Edit: After a bunch of clicking around, I realized I have to initiate an order to figure that out. And I need to provide material, thickness, X*Y dimensions, path length, and a couple of extras to get to hopefully get an estimate.
My feedback: please give me some pricing examples early on. Make it prominent on the start page. Like photos of 2-3 objects, what they cost to make, and what their respective parameters are.
Your comments and experience are very appreciated. As another user pointed this out too, we'll prepare a small example list to be easier to understand pricing.
We are practically focusing on quality but we are doing our best to keep costs low for everyone.
With vectors imported into a common data structure you just need to convert curves to line segments with enough segments to maintain a reasonable approximation and then add up their lengths. Cairo and Anti-grain geometry can do the heavy lifting for you there. Anti-grain has example code for doing this adaptively.
Either way, clearly you're already calculating this value for billing, no? Or are you just using laser run-time for the bill, and estimating that based on the user's guesstimated path length?
eMachineShop has offered a similar service for years. But they offer a much wider range of services, and their one-off prices tend to be higher. This new service seems to be aimed more at non-functional decorative stuff.
We are launching with a special 30% discount for HN! Just use the coupon HNSPECIAL
- 1.5mm: 18.09$ per sheet + 6.96$/1000mm of path length
- 2mm: 22.95$ per sheet + 7.87$/1000mm of path length
- 3mm: 32.97$ per sheet + 9.90$/1000mm of path length
By the way, those prices, per sheet are less than mcmaster sells!!
Only things I would add:
1- add a stainless steel PCB Stencil service (very thin - 0.125mm, but may be not accurate enough?)
2- change max dimensions to 500x300mm (increase of 200mm on one dimension) or 432x300mm (so it would fit in 11x17" envelope).
PCB stencil service is something we'll have to try out with the engraving machines - the laser cutters are too powerful for such thin sheets. The max. standard dimensions might be soon changed. (we can already provide larger parts in custom applications)
The only thing holding it back is the bending operation, even 1.5mm is difficult to bend by hand with a "real" bender. Most people would not be able to do that operation at home. Solutions?
1. I understand the cost is probably based on many factors, like bounding box size, laser time, and material, but it would be helpful to see a table of example items on the home page and their final costs (just to have a ballpark idea of what it would cost to make something of a given size/complexity). For the estimator/order form, why do I need to specify the bounding box size and path length myself? Shouldn't that be inferred from the drawings I upload? All that said, the prices are amazing!
2. Do you ship to the US? If so, does that cost extra?
3. Can you cut steel thinner than 1mm? It would be VERY useful to be able to make steel foil templates for reflow soldering. Such templates act as masks to control the application of solder, and they vary in thickness depending on the application but are most commonly 0.1mm to 0.2mm in thickness. Made by specialty firms, such templates can cost hundreds of dollars. A DIY option would be wonderful.
4. Can you make parts <50mm^2?
5. Your cut edges probably look great. It would be nice to see macro photos of some cut edges to know what sort of quality to expect.
6. What are the tolerances of cut parts?
7. Have you considered merging some of the pages, like the home page and the Discover page? Possibly the design guidelines page? I had to click around quite a bit to answer some other questions I had.
1) This is what another user commented too - having some examples - we'll definitely create a few asap. And regarding the auto-estimation, developing an automated cost-estimating thing would really raise our costs. Let's hope lasergist becomes better and larger soon, and this is number one feature to be developed!
2. Yes we do at no extra cost. And it usually takes no more than a week to arrive to east coast.
3. This sounds like a great idea to try out. With our cutting lasers no, we cannot do this because of heat. But the engraving lasers might be able to do this easily. I'll get back to you about this.
4. Yes - but we wouldn't be very happy to say it nicely. The reason is that too small parts will fall from the honeycomb flatbed and will require some digging below...
Of course, you then have to break the part free and clean up the micro tab with a file - so more labour intensive, but 99.9% of our customers are industrial so we typically leave that to them.
1. Feel free to get in touch if you need help with an auto cost-estimator.
No affiliation, just a happy customer.
6. 0.01mm is the laser spec!
7. You must be the largest fan of one-page designs! Lasergist.com has just 3 pages - but i can understand what you mean!
I just hope your margins are high enough, or you're doing this on the side your company's main business, because your prices seem extremely low to me. (Also, Mazak over Trumpf?)
