My school district has asked me to do some research on potentially getting an etcher/engraver/cutter for balsa wood, acrylic and/or glass.Anybody have experience in any of these for the TLDR lowdown on costs, complexity, what language packages (java, c, python) would be used, any odds and ends with your experiences would be appreciated.To offset/recoup some of the costs I'm imaging something like pictured with school logos or name badges, etc.
/3dpg/ is probably the place to ask.understand that etching, engraving, and cutting are three different things and will require three different setups.without going bottom-of-the-barrel amazon chinkshit, you're looking at between $600-$1k per machine. or you could get something like a snapmaker, which 3d prints, has a cnc router, and up to a 10w laser head. people will shit on it>hurrr it does three things so it does none of them wellit does them well enough. i have one and use it for all three functions in a professional environment (not my garage) and get good results. my only complaints about it is that it's slow, and i wish it had more useful accessories. (e.g., a tool setter for the router, or even an auto tool changer.)the 3d printer prints. not much to say about that.the router will do wood and plastic and shit all day long. i've done aluminum on mine - cutting panels for switches and d-sub connectors and shit into 3/16 box tube.the 2w laser will just etch/engrave acrylic and wood and shit. the 10w laser will engrave softer metals (brass, aluminum) readily, but stuff like steel will require prep, either ceramark spray or other surface conditioning in order to take an etch.i'm happy with mine. it was a good babby's first cnc, but i've already outgrown it.kids just fucking around to learn it should be fine.
>>2583015You don't need to program in any language. My engraver, some cheap Chinese shit from Amazon, uses an instruction language called gcode but it's common enough that LaserGRBL can convert raster or vector images to gcode. For vector images there's Inkscape and GIMP/Glimpse.Whatever you go with, you'll also want to manage the fumes that will occur from vaporizing shit with a laser. Depending on how you do it, it might end up costing as much as or more than the fucking cutter. If your school has labs with proper fume hoods you might be set already.Expect to fuck up, especially when you're trying to figure out the speed and power for a new material.
>>2583015A budget professional one would run you $3k-$8k. Yes the Chinese k40 is only $500 but you’d have to jerry rig fume extraction and proper grounding and should things go wrong it doesn’t have any kind of safety certification. Check out the flux beamo for a very small affordable machine or glowforge for a bigger more expensive one.There’s also OMTech which uses the Chinese designs but adapts them to us market with more quality parts and modifications, their reputation is pretty good but I don’t know if the machines are compliant No programming needed, it’s almost all grbl these days especially for low end machines so you draw in any vector/cad program and use a cam program to get the right gcode. Some lasers ship with a drawing program / g code generator / g code sender, often pretty low quality but there are good free and paid alternatives online
Thoughts on this?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=td4DWtMY7SQ