Im considering purchasing the jtech pro laser but many of the videos are contradicting, even jtechs, some say it can cut 3mm ply, but then some say it depends on the type of ply, i dont specifically need it to cut but it would be nice to know for the price that i have this option, if all it can do is burn wood then there are a lot of cheaper options out there that can do that, has anyone had any direct real world experience with this laser and used it to cut out shapes, or do i need to look at something else, if so what would you recommend?
Hi Nick I have no experience with lasers at all. It was always my impression that if I would get a laser I would use it to burn and use the router to cut. I don’t know where I seen it but somebody had mentioned how he loved the way they complimented each other.
Ideally that is what i want it for, however for cutting out small intricate shapes im sure it would be easier to use a laser than keep breaking sub 1mm router bits, i have no doubt its a quality product otherwise 1F wouldn’t sell it, but that’s the question, jtech a say it can cut 3mm but most owners (videos on utube) disagree, i even watched a video yesterday where jtech mentioned in their comments that they would put a disclaimer on the video as most people came back saying there unit couldn’t cut the same piece of ply, just hoping someone here has one an they can confirm one way or the other…
@Oakworx I do not have the jtech laser either but I did ask this question in a similar thread a few months ago and the answer I got was that it takes several passes at a slow speed to make it through plywoods. Most users said they used the laser for burning engravings and doing etchings. Most of the cutting was done with the cnc spindle. I think to get a powerful enough laser to truly cut through ply in one pass you need a laser with more wattage.
Hi thanks for the reply, i think your right about the wattage, however the way they are advertised is very misleading, one that says 20w is not actually 20w hence you cant compare like for like, i suppose what im thinking is if it cant actually cut then why pay all that money, what separates it from a cheaper unit on amazon, guess i need to do some indepth research…
I do have a JTech laser from OF and I really love it. It compliments the Makita router wonderfully. I did not get it to cut plywood so there is no disappointment there. My Makita does that quite nicely. The joy of the Jtech is how it attaches to the router mount and can operate along with the router toolpaths from the same program. Laser engraving the same piece I am carving without moving it is just a delight.
Hi Alden, many thanks for the reply, what do you mean when you say it can operate with same program. does it not need a separate program to run it (im currently using easel although looking to upgrade to vcarve desktop) an do you have to unbolt the laser to use the router or is on magnets (or can it stay in place), also can you confirm that it cannot cut 3mm ply even after several passes (sorry for all the questions), so many mixed answers, its rare to find an actual user
Nick, I use Vetric VCarvePro which has the laser in the toolbase. You set it up just like any other tool. Now you just have to make a toolpath for it along with the other tools for your project. When it comes time to switch tools for the laser I remove the bit from the router and snap the laser into its magnetic mount that is attached to the router support. To make that an easy transition I have made a holder out of thin plywood and screwed that right above the mounted laser using the top two screw holes of the laser mount.
I have not even tried to cut plywood with it. I think it would make an incredible smokey mess burning through thick wood like that. I imagine it would blacken the cut line as well. I don’t recommend it even if it could.
I should add that the Vetric laser module is an add on for the software but very much worth it.
I just ran a one inch square test cut on 3mm plywood at 100% power and .25mm per sec speed which took 6:40 to complete. Just as I suspected.
Thanks Alden, really appreciate you taking the time to upload pictures an even carry out a test, your storage idea for the laser is genius, also i didnt know that vetric had add on software for the laser, another reason to go over to vectric (i was looking at desktop as i really want to try the 3d carving), can the laser software be used with vcarve desktop?
Nick, yes desktop does support the Jtech laser. You just need to purchase the add on laser module. What size OF do you have? Desktop limits the size job you can run to 25 inches. If you have the Woodworker at 32 inches you will need VCarvePro to make anything larger than 25 inches unless you tile it.
I have the woodworker, but to be honest at the minute i dont generally make anything large enough to warrant the pro software, plus i really want to try the 3d which i didnt think was part of the pro software?
Based on what you’ve demonstrated i think i will go with the laser, at least i now know (thanks to your testing) it cant be used for cutting…
Nick, only Aspire can create 3D files. Both Desktop and Pro can only run the files that someone else created. So far this has been enough for me to handle but at some point I plan to move up to Aspire so I can learn to design my own.
Interesting, i didnt see 3d listed in the comparisons for pro hence why i was looking at desktop, i have a trial version of desktop but havent seen any of the 3d models that they say are at the bottom left, is this something that you have to import additionally an if so is this additional cost?
You won’t see them in the trial version. When you purchase either one all the clipart and any other files will have to be downloaded and installed.
Thats very handy to know, i assumed the trial had everything in it, that explains a lot, many thanks for taking the time to answer all my questions, hopefully i can help you with something one day
The Carveco software has both laser tool paths and will do 3d files. There is also no size limitations either as far as I know.
Thanks Jdog, ive not looked at Carveco, js it something you would recommend?
Carveco has been really easy to learn and use for me.