Should i go for a Beambox?


#1

Hi everybody,

I am looking at the Beambox, and as i know for what i will use it i knot that it is for me…

But is it relay? I thought so before i start reading all about the Flux bad support, the things not working as they should,l laser tube dead after two months, camera freezing,… and from a 100% buy i am in the beginning again. Sadly the other option in Glowforge with the shipping price of 1k eur to EU + customs. However… what should i do? It is a lot of money to throw away if the support and the quality is relay so shity.

Thank you so much!

BR,

Jure


#2

Hi, Jure. One guy’s opinion… your judgment is what counts. However, I own the BeamBox Pro; bought it through KickStarter. It took me almost a year to get it working reliably with numerous problems that required assistance via the help desk, emails, text messages, FaceTime sessions, etc. I had to be persistent to get that level of assistance but frankly, one should be invested for that much money. All of my problems turned out to be “v 0.9” type issues… matters that over time became apparent and permanent fixes were implement on later released/sold products (such is the nature of many KickStarter projects and also the reason you can get in on the ground floor at about .50% cost). When I say it took me a year to get full resolution, I had several work stoppages that caused much of the delay. All that said, my BeamBox Pro works very well at this point. I would give the software a C+ (remember, “C” is “average” or “satisfactory” so its slightly above that). I’m guessing that a new Beambox (or Pro) should be reliably “solid” with matters like inadequate wiring, poor connections, etc., which when combined with software that has been debugged, you would have a good experience. Let me not minimize the problems and aggravations I and others underwent. Yet you will not get the product for the price we did either. I don’t regret my purchase (although at times I did). There are perhaps 2 or 3 issues to keep in mind. First, I am now on my 3rd laser tube, the two replacements provided at no cost to me due to problems I identified. In that time I was told, and believe, that the Beambox tubes are best used at 60% power or less (the “top-dog” even advised 50% max power for max use. So, a 50 watt tube should be used at no more than a 30 watt level and a cautious person would hold it to 25 watt usage. In many cases that is acceptable if you are able to make 2 or 3 passes instead of one. Not every material, engraving, or cut is amenable to that but I’ve managed pretty well. And it may be that my first two laser tubes were damaged/limited right out of the gate but this third tube works better at 50% than either of the other two did at 70%. I can get the performance indicated in their power charts but I tend to make more passes (and often at higher speeds) than a chart indicate. For example, to cut 1/4" (6mm) quality plywood I make 3 passes at 40% power. Second, and its possible this has been fixes but the acrylic focusing arm and the plastic air tubing to the lens enclosure did not stand up to some of the heat the system generates. While several different projects would create significant heat and started having their effect on those two items I learned that leaving the paper covering with its adhesive on acrylic resulted in intense flame that simply melted the original hose/focus beam. I found nylon/fiberglass fittings to replace the tubing from the horizontal platform to the lens enclosure and out of a 30mm w x 50 mm l x 10 mm high block of wood I cut out a triangle 30mm w (full width) x 20mm l (40% of the length) x 5 mm high (or 50% of the height). Placed under the lens enclosure I can raise the table until the bottom of the lens enclosure touches the 10 mm high block and oriented correctly, the back of the block raises from the workpiece. So much better than the original because if I start with the lens only 8mm above the table (for example), the back of the block doesn’t touch the table and I simply lower the table to get the required 10mm gap from the bottom of the lens cover to the top of the workpiece. I recommend this if you find a need to replace the acrylic focusing beam or not… its so much easier to use, covers a larger area of the workpiece (in case you have any unevenness), and allows you to get to the exact table height either raising or lowering the table… unlike with the acrylic beam. Finally, read… research and read. I thought a good laser engraver/cutter would be intuitive. Even without problems, that is not the case. Its much like learning a new skill… you have to educate yourself on what all that stuff is about, how one aspect effect another, and learn to work with the trade offs of power, speed, thickness, material type, material quality, cooling capability, vapor exhaust, vapors that will kill you if not exhausted, etc., etc.). The newest Flux manuals (I don’t know if they are provided or only available through download) are so very much better than the almost zero guidance originally provided. But I suggest it is only 10% of what you need to know if you’re going to get your money out of this machine or, for that matter, any other. Example: I assumed a laser beam, at least at those distances… a few inches or less than 10cm would be essentially of one width… parallel sides. Not true and this plays a big role in your results as material types, thicknesses, power (and related, speed) change. I guess I should have known given the emphasis on getting the exact distance from the bottom of the lens cover to the top of the workpiece and the limits of how deep you can cut. But once I learned this (from other sources), I was able to achieve better results than when working without that knowledge. I rather like my BeamBox Pro. I can recommend it IF you appreciate what you are getting in to. Understand that there is really $7,000 worth of difference between a $10,000 machine/laser and a $3,000. If you want a $3,000 machine, then the BeamBox Pro is worth it. One last thought… if you are not familiar and comfortable with creating vector graphics and have solid software that will produce .svg files (.dxf) then you will find that a 2nd potentially significant learning curve and capability to master. That is not a BeamBox/Flux issue but unless your simply doing a few engravings you will really want to become capable in the graphics, and particularly vector graphic arena. And lest you are not familiar, there are a few free or $50 products and many, many $500-$1200 products (sometimes at a hefty monthly subscription). I’ll give you my recommendation for free… the Affinity Design (and their other products) at $50/MacOS, $25/iOS was my sweet spot for cost/value/capability in the 2D graphics arena (vector and non-vector). I only wish Affinity products were also 3D capable. For 3D work I’ve settled on Shapr3D on the iPad (with pencil) which will soon be available on the Mac platform. I have no relationships with any product I recommend other than as a consumer. I should also tell you I now have 2 other lighter duty laser cutter/engravers and am awaiting a 3rd. For larger, more demanding projects and max power I use the BeamBox Pro without regret. Good luck.