I worked for a while (albeit approximately ten years ago now, but still) for a custom fab shop that did a lot of custom business with lasers (for industry, not consumer, generally), and I have a fair idea of the cost of lasers, the stainless you're using, and probable cost of development for the software toolchain you put together for this. And I hope you're using something like SigmaNEST or ProNest and not just chunking down rectangles for your parts, because that would help your costs considerably. It sounds like, from your description, that you are, and that you're using cutouts from other parts to do it, which will hopefully help your costs.
And I would be worried about high-rework costs or low customer satisfaction due to heat issues from people who don't understand laser, or hole locations, etc, etc, etc?
But you probably have already thought of all this, and don't need a random internet commenter to bring it all up. I had wanted to do something like this when I worked at the custom fab shop, but I didn't have the time to develop the toolchain necessary to do it all in 2005-7, so I guess I'm a little jealous.
We tried to explain it as much as possible and give a couple of rules that would save a lot of people from the high heat stuff. It looks that you know a lot regarding lasers and you are more than welcome to stay in touch!
Again, not telling you how to run your business, but I think you may face a large number of unhappy customers because of poor understanding of how laser cutting actually works. I hope someone is manually reviewing parts before you make them, because it would be bad overall if a LaserGist customer's one-off bad part path caused issues on your other parts, presumably for more regular, high volume clients.
Really, good luck! I just may order something in the near future. Ships by Christmas?
The tolerances based on the laser specs are 0.01mm. It is in essence extremely precise. Regarding the surface quality I think that a few photos would be the greatest way to showcase it. What is important to understand is that we are providing industrial level parts + quality, but we do this through a process that is easy for designers, engineers and people unfamiliar with laser cutting. Definitely not just "decorative"..
P.S. Ideas for future features you may wish to offer:
- Laser etching (different machine, but ties in with the general business idea).
- Bending! Even at a simple level it would let people make accurate cases, brackets and sculptures from the pieces.
When I saw "Discover" I expected some examples. Your product is intriguing, but I don't think there are that many people that will go "Oh, now I can finally make <insert object>". HAving some examples would be a great way to show what can be done and inspire your customers.
Your comment on examples is very correct and we've been advised at least 3 more times here; we are definitely doing this soon! Thank you again for your comments.
If you want other materials and thicknesses, try us out at http://www.bigbluesaw.com/ . For prices see http://www.bigbluesaw.com/examples .
Just open DOCUMENT INFO palette, select object from the drop down and select your paths. The path length will be shown on that palette.
Anyhow, I went home last night and knocked together a little cutting template for some hobby leatherworking I do. At $30 CAD shipped, it's hard to resist trying it out. If I'm happy with the result I'll share the site and template on some leatherworking forums - those guys are always looking for easy ways to build templates. Good luck with your launch.
Minor grammatical error: "How it works?" is not valid English. Instead this could be "How it works:", "How it works" (with the colon implied) or "How does it work?"
Could you help me out ? How to fill the informations before uploading the files, if they are compatible ? I'm quite a beginner with these software and I only use linux distro... However I'm eager to learn.
Also, how will I/you make sure the tree is not too fragile ?
https://www.heroforge.com/ is one I dig as well.
That calculates to 228 km/h, which seems impossible, unless you are reporting the total distance travelled by all your lasers added together. However, the wording you chose implies that each laser travels that distance individually. Compare: "Every day the cells in your body travel about 2 billion kilometers". This statement sounds very strange, but is technically correct (more or less) if you add up the distances travelled by each cell.
Still a cool factoid though :)
This service is one step towards this, but ideally eventually almost everything would be automated away.
Is this engraving position registration tolerance correct, or a typo? If +/- 3 mm is correct, then it would certainly rule it out for my application (control panels)
>Minimum hole sizes depending on stock thickness
>Try to avoid designing too small holes as it might be impossible for the laser to cut through. Keep a note of the following:
1.0mm minimum hole diameter: 3.5mm
1.5mm minimum hole diameter: 4.0mm
2.0mm minimum hole diameter: 5.0mm
3.0mm minimum hole diameter: 6.5mm
The advantages are primarily no tooling, no jigs, no setup. No clamps, even, if you want to play fast and loose.
Where it loses to traditional methods is production - on quantity a handful, laser cutters are great. When you need Q144 or Q1000 you need to look at stamping or die cutting.
What really appeals to me about Lasergist is the worldwide shipping. Now if only I could find someplace that does the same for acrylic.
They have a particularly nice page of reference photos of all the available materials, so you can see what it might look like: http://www.razorlab.co.uk/materials/info/?id=181
For those however that do want to share their parts' photos we provide discount for their next order.
Will you be offering sheet plastic and/or card too?