Trotec Laser 2 Years On
I bought a brand new Trotec Speedy 400 flexx almost two years ago, I was familiar with the machine, the company and its capabilities and I can now look back and summarize my experience concretely with the machine and company behind it.
I started CNCROi.com with an ideal client in mind – industrial and manufacturing businesses. They have the volume and financial resources to afford what I can do with my awesome Austrian laser. While most of the people who had lasers do so on a retail front, I wanted to avoid that as much as possible.
The first reason is staff, if you have a storefront, you need SOMEBODY at the front during normal business hours. It has to be a person who’s great at sales, understands what is and isn’t possible and helps direct projects towards the best outcome. As such, this isn’t a minimum wage job or for anybody. I was starting-up CNCROi.com in a country I grew-up in but hadn’t lived IN for almost a decade. The expensive of a store-front person would have killed me… it would have had to have been ME which doesn’t work as I had to be OUT getting projects, meeting people and closing deals.
I can’t drop everything I’m doing “out back” to service a customer “out front” safely at the drop of a hat.
The second reason is client base, I wasn’t after the person wanting a watch engraved with their name (though we have done that) nor school awards (we’ve done that too), having a storefront has advantages that I AM losing out on BUT when you are starting-up, pennies are tight and you have to gage what has the most promise and immediate bang for the buck.
The client base I was after sometimes have long lead cycles, which works well in my favor, so you quote a job that will START in 2-3 months! That means you have time to invest treasure and time into optimal production and learn new skills to successfully complete the job. A person wanting a single pen engraved needs it NOW and I’ve already lost money taking the project on as I need to make jigs and the like.
The Power of Flexx
I made only a handful of good decisions in my life, at the top of the list is getting a TROTEC Laser and second FLEXX! CNCROi.com is a custom shop, I really have no idea what customers will want from me, sometimes it’s acrylic, sometimes wood, sometimes metal. The advantage of having two laser sources in one machine has really been fantastic.
CO2 is great for cutting and engraving pretty much anything other than metal while Fiber is great for metal annealing and engraving. My machine has 110W CO2 and 30W fiber and I use BOTH of them on a very regular basis. If I had just gotten a CO2 laser source, I would have had to use Cermark which chips, fades and cracks overtime plus the extra time needed to apply, let it dry, and washing it off. Fiber means sticking the metal in as/is and taking it out. Nothing else required!
I’ve also used fiber to color change plastics like polycarbonate, CO2 just melts it, Fiber color changes it to black… at incredible resolution and precision. I never could have imagined I’d have contracts using fiber on plastic but I do and it’s because of this extra tube!
What I wished I did
Looking back, is there anything I would have done differently when I ordered my machine with gas kit, rotary and vacuum table? Only thing is maxing out the CO2. I know watts are expensive, especially when it comes to fiber but the possibilities they provide more than outweigh the initial costs. I’m very happy with my machine, it’s more than capable of handing anything I put in it, the pass-through is also an amazing asset as well for larger projects but sometimes, like when engraving Corian, that extra power would come in handy.
Experience with Trotec Laser thus far
I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with Trotec directly through their branch offices and I can’t tell you how much better it is to talk with people who work FOR Trotec – meaning they aren’t a distributor. Any issues are quickly resolved on-site, from training through supplies (laminates through lenses) and they know their machines better than I know my own!
When ever Trotec Canada has a training session, I’M THERE! Why? Because you always pick-up tips and techniques that more than make-up the loss of time left in the shop. For instance, I went to Las Vegas to meet-up with the Trotec Australia, USA and Canada branches and I left learning some valuable information from Reece (Trotec Australia) regarding optimizing materials with coatings on them and a plastic grid table for acrylics (Meredith Trotec USA) and the best rubber to use and how to optimize the machine for it from Mel (Trotec Canada). The cost to travel to Las Vegas was steep but I’ve more than made-up for it from what I learned.
As for my machine, it’s been working great, it is a premium machine and my client base, once they understand how valuable it is to have something that cuts accurately repeatedly with straight lines and true circles, appreciate the investment I’m making in their projects.
Support: Engravers Register and Trotec Laser Group
Trotec Laser also runs a closed FaceBook group (owners only) where other owners can chat about optimal processes which comes in extremely handy, I was able to optimize my acrylic cutting with perfect edges thanks to Adrian (Trotec Australia) even on thicker stock! Get my laminates PERFECT thanks to Mike (Trotec Canada) and great machine maintenance tips from Jon (Trotec Canada).
Engravers Register has also helped me get contracts and has provided me with valuable knowledge about the industry and what other shops do, they keep me in the loop even when I don’t have time to do so myself!
One more thing I’d like to mention, Trotec Laser offers 24/365 help even when there is a holiday or you are working away at 2 am and stumble on an issue. How? Global offices, Trotec Canada may be sleeping but Trotec Australia is open for business! Use these timezones to your advantage… it has really come in handy in addition to the other resources already mentioned.
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with my Trotec Laser, awesome customer service, material support and a global network has been a major reason for my success at CNCROi.com. That alone is worth a premium, and you get a fantastic machine too!