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The LazerBlade

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Hi Everyone,

Just thought you might be interested in this cool entry-level laser cutter / engraver.

Info can be found at:
Darkly Labs - Home

Support from the laserpointerforums was invaluable in creating the LazerBlade.

Please help spread the word to anyone you might thing would be interested.

thanks everyone,
AM
 

rhd

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Looks good. What is the projected cost?
Under $600, which probably means $599. If this was an outright product, I'd say sure, build in a healthy amount of profit, but it's not. It's a Kickstarter campaign, and the $600 price tag really rubs me the wrong way - again, not a product - just a Kickstarter campaign.

When there are 3D printers actually available for sale at $300, it's a tough sell to convince me that I should pay even the same price, let alone double, for the privilege of being an early provider if Kickstarter funds for a 2D printer.

IMO, the unspoken ethic of Kickstarter is that you're trying to prove your concept, but need some help financially to make the initial step possible. Your early backers take some extra risk, but the benefit is the understanding that you're not marking up the price of the product astronomically for your own profit. The flip side of that, is that if you want to mark up your product for your own profit, that's fine too, but take the upfront business risk yourself.
 
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deltawars

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$600 is way to much, its cheaper to buy a 3d printer for $300 or $200 without a heat bed, print all the custom parts, and buy some Aluminium tube, motors, a arduino and them belts then get a laser diode from dtr, plus you get to keep the 3d printer.
 
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BubonicCronic:
We are still working at getting the costs down as much as possible. Our initial estimate was between $400-$550, so the estimate on our page was to play it safe.

ARG:
The machine is running a modified version of GRBL to handle some specific laser requirements. For the electronics we use an Atmel328P on our own designed mainboard and laser driver module. This gives us a lot of flexibility for expansion.

We have also worked with a few software developers and made available LazerBlade ready software packages, that will generate G-Code files to work directly on the machine.

You also have the option to use any free or open-source program that generates g-code.

rhd & deltawars
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. One of the reasons I posted to this site is to get honest feedback so we can ultimately create an appealing product.
 
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rhd

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BubonicCronic:
We are still working at getting the costs down as much as possible. Our initial estimate was between $400-$550, so the estimate on our page was to play it safe.
What am I missing in terms of your big part costs? I see $75 to $100 for the laser and lens. Another $40 for 2 stepper motors. Isn't that the extent of "major item" costs? Of course there will be other components like structural material for the cutter, rails, some custom PCBs, gears, bands, wires, etc, but there's a big bulk of several hundred dollars in costs that I'm not seeing.
 
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There is a big difference between building a one off machine for yourself and something that needs to be mass produced for the general public. Looking at the big part costs is only part of the whole picture. Costs do add up very quickly when you break something down into every single component. Add in manufacturing costs, customer support, labor costs for quality assurance, misc assembly, order fulfilment, packaging materials and continuous development to both improve the product and get the costs down.

We have been working on the LazerBlade for over a year now and finally have a developed version that we are happy to release to the mass market.

We will be offering some fantastic kickstarter-only rewards and benefits for people that are willing to help make the project a success.
 
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What am I missing in terms of your big part costs? I see $75 to $100 for the laser and lens. Another $40 for 2 stepper motors. Isn't that the extent of "major item" costs? Of course there will be other components like structural material for the cutter, rails, some custom PCBs, gears, bands, wires, etc, but there's a big bulk of several hundred dollars in costs that I'm not seeing.
Totally agree with rhd ^^ ...

There is a big difference between building a one off machine for yourself and something that needs to be mass produced for the general public. Looking at the big part costs is only part of the whole picture. Costs do add up very quickly when you break something down into every single component. Add in manufacturing costs, customer support, labor costs for quality assurance, misc assembly, order fulfilment, packaging materials and continuous development to both improve the product and get the costs down.

We have been working on the LazerBlade for over a year now and finally have a developed version that we are happy to release to the mass market.

We will be offering some fantastic kickstarter-only rewards and benefits for people that are willing to help make the project a success.
As I see it you have a product in hand. Why do you need kickstarter for ? ...

Also by producing a lot of these ... costs will go down ... not up as you say.

I make my heatsinks for my hosts in masses ... the cost is very low when you produce something in large quantites.

$600 is just too much for such item when at that price you can get a 3D printer.

Kickstarter should help you start and build something \ upgrade your product. It is not suppossed to make you money \ income.

That is just my opinion ... Overall the product looks very good. If the price will be right ... I will buy one too :beer:
 

ru124t

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But can it pop a balloon and light a match ? LOL Just kidding. I am looking for something that can etch a small logo on a blade. I have a friend that custom makes folding hunting knifes and need to be able to etch his logo on the blade . Could this machine do this?
 
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You cannot etch directly on metal with a 2 or 3 watt laser.

The way many people accomplish this with laser-diodes is to use a mask on the metal surface and engrave your design into it with the laser. Then either use chemical or electrostatic etching to imprint into the metal. Masking material can be a vinyl adhesive or coat of black spray paint. I've even seen electrical tape used very well with a saline electrostatic process.

