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  1. #1
    150+ Forum Groupie Atomic_Sheep's Avatar
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    Laser vs Router Engraving

    I was just wondering, is there much of a difference between the quality of the two types of engraving? I'm picking out a CNC router but after reading a few posts and having a look at a few cockpit builds by people, some are using laser engraving and getting amazing results. Is it worth the extra money to either get the engraver or get the engraving done professionally or is it possible to all the work with just a CNC machine?

    I am at a loss at the moment as I was planning on just getting a CNC machine but after I realised a lot of people are laser engraving, I immediately went in search of engraver prices and was bitterly disappointed as I'm not in a position to get both.

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    75+ Posting Member skalarki's Avatar
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    Re: Laser vs Router Engraving

    There is no comparison!
    You can do the job with any cheap CNC machine, but without quality.
    But if comes to pricess, laser engravers are very expensive - forget about chinesse junk - then don't think it makes any sense to buy engraver just for few panels. Sending job to professional company will be much better and cheapper option.

    Marcin
    SKALARKI electronics - everything for your new A320 cockpit!
    http://www.skalarki-electronics.eu

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    Re: Laser vs Router Engraving

    You really won't get good quality lettering in a CNC made panel if you want to edge-light them. Laser engraved panels typically only go through the first paint layer.

    The really good ones are cut by a YAG laser that can be tuned to only ablate down to a white under layer.

    G.

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    150+ Forum Groupie Atomic_Sheep's Avatar
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    Re: Laser vs Router Engraving

    Quote Originally Posted by geneb View Post
    You really won't get good quality lettering in a CNC made panel if you want to edge-light them. Laser engraved panels typically only go through the first paint layer.

    The really good ones are cut by a YAG laser that can be tuned to only ablate down to a white under layer.

    G.
    I had a look on google images to see what edge lighting is but I'm not sure where this type of lighting if I understand it correctly that is, is used in aircraft panels?

    But yer, thanks guys, I'm starting to think whether I should even get a CNC machine or just use professional services to get all my work done. I suppose now it's my task to find companies that do custom order stuff and see how much they'll want to charge me and compare it to a CNC machine cost. I thought I had this question done and dusted but I realised that that might not be the case after I saw the quality of the work of some of these machines and to put it plainly, I wasn't too impressed. Thanks for the info, time for me to overlook this area.

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    Re: Laser vs Router Engraving

    I have acces to both a cnc and a laser unit so here is a little explanation.

    I'm using both laser engraving en cnc engraving. CNC engraving also gives very good results. However it takes much more time to do it very fine. A laser does the same job in 30 seconds and the quality is better.

    You can buy a good cnc for around 2000 euro and add some for a good engraving nose (that is a must) and you can start engraving.

    A laser 30 Watt will cost you around 10.000 euro and in addition you will also need airfiltering units.

    I also asked prices to some professional laser engraving companies, but that is far beyond what I want to pay for engraving a panel.

    The first picture is done with cnc engraving, the next 2 are laser engraved.

    Regards, Wendy







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    150+ Forum Groupie Atomic_Sheep's Avatar
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    Re: Laser vs Router Engraving

    Thanks Wendy, that puts things into greater perspective. I know that CNC machines are expensive but I really thought I could get away with a cheap one. I'm still very interested in getting a CNC but by the sounds of it, one that I would be happy with is a little bit more than what I'm prepared to fork out at the moment. By the looks of it, I'd be happy with the CNC quality but the problem is that I want a machine which is going to have a work area of around 2 meters (and the bigger the better obviously so anything north of this is a big plus) by 80cm at least which means that to get a CNC router that will enable me to have the sort of quality that the 2000 euro machine you proposed has, the cost will be multiples of the 2000 euros as I'm guessing the 2000 euro machine isn't exactly a bahemoth or at least not really close to the sizes I'm thinking.

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    Re: Laser vs Router Engraving

    Hi All,

    Correct me if I am totally wrong here for any reason what so ever, but how can you compete with purchasing the panels. I would have thought from what I have seen so far (unless this is about creating everything for yourself) that the panels are cheap compared to the sort of money you are talking about. Please don't take this the wrong way, it is just that I am considering the purchase of all the individual panels (737) and laying them over the MDF sheet that I have used for the backing. The individual panels without any electronics attached don't seem to be that expensive.

    Kind Regards

    Bernie.

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    Re: Laser vs Router Engraving

    Hey Bernie,

    First of all I was not happy with the quality of the panels I have bought. Secondly there are a lot of other things to make besides panels or to complete ready made panels. Backplate, pcb's, knobs... Now I'm able to make everything exactly the way I'm pleased with it and I can make it whenever I feel the need for it, just have to pay for the material (acryl, paint, mdf, aluninum... ).

    Another reason is that not everything is for sale at one place, so you end up with different styles, colors and good quality and less quality.



    Regards, Wendy

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    150+ Forum Groupie Atomic_Sheep's Avatar
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    Re: Laser vs Router Engraving

    Exactly, that and the fact that purchasing a CNC machine means you can start creating other stuff as well, i.e. not related to cockpit building.

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    Re: Laser vs Router Engraving

    Hi Wendy,

    Thankyou for the response. That is something I hadn't considered so I am glad I have asked now. More things to think about now, oh well that is just as much fun as all the building. Again thankyou for more food for thought.

    Kind Regards

    Bernie.

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