Friday, September 20, 2013

Full spectrum laser 5th generation setup part one

So I finally did it.  I finally bought my own laser. (insert laser noises here) After a lot of begging, saving and research I decided to go with the 5th generation laser from Full spectrum.  I have read a lot about full spectrum lasers here and there.  Some bad reviews, some good.  I asked a few people who I trust to try and get info directly from the horses mouth.  They had a lot to say. So putting all that together and stirring it up This is what came out:

The machine is pretty simple but it is not a plug and play system.  As a matter of fact, if you order one it is going to take some work to get it going.  I was fully prepared to jump through some hoops.  It has only been 48 hours and I have already been to the hardware store three times.  

This is going to be a three part review.

  After I opened everything and took inventory I realized that there were parts missing.  The hose to the air compressor and for the life of me I thought that I ordered an exhaust unit but according to the them I didn't.  Unfortunately there is no way to track what I ordered just when I ordered it.  I am sure there is a way to correct that full spectrum.  I searched all of my emails and they all just said things like..."thank you for ordering ORDER 1826838" and "your order of 1828383 will arrive shortly"  If you are going to drop a couple grand on something it would be reassuring to know what you should expect in the box and confirm that yes you did order the full spectrum 5th generation laser with an exhaust unit.  No you will not need to buy one because yes it comes in the box.  To their credit there was an inventory checklist in the box.  Of course the list was wrong and the line where it said "check by:_____" was blank.  On the list the check box for the exhaust and the air compressor tube is clearly checked.  Off to the hardware store! 

It was delivered by FedEx.  The box is large but not too large.  If you live in an apartment complex it might be too large for delivery.  I just had the guy put it directly into my car.  It took about three weeks for the laser to arrive so I had plenty of time to map out where the laser was going to go.  I had a large-ish table ready to receive it near a window for ventilation (which of course silly me I forgot to order) and a plug. I also made an insert to receive the hose for the exhaust.  

After opening the box there was a sheet that said STOP,READ THIS NOW.  So I did.  It said to open the boxes and hook up the air compressor, water pump, exhaust etc then plug in your computer, install the software from a link provided and to read the owners manual (also from a link).  If I had done that I would have probably ruined the machine.  After reading a bit more on their website and watching the setup video there are about a dozen zip ties that need to be clipped to allow the gantry to move and of course there was no hose for the air pump.  I had to go buy a bucket and three gallons of distilled water before even thinking about turning on the machine.  There is no mention of making sure the inlet and outlet are correct on the water pump.  This is crucial to keep your tube cool so it wont burn up.  That would have been a couple hundred dollar mistake.   

Some good things:  The machine appears to be built well.  It is very streamlined. Very different from what I was expecting.  I kind of like that some of the info was left out.  I like to problem solve  and I immediately saw the zip ties and knew they had to be removed.  It is like removing the tape from the ink cartridge or removing the sales tag from a shirt. They should think about switching to red zip ties and add a line of text that reads "cut the red zip ties".  I had low expectations. Not super low but I had a good idea what I was getting into.  There were a lot of complaints online about the quality of the machine where there were bent pieces, missing parts etc.  These complaints that I read on other forums seemed kind of whiney to me.  Those problems were obviously from shipping and they must of solved that because my laser was perfect (it was still calibrated from the factory)  I did a lot of research and apart from the occasional bad circuit board, nothing seemed to far out of my skill set to repair.  Also, this is really what I could afford.  It was a middle of the road model not a $1000 Chinese laser and not a 16k "made in the USA" laser.  

I was really tired of going back and forth to school all the time to use the laser at work.  I hope that this will streamline my work and I will be able to produce more.  I imagine that I will use it for all kinds of things in my work, not just etching enamel.  Dies for the press, packaging, stencils, signage, labeling, resist for etching, etc.  

So right now I am at a stopping point until I grab my PC from work, get an exhaust fan and find more time to tinker.  I will report back soon.  Until then see the photos below. 



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2 comments:

  1. You a shop teacher, too.
    I'm having rastering issues, vector culturing works fine

    ReplyDelete