Big laser purchasing checklist

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Hive13 Project
Big Laser Purchase
BFL 9000.jpg
Status: Completed
Start Date: 01/01/2015
End Date: 07/21/2015


Goal

We are looking at purchasing a larger laser cutter from g.weike (aka wklaser).

We received a quote for their lc1512 machine. It has a cutting area of 1.5mx1.2m!

Cost

Base cost:

  • 60w - $4050
  • 80w - $4200 (most popular option)
  • 100w - $4400
  • 150w - $4800

Comes with:

  • Blower (which we don't really need)
  • air pump (which we may not need in a few months if we run compressed air to the fablab)
  • honey comb table

Optional accessories:

  • powered z axis/table - $200
  • Rotary tool - $300
  • "red dot" (sighting laser) - $100 (I was offered this for free as a first time "present")
  • auto focus - $150
  • Chiller - $400
  • air filter - $500
  • USB control system - $100 (I was offered this for free as a first time "present)
  • Spare 80w tube - $350 (I was offered half price)
  • Spare 100w tube - $1000 (I was offered half price)

Unknowns:

  • Shipping and customs: probably around $2k? Possibly higher, possibly lower.

Planning

The quote received in September will still be honored.

Time from order to the port in China will be three weeks.

Time from Chinese port to US port could be a month or two.

Time from US port to the Hive shouldn't take more than a week?

Lay out how large the laser cutter is and what a good configuration would be in the fab lab.

Set up fund raising and spread it everywhere!

Figure out how we will split ventilation and compressed air between our two laser cutters.

Run power into the fablab

The large laser will draw on the order of 800W+ while cutting and the chiller will draw 600W+ with large spikes on turn on. 220V will provide spare power in this situation vs 120V where we would be consuming a significant portion of a 20A drop.

Selling one of the current laser cutters

Jim Dallam will be heading the effort to sell one of our current laser cutters. The two options (and pros/cons) are:

  • The accuris laser
    • Probably more valuable
    • No one knows how to really use it
    • Would require extra software
    • Higher quality cutter?
  • The g.weike laser
    • Less valuable
    • Would share software with the big laser
    • Lower quality than the accuris?

Action!

Laser options

We ended up ordering the LC1512 laser with the following options:

  • 100W tube
  • Powered Z axis
  • Rotary engraver
  • CW500 chiller
  • Red sighting laser
  • Auto focus
  • USB controller
  • 1.5", 2.5" and 4" focus lenses

The total cost (not including shipping inside of the US, but including shipping to a US port) was $5345 including wire transfer costs.

Shipping

The laser was loaded on a container ship on June 20th, 2015. It is estimated to arrive in Prince Albert Sound on July 3rd, 2015 and in Chicago on July 10th, 2015.

The cost to ship it from Prince Albert Sound to Chicago was $307.50.

The cost of customs and shipping from Chicago to Cincinnati was $830.

End Result

The laser ended up costing about $6500 including all customs fees, shipping, brokerage fees, etc. The order was placed with G.Weike on April 18th and the laser arrived at our door on July 21st.

Things I would do differently

Make sure you tell them what name will be on checks/wire transfers. This caused some initial confusion and worry.

I would just use Panda Logistics in the future. I did not know they would be using Panda Logistics to get it in to the US so I had to sort of juggle two separate logistics companies in the middle of shipping.