Ebay Chinese 100W Laser Cutter

I want to share the thought and process to buying this laser.  I wanted some certain things in a laser when I purchased it.  I wanted to cut 1/4 plywood really easily, so I wanted a machine that “could” cut 1/2 wood.  The bulk of my work would be cutting through 1/4 plywood.  I decided that 100W can do 1/2 so I settled on 100W.

I looked at the 130W machines, but the laser sticking out of the back side made the machine too big for my designated space in my shop.  I mean the machine is already pretty big, but I had a designed spot for it.  Because I had a set home for the machine that slid it inside an area,  I was forced to not need a machine that opens on the side and allows for longer pieces to slide in.  I liked that feature, but I would never be able to use it.  These lasers need a chiller.  You can pump water from a bucket, but the chiller can be had in the packages for next to no addon price and I believe I will get more longevity out of the laser.  I also wanted a 4th axis.  It wasn’t on my major needs, but I liked the idea of the option.  The most important need in the machine was that it was already in the USA.  I have heard enough horror stories of customs lawyer or agents extorting CNC buyers that I just really focused on finding a USA stock machine.  I really don’t think the problem was from the seller side in China.  I think the problem is on the customs side here.  I have also heard that the problems can start when the purchase price is over $2,000, but I have no facts to back that up.  I decided on a machine that can cut 600mmX1000mm.  Now that made me have to do a lot of math as I do not think in metric.  That works out to about 24 inches by about 39 inches.

Purchasing.  I actually purchased one machine on ebay and then they told me it wasn’t in the USA.  That really got me spooked.  They totally returned the money and had good communication about it, so I can’t really complain there.  I purchased another after the money returned and when with a different seller.  Now I have to say that even though it was a different seller on the Ebay side,  the paypal name and skype handle was the same as earlier.  I am proposing that the one Chinese seller has many Ebay accounts.  That was backed up buy my CNC router purchase later (a third seller, but still same paypal name).

Setup.  The machine came in perfect working order on the date and time planned.  It worked perfect.  I am using a windows 7 laptop as the laser machine isn’t ready for win10.  It worked perfectly.  I have to say that the connection and setup would have been impossible without communicating on Skype with support.  They sent me some files and settings that I couldn’t get elsewhere.  They were always there ready to help and always had the right help.  I had never skyped before, so I had to set that up as well.  I have to say that was a fairly pleasant experience communicating with them, but I have enough experience with CNC automated machinery, that it wasn’t overwhelming.  I am not sure how that would have gone without some prior knowledge.  It wasn’t plug-n-play.  The machine really works best with CorelDraw and their hacked add-on called CorelLaser.  you click on corelLaser and it opens CorelDraw and adds the buttons to laser in the top right.  I would have to say that this is my biggest issue with the machine.  I don’t love feeling like CorelDraw (that I paid for) is a hacked version.  It works, but I would love to see a better computer interface system.  I came with a free interface, but it wouldn’t import files I wanted to use (.dxf).

Setup also.  I made a metal cart for the laser to go on.  It made it at the right height for me working and has wheels.  I don’t move it much but like an oven, I needed to plug it in and then slide it in place.  The back of the machine backs against an exterior wall and vents directly outside.  There is almost no smoke in the shop while being used.  Lastly, these machines are all set to 220V and comes with an inverter, but my shop was wired to have 220 and my equipment locations, so I kept it all at it’s native 220V.

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