Ana- I have 6-7 months of experience working on a laser in every day
situations in a shop I used to work for. Don’t let the sales guys
fool you into thinking that everyone needs a laser welder. That’s
simply not true. I do platinum casting to the trade, and I’ve only
needed “laser intensive” repairs less than 10 times this whole year.
That cost me about 1/3 as much as ONE lease payment on a laser. If
you need a toy (or a glorious tax write off), go for it; if you need
a tool, you need to evaluate what you’re going to realistically use
it for and how often. Chances are it will enhance or even
revolutionize your processes, but at what price?
I would seriously investigate your local area and see if there’s a
trade shop that can do jobs for you. I have a customer that’s
consider buying a laser with the line of reasoning that he’ll be able
to replace a jeweler. In a shop with only 6 jewelers, that’s a pure
pipe dream. The fact is, lasers are not the end-all (like I’ve been
told by multiple sales guys), they’re very expensive, and you need to
seriously access your return on investment (ROI).
If a trade shop charges you around $50.00 per hour for
“laser-intensive” jobs (with a minimum charge of course), that’s
great. If you’re specializing in restorations etc., and you do a
“ton” of repair work, GREAT! If it’s for castings, I’d invest in
“de-bugging” your process. Don’t listen to the lines about “replacing
jewelers” and other BS. That probably happened to big manufacturers
who employed 25-50 workers and a laser(s) increased efficiency of
certain processes. Remember, there’s an intense learning curve (no
matter how easy they tell you it is). No matter how they may
“pre-program” your machine, you sometimes need to learn to manipulate
the settings (Pulse waves and shapes) to get the job done.
Matt Feliksa President Golden Sun MFG., Inc. “Specializing in platinum
casting to the trade.” www.goldensunmfg.com