COMPARISONS

What makes our laser different than the competition?

Specs

  • Delivering Product
  • REQUIRES Internet
  • Price
  • Working Area
  • Max Material Thickness
  • Maximum Cut Depth (1-Pass)
  • Engraving Speed
  • Optical Components
  • Duty Cycle @ 72 F Ambient
  • Duty Cycle @ 80 F Ambient
  • Duty Cycle @ 90 F Ambient
  • Laser Type
  • Laser Tube Cooling
  • Laser Power Output
  • Exterior Case Material
  • Linear Motion System
  • Ventilation System
  •  
  • Filtration System
  • Est. Filtration Cost
  • Air Assist
  • Warranty
  • User Serviceable
  • Laser Replacement
  • Replacement Lens
  • Replacement Mirror
  • Free Replacement Parts
  • Multi-Pass 3D Engraving
  • Movable Home Position
  • Front Panel Access
  • Side Panel Access
  • Visible Laser Positioning
  • Intended Use

VOCCELL DLS

  • Yes
  • No
  • $4999.00
  • 24″ x 16″
  • 4.5″
  • .50″
  • 400 mm/s
  • Made in the USA
  • Unlimited @ Full Power
  • Unlimited @ Full Power
  • Unlimited @ Full Power
  • CO2
  • Phase Change Chilled Water
  • 50W /70W
  • Steel
  • High Speed Stepper
  • Included
  • or
  • Optional $1000
  • $250 Monthly
  • Included Air Compressor
  • 12 Months
  • Yes
  • $300
  • $100
  • $40
  • 1 Extra Lens and Mirror
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Industrial
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Glowforge Pro

  • No Est. March 2017
  • Yes
  • $5995.00
  • 20″ x 12″
  • 1.5″ w/ Tray Removed
  • .25″
  • Not Published
  • Not Published
  • Est. 23 Min @ 90%
  • Non-Operational
  • Non-Operational
  • CO2
  • Closed Loop w/ Peltier
  • 45W
  • Plastic
  • Speed Stepper
  • Not Included
  • or
  • Included
  • $250 Monthly
  • Included
  • 12 Months
  • Some Components
  • Proprietary Est. $500
  • Proprietary Est. $250
  • Proprietary Price Unknown
  • None
  • Yes
  • Not Published
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes (with Cameras)
  • Etsy Business

Full Spectrum H

  • Yes
  • No
  • $3499.00
  • 20″ x 12″
  • Removable Bottom
  • .25
  • 300 mm/s
  • Not Published
  • Est. 15 Minutes @ 90%
  • Inconsistent Performance
  • Inconsistent Performance
  • CO2
  • Aquarium Pump
  • 40W
  • Steel
  • Stepper
  • $200
  • or
  • $1100
  • $250 Monthly
  • Recommended $150
  • 12 Months
  • Yes
  • $300
  • $250
  • $40
  • None
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • No
  • No
  • Yes
  • Commercial

Special Information: Please note all information about competitors was pulled from information readily available from their respective websites, manuals and interviews and does include some speculation as noted when complete information is not available.

Fire Safety

DLS:  We intentionally set fires to our lasers to make sure they were as safe as possible.  The DLS uses a welded steel frame and all the important components are isolated behind sheet metal.  If our other safety features were to be defeated, the fires stay contained within the DLS with minimal damage to the unit itself.  In every test we did, we were able to get them back up and running for <$100 in parts and a thorough cleaning.  Our negative pressure exhaust system pulls in air from the front and the rear of the unit, then down and out.  This exhaust system, in combination with the air compressor will extinguish flames before they can spread to surrounding areas.  We were not able to intentionally start a fire with any material except styrene foam when the exhaust and compressor are on.

Glowforge:  While Glowforge has been quoted as saying that it is not possible to get their optics out of alignment so the risk of the lasers shooting through the side of the plastic casing is apparently a non-issue, if someone were to put a piece of styrene foam or quite a few other common, consumer oriented materials into the laser, they will catch on fire, which presumably will lead to a melted casing and possibly spreading to the surrounding area.  There is not enough data provided to see if the compressor and/or exhaust system are strong enough to extinguish flames before they start.  Even with that being the case, there are still materials that will ignite with them on.

Full Spectrum H: The FSH does have a sheet metal casing however the bottom can be left off allowing propagation of fire to the surrounding area.  The FSH does not include an exhaust fan or compressor with the unit (they are optional for $200 and $150 respectively).  When cutting acrylic for example, there will be a small flame present.  Over a relatively short period of time the flame will cause the optics to become dirty, diffusing the laser which can easily start a fire instead of cutting the material.  We see the air compressor and exhaust as a requirement.

Electrical Safety

DLS: The laser tube, high-voltage electrical lines and power supply are all isolated from the cutting area.  Additionally the metal chassis provides an excellent supplementary ground for the electrical system.  The high voltage areas of the electronics require a key to access and the rear cover over the laser tube itself must be unbolted to gain access.  Our negative pressure exhaust pulls air in from the laser tube cavity, preventing particulates including carbon from accessing the tube.

Glowforge and Full Spectrum H: Unless the design has changed since May, both of these units have the laser tube and high voltage electrical lines in the same chamber used to place material.  The first problem with this is that the high voltage lines and tube itself are accessible to the user when placing materials into or getting materials out of the work area.  The second problem has to do with arcing.  When the laser cuts materials, especially woods, carbon is generated, which is of course is electrically conductive.  If there is enough carbon particles inside the work area, the high voltages can arc through the air causing a major safety concern.  In our testing of our ‘in-house’ Full Spectrum laser, we were able to go from a completely clean laser to one that arced dangerously in as little as 4 total hours of cutting wood.  Cleaning the inside of the laser does help but it’s a maintenance item that many consumers may not perform as diligently as they need to in order to maintain a safe working environment.

