So my friend Melissa contacted me about some advice on an old ULS M25 that went down. She had a ULS provided tech tell her it was not feasible to repair the machine. This machine has sentimental value to her and even if she replaces it, the ULS would remain in the family.
I contacted my cousin’s husband, Andy, who is an awesome and active contributor on his YouTube Channel. He lived nearby so I asked if he knew anyone who wouldn’t mind demonstrating their Chinesium laser. He directed me to Ben. More on him in a moment.
So my plan was to drive 2 hours to this ULS machine and do what I could for Melissa, and then take her to see what a chinese laser was all about. The stigma behind the cheapest chinese clones affects the bigger boys like Thunder Laser, Aeon, Boss, and others that have machines manufactured to their strict specifications and I honestly was not aware that the quality was that high. Let me say that again…
The stigma behind the cheapest chinese clones affects the bigger boys like Thunder Laser, Aeon, Boss, and others that have machines manufactured to their strict specifications and I honestly was not aware that the quality was that high.
When I asked Ben if he would allow us to kick the tires on his Thunder Laser he readily obliged. Ben is the founder of Air Graphics which started mostly airbrushing but diversifies to keep up with the trending markets. I did not know this at the time so i unwittingly set up a meeting of the minds between 2 direct competitors. Awkward!
Okay so the day of the main event I get up and my wife, who has ZERO interest in laser stuff, agreed to tag along provided I get us to a balloon festival we planned to attend on time. DONE! We swing by and grab a biscuit then off we go.
We get to Melissa’s shop and I check out the ULS. It was the standard Synrad 25w tube (2015) and had a 12″ 24″ work area. I removed, inspected, cleaned, and reinstalled the main PCB. Then I inspected and reseated every connector. The I did “The Fonz” and performed a series of sharp blows around the electronics housing and the machine came to life! The prognosis is not good.
I suspect a defect in a wire harness, terminal, cold solder joint, etc… I could reflow the boards and release any strain on the harnesses but for now let’s just hope Big Bertha fires up and works when she needs to. The z axis was misbehaving too and it moved free. I determined it to be a weak motor.
Now it’s off to Ben’s home to check out his Chinese laser. I can tell immediately that he’s a stand-up guy. We spoke briefly in his kitchen and then he led us downstairs to his Thunder Laser MARS 90.
That was one SWEET machine! The features blew the US machines away and the quality was very very impressive.
This is where I was going to go in to some detail about the machine… but I’m not! I have a better idea. I want to do a comprehensive write-up! Justin Fischer (the Tumbler King and Workflow Ninja) was so impressed with my enthusiasm of the Thunder Laser that he wants to see more. So in the next month or so Justin is going to come down and we are going to visit Ben and his cool laser and I am going to make it a follow-up article complete with video and audio of our journey and discussions. This is going to be a lot of fun. Until then, Tech Bravo OUT!
11/07/2019 UPDATE: The trip has been postponed due to some logistics issues but I something in the works that will be far better than going to visit a Thunder Laser again! Stay Tuned 🙂