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Old 04-04-2014, 05:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
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Default Laser Engraving

This past week I started looking at laser engravers on the internet and I'm now more confused than before! I'm not really sure what I need versus what's available. Does anyone have experience in this area?

I'm looking for a machine that produces good, quality work at a reasonable price (less than $1,000). I'm thinking it should be able to engrave a pen with someone's name, company, and/or a logo. I would also like to engrave flat, wood surfaces with it, too.

I was on eBay looking at what they had and there were laser machines from $500-$25,000. I would imagine that the cheaper ones aren't as good as the more expensive ones, but again, I don't even know what to look for in a laser engraver.

Are there laser engravers that can etch wood and acrylic at reasonable prices? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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I don't think $1000 is reasonable for any useable laser engraver. $8-10,000 is where I thought they became both useable and reliable....

If you're looking a doing Pens, are you going to need a rotary attachement? Is it available for the models you are looking at? Ability to etch Glass would be a big selling point to, as there's a huge market for that....
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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We bought one for about $800 on ebay last year that we use to engrave the metal tags for our instrument housings. It does a good job on plastic & wood too, but I haven't tried engraving any pens with it yet.

I work in Sugar Land, so you can send me a pm if you'd like to come by our office to see it sometime.

Edgar
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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First off, you get what you pay for. I own a small laser engraver, it is the Full Spectrum Laser 30 watt hobby, (fslaser.com)and it cost me approx. 3k with a small rotary attachment. However, it does a mediocre job on round objects and the rotary capacity is only 3/4". You can get one for approx. $4100 that is the next step up.
Now, the unit I own is one of the cheapest units out there with US support. Anything cheaper than this comes straight from China and good luck with any help or support, also the drivers and software aren't user friendly or are simply nonexistent. So bottom line, for doing what you want to do would be around 3-4k at least.

Merle

FYI: I am not affiliated with this company at all, just a satisfied owner of one of their products. There are other companies that sell similar machines and I would recommend reading reviews and forums dedicated to laser engravers.
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Old 04-04-2014, 06:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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I never thought of the rotary thing, but I guess it would be essential. Etching glass would be nice, too.
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Old 04-05-2014, 08:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Is this for hobby or commercial use? I have a K40 that has been upgraded with a DSP controller that I'm happy with. I use AutoCad and Corel with LaserCut run the laser. I do have a rotary attachment for that will do up to a 3" glass but I don't have a way to attach a pen to it yet. It costed me about $1k to build. You can get the same machine at lightobject.com all ready to go for about $2.2K. But it is slow and the laser tube is only rated for 100 hours. But it is good enough for my hobby.

If you are going to do commercial work, invest in a larger commercial machine with a higher wattage and much faster speed.

Btw you don't NEED a rotary attachment if you are just going to do a single text line on a pen. The rotary would be nice if you want to do a design that wraps around the pen.
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Old 04-05-2014, 06:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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In response to Pen-Archer, I'm doing the woodworking as a small business to supplement my retirement pension. So its kind of between a hobby and commercial use. It also keeps me active and busy all day long-- which is a good thing. I do not want to become a slug that sits around all day waiting for the end to come.

If engraving my pens looks nice and I can afford to do it, then I'll definitely look into getting an engraver and offer it to my customers as a small add-on price. If it's going to cost me a lot to get a decent one and the benefits take years to reap then I'll just continue selling my products without the engraving option-- just as I've been doing.

Edgar has been very gracious to let me try out his machine next week (and what luck that his office is only 10 minutes from my house!). I'll be able to see what a laser engraver can do and how I might incorporate one into my business.
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