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Forum topic by BrandonR posted 03-13-2015 02:36 AM 612 views 1 time favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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64 posts in 1711 days

03-13-2015 02:36 AM

I have more and more clients asking about personalization in my products…

I am really interested in buying a laser. My wife has a background in graphic design, but not the specific programs that go with an engraver… but needless to say I think she would have higher learning curve than others…

Curious if others have gone down this road and have a recommendation in a laser. We just want something simple to do small projects, probably no bigger than 18×18….

Any suggestions would be great. Seems so overwhelming as just googling it…. huge investment where can’t really talk to anyone face to face….

3 replies so far

View JAAune's profile


1614 posts in 1734 days

#1 posted 03-13-2015 03:11 AM

I’d recommend a Universal over an Epilog. It’s cheaper to maintain and Universal seems to have better long term support. I’m running a 7-year old X-660 at the moment and the company has been excellent servicing it despite me being the second owner.

If you’re doing high-volume raster engraving (writing, photos, etc.) then take a good look at Trotec. They seem to have the market dominated for high-speed rastering but I haven’t had the chance to use their machines myself.

Be aware that lasers need to be used. If it sits idle, the laser tube will degrade faster. Use it every day and it’ll last longer between recharges. On my 40watt machine, a recharge is just over a $1,000. With my usage it’ll probably need recharging every 4-5 years.

Industry standard for lasers is Corel Draw but you can print from other programs like CAD. I personally find Sketchup combined with Scribus to be easy and cheap.

My website has a page that gives basic information on how to setup laser cutting/engraving files. It’s very simple – especially if you have a decent machine with good control software (USA made and not imports). Newer machines are even better than mine.

That’s with an older Universal machine. If you are interested in going that route, I’d be able to help you out more. I’m not familiar with the Epilog or Trotec settings.

-- See my work at and

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1614 posts in 1734 days

#2 posted 03-13-2015 03:22 AM

I just noticed that you’re an Illinois resident. St. Louis is a bit far away from us but if you really want to do your research before making a purchase, you’d be welcome to visit our shop near Kankakee.

-- See my work at and

View helluvawreck's profile


22669 posts in 2284 days

#3 posted 03-13-2015 04:50 PM

I purchased an Epilog Helix 50W with 18 in by 24 in table. I bought it at a discount last August at the Atlanta Woodworking Fair after I had been looking at them for years. I am having a lot of fun developing a line of products for an online store and will probably open an Etsy store in a month or so. I have looked at the Universal machines and were impressed by those also. However, the local Epilog distributor for Georgia and Florida is only 40 miles from my house. He is a very nice guy and I have been treated well by him and Epilog. If I have any problems I can go over to his location an pick his brain and he welcomes this. I have retired but my wife has a good job and will be working for another 3 or 4 years, God willing. This will give me time to turn it into a going business for our retirement income. We have built a nice woodworking shop and have added on a laser engraving addition. I believe that the two businesses will compliment each other. In the future I would like to add a CNC router and another laser or two if God be willing.

I don’t think that you will have any problems if that is what you want to do. However, I also believe that the machine should be used frequently and it needs to be kept clean. It’s not a good idea for it to be exposed to dust. It should be in a separate dust free room from the shop.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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