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Laser cutters?

Discussion in 'Design and technology' started by RaleighBurner, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. RaleighBurner

    RaleighBurner New commenter


    Looking at a laser script 6090. Has the std 60w laser and decent sized bed. Anyone use one? What are they like? I’m familiar with different brands but not this one.

    Thanks in advance
  2. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    Ok. I've watched this thread for a month and see it has had a fair amount of interest, but no replies. Maybe it's time I offer the benefit of the 15 years experience I had in the laser cutter industry, and in particular school usage of laser cutters.

    There is no standard 60W laser and when you say decent sized bed, what do you think you actually mean by that?

    Here's a few truths. You can get lasers is any power, but there's a tendancy for Chinese machines, of which the laser script 6090 is one to offer fewer power options than American machines.

    Eassentialy the market is divided between cheap Chinese machines and more expensive American machines. There are a few European ones but they are usually beyond a school budget.

    Laser power is, for the most part, only relevant in how quickly the machine can cut. In simple terms, any laser will cut through any material it is able to if you have long enough to allow it to.

    If you think of it in the same way you think of a camera, it might make sense. With a camera, you're checking how much light is available and adjusting the exposure time to suit. So if you think of available light in the same way you think of laser power and shutter speed in the same way you think of cutting speed you might get the idea.

    You can expose a film to low light and take good pictures if you keep the shutter open long enough.

    How long the shutter needs to be kept open depends not only on the light, but how sensitive the film is. If you think of film speed in he same way you'd think of how dense the material being cut is, you're well on the way to understanding that laser cutting is very similar to photography.

    How powerful the laser is is less relevant than what you intend to cut with it.

    Let's briefly move on to bed size, because it's relevant to the next point I shall be making.
    You only need large bed sizes if you intend to cut large pieces, but the limiting thing for schools is the cost of material. Quite simply, schools have to keep the physical size of the projects within their materials budget and few of the schools I visted could afform more than an A4 size piece of 3mm acrylic per student. Some struggled to even do that.

    So I think it's a nonsense to be impressed by large work areas. Just thing about the projects you can afford to undertake and find a machine with adequate capacity for those.

    Back to laser power, I've been to schools who can't afford acrylic and use their laser cutters mostly to cut card. Card isn't very dense and is best cut with low power anyway, to avoid burning. If you've got a powerful laser, you'll be running it at a fraction of the available power to get a decent result.

    Now to the lasers themselves.

    There are two types of laser that are used in the laser cutter sold to schools. The chap machines use water-cooled glass laser tubes. The more expensive ones use more sophisticated RF stimulated lasers, which are far more controllable, give better results and last far longer before needing to be replaced.

    Machines with glass laser tubes have lots of downtime, because the tubes don't last very long. RF tubes will last for many years and are simple to replace, unlike glass tubes which invariably need someone skilled in being able to re-align the optics to fit them.

    The difference being that RF tubes are made from precision machined metal parts and it's impossible to make glass tubes witht anything like the same precision. Add to that, glass tubes have to be mounted on sponge rubber to prevent them cracking, and it's obvious that when changing them, re-alignment will be necessary.

    Personally, I wouldn't entertain a machine with a glass tube even for a hobby persuit.

    But it's not for me to tell you what to buy. I'm only trying to cut through the nonsense that gets spouted and explain that you will only ever understand what to purchase if you understand what it is that's being sold.
  3. RaleighBurner

    RaleighBurner New commenter

    That’s great. What you sah makes sense and the school have opted for the laser script 6090.

    I’m not 100% if it is a China made machine but I am mostly used to laser versa vis 4.60. A great machine which I meticulously maintained. This was a 60w and was ultra reliable (US made).

    I’ll see how it goes with the 6090. It’s what the school had but the out going HoD left it on and it caught fire! This is a like for like replacement.
  4. RaleighBurner

    RaleighBurner New commenter

    ... bed size is just over A2

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