#3

Thank you so much for the answer, you helped a lot!


#4

I pretty much agree with what Merge said above.
If I was a pro shop, I would drop the money on a pro-grade cutter. Reading the blog at the Trotech site, they’re talking advanced settings like laser pulse frequency that the Flux doesn’t have, and engrave speeds that are waaay over what the Flux can do.
BUT! If I was paying Trotech prices, I wouldn’t have a laser cutter today. For the price point, I’ve very happy with what I got in the box. The thing is built like a tank, and places where I see that corners have been cut to save money, I agree with those choices and am happy that they were made to get the laser down into a price point that I could afford. I grabbed the Pro model and for the money got a lot more laser in terms of cut size, camera, and hardware than I would have with any of the other consumer level lasers (GlowForge, FullSpectrum, etc)
The software was buggy as of a year ago, but it’s been under active development, and seems pretty stable now. I contacted support because the software would only run on Ubuntu 16, not the newest 18. They were responsive, though didn’t have an immediate fix, however, in the next release there was an option compiled for 18. I’d also take complaints about laser software with a grain of salt, because it is notoriously bad across the board. Really, I would only plan to use any laser software to import SVG designs and send to the laser. Do all your design in other software and import at the end.

Speaking of software, Inkscape is great, and free / open-source, for 2D design. For 3D, I really like OnShape which is commercial but has a free hobbyist license.


#5

Thank you for the help Alex


#6

When people are happy, they don’t take time to post praise because they’re busy enjoying their Beamboxes! What they might post, though, is queries for advice on materials, techniques, tips and so on. Maybe if you analyze those discussions on the facebook group, it’ll give you a broader picture of normal user experience.


#7

I miss some features of the Trotec I used to use, mainly pulse frequency control and z-axis control, but overall I’m generally happy with the Beambox. I got a Pro for the slightly larger bed size and laser power but I’m no longer sure that it’s saving materials as much as I thought it would.


#8

I got my beamo a year ago and have been happy with it. When I’ve contacted their support, it’s been within a day to get a reply and they knew what they were talking about.
In the year I’ve had it, I’ve pushed my Beamo to the limit and worn the laser tube down considerably. Granted I was making hundreds of laptop stands. I know I should be using a heavier duty machine (and I have used an 80W cutter in a workshop) but it’s nice to have a compact cutter that is very capable at home. Plus the software is so much easier to use than Lasercut 5.3. I do not envy people that have to use cutters with a Leetro controller.


#9

Hi Guys
I live in Australia and bought the Beamo 3 montha ago and did lots of projects over Christmas.
4 weeks ago I bought the Beambox Pro and from day 1 I have loved it with no problems, sure the software is not great but I use the Vectric V Carve pro to design and just downlaod as an SVG to the laser. I have the Vectric software as I have a CNC wood working machine that I bought from the States.
All I have to do now is find someone to buy the Beamo for a good price and I would be a happy chappy.

Terry