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£9k for a Laser Cutter....

Discussion in 'Design and technology' started by doodle_dt, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    I have only got £10k to spend on improving my department and after much procrastination I think the laser cutter is going to have to be my purchase and that I have to give up on new workbenches, a computer suite, an A3 colour printer, new tools etc etc!!

    I've been doing my research and I think the best I can do is just over £9k for a versalaser 300 x 600mm (ish)

    Before I take the plunge and cry over my empty bank balance, I just thought I'd see if anyone knows of any better value/cheaper laser that could save me a few pennies and allow me to buy a few coping saw blades and a packet of sandpaper with my change?!

    Thanks :)
  2. Been doing a bit of investigation on lasers, there is an outfit called HPC who do a 300 x 600 ish for £3k ish.
    They import a chinese laser I believe and re-badge, sell on. I have no connection with HPC or know nothing about reliability etc, just know they exist, based Leeds way.
    May help!

  3. bigpedro

    bigpedro New commenter

    This is similar to a post a couple of weeks back. We are looking into dealing direct with China.
    The company we're looking at can supply a 150W laser with a 600x1000 bed for just less than 4k with all the whistles and bells.
    haven't got into the details of how import works yet e.t.c. but our HOD has a friend who uses one commercially and it hasnt let him down (cuts 12ply without even thinking apparently)
    I'll find the website in the morning... oooh, it is the morning... well, later then.

  4. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    Are you fluent in Chinese Pedro? Are you an expert in lasers? How will you know how to fix it if it goes wrong? And even the best of them do.
    How will you know if it's safe to use in a classroom?
    The machines HPC are flogging are being advertised by hundreds of Chinese compamies, all claiming to be the manufacturer. So who are you dealing with? Are you seriously going to expose your students and school to an entirely unknown risk for which there might be no remedy?
    I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole, and I say this as a person who's been involved with laser cutters for many, many years. Nothing is cheap except trouble.
  5. Try looking at CTR lasers. The tubes are chinese but the machines are made here. I was looking at the small one 500 x 300 which was about 4k but they do bigger.
  6. bigpedro

    bigpedro New commenter

    Then start up an import business that doesnt rip off schools by slapping an "education" tag on things!
    We all know school suppliers are a racket and who can blame us for looking for a different way round? (we just paid 3.5K for servicing and parts on ours) Its the same reason we shop for tools at K&M or Screwfix rather than Technology Supplies (not that they dont supply <u>some</u> great stuff, but you've got to shop around)
    I agree that cheap isnt always best and can be false economy, but where's the harm in exploring possibilities?

  7. Hmm thanks Benedict, I'll look into CTR...I am just dubious about the cheap ones, like modelmaker says cheaper is rarely better in the long run when buying things.
    Alot of the companies you talk to here (Denford, Tech Suppliers) warn you against getting lasers with a glass tube instead of metal etc....it's hard to know whether to listen to them as clearly their view is biased....
    When the department has such little money and needs so much it's really important that I make the right decision, spending 3k on a laser and being able to afford &pound;7k to spend on new computers etc would be amazing short term, but not so good if the laser stops working next year and we have no money to fix or replace it....I find it much harder to spend money that's not actually mine :(
  8. Well to give you some idea of cost i have a E5 and its been hammered for about 3 years and the tube has just gone not due to overuse but another enviromental factor. The replacement was about &pound;400 and a bit for delivery and fitting. I dont quite know how this stacks up against the rest. Im actually buying another at present
  9. Word of advice, there's little point in having a laser cutter without any computers to teach the CAD!
    Have you looked into leasing? I think Hobarts might be offering this? Don't forget you will need to have the cutter installed, this provided invaluable staff training & tips for us. We also pay &pound;250/yr for an annual service and call out if we have any probs.
    Good luck :)

  10. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    Back in the mid 70's my nextdoor neighbour was trying to convince me to buy a Moskavitch car from Russia. They cost around &pound;3K new compared with about &pound;12K for a European car. He said it was madness to pay over the odds for a car.
    Google for them and then take a look on Autotrader to see how many still exist.
    What do you think might have happened to that Moskavitch had I followed my neighbour's advice? Would it still be sitting in my drive awaiting a russion translated who was experienced in technical terms to sort it out?
    Lets get real.
    Both Russian and the Chinese people in themselves are a delight to contact. They will go out of their way to try and ensure your enquiry is being attended to and follow up in the most polite manner.
    There is a difference though in that the people who man their sales desks are fluent in conversational English, but not technical English. It's an absolute nightmare when you have a problem.
    It will probably change over time, but it ain't there yet, and it's a long way off.
    The best advice I can give for anyone thinking of buying a Chinese laser is to contact them and pose technical questions. If you get sensible answers you might be alright. If you get fobbed off you're onto a loser.
    It's a brave call, but do you need to make it? Personaly I'd do a lot more reseach first and not jump to the unfounded conclusion pedro has that there's a higher rate schools pay for goods than anyone else does. Try getting quotes for the the goods privately or as a private company. It's not that difficult. Once you've got the spec, the manufacturer and model number and google the world's your oyster.

  11. bigpedro

    bigpedro New commenter

    I didnt say that schools <u>pay</u> a higher rate than everyone else, I merely stated that "educational suppliers" tend to inflate their prices and as a lot of schools won't even consider using other suppliers they're always on to a winner. I agree completely with shopping around but many people in schools don't/won't.

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