Mmmm, Epilog!

So, just got my Mini-18 in today, and have started playing with it! The drivers don’t play all that nice with Windows 10, they’re kind of a pain. But the laser itself is absolutely incredible! These are my first projects, just downloaded the snowflake as a black-and-white JPG. The logo is the business logo my wife designed for our small business, and was engraved as a raster image. The snowflake is in quarter-inch cheap plywood from Lowes, and took about two minutes to cut. The acrylic is again from Lowes, and took about a minute.

Have so many ideas to play with!



Hey Dan, looks great. Pardon my ignorance what is a Mini 18

Thanks! The Mini-18 is the smallest of Epilog’s “Legend”-series laser engraving units. 30W CO2 system. :smile:

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Made a few more projects last night, this was my first attempt at engraving and cutting out a graphic from the internet. This came in as a JPG, so I had to do an outline trace to specify the cut, then add the little hanging loop to his head. It’s not quite right yet, I am getting a lot of re-deposition of vapors and stuff around the cut lines. I suspect my settings need some tweaking, but overall I think it came out pretty well. For scale, this piece is just under three inches tall.

And, I went down to Lowes to grab a piece of quarter-inch plywood for some more testing. The only sheet they had was SO bad that I just had to laugh and snap a picture. This was actually still stocked for sale!

I just wish these cost less than my first car…

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I will often find damaged plywood or stuff like this and lowball them if I can find a use for it.

The line “i’ll get it off of your shelf and out of your hair” usually works pretty well.

I wish it cost less than my current car, NAM37. I’m working it into my business, though, so it’s more on the line of an investment than a specific individual purchase.

Not a bad plan, I suppose! I just generally don’t have much of a use for material this hosed. I mean, unless your piece is less than an inch or so long, that arc is going to start to be pretty major. I suppose it’d be fine if you were nailing it to something, but aside from that…

Nice work Dan. Isn’t it nice cutting without a router screaming away? :smile:



It really is, although particularly on the acrylic material I could do without the smell. The fume extractor does a good job of getting rid of the actual smoke, but the room stinks a bit afterwards.

I particularly love the feedrate on small parts, trying to use a rate like that with a 1/23nd end mill that would be required to do the same with a rotary tool would be disastrous. Of course, downside being that I have no good depth control, either.

I think this is going to be at its best as a combination tool, working the detail engraving and soforth on larger parts made with the X-Carve. :smile:

Yeah, but, shurely you can’t drive very far. :smile:

Looks amazing, Dan! I’ve been considering an Epilog as an upgrade to replace my modified Shapeoko II, which I turned into a laser engraver.

Just curious about how loud your Epilog setup is. Any info would be much appreciated. Also, Are you using a machine to force the exhaust air along?

Depth control is obviously a lot more difficult but possible Dan. Adjusting feed rate and power on the 2.8W J-Tech I can cut halfway through materials but requires test runs first. Even so on things like plywood it’s a bit hit and miss.

Where it comes into its own is for things like cutting and scoring card. With the thick black card I use I can score fold lines by cutting half way through in a pretty consistent fashion.

With the Epilog having 10 times the power I’m not sure if you can get that kind of control though would be something you’d need to try.

Tried a living/lattice hinge yet? Fun stuff, see this: "Living" / "Lattice" Hinges



I’m incredibly pleased with it so far, Matthew. The large bulk of your noise is going to come from the air-assist compressor, and the ventilation system. With my setup (a 400cfm centrifugal fan and an airbrush compressor) I can easily talk to another person right next to it in a conversational tone. It’s louder than my space heater, quieter than a vacuum cleaner. Forced ventilation is NOT optional when you’re cutting up plywood or doing large engravings, it will completely fill the laser chamber with smoke in seconds if you don’t have it running!

Ian, it’s more or less the same with the Epilog. I can and do score paper and card with it, I have a set of particular settings that I use just for typing paper, actually. When I’m setting up an engraving, I typically use the outline vector of the object (since I have been making most of the stuff I’m engraving, I can just project a DXF from the model, and import that for the outline) and place my engraving inside of that. Then I’ll have the laser mark a sheet of paper (just discolour, no material removal) with the engravings, then come back and cut it out. With that template, I can hold it over the actual object and make sure my details are all where I want them to be. Then I just load the settings for whatever material it is, and run the actual piece. The control level is phenomenal! I haven’t done one of those hinges yet, but it is DEFINITELY on the to-do list. Right after Christmas, I think, when the laser isn’t booked wall-to-wall with gifts.

Here’s one I did for a local friend, this is (obviously) one of my pen stands, but I decided to use the laser on it this time. This is actually the first piece I’ve made with the intent of lasering it right from the get-go. The base was X-carved, of course! Laser work took about a minute.

This is an engraving on leather for a friend, first time I’d tried leather! I did a couple test runs on scrap first, then the final. Total engraving time for this was about two minutes.

Here are a couple more of my pen stands, one in Purpleheart (on the left) and one in red Marblewood. These were engraved for a friend as Christmas gifts for his mother, who is a cat lover.

And these started out as just fun projects, then I ended up making a bunch of them on request. This is about a third of them. Total time for this sheet (30 pieces) is about 18 minutes, my graphics layout is not very efficient, time-wise. I could do it in quite a bit less now, but it’s easier to just keep pushing the button and walking away. lol

And this one was just a toy-around to see how easily I could cut paper. This is cut from a matte photo paper, and the total cutting time took about two minutes. I could do it faster now, but this was one of my earliest projects and I was still very tentative about power levels and feed rates. I’m now much more comfortable with pouring on the power, and adjusting the travel speed up until it works right.

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I don’t even have a car :confused:

Who needs one? Get a laser instead! :laughing:


Might be good for Ship Building :smiley:

I’d certainly think so, particularly in that I can scan in parts from the plans directly, scale them, and send them to the laser without even having to model 'em up!

What does the Mini 18 go for?

Fair pile, you’ll need to contact your dealer for exact pricing, but this one was just a hair under $11k.