After a test on cardboard I went right to hard maple. Increase the burn time and the laser slows down and really digs into the material but if you are doing something that requires a lot of detail like a very small butterfly it seems you are better off lowering the burntime and making 2 or 3 passes. Make no mistake about it, you are “burning” the material so you can understand that a longer burn time kinda decreases the “resolution” as it burns the surrounding material. As far as resolution goes, it can print words in sizes too small to even see with incredible detail. It works on pens just fine. (dowels in my test) The software comes with 300-400 images and I was able to grab a jpeg of Muhammad Ail’s eyes off of the web and print that. I’m sure there are other software suites that can do more but for me it gives me what looks like the suite of MS Word fonts so I’m good. I got the 1500mw version since I read somewhere that somebody didn’t see a difference between that and the 2000mw version. I’m thinking that the 1000mw version would work just fine also. Never got the burn time anywhere near maxed out. Took about 10 mins to make that butterfly logo.

Max image that it can burn is 1 1/2” (38mm) seems to be about the limit. Using the provided software (which is basic and easy to use) nothing will print larger than the box provided. When I put type or drawings in that box and fill it the resulting burned image is about 1 1/2” wide. When the butterfly filled the box the resulting image is still only 1.5” wide. Kinda wondering what the next size up is but I imagine it would be spendy as this seems to be the limit of the blu-ray burner hardware.

The Decaker model that Rich is looking at uses the same laser and transport system and carriages as the others except that both transports are mounted in the top as opposed to the x-axis on top and the y-axis on the bottom. I might just exchange mine for one like Rich is getting as I can see the value in being able to sit the whole machine on top of a workpiece and it’s only $95 on gear best.

Now to figure out how to get some type of accent color into dark colored pens like in the OP.

Rich, I think you will be happy with your purchase.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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JADobson

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#17 posted 10-17-2018 06:59 PM

For colour the engraver I was using rubbed acrylic paint into the etch and then wiped away the excess. The surface has to be finished before doing this.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

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Rich

4493 posts in 984 days


#18 posted 10-17-2018 07:04 PM


Rich, I think you will be happy with your purchase.

- Andybb

Thanks for sharing, Andy. That’s really encouraging. Yes, being able to set it on any surface is important to me. Now, if the damned thing would just arrive. It’s shipping from China and it’s going on two weeks since I ordered it. It kind of sucks because the eBay listing said it would be here last week. I do have a tracking number and see it moving along, but very slowly.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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Andybb

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#19 posted 10-17-2018 07:14 PM

Yeah. The $94 one at Gearbest is out of stock. Can’t find it anywhere else for that price. Gonna keep checking. Got 30 days to return to Amazon.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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Andybb

1920 posts in 998 days


#20 posted 10-17-2018 07:17 PM



For colour the engraver I was using rubbed acrylic paint into the etch and then wiped away the excess. The surface has to be finished before doing this.

- JADobson


When you say “finished” what do you mean? With CA or before applying the CA on sanded wood.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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JADobson

1442 posts in 2506 days


#21 posted 10-17-2018 07:20 PM

They are finished with CA glue and waxed. Finished as in all ready to go. He engraves them after that point and adds the paint. It wipes off easily from the glue and waxed surface. Just make sure all of your pores are sealed (the glue usually does a good job of that).

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

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Andybb

1920 posts in 998 days


#22 posted 10-17-2018 09:43 PM

OK. Sounds like some serious ventilation will be needed what with the burning CA.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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Andybb

1920 posts in 998 days


#23 posted 10-18-2018 01:11 AM


They are finished with CA glue and waxed. Finished as in all ready to go. He engraves them after that point and adds the paint. It wipes off easily from the glue and waxed surface. Just make sure all of your pores are sealed (the glue usually does a good job of that).

