I want to buy a 40w desktop laser engraver, but this machines are able to make 2.5D or 3D carving? and can a 3d laser software work with any laser mavhine or its only for reserved models of the same trademark?
Thanks in advanse for your help!
and congrats for your page, its very complete...
May 13, 2008
We do indeed have 40 watt laser systems with wattages climbing up to 600 watts but unfortunately 3D carving is not an available option. Since 3D ability was first introduced to the laser industry a number of years ago there hasn't been enough market potential or practical application to implement 3D ability in the CheckMate Lasers equipment. Although there are a couple of manufacturers that have the ability and seeing the final piece is indeed impressive there is no profitable market to target with this technology.
Allow me to elaborate. The very nature of 3D requires high peaks and low valleys to properly create a true 3D image. With that said a 3D image requires a tremendous amount of heat (hence the higher the wattage the better) done on materials that can withstand the intense heat. The only materials I've seen work well are certain softer hardwoods (white ash, poplar, maple, etc.). So hard woods are required to withstand the heat generated but the softer of these in order to allow the laser to remove enough material to effectively display a 3D image. This means full power at a very slow speed. So a 4" square image could take upwards of 45 minutes to an hour for optimal results, that being deep valley's and high peaks. See the 3D Fireplace image, the depth is only a 1/16" to 1/8" max, the overall size is 4 inches square and took nearly an hour to complete. How much do you think you could charge for this to make it profitable?
Another stumbling block to 3D is the software necessary to produce a quality three dimensional image that the laser system can reproduce. ArtCam Pro, SolidWorks & Type3 come to mind, but these applications can set you back $7500+ dollars, and this does not even factor in the training and intense and extensive learning curve.
So now that it has been established that time and software is a major factor in producing a good quality 3D image the next thing to consider is markets.
I've only come across only two companies in 13 years of selling laser systems that found a market that sounded right for a 3D producing laser system. That's hundreds of customers using many different laser brands across an 13 year time frame. Only 2 companies and the 1st, although "I" thought was a great idea, never implemented the 3D ability on their laser system into actual production. The time to complete simply was not profitable when it came time to "pay the piper."
So although 3D does look really cool, it has been nothing more than a marketing ploy, a "I have this feature, but they don't" a "wow that's really cool function", etc., etc., but not practical in a business for profit environment. For the few customers that have inquired into 3D with CheckMate Lasers my response is the following: "If your planning on doing 3D in a production environment with many pieces done on a any sort of consistent basis, then purchase a CNC router, these are much faster and designed to produce very good photo quality 3D (see the very impressive 3D router images below). If producing 3D only once in a while, then ensure your market can bear the high price necessary to justify the time involved to produce 3D (image creation & laser operation).
In closing, this is why CheckMate Lasers doesn't bother with "cool" features that can not make our laser systems easier to use or is not an income generating function.