In late February I posted an article regarding quality issues I was having with my new Ortur Laser Master 3 LE. After opening a support ticket, Ortur agreed to send me some parts to repair my problem. After nearly 3 weeks I finally received an email me from them that said “Sorry For The Delay”. A shipping link was provided. Ortur Updates are never good news.
Now 4 days later the parcel is still kicking around inside China.
I recently purchased an Ortur Laser Master 3 LE . It worked fine for about a month and then began clicking when homing in the X axis. After initiating a support ticket it turns out the problem was simply poor Quality Control. I also had Quality Control issues with my Ortur Laser Master 3 that I purchased as well.
One of the claims to fame of the Laser Master 3 LE is that the X rail is preassembled. This simplifies, and speeds up assembly time. And herein lies the problem. It was preassembled POORLY.
Some years back I owned an Ortur Laser Master 2 and coupled it with the Ortur Rotary YRR 2.0. It seemed like setting it up was a dark art back then. I’ve since sold both of them and upgraded to an Ortur Laser Master 3 and now have added the Ortur Rotary YRR 3.0.
Just like the Ortur Rotary Chuck YRC 1.0 the damned thing does NOT directly hook up to their own lasers. The Laser Master 3, which is their flagship laser, comes with an adapter cable that you must use. This makes no sense to me that the either rotary device that Ortur offers doesn’t contain the cabling you need to connect it. That’s insane.
Laser engravers need an air assist pump. Not “should I get an air assist”? You need one. Period. An air assist pushes particles and soot away from your job giving you a cleaner engraving. They maximize efficiency in cutting and prevent flame ups and fires. They keep your optical glass clean. For years I have been using a Hydroponic pump ($60) which quite honestly works great and is about half the price of an xTool Air Assist pump ($139)
And yet something happened that made me make the switch to the xTool Air Pump.
When I would plug this air assist in or unplug it, my monitor would either go blank or corrupt the signal. I would then have to turn it off and then back on to restore the picture.
Then once or twice I had laser jobs just stop mid stream for no reason.
My first suspect was this air pump and I was able to confirm this was the culprit by simply plugging it into another electrical outlet. Actually, I completely isolated it by plugging it into a portable power supply, a Jackery 500.
No matter what I did I could not reproduce the laser failure with the air pump on another circuit.
I own several desktop diode lasers. And I frequently try to get my hands on as many laser engravers as I can. I belong to several online laser forums on Facebook, Reddit, and I follow most of the laser manufacturers on Instagram. Frequently I am stunned and amazed at the level of laser engraving problems that I read about daily in those forums.
I got my first desktop diode laser in 2020 which is about the time they hit the scene. Since that time I have probably owned 12 or 15 lasers. I get them, play with them, and blog about them. Then I sell them or give them away.
Strangely enough, I have just not ever experienced any of these problems I read about. Or it is maybe safer to say that I’ve only seen them once or twice.
Some of the more common problems that I want to discuss are:
I own two of the very best laser engravers that money can buy. The xTool D1 Pro (20 watt and 10 watt). But they cost a buck or two. In fact, an entry level laser from just about anywhere is in the $500 and up range. What if you just want to get your feet wet in the laser world as cheaply as possible? Or maybe you want an inexpensive back up machine. The Ortur Aufero Laser 2 might just be what you are looking for.
And right away I need to make it clear that I’m not saying that this is the best laser engraver by a long shot. It is my choice for the best BUDGET laser engraver.
To get the optimum bang for your buck you need to leave the country and head to AliExpress to find the best budget laser engraver. You simply are not going go get a similar deal from the US based sales or places such as Amazon. Of course you can always check the classifieds for a used laser but you don’t really know what you are getting there.
If you search for “laser engraver”, you’ll find some good ones that hover around the $200 price point. However, beware potential shipping costs and make sure you are getting a laser with about a 5 watt optical output. Most anything else is a toy. Also check for coupon availability.
There are several no name lasers on there that price out at some ridiculous prices around $120 but once you click on them you’ll find that price is actually an extension kit or just the laser head. Clicking on the box for the full laser that is 5 watts or so pushes you up around $200 again.
Read on to see what I determined the best deal was.
I purchased an Ortur Rotary Chuck (YRC-1.0) the day they released them. I’ll be shaking this thing down to see if it is good enough for production work. The rotary was released subsequent to the xTool RA2 Rotary Pro which is an amazing rotary device. The Ortur device is listed at $229 and the xTool comes in at $287.
The xTool is a rotary chuck AND roller device. The Ortur YRC-1.0 is a rotary chuck only. You will still need to buy the YRR Rotary 2.0 roller which will cost another $79.99.
One of the first things I noticed was that it WILL NOT CONNECT TO THE ORTUR FLAGSHIP LASER(LASER MASTER 3) WITH THE PARTS INCLUDED IN THE BOX.
I’m a lover of laser engravers and on a quest to find the very best one. I have some ideas on what would make the best laser engraver. But for the moment I’m on a quest to find the cheapest laser engraver that you can buy. And I want that laser engraver to actually be viable. Did I find it? Let’s find out.
HOW THIS STARTED
I try to read everything I can about laser engravers in the hopes to be some kind of expert. I once stumbled across a video on YouTube entitled ” The Cheapest Laser Engraver on Amazon“. The author had found a laser for $99 and he put it through its paces. Sadly, by the time I saw the video the $99 laser was no longer available. So I set out to find something equally inexpensive and to see if it worked.
The price point for budget lasers now seems to be about $200. I did find a great laser for about $169 and I blogged about that here. It took me a month or two to find anything cheaper than that. Finally, I stumbled across a complete laser that cost cost $122.04 shipped. Typically, to find the really inexpensive stuff you need to search the Chinese website, Aliexpress. And that is just what I did.
So you are starting the laser side hustle game?. Here are a few things to think about from a business aspect.
I just got a laser from a different manufacturer which means I joined a new Facebook group. I’ve seen this happen so many times from every manufacturers Facebook or Webpage Forum. A group member will write:
“HELP! My machine stopped working and I have orders that I have to fulfill. I am frantic, HELP!”
Please know that I’m not knocking anyone here and I don’t think I’m smarter than anyone else by a long shot. I just want to point out some observations I have made over the last few years of operating a laser.
If you have bought a laser to run a small business and:
Don’t know how to troubleshoot your machine.
Don’t have lots of experience with the machine.
Don’t have spare parts.
Don’t have a backup machine
Don’t have a fellow hobbyist who can help with your orders during your downtime.
Then what are your chances for immediate laser side hustle success?
FULL DISCLOSURE – I was provided an xTool D1 Pro with an RA2 Rotary Pro at no cost to review. xTool has in no way attempted to influence my review.
I’ve been given the great opportunity to review the xTool D1 Pro and included in the kit was an xTool RA2 Pro Rotary device.
There are a lot of videos online that show the xTool RA2 Pro but most of the ones I have seen are familiarization, and unboxing videos.
I appreciate all these reviews and learned a lot from all of them but when I get my mitts on a piece of gear I want to fill in the gaps that others may not touch on and I will discuss Lightburn settings quite a bit in this blog.
Regarding unboxing though……….my kit was missing the small bubble level. Obviously that doesn’t affect assembly or use of the machine so it won’t affect anything discussed here. Actually I have a couple of those mini bubble levels around here somewhere so no harm, no foul.