[Noisebridge-discuss] Laser Cutter

Josh Myer josh at joshisanerd.com
Sun Jan 9 21:48:51 UTC 2011

On Sun, Jan 9, 2011 at 1:18 PM, Corey McGuire <coreyfro at coreyfro.com> wrote:

> These cut, too.  There are vector operations and raster operations.  Raster
> operations engrave, vector operations cut.
> A 25W laser is more than enough for cutting acrylic of a sizable
> thickness.  Beyond this thickness, you have focusing problems that effect
> all lasers.
> Cutting metal is not the best application for laser tools unless we spend
> SERIOUS money.  Metal is hard for laser cutting because when metal melts, it
> becomes very reflective.
> As far as what brand to use, as much as I hate to sound the "Noone gets
> fired for buying IBM" trumpet, I think it applies here.
> There is a lease option that I would like to make people aware of.  It
> means the equipment isn't ours, but it also means we don't have the large
> initial investment, and we can get service as part of the contract.
I went through all the hoops to purchase an Epilog Helix 60W laser cutter
about a year ago, before I heard TechShop was coming to town (business
model: rent time on a known-good, reliable cutter).  Once I found out they'd
be here, with lots of Epilogs, I turned down the financing I'd already

The standard Epilog "lease" is not a true lease.  It's only a "lease" for
tax purposes (because it's a lease, a business can deduct the whole rental
fee as an expense, instead of taking the standard IRS depreciation schedule,
probably six years unless you're creative).  Then, at the end of the term,
you can "buy" your laser cutter for some non-trivial amount of money
(~$10k), to satisfy IRS requirements for the lease.

If, at any point, you decide to walk-away, they only deduct the
now-depreciated value of the laser cutter as a payment, and you owe the sum,
including interest (as you pay down interest before capital, as with most

The rates they offer are okay, but I don't expect Noisebridge to get a
better deal than I/Applied Platonics was going to (~10% with the largest
down payment, ~33%).

Shannon's specific proposal is to get a 2k$ item in the space ASAP, instead
of trying to organize ~$25,000 for the lowest-end Epilog that's worth
buying.  (FWIW, $25k is a sizable percentage of all the money NB has _ever_

This is a Good Idea.  If we get together 2k$ for a quasi-toy engrager, we
can talk about moving up a few steps, but until we have that money on the
barrelhead, we're clearly not going to get any further.

(And, as for burning the place down: all you have to do is leave it
unattended.  A laser cutter is an enclosed space with lots of fresh airflow,
containing lots of fuel.  It's easy to go from little tufts of smoke to
serious fire quickly, and if you're not watching it, that can get out of
control just as fast.  This is something everyone took Very Seriously when
talking about cutters, even little 30W toys.)
Josh Myer 415.230.9791 <-- NOTE: New number!
 josh at joshisanerd.com
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