Laser engraver

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Dec 22, 2017
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891
Location
Wolf Creek Montana
I've been asked by a customer to etch the handles with the coffee shop name. I know I've seen a conversation in the past about laser engravers but for the life of me I can't find the thread(s). So I'm asking for suggestions on small, inexpensive lasers that won't break the bank but do a good job for small projects. Thanks in advance for you help. Oh, and these have to be dumbed down as I've seen a few that require an engineering degree to use. I need it simple.
 
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gtriever

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Apr 23, 2017
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1,135
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Paducah, Kentucky
The NEJE (and its clones) are the ones that are most talked about here. You can search the Forums for NEJE or for Chinese Lasers. There are also several Facebook groups set up to discuss them.

There's a new 3500mW rail-type that NEJE has introduced, called the Master 3500. Max engraving area is around 5.9 inches square, and Mike Shortness has just developed a Rotary Jig for it that will be available through T. Shadow.
 

sbwertz

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May 11, 2010
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Phoenix, AZ
I have the NEJE and use it almost every day. Works fine. Go with at least the 1500, not the 1000 watt, however. The 1000 burns fine, but you can burn on thicker materials with the 1500 because it has a greater distance between the laser and the bed. The 1000 won't focus on anything much thicker than 3/4 inch.
 

JRK

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Joined
Feb 25, 2019
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81
Location
Bridgeton, Missouri
I have the 1500. When I first tried to use it, I couldn't get it to power up. Finally found a small three-position switch which was set to off. It needs to be in the middle position. Once you set the three position switch, you will not need to mess with it any more.

There is a yellow sticker near the switch which I somehow overlooked. Once it is hooked up, the red on/off button on the top should be lit when it is on.

Jerry
 

sbwertz

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May 11, 2010
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Yes, you have to move the switch...it is to protect it from being turned on in shipping, since it has a battery it can run on without external power. The first thing I do is take some double faced tape and tape a piece of graph paper to the bed. It helps with keeping things aligned. Use four rubber bands, two going each direction. The software is pretty much self explanatory...drag and drop. There is also a power button on the top. Be sure to turn it OFF when you are not using it or it will run down the internal battery, and it won't work, even if plugged in, if the internal battery is down. You have to wait for it to recharge. I carry a 110 usb charger for such a situation, because it charges much faster than the computer usb port. Frustrating if you try to use it and it just gives you a "charge the battery" error. It has no separate power cord...the usb cord that comes with it is both a data cord and a power cord. It runs off the computer battery, but you can plug it into a 110 usb charger for a faster battery charge.

I carry mine back and forth to the blind center every day, running it off a little netbook running windows 10. I just put the box it was shipped in into a big canvas bag. The computer slides down between the box and the bag for transporting. Works great. I bought a little usb fan at the dollar store to run beside it to blow away the smoke so the smoke doesn't distort the laser. Any little desk fan would work if you aren't carrying it around. My brother takes his to shows and craft fairs and burns names on pens "while you wait" at the shows. He uses a full sized laptop with a big battery and it will run the laser and the little fan all day if he turns it off between burns.
 
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SmokeGSU

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Joined
Apr 18, 2019
Messages
14
Location
Georgia
So I just ordered the Neje 3500 master and the rotary jig. What are you guys using for sight protection from the laser? The Neje 1000 or 1500 has a protective glass on the front, but the 3500 master is, like others mentioned, an open gantry style. I've thought about buying something like this from J Tech and cutting it down to build a box around the laser head, but I'm not certain how feasible it is with a moving head unit, and building a box around the entire thing made up of those protective acrylic sheets would get a little pricey.
 