- JADobson


Just know that you could not print GRAIL WOODWORKS that size like your engraver did at one time as it is longer than 1 1/2”. You would have to print GRAIL and WOODWORKS separately, which is easy to do. It took about 3 mins to print on those dowels and about 20mins for the large butterfly and text under it. It also gives me the ability to orient the printing based on the customer being right or left handed. Most folks don’t realize that off the shelf pens and mugs etc are for righties as the print is upside down if you’re a lefty.

I grabbed it because I have 2 customers who want either name or initials in their pen. I quoted them $20 additional for each pen so I should recoup the expense after not too long.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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JADobson

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#24 posted 10-18-2018 02:51 PM


Just know that you could not print GRAIL WOODWORKS that size like your engraver did at one time as it is longer than 1 1/2”.

- Andybb

I’m at 1 13/16” :)

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

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Andybb

1920 posts in 998 days


#25 posted 10-18-2018 03:51 PM

Just know that you could not print GRAIL WOODWORKS that size like your engraver did at one time as it is longer than 1 1/2”.

- Andybb

I m at 1 13/16” :)

- JADobson

You ain’t gonna get a nanometer over 38mm unless there is some kind of hack I don’t know about and haven’t seen but I’ve heard no mention of it. Could be that is the physical limit of the hardware. 1 13/16” is 46mm as you probably already know.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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Andybb

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#26 posted 10-22-2018 05:23 PM

Arrgghh!! I am now afraid to return mine for the open bottom version. It worked so flawlessly right out of the box. I keep reading nightmare posts about how they are junk but I read the same about the one I have too. I’m hoping they are all made in the same factory and use the same circuit board. The open bottom versions seem to be sourced differently as they all seem to be shipped from China vs the free 2 day Amazon shipping I got on mine. It just seems so handy to have that bottom open.

I’m soooo conflicted.


I understand that 3×3 is plenty for pens. I was thinking of all the other things one can do besides pens. Choose the tool that works best for you ;)

Does anyone know if those smaller ones support GRBL, or are there alternate software programs that you can use with them? Just curious.

- SignWave

Looks like the circuit board needs to be swapped out. Step by step vid on how to do that here . Looks like $20-30 cost. Can you tell me what GRBL would allow you to do differently?

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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Rich

4493 posts in 984 days


#27 posted 10-22-2018 06:48 PM


Arrgghh!! I am now afraid to return mine for the open bottom version. It worked so flawlessly right out of the box. I keep reading nightmare posts about how they are junk but I read the same about the one I have too. I m hoping they are all made in the same factory and use the same circuit board. The open bottom versions seem to be sourced differently as they all seem to be shipped from China vs the free 2 day Amazon shipping I got on mine. It just seems so handy to have that bottom open.

- Andybb

Mine is finally listed as having passed through US customs. Hopefully tomorrow or the next day. It’s two weeks later than the listing said on eBay.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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Andybb

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#28 posted 10-22-2018 07:44 PM

Excellent. Let me know if it’s a smooth install etc. Other than ebay I can’t find the open bottom version at a reasonable price. Gearbest says they no longer carry them. I have a dispute with ebay and haven’t used them for 4 years. Amazon has them but they are $175. Did find the 2000mW here for $79. Ships from China.

Also, as an FYI I found 2 other accessories for it. Laser Inks & Rotary jig.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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Rich

4493 posts in 984 days


#29 posted 10-25-2018 11:46 PM

Well the unit finally arrived today, almost two weeks after the listing said it would. Honestly, there’s no way anything is going to get here from China in two days. Maybe the shipping time in the listing is if you live across town from them, not here in the US. I order bulk sanding disks from a company over there and they take over 2 weeks to arrive too.

Anyway, the unit was nicely boxed with custom styrofoam and foam pads to protect the mechanics. It took maybe 20 minutes to get the tinted shield installed, load the software and power it up. One HUGE bonus that I wasn’t expecting is that it included Mac software. I’d planned to be using Parallels to run Windows software on my Mac, but when I inserted the thumb drive there it was — a Mac folder and it installed perfectly.

