A few years back this community gave me great recommendations when I was looking

A few years back this community gave me great recommendations when I was looking at buying a 3DPrinter for use in a high school classroom. I’m hoping you can do the same now that I have funds to purchase a laser cutter for my students to use.

I have a location in the hall that has access for venting. It needs to be under 3 feet deep (distance from the wall) so it doesn’t interfere with hall traffic.

My students currently use Autodesk Inventor to design for the 3D Printer.

If I can get one that’s easy to use and fairly easy to maintain for under $6000 that would be great.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.


Glowforge is vapor ware.

Give http://justaddsharks.co.uk a bell, don’t know them personally but they seem to know their subject and they may be able to give you some advice.

Can you even get a lasercutter that’s easy to use and maintain for under $6k?

You might check with the K40 Laser Cutting Engraving Machine group on Google+ for their suggestions and software options, though they are more focused on the cheap (~$400) K40 laser cutters and improving them with smoothie boards, better firmware, and air assist nozzles.

Also, not sure how safe it would be to have a laser running un-attended out in a bus hallway. Only takes one kid going half-blind from a stray laser reflection at the right time.

The Glowforge is a nice idea, but unsure if they have started shipping yet or how soon you could get one. I believe they do have a “vent-free” HIPA air filtration option though.

Maybe we should look into the requirements a bit more before giving recommendations…
I guess the biggest factor is what materials (and thicknesses) you want to cut and whether you are comfortable with bang-for-your-buck import machines that might make tradeoffs in reliability and safety.

I agree with Tom, you have alot of things you have to decide upon before looking for a suitable machine…

Perhaps the soon to be released FabCreator FabKit is something for you?

Thank you so much for your response…you gave me a lot to think about. At this point, since the funding is from a community source, I’ve decided to approach our school board to ask for matching funds…that would double my budget and I think I would have better results in the long run and be able to expand the courses that use it if I spend more up front.

I’m also rethinking the hall location. I have my 3D printer on a cart and I usually have that in the hall just outside my door because the students are so intrigued watching it work. I would like to do the same with the laser cutter but I will have to re-examine the safety considerations.

Thanks again.

Laser cutters are more likely to be in a solid enclosure due to dangerous laser beams… so watching it work is more difficult