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Nov 10, 2001, 10:02 PM
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How much does a laser cutter cost?

Thousand? tens of thousand?
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Nov 10, 2001, 10:41 PM
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Save Your Pennies!

We are looking into purchasing one at work to cut thin gauge sheet metal, 22 gauge, parts. Quarter Million Bucks! Trumpf in Germany Mitsubishi, and others manufacture machines. 4000 Watt laser will cut 5/8" steel like jello, more watts... more bucks.
Small unit is 50 watts, diode pumped laser head. Fun to play with, but custom cutters have to cut lots of parts to pay the bills.

Nov 10, 2001, 10:56 PM
in pursuit of low wing loading
Gordon Johnson's Avatar
I just did a quick google search. A base model from Gamata's line is about $40,000. They also have a lot of extras.

Universal Laser systems has a 25 watt model that will do 16"x12" on sale for $12,900.

FX Models will use their laser cutter to cut for you They show as one example model airplane wing ribs being cut out. This may be the alternative for most of us.

There were a lot more links I could have checked out, but my wife and kids are out of town for the weekend and I'm building new workbenches in my workshop for the power tools I've been acquiring. Now if I could just acquire a laser cutter.

Last edited by Gordon Johnson; Nov 10, 2001 at 11:13 PM.
Nov 10, 2001, 11:08 PM
Registered User

some prices
Nov 10, 2001, 11:09 PM
Registered User
Andy W's Avatar
I've heard $10-15k..
They're used a lot in the graphics business, also..
Nov 10, 2001, 11:14 PM
Lifetime Beginner
jlk's Avatar
Not a laser but Bill Griggs sells a CNC machine that gives the same results for 3-4K. It has some advantages to the laser, will cut thicker wood than most of the low power lasers.

Nov 11, 2001, 12:00 AM
Registered User
Draconious's Avatar
This computer to intant tangible market is too costly... we need home systems... so many ideas uses... could order a part online, and hit print, and install it.. instead of wait for delivery hehe.

Any way most systems with heating/cutting lasers, the laser alone is 10-30 grand... and they wear out... gota be replaced like twice a year if they get used constantly.

I been trying to get a plastic generator... one with out a laser even.. but 50 grand for those too, a bit beyond my wallet capacity.

If I could get enough donations, or ppl saying they will pay for a part... I would buy a machine and build the parts for ppl... someting I been wanting too do for a long time. Maybe some government funding
Nov 11, 2001, 04:10 AM
Registered User
We have a laser cutter on the wish list at school, and the big advantage is that what you design on screen is what you get cut out - as opposed to milling where there has to be an allowance for the milling cutter - sorted out in the software or not.

Beware that many of the cheaper (lower power) machines are designed for the textiles industry, but I figured out that about $25 000 will cut 1/16 balsa at a reasonable rate

Regards, John
Nov 11, 2001, 02:10 PM
Mountain Models Wannabe
CoClimber's Avatar
I just installed a laser cutter for Mountain Models. I was lucky to find a great deal on a used one but, as was mentioned before, the tube will wear out and they are EXPENSIVE. A new unit will run ~$23K and you will need a high quality blower ($$) along with other installation issues.

Unless you can really justify it, you are better farming the work out. Expect to pay $30-$60 per laser hour plus a setup fee. That's cheap compared to the laser itself.

Doug Binder
Nov 12, 2001, 11:41 AM
Registered User

CNC Router

I built my own CNC router about 3 years ago from an old Dan Mauch circuit board driller plan in Nuts & Volts magazine plus a 3 axis motion control system from and misc scrounged parts. It has a shop vac powered 12" X 12" vacuum table to hold the sheet stock down and a Porter Cable 23,000 rpm trim router. I cut thin ply & balsa with 1/16" or 1/8" carbide bits. There is a big learning curve and it takes more time than the old methods. It is a great hobby in itself, if you are willing to make the committment of time, $$$ & energy. I spent about $650.00 on mine. I would suggest learning to design your models in a 2D CAD package and becoming quite fluent in that world before even thinking about CNC, either laser or router. There are several companies out there now that sell kits, parts or complete rigs....just do the old web searcharoo!

Milton Dickey

Here's a pic:
Nov 12, 2001, 04:02 PM
Almost a Pilot
Mauilvr's Avatar
That's a VERY impressive piece of machinery you "scrounged" together. GREAT JOB!
Nov 12, 2001, 06:23 PM
Registered User
Hi mauilvr,

Thanks I had a few doubts early on about the thing and my wife thought I was completely nuts while I was building it! She and the kids now think it's pretty cool....I built us a new cedar mailbox with our name and street number engraved on it and a walnut tape dispenser for each of 'em with their name engraved it; plus several other 'round the house projects that have shown them that it can earn it's keep. (Plus make some REALLY accurate toy airplane parts!)
Nov 12, 2001, 06:42 PM
Almost a Pilot
Mauilvr's Avatar
toy airplane parts
The correct term is "model aircraft assemblies".
Nov 12, 2001, 07:09 PM
Hitec/Multiplex USA
MikeMayberry's Avatar is a great source for laser cutting.
Nov 12, 2001, 09:58 PM
Designing on the edge
AerodromeRC's Avatar
I use a relatively low cost desktop CNC the MaxNC 5 from MaxNC MaxNC web site It uses a Dremel tool with 1/32" dia carbide bits. I bought the fancier software, DOS based but it does have tool radius compensation so I can get parts of the exact size that I need. Connects to the printer port of an old obsolete PC. The down side is that it can only cut parts ~8" long. But for formers and ribs it is fantastic. I have made several models with it and it really works. It makes scratch building a much more enjoyable process. Now I can just make up a complex part exactly at will rather than fumbling with my scroll saw, band saw and belt sander and I can go get a cup of coffee while it works. I plan use it to prototype parts for models that I want to send to a laser cutter firm for making up a kit.
Last edited by AerodromeRC; Nov 12, 2001 at 10:01 PM.

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