Low-cost Diode Laser Buy

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First, thank you for your interest in this project. One of the best features of our community is the opportunity to collaborate, learn from each other, and have a good time doing it. I’m looking forward to this group build!

Second, we have some decisions to make. This note is to share a few ideas with you. With input and a little more research we’ll reach a conclusion on which laser etcher to buy. Do not feel as though you need to participate in this discussion . It will be technical and not everybody’s cup of tea; waiting for the final decision and going with the flow is perfectly fine alternative.

OK, so, what I believe that what we’re shooting for are:

  • diode laser
  • controlled by LightBurn
  • supports grey scale
  • $250 - $350 cost

The variables we will need to lock down are:

  • power of the laser
  • cutting area of the laser
  • optional features:
    • end stops
    • SD card reader

LightBurn compatibility comes from GRBL 1.1 support but grey scale support isn’t guaranteed. Cutting areas start around 6"x 6" and up. Power options start at 0.5 watts up through 20 watts. Making choices on these is how we’ll arrive at our selection.

Here are two examples:

NEJE Master 7watt

6"x 6" cutting area, 7 watt, GRBL (but don’t know version or grey scale), $225

EleksLaser-A3 Pro

12"x 15" cutting area, 2.5 watt, GRBL (1.1, upgradable w/greyscale), $350

Your input is welcome and feel free to search for options.

I’d like to quickly get down to one to buy for testing .

If results are good then we can buy in volume.

Thoughts? Travis

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Evidence that hunting around can produce good options.

While there may be trade offs, the EleksLaser can be found cheaper.

This A3-Pro is $300 though delivery time and support may be inferior to the first.

Keep looking and thinking and sharing your idea.

After a week or so I’ll start narrowing it down.

Thanks for your interest in this project.

Cheers, Travis

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Product availability i.e. delivery time might be an important criterion for some.

Definitely true!

Shipments from China seem to have slowed significantly due to the Coronavirus outbreak. U.S. inventories of Chinese products will quickly be depleted. So far I don’t think I’ve even seen a low-priced laser that wasn’t significantly made from Chinese parts.

To my thinking, the three variable that most define a decision are 1) cost 2) etching area and 3) laser power. Can people live with a 6”x6” etching area? If so then we can get one with a more powerful laser at a cheap price. Scaling up to 12”x15” could almost double the price to $450+.

I’m inclined to start with one smaller, more powerful laser on-the-cheap and test it. Support for LightBurn and greyscale won’t be assured until I buy one and run through a series of tests. To James’ point, if we get a smaller one those who want to upgrade can hack it … which is plenty of fun all by itself.

We already have huge lasers at our disposal.

Reactions? Travis

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I’m thinking I’ll get one of these for us to review.

Ortur Laser Master 15W Desktop Laser Engraver

Jason of LightBurn says this works with his software. It has a 32 bit processor, supports GRBL and gray scale, and several safety features not usually seen. Check out the extensive detail at the link. It’s 15 watt input power (5 watt output?) and etches roughly 6”x6” but we have access to powerful lasers and a small footprint was said to be important to most of you. This one can be tucked away or disassembled in minutes for quick storage.

Oh, did I mention that it only costs $175 and ships from a Canadian warehouse?

My intent is to buy one, test it, and meet with you all to look it over.

If others are interested then they can jump on board too.

Please Look at the site and send any thoughts.

I’ll likely pull the trigger tonight.


---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: LightBurn Software <lightburnsoftware@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Jan 30, 2020 at 1:50 PM
Subject: Re: Laser Etcher and LightBurn
To: Travis Good <travisgood@gmail.com>

That one specifically does, I believe.

Any of the EleksLaser systems work, but they’re generally 8 bit, and don’t include limit switches.

Look for units that specifically say they use GRBL firmware, or work with LaserGRBL (the one you linked does).


On Thu, Jan 30, 2020 at 2:06 AM Travis Good <travisgood@gmail.com> wrote:

I’m gathering people to do a group buy of a small (6”x 6”) low-wattage laser. More for learning purposes than anything serious, this is meant to be a group development exercise. So far we have about 10 members interested.

Do you know of any of these type machines that work with the GRBL version of LightBurn?

Ortur Laser Master 7W Black US Plug 7W Laser Engraving Machine Sale, Price & Reviews| Gearbest Mobile


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What difference 5 watts makes I don’t know but I included Richard and Alan on this distribution list because they have experience with these lasers. Alan? Richard? Opinion?

These “X watt” lasers are measured on the input side and from what I gather the output is roughly X/3. So 15 watts was Integer Math and 20 takes us into repeating decimal territory. :slightly_smiling_face:

Lastly, the difference in price is significant between the 15 watt ($175) and 20 watt ($250). Since this was a test I figured I’d go for almost-full-on power. With the savings I can buy my wife a better Valentine’s Day gift. :blush:

Thanks for you input. Travis

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OK, I’ve ordered one and will let folk know when it arrives.

It ships Feb 12 - Feb 17 then 3-10 days shipping.

Cost was $175 and shipping was $7.

Cheers, Travis

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We’re going on two weeks and the laser still hasn’t shipped yet.

To keep you in the loop and interested, here’s a video.

It describes unboxing and set-up of the laser,

I figure this should keep you occupied for another few days. :slight_smile:

Will keep you posted with any new developments. Travis

The Ortur laser has arrived and I’ll bring it to the SIG meeting.


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Ordered the 15W US plug from China on Feb 29th.

Ordered on Saturday from HongKong, arrived today. Still have to disinfect the packaging!

Anybody else receive their Ortur Diode Laser yet?

I’m still not up and running, though I have been working with Ortur on getting there. I needed to install new base software and then new firmware and had a snafu there. The files need to be unzipped first to a directory and then copied into the laser. Even though the zip file shows the files inside, and lets you copy them into the laser which seems to accept them, they aren’t actually unzipped although there is no clue that is so except that they don’t work.

Still having sporadic communications between LB and the laser. Expecting a new firmware update on Saturday.

If someone else knows about these things or is up in running, I’d love to hear from you…
kremsdorf@gmail.com or reply here.

I ordered mine on Feb 28 and have not heard anything about when to expect it.

Marty, on GearBest website you can check on your order status.

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Ok I’m breaking down and ordering one more laser.

Just so I can be like all the other cool kids on the block. (And I cant make Lightburn work with the neje)

It should be here in a week.




Ok, I ordered one on March 1st. Although my card was charged, and I’ve pressed “Process Faster” a couple of times, it has still not shipped. Oh, by the way, I ordered the 20W laser. More POWER. I hope that wasn’t a mistake.

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I’m going to learn LightBurn, so I installed it on my Mac. Since I don’t yet have a laser, it crashes everytime it goes out to look for one.

I have learned, thought, that if you simply close the dialog box that says it is going to go look for one (rather than clicking OK or Cancel) it lets you proceed without crashing.

Off to the lessons.


That’s funny, I must have pressed that “Process Faster” button a dozen times … nothing. I think it’s nothing more than an outlet for impatient people to futilely relieve themselves with a hollow promise. :joy:

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FYI, there’s a Laser Intro class being taught on the 20th by Evan.

I think I finally have the laser working. I got the 20watt version though I’m sure that different affect my startup woes. So far I have turned off both computer and laser and been able to power back up and have it work 4 times. I couldn’t get it to work at all before so this is a big step forward.

I think we should invite ortur@ortur3dprinter.com to join our forum… Not sure how to do that.