One of the problems with laser cutters for sale today is the extremes between two laser machines being sold. On one hand you have the $1,850 hobby laser “cutter” sold on Ebay direct from China while on the other there’s the Epilog, Universal, or Trotec 30W machine being sold for $8k plus. I have found a company or two that offers a great balance to the above – I’ll disclose later….
If you’re looking for a long term valuable boss laser cutter but don’t want throw down or finance $8k bucks then keep reading…
There some obvious factors you need to consider before purchasing any laser cutter equipment. The most blatantly obvious is – what do you intend to do with it? If you just need to work on some small-scale projects, a desktop laser cutter would be your best option. However, you still need to familiarize with the familiar and not so familiar brands, range of specifications, and the quality of the support behind the technology. To have a better grasp on this, lets look at one of the more popular types of laser cutters: The affordable hobby laser “cutter”.
The affordable deluxe hobby laser
This model is priced to attract newbies or starters. That’s also why it has its fair share of hobby horror stories. Hobby level projects and production at small-scale levels sounds good but from my experience these small 10″ x 12″ co2 40w laser machines make you feel like you’re working out of a shoe box. If you have a strict budget or an unrelenting spouse than a hobby laser of this size is better than no laser at all. But, understand that 40watts may leave you deflated if you need to cut anything. In spite of what the headline might say, anything 40 watts or less is enough power for engraving.
Yes, you can cut wood or acrylic, but it’ll take multiple passes to cut anything dense over 1/4″.
Second consideration is your engraving space or engraving area. The material you can cut or engrave is limited by your machines working area. If its only 10 x 12″ with no pass throughs than you’re very limited. I used to think that, “Well, I’ll I’m going to engrave is smaller objects like stamps, leather wallets, and iPhone cases”. I said that and then realized later that what I really WANT to do rignt now is limited by the work area I settled for back then. So, aim for as much power and space as you can afford.
I liked what these guys displayed on their site and decided to give a quick review. Right away the intel I’ve gathered is the company offers a darn good quality alternative to most of those budget busting 100% USA manufactured machines that keep you researching online. Boss’ laser cutting machines start at 50W on up to 170W. They are a good fit for both small-scale and industrial level production environments. They take it up a notch in terms of merely ‘flipping’ a Chinese import by adding several USA value added components.
In a recent Wall Street Journal press release, the company was cited saying that it plans to upgrade the software for their machines to EngraveLAB V9 as opposed to the Chinese standard LaserCut 5.3. Reviewing their current pricing $4k for 60W is tough to beat. I don’t have experience with it but they’ve recently added direct output software. So, if you’re already working with Corel or an Adobe graphics program you can pretty much seamlessly print to the laser.
Their machines are well equipped with some value added accessories like auto focus, inline beam combiner, water chiller, various platform upgrades and again at a surprisingly affordable price. I would like to see more info on their site. No user forum either. But the key to this company I’m finding is their tech support. I called in just to talk to support and was helped almost immediately by a competent tech. I told him a problem with my machine and he gave some good help for dealing with LaserCut. Reviews of this company are growing and seem to point their support. But, their latest machine upgrades have some really smart value added options. My understanding is they offer a hybrid type machine by importing the base machine and then up fitting it key USA grade components. This keeps the price affordable and the quality dependable. Depending on what you need to laser cut or engrave, Boss Laser has a assortment of cutters starting at a 50W desktop machine with 14 X 16″ of cutting area while the largest is a 170W, 52 X 98″ cutter.
D&B Link: Dunn & Bradstreet Boss Laser
Epilog Laser cutters and especially the fusion series are perfect for those who intend to use the equipment on a number of different tasks. You can engrave logos on bare material, cut through both soft and had material like marble and mark the parts on a plastic product. Epilog is one of the most reputed laser cutter equipment manufactures; acquiring one of their machines would be a huge plus to your production plant or probably help you make the best out of your hobby. As an alternative to all four, you would probably like to try out Trotec which is another of the big players in the cutting equipment production industry.
Where do you get laser cutters for sale?
One of the problems faced by hobbyists is where to source laser cutters for sale. Quality assurance is not much of a problem and especially if you’re thinking about purchasing one machine from the above companies, But, realize this kind of equipment is retailed in any ole’ brick and mortar store. The cheapest of laser cutters sell at an average $ 2,800 which makes it hard for stores to stock the precision cutters for retail. Local dealers will sell laser machines for the big companies but thats why they have to mark up the product. The dealers need paid as well. I’ve always looked for laser companies online that have a good reputation for support. You can do a lot of quality work with an imported machine backed by competent reliable support team. I’d rather have that than a Rolls Royce with sketchy support. Amazon and Ebay is one of the stores you CAN go wrong with. They have a great assortment from which you can easily select the wrong mom-n-pop laser outfit who “flips” laser cutters without even opening the crate. I would not advise importing a machine from overseas. Getting the machine cross the border is just the beginning. If the supplier doesn’t have the right approvals your machine will NOT get by customs and will be shipped back. So, I’m more for buying through a US support based company.
Boss Laser Video of Rotary: