About this project
Finally, an affordable US assembled LASER cutter / engraver with great capabilities and easy to use print driver at a price that non-big businesses can afford.
We designed this LASER from the ground up to set a new standard in affordable LASER technology for precision cutting and engraving. It has numerous features that make it the best LASER the world has ever seen at this price point.
There is a 20"x12" work area, high quality (metal terminal) 40w CO2 LASER tube and precision CNC made hardware to deliver never before seen quality at this level of affordability. The precision built mirror mounts reduce the need for post factory alignment. The beam combiner is also built in standard at the #1 mirror. Novel sliding lens holder and removable floor allow materials of any size to be placed beneath the LASER.
-Design = DONE
-Functional prototype = DONE
-First batch assembly = in progress! but our first batch is relatively small. Everything is in place to scale up just as soon as this kickstarter is funded.
When it is released for $3,499 it will be the best LASER under $10k on the market. For most tasks the output of our laser is comparable to vastly more expensive units. Take the following comparison for example.
We found the design online and repeated it on the back.
Just for fun.
... and with our removable bed our new 5th Generation Hobby Laser could actually engrave a surface that large - in many 20"x12" increments.
This new laser is the best we've come up with. It has better performance and more features than any laser ever released at this price point and built in the USA. We hope you will fund this kickstarter and get to own one of these amazing machines! We have done everything already. Design, prototype, even the first batch is under way. A kickstart could boost our production speed to the next level. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
The new design turned a lot of heads. Especially when we matched the output of the more expensive laser. (Note: the sparkly LEDs behind the grill are only for show and will not be included in the production model, but you can certainly add them yourself when you get yours!)
Same external footprint and lighter, it can still ship with FedEx or UPS.
We're really proud of our new laser. We've been working on it, really ever since we came together in our founders garage a few years ago. This is the ultimate realization of everything we believed a desktop laser could be at a price that we knew we could make it for! We're finally done designing, prototyping and assembling it all here in Las Vegas. We're thrilled with how it turned out and we believe that at this price and these capabilities it can be a real game-changer, finally providing LASER capabilities to a broader audience and thus greatly enabling the Maker Movement. At the price I can't think of a better tool to start or to continue making things yourself or to start or enhance your business. Whether for your satisfaction or for your business this LASER can do things no other tool can and is useful in so many applications. We hope you get one and that you like it as much as we do!
Here are just a few examples of the cuts and engravings you can make with a LASER like this. With this tool you'll be able to cut up to about 1/4" in acrylic, soft/medium wood, card stock, MDF, fabrics, leather etc., and engrave on many other materials. Please visit facebook.com/fslaser for many more examples by us and our customers.
The infrared from a CO2 laser is great for etching the color out of anodized metals like this black anodized piece above. For bare metal you need to use a spray called Thermark. It allows you to mark bare metal black.
Amazing for model making!
Model making is of course needed for many careers. Set design, architecture, hobbyist, artists, curators - many people need the ability to quickly and precisely cut pieces to construct scale models. The repeatability is key. Imagine cutting all the parts for something highly repeatable like a model picket fence by hand! Once you have the design it can be endlessly replicated with the laser.
Cutting Grip Tape (No more cramping hands and dull razor blades!)
Precision cutting even on tough materials: Anyone who's cut grip tape the old fashioned way (with razor blade) knows how the stuff eats through blades like no other and the wear and tear it puts on your hand!. Plus cutting things like perfect circles are really, really hard to do by hand. Skateboard shops make simple cuts by folding the grip tape over the edge and running a screwdriver over the edge to make a rip zone. In this design that was not possible. Using Corel Draw I easily drew the design overlayed on a digital photo of the part I took with my phone scaled to real life size. Then simply hit print and sent it to the Hobby Laser. The 40w cut tube through the rugged grip tape like butter with zero dull blades and without giving myself carpal tunnel syndrome! :)
Acrylic Cutting and Engraving.
Acrylic is an ideal plastic for use with CO2 lasers. CO2 lasers produce infrared which melts the plastic smoothly when vectoring and engraves nicely when rastering (especially for cast acrylic).
Just imagine the difficulty - no impossibility of trying to achieve this fine a cut without a laser. Simply not possible even for the best scroll saw artists.
Engraving work is also very valuable:
Our print driver Retina Engrave lets you "invert" bitmaps so you can engrave the negative or positive space at the push of a button, as shown above.
It is also possible to engrave photos with this laser:
Dithering is the process of taking a gradient bitmap like a grey scale image and converting it into a 1 bit bitmap by translating areas of darkness to areas of denser pixel occurrence. Lighter areas have lower density of dark pixels. In Retina Engrave we give you two types of dithering algorithms to choose from built into the interface. So getting great results from photos is easy, no intermediary software required.
There are many, many more possibilities. Be sure to Like us on facebook and see what some of our customers have posted.
With cuts and engravings that no other tool can achieve it's easy to see why lasers have been staples of industry for several decades now. Thanks to this project you can finally have your own high-functioning LASER capable of giving you great results right out of the box with our full hardware/software solution.
This project gives you some great opportunities to make it pay for itself with return on investment because it can allow you to produce value literally out of thin air and some electricity (uses only a fraction of the power your average microwave oven does).
-Full Spectrum Laser, Las Vegas, NV.
We will include the following free accessories: honeycomb table, basic water pump. All you need is a bucket of water. If you intend to cut materials that produce smoke/fumes you will need an exhaust fan (we recommend 31810 or 94029 from Harbor Freight) and an air compressor (10CFM or better) to blow away smoke. The laser already has a standard 4" exhaust port and 1/4" air compressor port that goes to the laser head.
We can supply both 110v and 220v machines. Default is 110v. If you require a 220v, just tell us and we will make it 220v no extra charge. However you may need a plug adapter as we use generic power cables (same cable as a desktop computer so easily available).
We have now released an easy to use API for the laser over standard network sockets. This will allow anyone to program the laser to perform basic specific tasks and control external outputs. With this ability you can build all your own accessories like your own conveyor belt, indexer, video placement, etc!
Any type of computer can use the network interface including PCs, Macs, Linux, Android, iPhone, etc!
Example code is available in C#.
We are detailing it here on our forums: http://tinyurl.com/8gb87jc
Kind of. The laser itself doesn't require a computer and can run completely off the microSD card if desired. However currently the direct print driver to create new jobs is Windows specific. We have tested and confirmed VMWare running Windows 7 under Ubuntu or MacOS is no problem. No drivers are ever needed if using the microSD (just writes data to a file) or Ethernet interfaces (just writes data to an IP address).
We are also writing and beta testing a Cloud services web only interface for multi-platform job creation. Upload a file like a PDF and it will return a laserable .BIN file that you can copy to the microSD card to run your job.
However for the best experience we recommend a modern Windows 7 computer which can run the direct print driver allowing you to print from any program that can print even MS Word as shown in the video.
Since RetinaEngrave works with any program that prints you can print to a PDF file from Mac or Linux and reprint this PDF file on the Windows PC/VMWare session or just use our Cloud services.
Yes. We will release some CAD drawings of the removable floor frame to allow anyone to create their own various attachments.
A 40w CO2 LASER can easily cut up to about 1/4" of acrylic or soft or medium wood. It can cut other materials as well such as MDF, delrin, PET, cardstock, matte board, paper, felt, rubber, silicon, fabrics, denim, leather, etc. It can be used to mark under two conditions:
-If the metal is anodized or coated it will bleach the coloring.
-If it is a bare uncoated metal, some metals are compatible with Thermark - see thermark.com for full details examples and compatible metals and to purchase this material. If compatible it will leave a permanent black ceramically bonded surface mark.
-Metal cannot be cut at all. Stone and glass cannot be cut but both can be engraved.
Yes. The 4th generation hobby laser also had a beam combiner as an optional upgrade but it was difficult to install for many users. In this 5th generation model, the beam combiner was completely redesigned using our 3D CAD models and integrated in the design. These elements are also preinstalled during assembly.
We are planning a 90w tube upgrade for the laser. This will be released as a community project and the design files be released.
Yes call us during standard business hours 9am to 6pm PST at 702-605-0644.
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