TechShop has several of these.
A user: The Universal I used had a lot of automatic features in the software, in a attempt to make it easy to use. For instance, the operator could pick a material (e.g. 3mm acrylic) and the software would select settings for speed and power. In practice I found that unhelpful. Instead I always used the manual settings in the software. There was an annoying feature that each color had to have a table height specified or else the laser table would adjust itself.
A user: I've owned 3 universals and have been happy with them all. The minimum size/power I'd buy is a 18"x24" 40watt.
A user: Universal's are the best (easy to use by the untrained public) but pricey. The 18x24 ones at techshop were around 25-26k. I've helped a few old members set used ones up at home they got for around 12k
Universal Laser Systems 60 watt
This is a new laser for the TSMP and SJ locations. A few notes that are key to its operation, and different than the Epilog.
- By default it will recognize three colors, Red, Blue, Black. Items that are Red and .001pt will cut; Blue and .001pt will vector etch; Black will raster no matter what.
- I was told that any other color will show up on the preview of the output but the laser will ignore it. However, my own tests show that a solid shape with a gradient of red will raster the gradient.
- Be sure the document is RGB not CMYK. The three operative colors must be pure (except for rastering).
- Make sure "Auto Z" is enabled, otherwise the table will not move to the correct height.
- Small etch areas take longer on the ULS because it always sweeps through a larger area than the Epilog.
- We're told that the ULS will make correct round cuts (Epilog circles were never quite round).
Baltic Birch 3mm plywood
- Meterial Type: Natural / Wood / Very Hard Wood / General Very Hard Wood.
- Cutting: Intensity Vector Cutting -50%; this is the setting that would vector cut through.
- Vector Etch: Intensity Vector Engraving +50%; vector etching looked good. Vector Performance Settings seemed to make the vector etching sharper in Qualty vs Throughput mode, but it was hard to tell.
- Raster Etch: Raster etching also looked good - more experimenation needed.
- Material Type: Plastic / Acrylic / Cast Acrylic / Cell Cast Acrylic Standard Engraving
- Cutting: Intensity Vector Cutting +25%
- Vector Etch: Default is fine. I could not see a difference in my test of Quality vs Throughput modes. I tried Cell Cast Acrylic Deep Engraving and the vector etch was significantly deeper.