Darkly Labs Community

Emblaser 1 vs Emblaser2 - Laser Newbie

Hi all.

I am wondering if anyone can help me in my decision to invest in a laser cutter. Been lurking around a long time, but have decided I need to get stuck into this now! I am leaning toward buying the Emblaser 1 as I don’t want to wait for the 2, but I just want to make sure it suits my needs (if the Emblaser 1 doesnt, I will just have to wait!)

I come from the world of die cutting and am looking to invest in this machine to up my craft game and hopefully start a little side something. I have absolutely no knowledge of laser cuttting or related concepts so i have a few questions, i hope you can help. i am familiar with illustrator and vectors though.

If there is another place my concerns can be addressed and this is not the right area please let me know.

  • can E1 cut clear acrylic if the acrylic is covered by something opaque (lets say a piece of self adhesive paper?). i understand transparent material is difficult to cut

  • have seen reviews suggesting the E1 cannot cut acrylic. I am assuming it’s because those who tried used something thicker than 2mm, because there are acrylic projects on this forum?

  • would I be able to etch deep enough into acrylic with the E1 to create some kind of ‘faux letterpress’ plate? so like a 3d relief where i can ink the text and press onto paper, or to use as a cookie stamp?

  • would it be able to cut a material like neoprene?

  • the assembly is scaring me. can i pay someone for a service like that?

Thanks in advance.

 

 

 

In no particular order:

Assembly is quite easy, but consider to find a local makerspace if you don’t want to take on building an E1.

A quick search indicates that neoprene when cut releases chlorine gas. Even if you do not inhale the gas, it will destroy components of the laser.

Only certain colors of acrylic up to 3 mm can be cut with the E1. Clear acrylic with backing paper will etch in an inconsistent manner. Clear acrylic with other coatings will etch in an inconsistent manner.

If you pick a suitable color of acrylic, you would be able to etch away to approximately 3mm depth the areas around a letterpress type plate. Expect many hours to be expended, as the area involved is the inverse of a normal etch/cut operation. That is to say, if a single letter takes 60 seconds, the area around it could be a half hour process.

If you are familiar with Illustrator and managing vector graphics, you are halfway there.

There are a number of features in the E2 that make it desirable. I suggest that a wait would make your experience all the more enjoyable, having the E2 instead of the E1.

Hi Maria, to be honest, if your primary goal is to engrave and cut acrylic I think you will really struggle with the Emblaser1.

For wood, card, leather and other materials the Emblaser1 is a brilliant machine, especially considering the price, but although I have managed to cut and engrave acrylic, it’s really only able to perform well with dark coloured and opaque acrylic up to approx 3mm as Fred has said.

I was initially going to buy the Glowforge laser cutter, but that was months ago, and as far as I know units still aren’t shipping yet, and obviously it’s much more expensive.

The Emblaser 2 was announced just a few weeks after I purchased my Emblaser 1, typical! but I’m still glad I got it as it can do the vast majority of cutting and engraving I need, although if I was in your shoes I think I’d wait and get the Emblaser 2.

Don’t know if that helps or not, but at least it’s another opinion :slight_smile:

Hi Maria,

Plastics are always difficult with laser diode systems. Not to get too technical, the frequency of laser light produced tends to pass directly through non-opaque materials and hence be ineffective. Combine this with power levels of 4 watts and often requiring a number of passes to get all the way through a material is not ideal for plastics.

We certainly have customers who are achieving great results with plastics like acrylic, but they are usually dark colors (black) and limited in thickness.

The E2 has a few features which should improve the ability to cut plastics. Apart from a more powerful laser unit, you have the ability to control the height of the laser with multiple passes over a material. There is also the air-assist system which will result in a cleaner cut, especially in plastics which tend to melt and re-join when cooling after a cut.

We are testing these things right now and are not quite ready to start posting results. As soon as we have more information we will share it.

Wow thanks everyone with the feedback. My instinct is to wait but my impatience might win out. I will have to give myself a deadline. Thanks again.