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StevenB

Laser engravers

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Anybody got a laser engraver?

 

What can you do with it that you can't do on a normal engraving machine?

What are the advantages or disadvantages of a laser compared to a standard engraver?

Would you recommend having one?

 

Replies from suppliers, or end users welcome!

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Hi Steve, I've had many demo's with the laser machines. Had the gravogroph truck demo.... Not impressed at all.

They are good for certain thing's, Like "engraving" (marking in my opinion)

on anodised materials, Cutting out shapes. Engraving on wood.

But to be honest I wouldn't touch one at the moment.

 

I 've got 4 engraving machines 3 of which are gravographs. And I think you can do almost anything with a is400 volume that you can with a laser.

 

Infact it's probly better to say, the Laser does some things that you can do with a is400 volume.

 

The laser machine in my opinion, will never take over the cnc type engraver.

 

For me it doesn't make me want to spend 20K on a machine that I personally haven't seen perform to a good standard at at least 5 demo's.

 

If the people who demo them can't get it right, there aint gonna be much technical support after the sale.

 

Thats just my personal opinion, and I'm not having a go at any manufacturers or there staff. I just think they are not as good as the people trying to sell them say they are. :wink:

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I agree with above post, You can engrave leather and some textiles (car mats ....dont ask) and get a great finish on anodised plates but for £20,000 + and the problems i have encountered on this type of machine stay clear until you personaly see one in action.

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Interesting comments!

The job that I struggle with is engraving larger signs.

I use a Mastergrave Universal

http://www.mastergrave.co.uk/catalogue/detail.php?product_ID=1632

and when doing brass signs, or GBS (i.e. anything which will produce abrasive swarf & prevent the use of a nosecone) it's really difficult to get the plate completely flat in all planes.

This is the only downside to what is a fab machine, but it's one which is preventing me from working as efficiently as I could.

I had been thinking that a laser machine might be the answer, but am very much open to your thoughts!

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Hi Steve, I struggled at first to do bigger sign's. In the end I brought a is7000. It is fab for the bigger jobs, I recently did a brass sign 4ftx18"

no problem. The problem is the size of the bloody thing, you need a fair bit of space. mine is upstairs in our trophy showroom.

The is400 volume, In my opinion is a great machine. you can engrave an area about A4 size, and I never have to use a nose cone.

 

I personally would keep away from the laser. To much money For something that doen't give you many more options, and is in it's self limited to what it can engrave.

 

I've got samples here of some jobs that were done on some of the demo's, and to be honest, I'd have done the job 10 times better on my is400 or is7000. :wink:

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There is quite a lot you can do with lasers you cannot do with engraving machines (cutting material out is one of them). For many jobs the engraving machines can do, lasers will do it better and faster (higher quality engraving, no clamping of item, no cutter size or grinding to worry about, etc).

 

Of course, they are many jobs engraving machines do lasers will not touch (ie brass signs).

 

Pricewise, you can get a 18x12" laser for less than £10k.

 

Talking about the Gravograph demo truck, it will be back on the road in September and October. If you want to see lasers in action, contact Gravograph (info@gravograph.co.uk)

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Michel, I'm surprised you think that you can't cut materials out with an Engraving machine :roll:

 

I cut out many shapes in, brass, rigid laminate, wood,

I cut all my own arched top, oval & round, in all the above materials, to fit onto wooded backing's etc.

 

I know lasers can do it quiker, but it's not right to say you can't do it with a normal engraver :shock:

 

From what I've seen, The quality of engraving isn't better, Because most of it isn't engraving, it only alters the surface of the material on alot of the "lazer friendly" materials, and doesn't look like engraving, more like printing.

Although on wood, and some plastics it is quite impresive, But I'd want more from a 10k machine.

 

also you mention NO CLAMPING, Wow... No hardship to clamp down your job :roll:

 

Also you mention no cutter size or grinding, Well to me that's were the true effect of ENGRAVING lies, Different angles for diferent effects etc.

 

In my opinion the lasers aren't adaptable enough, to suit the every day engraver,

They are a specialist tool good for repatition work.

 

I wouldn't rule out buying one at some time in the future, but it wouldn't be a nesessity,,, but just so I had one :D

 

Just my opinion. :shock:

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i find that the laser is much faster and much neater in doing plastic signs as for cutting they are also neater and can do shapes a lot quicker. the down side as pointed out is you do not want to do metals of any sort, even the ones that say they are for marking as results are not good.

they are also good for glass engraving and the other benefit is in rubber stamps - dont laugh but the one i use does between £100 - £200 per week having started doing them by accident.

 

the down sides are the exhaust system and yes it is a lot of money that you have to be confident in recovering

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Interesting you saying that they are good for glass engraving peter,

As I have had many demo's, and I haven't seen a job on glass anywere near good enough to leave my counter.

 

Now that might be the demonstrator, who I might add is highly respected in the engraving world.

 

So I would be interested to witness this :o

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Glass engraving is a totaly different ball game, i use to use a blaster with stencils when at my old workplace and after a couple of years I got quite inventive with it , 3D, cleaning up old metal parts, etc.

We use to make our own stencils and i can honestly say there isnt a piece of work i have seen performed on any other machine (laser, diamond,) that can compare to this.

I saw a demo a while back with an is200 and the finished product was laughable........... :shock:

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I use an is400 volume at the moment for my glass engraving, And it comes out class, But you have to have a good stylus, and they don't last 5 minits..Whatever the suppliers say.. the biggest problem is, If done correctly is it takes forever.

 

I did a glass plaque last week for Supporters player of the season (MIKEL ARTETA) Everton FC:? It took 4 hours, It turned out class.. But much to long.

Blasting is definatly the way to go with glass.

 

The glass engraving I've seen with a laser is embarassing. :oops:

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