Quantcast

Low Cost Laser Cutters?

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

evvo

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Aug 17, 2009
Messages
63
Reaction score
0
I keep seeing low cost solid state laser cutter/engravers on Banggood and AliExpress in the 2W to 5.5W range, typically between $200 and $300.
There's also the 40W CO2 laser cutters on AliExpress and eBay for about $400 to $500.
I only do low & mid power, so most of what I'd be cutting would be card stock shrouds, cardboard centering rings, and balsa fins.
I might occasionally cut thin basswood or ply.

Has anyone had any experience with these devices? would a 3W solid state be able to cut through 1/8" ply and 3/16 balsa?
 

bobkrech

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Messages
8,353
Reaction score
35
A 3 watt solid state laser won't cut anything.

A 40 watt CW CO2 laser will cut paper, balsa, basswood, and many but not all plastics. A higher power laser will cut thicker materials, or thinner materials quicker but not by much.

A 40 watt CW CO2 laser will not cut fiberglass, carbon fiber or metal.

I would buy my Chinese laser cutter from an American vendor instead of directly from China. If you have a problem, it is much easier to resolve it here than having to deal with China.

Check out earlier TRF threads for some useful information.
 

neil_w

Marginally Stable
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
11,125
Reaction score
3,979
Location
Northern NJ
Looks like this unit is a likely low-end 40W model: https://www.ebay.com/bhp/40w-laser. Bed is only 12"x8", though, which is fine for most fins at a thickness this thing can cut, but not big enough for some other interesting things.

Man I would love to have one of these things, or at least have easy access to one...
 

vcp

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Messages
1,182
Reaction score
238
Location
Meridian, ID
Looks like this unit is a likely low-end 40W model: https://www.ebay.com/bhp/40w-laser. Bed is only 12"x8", though, which is fine for most fins at a thickness this thing can cut, but not big enough for some other interesting things.

Man I would love to have one of these things, or at least have easy access to one...
That looks pretty much like the one I got last year for about $400. It is truly remarkable what you get at that price but be prepared to be frustrated by the software/controller. Many replace this with a smoothieware controller that is much more capable. There are also lots of hacks to improve the mechanics and airflow, upgrade optics, and such.
 

caveduck

semi old rocketeer
Joined
Jun 6, 2011
Messages
1,518
Reaction score
217
A really good place to gather information is the Laser Cutting/Engraving section of CNCZone: https://www.cnczone.com/forums/laser-engraving-and-cutting-machines/ Other sections on CNCZone are great if you're into lathe/mill machining too. I disclaim all responsibility if you get sucked in :) Inexpensive Chinese lasers, even the larger ones, have to be considered as projects unto themselves (just like the mini lathes). Bob's advice to buy from a US reseller is very sound. DIY machine making is very much an option too now that there is an industry around making parts for 3D printers.
 
Top