After waiting for months for the arrival of my SnapMaker 2 A350, it is finally here. Very excited to try it out and the assembly process was a breeze. Of all the 3 functions, 3D printing, CNC and laser cutting, my passion lies with laser cutting, my first set up was the laser cutting/engraving module.
Loading my svg file into the provided software SnapMaker Luban, converting to G-Code and sending the file to the machine via WIFI was effortless.
So I began my first laser cutting process. With the provided safety goggles on, I can see the sparks of the 1600mW laser right in front of me and the smoke coming of the cutting process was rather choking, probably will need to invest on the USD599 enclosure module to be safer at home before burning my house down with this class 4 laser.
After 8 passes of full power on my 3mm plywood (rather slow), my first laser cut project was completed. Removed the piece, and to my disappointment, the laser was not powerful to cut through my 3mm plywood fully, some areas were ok but the finer details were still un-cut. Rather disappointing. Decided to go back to the drawing board to find a way to solve this issue.
I decided to generate the g-code of the reflected cut lines and run through the plywood on the other side, probably not the smartest idea as the cutting platform did not come with any ruler or sorts. I need to manually align the plywood using the manual mode on the machine to do that. As I am using this round to go through another pass on the other side, I only done 2 passes for this.
After 20 minutes wait, the cut on the other side is finally done, managed to complete my project, but it took me 4~5hrs just to cut this 50mm x 50mm project, and the finishing was only so-so.
My final take of the laser cutting module of the SnapMaker 2 laser module:
Easy to use software
Laser exposed – safety concerns to cut/engrave with no enclosure
Extremely slow to cut, probably need a more powerful laser, but that will increase the dangers of the exposed laser
8 + 2 Passes to cut a 3mm plywood
As I am doing some projects that will need speed, precision and safety, the SnapMaker is really a no no, thus I start sourcing around for a reliable laser cutter (45w) that I can use safely at home. After some googling, I found some China made ones, Glowforge and a surprise local contender Lionsforge. Skipped the China ones as I am worried about the software support (Chinese manuals) and the safety aspect of the machines. I am left with Lionsforge and Glowforge, I decided to give Lionsforge a text and arrange for a demo, while still reading about Glowforge online.
Glowforge looks good in regards to what they have said on their website (probably like any American brands with a strong marketing arm) but the price (about $S9,000 with tax + delivery cost) really kindda turned me off, and once bitten twice shy, I am worried that it will become another SnapMaker experience.
I didn’t really wait too long for someone called Kee Wee to revert to me from Lionsforge to arrange for a demo. I visited his workshop at WCEGA Plaza for the demo. Kee Wee gave me a quick “education” on the different types of lasers and the safety aspects to look out for when looking for a laser cutting machine. He followed-on to give me a demo of the Craftlaser to cut a rather complex “春” word with some complicated flowers all around. Normally that will take me like 8hrs to cut on the SnapMaker (remembering I need to cut both sides of the wood). To my surpsise, we too less than 3 minutes to get the job done, and with precision too! I am really impressed, I think I’ve found what I am looking for! Kee Wee then follow on to explain to me how I can do some simple configuration changes to his machine if my cutting load increases.
Lionsforge does give me the impression that they are really passionate with what their doing, also for them being local, I am sure there will be good support as compared with an American firm thousand miles away(Cheaper by a few thousand too). It really didn’t take me too long to make the decision to invest on the Craftlaser.
Collected my Craftlaser over the weekend and did some simple projects on it, no big complaints other than the noise it produces that I am worried that my neighbours will not like it. Anyway, this should not be too big of an issue if I just close the windows and switch on the aircon. You can’t have the best of all world!
My take on Craftlaser
No WIFI support
Sound like an aircon compressor indoorsDarren kek