Epilog Zing: The Zing has very similar features to the DLS related to electrical safety.

Duty Cycle

DLS: The DLS is designed to run in 100F heat, 24/7 and can do so with no degradation of power or loss in quality.  We expect people to put our lasers in un-airconditioned spaces like their home workshop or garages and have them run full production.  We want people to make money off our machines, so they were designed to be reliable in all normal operating conditions.

Glowforge: The Glowforge basic is designed to run at 70F ambient or lower, it will pause when the internal temperature of the unit reaches 80F.

“I don’t want you to be disappointed with your purchase – if you’re planning to run at >75 degrees for more than hobby (one-print-at-a-time) use, I would recommend against buying Basic.” – Dan Shapiro CEO Glowforge

With the information that is currently available, neither the Basic or Pro unit will operate consistently if the ambient temperature is 80F or higher.  We did some testing with 800mm long tubes (the same size as Glowforge) with their the same types of cooling they specify.  While the results may not necessarily be indicative of what their end result is, we found that at 80F ambient, that there was significant loss in power and quality after only 11 minutes of use (mix of cutting and engraving) with the ‘Basic’ style of cooling and 23 minutes of use with the ‘Pro’ method of cooling.

Full Spectrum H: The Full Spectrum laser has the same issue with major power loss with limited use.  It can be corrected by purchasing a chiller like the one we use, from Full Spectrum for an additional $1200.00.

Epilog Zing:  The Zing has the same issue with heat.  It uses an air cooled, metal laser tube which does work well in an air-conditioned environment however in a workshop or garage in the summer the same reduction in output will result.  Our testing with a borrowed Zing indicates that a temperature of 80F will show degradation in cut quality after 36 minutes of mixed cutting and engraving.  90F ambient temperature will void the warranty per Page 12 of the Epilog Manual.  You cannot put the Zing in an un-airconditioned workspace in the summer time in many parts of the US without voiding the warranty.

For a lot of people, not being able to use their laser in the summer time will be at best a disappointment and at worst cost them a lot of lost sales.

Tube Sizing / Rated Power Output

DLS: The DLS uses a 1000mm long laser tube 50mm in diameter and is rated at 40w RMS / 50w Peak.  Real world testing shows the DLS’ output exceeding the 50w spec with output generally in the 52-55w range when measured.

Glowforge: The Glowforge uses 800mm long tubes.  The claimed output is 40/45 watts average according to their ‘ Tech Specs’.  Typical 800mm laser tubes are 30-32 watts RMS.  They have mentioned that the tubes are custom made, so it may be possible that the rated RMA output is correct, or more likely that the spec they quote is a typo and is actually peak output.  This is speculation as we don’t have access to a Glowforge since they haven’t been released yet.

Full Spectrum H: The tube is not big enough to output the specified amount of power except as a peak rating. The unit we have tested with a new tube output 33 watts RMS and 39 watts peak output.

Epilog Zing: Theirs ratings are in line with real output values.

Filtration

In general, filtration of the exhaust from the laser should be used only as a last resort.  Exhausting the laser to the outdoors is always a better solution.  We offer nearly identical filtration systems to the ones offered by Epilog and Full Spectrum.  They work well but can be quite costly with regular use.  Using them for 2 hours per day cutting wood will cost about $250.00 a month in filters, cutting plastics will clog them faster.  If consumers don’t change the filters when required, due to cost, or otherwise, they will get clogged which will prevent the venting of the laser.  This will not only release potentially harmful particulates into the operator’s area but also cause the interior of the laser to get dirty very quickly which can cause a major fire or electrical hazard as outlined above.

Please take the following with a grain of salt as it was part of an informal conversation with two engineers that design laser filtration systems and myself.  It  does include speculation.

The filtration systems that Voccell, Epilog and Full Spectrum use are quite large and are required to be that size in order to adequately filter the laser.  We have spoken with a couple of the engineers at the company that designs and manufactures our filtration equipment about what Glowforge could be doing to filter its lasers so they can be used as shown (in kitchens etc) with such a compact filter setup.  The two engineers I spoke with said that there simply could not be enough filtration media in that small of an area to filter the laser emissions satisfactorily.

Maintenance

DLS: The DLS was designed to be as maintenance free as possible. Due to the way the exhaust system works and the fact that the electronics and laser tube itself are removed from the work area drastically reduces cleaning requirements.  We have DLS’s that have been used every day for more than a year with the only maintenance required was to replace the 2 gallons of distilled water in the chiller and to wipe the linear rails with a little grease once a month.

Glowforge: There is not any data to know what the maintenance is like, however we speculate that there will be a lot of consumers that will neglect to change the filters due to cost or otherwise which will cause clogs and very dirty laser interiors.

Full Spectrum H: The ‘in house’ Full Spectrum we use for testing and comparisons needs to be thoroughly cleaned approximately every 8-10 hours of use.  The cleaning with isopropyl alcohol and microfibers of the interior, lenses, mirrors, tube etc. takes approximately 30 minutes.

Epilog Zing: The Zing is very close to in line with the DLS except there is no chiller to replace the water in.