I can’t say enough good things about the unit. The engraving is crisp and flawless. I did a couple of sample runs on some birch plywood, then went straight to mesquite. The mesquite results are much cleaner. I’m also only using a fraction of the wattage. The slider goes from 0 to 200, and I’m getting a good result set at 15. I tried 100 and it burned deep and the fine details were lost from the image. What I’m going to try is some deep etching which might really help my wife who does the turquoise embellishment. She spends a lot of time with the Dremel and carbide burs to cut into that really hard wood. If we can come up with some patterns and etch it deeply, it should wind up being easier for her to cut charred wood. We’ll see.

The 3000mW unit didn’t cost much more than lower powered ones, so even if I don’t use all of the power it’s no big waste. Also, I would think that a 3 watt laser working at 7% power would have a longer life than a 1 watt unit working at 20%.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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Andybb

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#30 posted 10-25-2018 11:50 PM

Well ok then. Sending mine back tomorrow! Thanks Rich. Wonder what wattage and power settings are used during regular everyday cd/bluray burns. Never really heard of them burning out or not working even after years of use.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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Rich

4493 posts in 984 days


#31 posted 10-26-2018 12:24 AM


Well ok then. Sending mine back tomorrow! Thanks Rich. Wonder what wattage and power settings are used during regular everyday cd/bluray burns. Never really heard of them burning out or not working even after years of use.

- Andybb

I’m sure you’re right. I’ve seen some comments online regarding how long you can use it per session without overheating the laser module. I have no idea if the comments have any merit.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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JADobson

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#32 posted 10-26-2018 02:21 PM

Thanks Rich, now I’ve got some math to do to see if makes sense to buy it!

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

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Andybb

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#33 posted 11-17-2018 11:37 PM

One quick update. The 2000mW open bottom version is available here for $77 and unlike the closed bottom models it does have a 3” (80mm) print capability. Returned my other one.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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Andybb

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#34 posted 11-30-2018 11:54 PM

Wouldn’t ya know it. Mine is lost somewhere between here and China. Nothing like live chat customer service between two people who don’t speak the same language. I get Chinese characters that I have to put into Google Translate then she gets English words she has to put into Google translate. :-) Turns out it was delivered to someone in upstate NY. Lucky them.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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Andre

2626 posts in 2201 days


#35 posted 12-01-2018 07:23 AM

I ended up getting a 3000mw one from Amazon, they posted 4 to 6 week delivery and it showed up in about 10 days?
Not overly impressed with software that came with it!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

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Rich

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#36 posted 12-01-2018 06:50 PM

Andre, the software is probably what came with mine. It has the features necessary to control the device, but that’s it. You need another program for the graphics. I use Photoshop and Illustrator, but anything that exports JPG or PNG is good.

Among the nice to have stuff in the control program for me is the grey scale setting. It allows me to have different burn depths in the graphic. The feature to have it trace the window that the graphics will cover is nice for centering.

I have the 3000mW unit too and couldn’t be happier with the quality of the engraving.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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JADobson

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#37 posted 12-01-2018 07:21 PM

Glad this thread was able to help a few folks. I determined that for now it is more economical to keep farming out the work. Maybe sometime in the future.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

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Andybb

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#38 posted 12-01-2018 07:29 PM



I determined that for now it is more economical to keep farming out the work.
- JADobson

Blasphemy!! :-)

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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Andre

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#39 posted 12-01-2018 09:40 PM

Playing with it a little more and getting better, still need to figure out how to load a custom picture, but text seems to work okay.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

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Andybb

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#40 posted 12-01-2018 09:43 PM

Did you get the open bottom model?

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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Rich

4493 posts in 984 days


#41 posted 12-01-2018 09:54 PM



Playing with it a little more and getting better, still need to figure out how to load a custom picture, but text seems to work okay.

