Full Spectrum Laser
A user: Dec 2017 I purchased one of the professional series lasers with a 105watt tube and 16x24 bed. I've been modifying it a lot and it's superior to the ULS lasers that TechShop uses. Their new MUSE laser is a nice platform for hobby oriented stuff. I did a lot of homework before I selected this one.
A user: Dec 2017 It's a good machine, but their customer service is absolutely horrible! I went directly to the factory in China for troubleshooting because they were faster. Once we got it dialed in, it worked well.
A user: Dec 2017 I tried their hobby laser machine (muse) and while it looked great and had a sleek user interface, I returned it after 2 weeks. The biggest difference I noticed compared to the more expensive laser cutter is the lack of control on the laser Frequency / DPI / PPI. It might not be a problem for you, but for me, since I cut mainly paper, I need to work at very low PPI to prevent burning marks. The software that came with FS Laser did not provide this option (at least not for the hobby line), so the frequency was always set at MAX and we got significant burning marks even at low power.
Review by User:Amp
I'd been looking into getting a laser cutter for my garage workshop before Techshop closed, and decided to move forward on that before the end of the year. After doing some research I decided on a Full Spectrum pro series with a 36x24 cutting area and 120W laser. I'd also talked to Boss Laser who have similar models and pricing, but the lead time on their equivalent machines was almost three months and I found the FSL sales person to be more knowledgeable and helpful. Either of these is a fraction of the cost of equivalently sized Epilogs, Universals, or Trotecs, although they do have downsides compared to those companies.
Overall it took two weeks from quote to arrival (it probably would have been quicker if not for Thanksgiving), and it showed up in a giant pallet box. During that time I installed a new electric circuit for it as between the laser, water chiller, air compressor, and exhaust fan it can use most of a 15A circuit for itself. I also had to build a leveling platform for under it as the spot I have for it in my San Francisco garage had a 4" slope in one direction, more than the leveling feet can adjust for.
Uncrating, setting it up, and connecting everything took an afternoon. The alignment process for the mirrors isn't particularly well documented (although there's a YouTube video that helped a lot) and is tedious, and FSL didn't include enough thermal paper to actually finish the process so getting it running took most of a day (with a trip to Office Max). Overall not too bad, although I have more work to do on the ventilation and filter system, which you definitely need in an urban environment as I've already had one inquiry/complaint from a neighbor about the smell when venting to my back yard.
I'm not sure I'd recommend these to laser newbies or someone that isn't fairly tool competent ('pro' is in the name, their hobby level machines may be easier to use), but so far I'm pleased with the machine although I've only had it operating for a couple of hours (and made some little lights for Xmas presents). I'm just going to list out some positive and negative things I've come across below. I suspect many of the downsides are common to most cheap Chinese laser systems, but they're new to me as I've previously only used Techshops lasers.
- Once all adjusted properly, vector cutting is substantially faster than the 60w lasers at TS, possibly faster than Trotecs TSSF had available at an hourly rate. This is likely due to the higher powered laser tube upgrade I went with.
- Cuts are also super clean with little burn scarring compared to TS's machines, but that could be partly due to cleaning and maintenance, although my air assist and ventilation is definitely higher powered than what TS had. I've measured the kerf on 0.20" maple plywood at 0.006-0.008".
- I've cut through 1/2" wood fairly quickly and cleanly with the 2.5" focus lens it came with. I haven't tried anything thicker than that but I suspect it would handle 3/4" with the right lens.
- FSL provides inadequate amount of thermal paper to complete the mirror alignment process. This stuff is cheap so there really isn't an excuse for it.
- The tubing that FSL provided for connecting the water cooler and air compressor is too short if you need to place those devices to the right side of the laser rather than behind it or on the left. This is metric sized silicone tubing so nowhere local had it and I needed to order some online.
- The software is not anywhere near as polished as the ULS or Epilogs I'm used to. They provide a print driver, but all that does is send data to their Retina Engrave software which you use to enter job settings. Retina Engrave works OK, but it's UI is pretty mediocre. There's also no way to store settings for a particular class of job like you can with the machines Techshop had.
- While the machine itself has a homing function, the cutting bed doesn't have a fixed home position and there is nothing to keep the steel grid in place other than its weight. I'll be fabricating something to correct this when I get back after the holidays.
- Again while there are limit switches for homing, there are none to prevent the head from ramming the sides of the machine. The software will prevent this once homed, however when controlling things via the buttons on the machine itself you need to be careful.
- The air compressor and exhaust fan are loud. Anyone considering getting one should be aware of this, you would not want this in a room adjacent to someone trying to sleep. It's ok in my garage, but can still be faintly heard through the floor above it.
- Raster engraving is not fast. Unlike vector cutting the higher laser power doesn't speed things up, and the motor speeds on it feel slower than the ULS machines I'd gotten used to.