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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Full Spectrum $2500 Laser Cutter Unboxing and Review

Nothing Labs now has a laser cutter!

The Full Spectrum 40 Watt Laser Cutter showed up about a week ago.

Here's a video documenting my experience thus far:



Highs:

- It works pretty well!
- Deluxe package really includes everything you need to start cutting for $2500 with shipping
- 40 Watt laser can handle up to 1/4" acrylic / MDF / other stuff
- Documentation does exist - and is mostly decent (you can check this out online)
- U.S. support base / active online forums
- USB support - with "print to cut" style drivers

Lows:

- Manual z-axis is easy to get off-level / difficult to re-align / is generally dodgy
- Air pump (external) overheated and failed after a few hours (fortunately had one on hand)
- "Spotting" laser pointer had a bad connector

In short - I'm quite happy with it.

Update: Full Spectrum says they haven't gotten other reports of air pump failures - and offered to replace mine.

Starting this week - name plates for the Nothing Labs Electronic Cloud Chamber will be laser cut:



Gearbox for speed 400 motor made out of 1/4" acrylic:

18 comments:

  1. Thanks for taking the time to make a video review of the system. If you get around to it can you post a close-up of 1/4" cut acrylic edges? I am curious to know if the edges come out worse, better, or average compared to similar machines.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just updated the post with an image of a 1/4" acrylic gearbox that shows edges pretty well.

    I hadn't had thins fully aligned at this point - so the angles are a bit off. Lots of other variables like focal length / cut speed can have impact on a quality also.

    -Rich

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  3. Hey Rich, now that it's been a few months how has the machine held up?

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  4. pretty well - I've had some minor issues.

    I'll be doing a full following blog posting in the next few weeks.

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  5. Hi Rich,

    Since you had the system for a while how is it holding up? I'm interested in purchasing one, but not if it is a total headache...ULS is what we had before and it was a mess!

    Any help is great!

    Phil P

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  6. the laser is holding up pretty well.

    I got a firmware upgrade from them that definitely helps engraving performance.

    I have had a few additional mechanical quirks (had to tweak a limit switch that didn't engage, and had a shaft come loose)

    the included blower is pretty marginal - replaced with a $100ish unit from harbor freight that works much better.

    if you get one of these you should expect some issues - but they generally seem to work pretty well.

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  7. After all this time how is the laser holding up so far?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. still pretty good. have had some minor issues - and needed to replace the tube ($300) - that is common to CO2 lasers.

      They have improved the software a fair amount.

      Still generally recommend - expect some minor issues - but expect that you'll be able to live with / work around them.

      Delete
    2. Hi Rich:
      I want to make PCB's with this laser....either by painting and engraving to expose copper or trying to coat with toner and engraving to create melted toner resists.

      Any advice on whether this is doable?
      I use EagleCad PCB s'ware.

      Delete
    3. well - you could cut them directly:

      http://nothinglabs.blogspot.com/2013/01/laser-cut-circuit-boards.html

      people have also done it how you describe:

      http://www.instructables.com/id/Custom-PCB-Prototyping-using-a-Laser-Cutter/

      have fun!

      Delete
  8. Hey Rich,

    I'm planning to buy this laser in about a week and after viewing this video I wondering about it. What do you think I should buy before I get the laser? I saw that you purchased a few items for it and i was wondering if I should do the same.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. not sure what they're shipping with now - but suspect you'll want at minimum:

      a good blower - the one they shipped with was very minimal.

      I got this one and am happy with it - not exactly quiet - but not exceedingly loud:

      http://www.harborfreight.com/13-gallon-industrial-portable-dust-collector-31810.html

      (the cheaper "red" one is supposed to be very noisy)

      You'll also want a 5 gallon water bucket.

      I think you'll be happy with the laser - just keep in mind you're getting functional laser cutter for a bit over $2k - and it's not going to be as perfect as a $10k unit.

      It does work well though - just try to be prepared to get your hands dirty a bit if needed.

      The software is actually quite good.

      Have fun!

      -Rich

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  9. Hey,

    So I got the laser and it came with the honey comb grid, the air compressor, the water pump and air ventilator and I purchased the beam combiner. My question is the I want get the blower you mention but how do you connect it since the port is a 7 inch strip and not a circular vent. DO i have to fashion some sort of cover or duct tape?

    Also since the items do seem very cheap should I purchase a new water pump and air compressor or should I wait it out to see what happens?

    Thanks,

    Gerald

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    Replies
    1. I re-used the existing vent as an adapter - just removed the original fan.

      Full Spectrum suggested my failed air pump wasn't that common. Haven't heard a lot of reports of bad water pumps. Suspect your OK without backups.

      That said - listening for the water flow before you actually start cutting isn't a bad idea.

      Delete
  10. Good unboxing vid and review. It helped me make a decision. My concern for me was the limited engraving area. And, 40W did not give much cutting power. I'm looking a 3/8 acrylic. But I understand 40W is more for engraving anyway...but for price it is cheap.

    I elected to go with a Boss ls-1416 -60w. http://www.BOSSlaser.com Since i was able to negotiate under $4,500. Though its still a little small it has pass throughs for all 4 sides for material to slip through. Air and water pumps were included.

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  11. I think Rprototype factory brings latest technology all the time and presents glorious result . Such as 3D printing is a very exciting concept, one of which could potentially impact us in a very good way. There are so many possibilities that 3D printing can provide

    ReplyDelete
  12. I agree with Boss instead. it cuts metal. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6Yc_z_P3b0

    ReplyDelete