- Andre

Mine has a button that says Open Picture or Load Picture — something like that. Press it and an open dialog will appear that you can use to select a graphic file to load. There should be a slider you can use to shrink or expand it once loaded.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

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Andre

2626 posts in 2201 days


#42 posted 12-01-2018 11:07 PM



Did you get the open bottom model?

- Andybb

Yes I did, going to make some sort of grid base to help, speed up alignments. When I open my Insert Pic. a library opens with about 50 pictures, need to figure out how to open different source or import into that library? Using an old ACER laptop in the shop that is still running Vista which may be some of the problem, other than my lack of tech savvy?

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

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Andybb

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#43 posted 12-01-2018 11:47 PM

On my software I could just drag and drop or pick a file from my hard drive then save it and it ended up in the library.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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Andybb

1920 posts in 998 days


#44 posted 12-20-2018 08:28 PM

Quick update. Unit arrived after first unit was lost in the mail. All good. Liked the other version of the “minimalist” software better but it seems to work just fine. It’s rated at 2000mW but something tells me there is very little difference between that and the other 1000-3000mW versions. Well worth the $75.

If any of you have found a version of a software program that seems to be universal, let me know. I tried the sw that came with the other unit but they wouldn’t talk to each other.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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Andybb

1920 posts in 998 days


#45 posted 12-20-2018 11:34 PM

Another update. I may have outsmarted myself because I saw this DIY jig which is actually a pretty neat way to engrave all the way around the blank for no cost other than a rubber band. Since my main intention is to use it for pens maybe I do need the one with the mechanism for the y axis on the bottom. Seems better suited for my purposes.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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Andre

2626 posts in 2201 days


#46 posted 12-26-2018 08:30 PM

Need to bump this thread, have a request for engraving on a pen, guess I shouldn’t have given so many away as gifts this Christmas? So any tips or do I just set up the engraver and let it go, finish before or after?

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

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Andybb

1920 posts in 998 days


#47 posted 12-26-2018 08:55 PM

I have done some practice name engraving on a dowel just to see if it works, and it did with no issues.

As far as engraving after finishing here is the text of the email i got back from the guy who made the jig on how he does it. He says to finish the pen with a few coats of CA. Apparently it leaves a cleaner image than just engraving the bare wood. Then add any coloring then additional layers of CA. Not sure what he means by “overburn” but it sounds like something to avoid.
Just haven’t had a chance to try it for myself. Sold too many pens to coworkers for Xmas gifts so was busy til late at night. I like his mention of using paint or brass filings for color.

The idea of the ca before engraving is to seal the wood, it help give a cleaner burn and less over burn.

My technique is:

1. Sand the blank to the finishing stage.

2. Apply a couples of thin coats of CA.

3. Engrave.

4. Put back on the lathe and give a light sand.

5. (Optional) Infill engraving with colour using paint, brass filings etc.

6. Apply the final finishing coats to fill the engraving.

I hope this helps, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask them.

Regards
Bob

Should be fine if you are doing a single line engrage. Check the size of the image on a scrap blank.

Show us how it turned out.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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Andybb

1920 posts in 998 days


#48 posted 12-27-2018 01:57 AM

Since he mentioned brass filings it made me curious. I found this Grizzly variety sample pack of metal inlay which looks interesting. I’ll probably try some Pearlex alumilite powder first just for kicks.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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Andre

2626 posts in 2201 days


#49 posted 12-27-2018 02:09 AM

Not sure if it is me or the machine but this thing is getting very frustrating, engraved a stool for the Granddaughter before Christmas but no way the machine would set up today? Had to quit before something got damaged!!!!
Will try different laptop (using old one in the shop) tomorrow and start from new? I haven’t been using CA for finishing only hard wax so may have to experiment a little????

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

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Andybb

1920 posts in 998 days


#50 posted 12-27-2018 02:36 AM

You said you were getting the open bottom one. I have had both. What issues are you having? Software, hardware or both?

Edit: Oh you said you used it before Xmas. Hope you figure it out.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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