[hackerspaces] Choosing a laser cutter

Mikkel Kirkgaard Nielsen miki at mikini.dk
Tue Nov 28 03:46:57 CET 2017

Hello list.

On 2017-11-27 12:00, discuss-request at lists.hackerspaces.org wrote:
> I'm worried about spending a lot of members' money on a low-quality
> device with no customer support and no warranty. On the other hand, it
> can very well be that some of the 'made in EU' lasers are just
> re-branded ones. We're aiming to spend up to 12k Euros on the cutter.

I suspect the same, some of them seems like just beefed up/Europeanized
versions of those available from China. We settled on the Bodor below
after having considering a local brand mostly for the support and
warranty. Got ourself a way more capable machine by going for the Bodor

> http://www.bodor.com/Fiber_Laser/CO2/2017-10-19/366.html (5.6k E)

We acquired a Bodor BCL1309X 150W for our space in Esbjerg, Denmark
[1][2] this August.

It generally has good build quality, mechanical design supposedly done
by some Swiss entity, but obviously manufactured in China. Electrically
ok but a bit edgy (I'm the electronics guy); wiring without strain
relief, too much hot glue, no CE plugs etc.

I won't say much about the controller/software other than it is a RuiDa
RDC6442G[3] controller (apparently very commonly used in China machines)
with matching RDWorks CAM software. This set is completely proprietary,
hopelessly translated, GUI an annoyance and then search for more
flaming. You can, however, download[4] and evaluate the software and
look at controller documentation before buying to know what to expect.
It is not locked other than needing a RuiDa controller board to actually
do some burning.

Haven't found any open alternatives for the software side, closest
alternative is a guy[5][6] doing a closed source reverse engineering of
the protocol and rewrite of the RDWorks gui.

We have had an issue lately with the laser tube fluctuating in power
when engraving, but after a troubleshooting session with Bodor support
they sent a new tube without much trouble.

We are all pretty new to lasers here and still not completely up to par
with making good use of it. But learning as we go along.

If you need more specific information, ask away. Most of the info I've
gathered is behind login on our wiki, I'll see if I can free some of it
for public consumption (it's mostly in Danish).

If you fancy Facebook some people has shared a couple of
shots[7][8][9][10] of the machine arriving (400 kg in a big unhandy box)
and being installed.

Happy photon slinging,

[1] http://www.geeklabs.dk/
[2] https://wiki.hackerspaces.org/GeekLabs
[5] https://hackaday.io/project/28025-lightburn-laser-software
[6] https://www.facebook.com/LightBurnLaser/
[7] https://www.facebook.com/groups/GeekLabs.dk/permalink/1820458614649653/
[8] https://www.facebook.com/groups/GeekLabs.dk/permalink/1820207934674721/
[9] https://www.facebook.com/groups/GeekLabs.dk/permalink/1824863037542544/
[10] https://www.facebook.com/groups/GeekLabs.dk/permalink/1823517987677049/

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