There are also products, such as from Thermark.com, that bond to the metal surface when heated by a laser. We will soon be testing how these successful they are with our 2&3 watt lasers.


Hope that helps.
 
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Acrylic is very expensive for some reason. I bet that patform cost more than the laser diode. Then after
the rails, motors, and a custom circuit board it passes the $200 mark. This is why I have given up trying
to build anything to sell at a profit. There is always someone else doing it better for cheaper.
 

vortish

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I see about a 200 to 300 hundred dollar system, not six as you state. Having working in various manufacturing jobs over the last twenty odd years i can tell you your base test model a 10 year old can put it together. I worked for a electronic manufacture for three years as a lead and there just maybe a half hour of production time per unit. Parts like another member stated maybe 100 dollars max so will lets say minimum wage 6 to 8 bucks to put it together and twenty to forty dollars in acrylic your mark up is over fifty percent.. Please do not take this the wrong way but many of our members have been doing this for a long time and they do know what they are talking about. Please listen I am not trying to say your project does not have merit but look at it realistic and not from a profit stand point. Your business model just does not make sense
 

rhd

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Please listen I am not trying to say your project does not have merit but look at it realistic and not from a profit stand point. Your business model just does not make sense
This is well said, and I would echo and emphasize the same comments. I think it's important to be really clear on the fact that I think the product itself is great, and I even want one myself! It's just the price we all seem to take issue with.

In fact, I have many times wondered why we don't see more (or any) 2D laser cutter projects that are user friendly and either packaged as kits, or released as open source hardware. I have always thought that such a project would emerge from the laser projector sub-niche-community (as in the people using galvos and mirrors to make laser projectors that display amazing animations, not the people harvesting lasers from commercial protectors). It seems like they have basically all the hardware, software, and laser knowledge, to make such a project work.

At any rate, you asked for feedback in a largely DIYer community, so naturally most of us do the math on creating something like this ourselves, and conclude that your price point is too high to be attractive to us. I very much think this is the case, and would adopt the view of others that this would be a tempting buy at somewhere in the $200 to $300 range.

But here's an idea for you -

Sell a barebones kit for people like those you'd find in this community, who have the skills to build something like this, but want some of the hard work done for them. I'm thinking you could sell a package containing just the motors, gears, rails, bands, control and computer interface hardware, and software. Maybe also the diode driver circuitry, if not integrated into the interface hardware above. If you're currently reflowing the hardware circuitry yourselves, in the DIY kit you could even consider providing bare PCBs + parts to leave the reflowing up to the DIYer.

From there, DIYers could provide their own diodes (some might want to use single mode 405s anyway), mounting solution, enclosure, and handle the assembly (which is presumably a time intensive task on your end). Plus, you get the benefit of other people working with your design and developing a knowledgebase and set of discussions surrounding it. You could also chose the level, if any, of support to provide. I tend to think that as long as you're confident that your setup works, and the DIY parts are capable of leading to a working product in the hands of a capable DIYer, then you could probably provide this type of kit with expressly no support included, beyond community support from other DIYers on a forum somewhere.

I would think that a DIY package containing the above could warrant a $200 price tag in this type of community / marketplace (and perhaps others like CPF, BLF, CNCzone etc). I'd have to think that your cost for the parts listed above would come in well under that such that you could sell it while still adding a bit of cash to your bottom line to help grow your core business of selling the beautiful assembled units.
 
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ARG

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I don't think his price is too unreasonable. From experience manufacturing for small scale (100 units and under) does take quite a bit of time; it's not really worth it for that many units to outsource the work as the setup cost for PCBA and other manufacturing is too high for such a small scale operation. The majority of the cost is not parts in this case, it's labor.
Then again, this all depends on what OP's expectations are for funding the project, for a small scale operation the price isn't too bad. The reason those 3D printers are so cheap is because they ask for a lot of funding, and the unit price lowers significantly from 100 to 1000 units.

Interesting read here: The Slowest $380 I?ll Ever Make | ch00ftech Industries

I do agree that a kit option would be a great idea. Cost could come down pretty significantly then.
 
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Thanks again for sharing your thoughts everyone.

We had initially considered releasing a bare-bones kit for the diy'er who already had their own laser setups and wanted to experiment with a new platform. We put this on the backburner because we didn't think there would be enough demand and we also had all our time focused on the full system.

I will re-address this with the team.

ARG: Great link
 

IsaacT

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Another thing: Laser Safety. Have you filed your product with the FDA's Radiological Devices branch? Having a multiwatt visible spectrum beam coming out of a product that someone might....oh, I don't know, decide to try to cut clear plastic with(since you would be able to do that on an IR cutting machine) could result in dangerous reflections back toward the user. If people get blinded by your device you will need a lot more than kickstarter to fund your Legal Team.

Just a heads up and thought. Better include Laser Safety Glasses and a lot of disclaimers, both during the purchasing process and on whatever manuals or documents you ship with it.

I could care less about the price you are asking; since I don't like the cost I won't buy it. Therefore not my problem lol. But definitely address safety issues. Most likely you will need to have the product reviewed by FDA and label it according to their directives.
 
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