Laser cutting equipment question

Shadowspawn

[H]ard|Gawd
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Sep 17, 2002
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1,870
I could have sworn that we had a subforum just for tools. Maybe I'm thinking of another forum...

Anyway, I am looking at buying a small business quality laser cutter that will see use for computer building/modification as well. So far the best one I have found is from Epilog but it cannot handle cutting aluminum; it only etches metal. Does anybody out there own or have knowledge of a stronger laser cutter that that can handle cutting aluminum and doesn't cost hundreds of thousands of dollars? I am looking in the range of $10,000 to $20,000.
 

mashie

Mawd Gawd
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Oct 25, 2000
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4,253
At that price range you will cut wood/acrylic, not metal.

It's what, about 50-100W of cutting power you get for 10-20k? The ones cutting metal are in the 5000W+ range and hence a LOT more expensive.

Maybe look at waterjet cutting instead, I'm not sure how much they are for the smaller models but they are a lot more efficient at cutting aluminium.
 

Shadowspawn

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Sep 17, 2002
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The Epilog systems I am looking at max out at 120 watts. They will do some fantastic work on acrylic but can only scratch the surface of coated aluminum.

I started looking at water jets on your recommendation but it appears that they start at $60k which is well outside my price range. I'm still looking.

I may have to settle for a CNC.
 

BrainEater

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Jul 21, 2004
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1,050
Yep.

The CNC laser cutter at the place I get metalwork done is a 4.5 Kw co2 laser.

It's probably worth 250k$....but oh man does it make nice cuts in 3/8" steel.

:D
 

Asposium

Limp Gawd
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Mar 13, 2009
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i work at an industrial laser company as a laser development engineer.

you will not get a laser for < $20,000 that will cut metal.

even if you could, there would be serious health and safety implications to running such a laser.
a three-phase electrical power supply would be required.
generally a chiller plant.
 

Shadowspawn

[H]ard|Gawd
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Sep 17, 2002
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have you looked at torchmate?

No, but I am now, thank you. I am concerned about it's ability to handle detail work in aluminum. It doesn't appear that it can handle the type of detail you would find in a case panel found in these forums. The site is a bit light for information about this so I am contacting them for more information.

So, for my price range I can have a laser for light materials (plastics, etc), a decent CNC router or a small, high end CNC plasma.
 
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