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What Laser Engraver have you settled on, and why?


Cast Iron
Jul 23, 2015
East Side / Detroit
We are a small manufacturing plant producing tooling for die cast / plastic Molding. The vast majority of parts are round, often with elaborate molding detail at ends. For the purposes of Engraving, generally think about a column of Ejector Pins layed out that need part numbers engraved.

Materials are typically tooling steels ranging from H-13, M-2, A-10, A-2, 440C, 420, S-7, and some others. Once in a while Jobs require Moldmax or Moldstar (Copper Alloys which won't engrave with the Versalaser).

We have a Versalaser VLS 350 with a 50w laser module. It does NOT have auto-focus capability.

Generally speaking it works fine most of the time. The most common "problem" to resolve is the Z-axis height of the part to get the engraving surface to the right height. Though I have a spreadsheet that calls up the identified heights for our various parts, the situation remains the same: quite often the height of the part has to be tweaked for clean engraving.

Also, on round items you have the issue of curvature to deal with. At this time we do not support rotational work holding fixtures because we gang-engrave about 40 parts at a time laying in aluminum plates with v-grooves in them to cradle columns of parts.

Having said all that: Who out there is using a Laser engraver that supports an auto-focus feature for where the engraving beam is striking? I've seen "higher end" engravers relative to our Versalaser that have this feature.

Are you doing one part at a time, or do you have a production setup with a bunch of parts layed out at a time?

What "tier" unit is it (cost)? $10k, $30k, $100k, whatever?

How clean / reliable is the engraving? No graphics, this is all text & numbers (part numbers, identification codes).

And, the Auto Focus . . . how reliable? Any issues on shiny steel and curves?

Thanks in advance.