SmokeGSU

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Apr 18, 2019
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Georgia
In the Facebook Neje group somebody recently posted a height jig he's building. Basically a plywood box with slots for height adjustment. From there it would be easy to stick a single piece of the laser shield acrylic in front. I've also ordered a 3500 and will probably wind up doing something similar. Hopefully this link works: https://www.facebook.com/groups/273038230197960/permalink/475101916658256/
Thanks for the heads up! Just requested to join that group, so hopefully I'll be able to see what they're cooking up!
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2019
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Location
Clermont , Fl.
So I just ordered the Neje 3500 master and the rotary jig. What are you guys using for sight protection from the laser? The Neje 1000 or 1500 has a protective glass on the front, but the 3500 master is, like others mentioned, an open gantry style. I've thought about buying something like this from J Tech and cutting it down to build a box around the laser head, but I'm not certain how feasible it is with a moving head unit, and building a box around the entire thing made up of those protective acrylic sheets would get a little pricey.
My 3500 came with glasses in the kit
 

SmokeGSU

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Apr 18, 2019
Messages
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Georgia
Mine did as well. I jumped the gun on assumptions because I didn't see them mentioned in the description. I still bought a sheet of the laser shield acrylic from jtechphotonics. I plan to eventually get their laser kit for our x-carve cnc.
 

SmokeGSU

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Apr 18, 2019
Messages
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Location
Georgia
Does anyone know if there is third-party software that will work for these Chinese lasers? We've got an x-carve cnc machine, and because the underlying code is "g-code", there are a boat load of different software that you can use with the x-carve. It just seems like the built-in software that is provided is a little primitive.
 

TonyL

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Joined
Mar 9, 2014
Messages
6,760
Location
Alpharetta, GA 30004
Yes, you have to move the switch...it is to protect it from being turned on in shipping, since it has a battery it can run on without external power. The first thing I do is take some double faced tape and tape a piece of graph paper to the bed. It helps with keeping things aligned. Use four rubber bands, two going each direction. The software is pretty much self explanatory...drag and drop. There is also a power button on the top. Be sure to turn it OFF when you are not using it or it will run down the internal battery, and it won't work, even if plugged in, if the internal battery is down. You have to wait for it to recharge. I carry a 110 usb charger for such a situation, because it charges much faster than the computer usb port. Frustrating if you try to use it and it just gives you a "charge the battery" error. It has no separate power cord...the usb cord that comes with it is both a data cord and a power cord. It runs off the computer battery, but you can plug it into a 110 usb charger for a faster battery charge.

I carry mine back and forth to the blind center every day, running it off a little netbook running windows 10. I just put the box it was shipped in into a big canvas bag. The computer slides down between the box and the bag for transporting. Works great. I bought a little usb fan at the dollar store to run beside it to blow away the smoke so the smoke doesn't distort the laser. Any little desk fan would work if you aren't carrying it around. My brother takes his to shows and craft fairs and burns names on pens "while you wait" at the shows. He uses a full sized laptop with a big battery and it will run the laser and the little fan all day if he turns it off between burns.
Hi Sharon! Is this still your first? I am on my second and I barely use it.
 

duncsuss

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Joined
Jun 29, 2012
Messages
1,408
Location
Wilmington, MA
Does anyone know if there is third-party software that will work for these Chinese lasers? We've got an x-carve cnc machine, and because the underlying code is "g-code", there are a boat load of different software that you can use with the x-carve. It just seems like the built-in software that is provided is a little primitive.
Neje have a download of software that is "limited" G-code compatible. You will find it on their support website.
 

sbwertz

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May 11, 2010
Messages
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Location
Phoenix, AZ
Hi Sharon! Is this still your first? I am on my second and I barely use it.
Sorry, I just got back from a month long cross country trip! No this is my third...I keep giving them away! I had the first 1000mw and gave it to my brother who was just getting into pen turning. Then I bought a 1500 mw and gave it to my grandkids... who are into robotics and use it to burn on 3D printed pieces, among other things. (They just made a drone on the 3D printer from a kit.) So then I bought this new 1500mw. All are still in use. Mine is in use almost daily for burning names on pens. I take it with me to the blind center twice a week, but don't always have time to burn them there, so I bring them home and burn them and take them back.
 
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