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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
i have been looking into both of these tools and just wanted to know if which one is better to get?
mostly using to make custom speaker spacers first. once i get familiar with how it works i may do more but for now its going to be just all sorts of speaker spacer/adapters first. i have watched a bunch of videos of the glowforge being used. they look great.
from tweeter mountings up on the dash to the doors, parcel tray, etc. of course i have seen other brands that looks like it would work but the glowforge is the only one i have seen being actually used for speaker spacers/adapters. the guys from 5 star car stereo used it. dean is the main installer that uses this tool.
the material will mostly be acrylic.

i have thought of the expense on both, and both seems to have their own pros and cons. the table router with all the accessories that ill actually need will come close to a laser cutter. so unless there is a really large difference in price my estimates says price is not really going to be the main deciding factor.

would i get more out of getting at table router for speaker spacers/adapters or would a laser cutter be better?
what would be the pros and cons you would go with one versus the other list?
 

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How does the price compare to a 3 Axis CNC milling machine?
 

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A laser can only cut certain materials and thinner thicknesses of said materials. A router/spindle CNC machine can handle many materials not named steel and can handle various thicknesses from thick to thin. The biggest difference is a router/spindle CNC machine needs the material held down and this is often a challenging part but can be done many ways. I have a CNC Router Parts Pro (Avid CNC now) 5'x10' machine with a vacuum hold down. I'd love to have a laser but I can find a way to do most things I need with the CNC. Then again, Nick of Apicella Sound has done some amazing work with a laser.
 

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Are you good with software and learning how to use new equipment? I see people struggle with understanding the software on laser cutters and cnc routers. If you think you can have a go at that i would vote for the laser cutter. You can also add a router table (non cnc) for a few hundred dollars to help with anything the laser can't cut.
 

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My response is from a sawdust makers perspective. ive done research on cutters and cnc. The glowforge requires an internet connection to use. That is its biggest drawback compared to others. All lasers and cnc machines use software that can be a steep learning curve. An inexpensive intro would be to buy a sainsmart 3018 cnc. It has to be assembled, so you learn the basics of how it works. Its small, inexpensive, and there are support groups and forums for it. Buy it on amazon, or microcenter if you go that route. There is free software for it, or you can buy different programs to play with. If it ends up not being your thing, you aren't out a bunch of cash and you can resell it. Dont mod it right off the bat. Set it up and use it for a while first.
A router table is nice. If you buy some basic things like a router plate, some t track, and buy or make a fence, you can basically use any flat surface as a router table. You can make or buy jigs, to do almost anything. You can buy or make templates to do repeatable cuts. An added bonus is that you can use the table plate as a base for the router to do freehand stuff. Just pop it out and you are ready to go. A nice lift is great to have, but many routers, like the bosch 1617 combo, have a base that can be used to adjust the height. Very fine adjustments are not the easiest that way, but it can be done. There are many many bits that do all kinds of cool things. They make pattern bits for following a template. Very cool to trace. if you make one thing and it is exactly what you want, save it and use it as the pattern for future reuse.
Watch a bunch of YouTube videos for any modle of laser or cnc you are interested in. Steve Ramsey, woodworking for mere mortals has a great long video on how to use sketchup software for whatever you use it on. Car audio fabrication does a lot with a router.
Hope this helps.
 

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If you're going to get a Laser, I would look at Aeon and Thunder laser before you commit to the Glowforge. Keep in mind that you cannot cut HDPE, PVC and even ABS on a Laser.
The laser is really good though for making templates that you can then use on a router table.
You can also get a relatively in-expensive CNC like the OneFinity or Shapeoko which will allow you to make things of much thicker material...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
thanks guys. so a cnc machine sounds like its a whole different thing. so if a cnc machine can do thicker acylic sheets than that would make it a plus on my list. is there a small version? im looking for a table top version or close to that.
but needs to be able to cut 12inch speaker brackets that can possible do around 1 inch thick. or close to 1 inch thick. i would prefer to not glue it but i know it might be something i cant avoid on smaller cnc.

could you guys give me brands and models that would fit this description.
i would like to also learn which software would be the easiest to learn. so i can be up and running quick.
i have seen some software that is pretty easy and quick to learn. one that comes to mind is the "makerblock laserbox". there are some good aspects about it like, i dont need internet connection to work. the unit comes with everything that i would need. a negative for me is that its only 40watts. i heard that more wattage should help me do thicker acrylic sheets. but with that specs, it will only do a max of 1/4 inch sheet. that actually is the same for any laser cutter with 40 watts. i think it says that to go at least 3/4 inch or 1 inch thick acylic it needs maybe about 90 watts. now i dont know for sure but someone can verify for me on those specs. so with that wattage it might be too expensive. then a cnc would be more affordable.

but for now i am happy to look into a cnc machine.

another question. will a cnc cut result be as clean as what i have seen with a laser cutter? i would like to avoid sanding or removing burr on the final product.
 

