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.