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Help! Laser Cutter options

The Hangar

Well-known member
#1
So I'm curious about getting a laser cutter to cut wood and foam board, but I don't really know how to go about looking for one. Note that I'm not looking for a needle or CNC cutter - I've already been looking at those but I want to see some decent cheap laser cutters that are big and strong enough to cut 20x30 inch white DTFB.

Thanks for the help!
 
#2
As I see it you have three main ways to go, 1) an industrial such as an Epilog, that will cost a bundle but will reliably cut all day, 2) Chineseum, costs a lot less but keeping it running will become a full-time hobby, or 3) a Glowforge or Dremal that is in between, kind of "prosumer".

I love my Glowforge but I fully accept that different things are right for different use-cases.
 

Merv

Well-known member
#3
I’m no expert. My understanding cutting wood is fairy easy, a cheap diode laser will do it. Cutting foam board is difficult. It has to do with the white color of the foam. White reflects the laser. To cut foam you need a CO2 laser, 40 watts plus, which will cost more than $1,000.
 
#8
What is the cost of this setup and can you cut full DTFB sheets? A few pics would be great as well. Thanks
Here are the prices for the different models, If anyone decides to buy one IM me as I can get you discounts up to $500 on the pro.

https://glowforge.com/order

What’s the bed size of yours - can you cut whole sheets of dtfb?
The bed is 20x12 with an effective cutting area of around 19x11", There are ways to index some with a basic or plus and the pro has a slot so you can do complete sheets. The automatic software is still not live for indexing so doing full sheets is a matter of working things out and breaking things up in your software. I've had great luck doing this.

Are diode lasers powerful enough or do you need a CO2? Is there a wave length that works better for FB.
I would think a more powerful diode would do DTFB but what about when you need to cut some 1/8" Baltic Birch ply? I think CO2 is the way to go.
 

The Hangar

Well-known member
#9
Here are the prices for the different models, If anyone decides to buy one IM me as I can get you discounts up to $500 on the pro.

https://glowforge.com/order


The bed is 20x12 with an effective cutting area of around 19x11", There are ways to index some with a basic or plus and the pro has a slot so you can do complete sheets. The automatic software is still not live for indexing so doing full sheets is a matter of working things out and breaking things up in your software. I've had great luck doing this.
Which one do you have?
 

The Hangar

Well-known member
#11
I have the Pro and love it. If I had to rebuy today it would probably be the Pro again or the basic if cash was tight. I see the plus as an awkward compromise but I'm sure it is right for some.
So the prop has an expansion that you can add to accommodate the 20x30 sheets? And the basic doesn’t work with that? I’m sorry - I’m just a little confused...
 
#12
I’m sorry - I’m just a little confused...
The pro, besides having 35w instead of 30, improved optics, and active cooling, has slots front and rear so material can be passed through up to 1/4" thick. Seeing that the bed is 20 inches it is almost as if they were thinking of 20x30 sheets of DTFB!
They (glowforge) are working on software to automate the process but as of today cutting a wing or other large part consists of breaking the file into several smaller files and then indexing (sliding) the DTFB forward and then start cutting again with the next file in the sequence. I normally use 10x20 sections to do this.
 

The Hangar

Well-known member
#13
The pro, besides having 35w instead of 30, improved optics, and active cooling, has slots front and rear so material can be passed through up to 1/4" thick. Seeing that the bed is 20 inches it is almost as if they were thinking of 20x30 sheets of DTFB!
They (glowforge) are working on software to automate the process but as of today cutting a wing or other large part consists of breaking the file into several smaller files and then indexing (sliding) the DTFB forward and then start cutting again with the next file in the sequence. I normally use 10x20 sections to do this.
Ok, that makes sense now! So the pro is the only one that has the slots?