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thanks guys. so a cnc machine sounds like its a whole different thing. so if a cnc machine can do thicker acylic sheets than that would make it a plus on my list. is there a small version? im looking for a table top version or close to that.
but needs to be able to cut 12inch speaker brackets that can possible do around 1 inch thick. or close to 1 inch thick. i would prefer to not glue it but i know it might be something i cant avoid on smaller cnc.

could you guys give me brands and models that would fit this description.
i would like to also learn which software would be the easiest to learn. so i can be up and running quick.
i have seen some software that is pretty easy and quick to learn. one that comes to mind is the "makerblock laserbox". there are some good aspects about it like, i dont need internet connection to work. the unit comes with everything that i would need. a negative for me is that its only 40watts. i heard that more wattage should help me do thicker acrylic sheets. but with that specs, it will only do a max of 1/4 inch sheet. that actually is the same for any laser cutter with 40 watts. i think it says that to go at least 3/4 inch or 1 inch thick acylic it needs maybe about 90 watts. now i dont know for sure but someone can verify for me on those specs. so with that wattage it might be too expensive. then a cnc would be more affordable.

but for now i am happy to look into a cnc machine.

another question. will a cnc cut result be as clean as what i have seen with a laser cutter? i would like to avoid sanding or removing burr on the final product.
I'm not sure about small CNC, the smallest I looked at is the OneFinity Woodworker.
For Lasers, the rule of thumb is 10W per MM cut for most materials but with a 100W CO2 laser you can cut 3/4 inch acrylic and maybe thicker.
The most popular and, IMO, best software for lasers is Lightburn. Very easy to use and very powerful. You can add a Camera and it's even better.
If you're sure you don't plan to cut MDF, HDPE, ABS or PVC at all, then a 100W laser will probably be better than a CNC.
 

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Don't have any personal experience with it but if you're looking for something small
Shaper Origin Handheld CNC Router
I've played with one. Its pretty badass. You can use any flat surface and the tape isn't very expensive, so you can go mobile with it if you need to. feels weird at first, but becomes natural after a couple of minutes. The beauty of it is there is no size limitations.
 

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thanks guys. so a cnc machine sounds like its a whole different thing. so if a cnc machine can do thicker acylic sheets than that would make it a plus on my list. is there a small version? im looking for a table top version or close to that.
but needs to be able to cut 12inch speaker brackets that can possible do around 1 inch thick. or close to 1 inch thick. i would prefer to not glue it but i know it might be something i cant avoid on smaller cnc.

could you guys give me brands and models that would fit this description.
i would like to also learn which software would be the easiest to learn. so i can be up and running quick.
i have seen some software that is pretty easy and quick to learn. one that comes to mind is the "makerblock laserbox". there are some good aspects about it like, i dont need internet connection to work. the unit comes with everything that i would need. a negative for me is that its only 40watts. i heard that more wattage should help me do thicker acrylic sheets. but with that specs, it will only do a max of 1/4 inch sheet. that actually is the same for any laser cutter with 40 watts. i think it says that to go at least 3/4 inch or 1 inch thick acylic it needs maybe about 90 watts. now i dont know for sure but someone can verify for me on those specs. so with that wattage it might be too expensive. then a cnc would be more affordable.

but for now i am happy to look into a cnc machine.

another question. will a cnc cut result be as clean as what i have seen with a laser cutter? i would like to avoid sanding or removing burr on the final product.
Or you could just tell me what you want made and I'll take care of it 😁
 

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I have a 5’x10’ Pro CNC machine from AvidCNC and they have bench top versions that get good reviews. Great support.

 

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What’s your budget? I’ve used a couple machines from $350 to $1000 and the more expensive unit I currently use. As mentioned above the software learning curve can be fun. Some of the machines have have hidden software costs too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
budget wise, i dont really know. if it makes sense i may save more for a unit that makes things easy and fun. i dont mind learning but its gotta be where im not coding. basic x,y,z is fine but pulling out something really crazy and paying alot of it doesnt make sense. personally im not looking for the cheapest. thats not the goal. im looking for the higher spec parts of what i need without buying things i dont need in the package.

at first i was looking at the makeblock tool laserbox but that would have to be something all inclusive as the price is really up there. it needs to have the software included as well that is easy to use plus the unit that should be the end all unit. but as i am learning i dont think it is for that price ($3,999.00). obviously material is separate. what i am learning about this unit is that it might not cut a half inch acrylic and might not cut some types of acrylic too.
im planning for at least a 1 inch acylic thickness. but would a double or triple pass work? i think the watts is not enough. but for that price i would have thought the watt would have been higher than 40w.
 
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