A few months ago, something magical happened. Over the years, I have been building, bit by bit, a way to twist the world into a shape more to my liking. With little pokes here and there, I’ve managed to eek out a life that has me selling the things I build, make, design, and hack for a living. Sleek and Destroy is now the source of my entire income and I even have employees. This is absurd. I feel like the police should be on to me and haul me off for impersonating a successful adult who knows what they’re doing any second.
In line with this trend, they should also haul me away for steadily becoming a supervillain, for I have a laser. An 18-wheeler arrived at my Bushwick studio carrying a pine box big enough to send Orson Welles six feet under in style and within a few short hours filled with grunting, swearing, and sweating, I had a functional robot helping me build things in my house.
After contending with Paypal for months I finally got a year’s worth of earnings in one lump sum and, after settling my debts, invested in a piece of equipment I’ve been yearning to own for years: a laser cutter. I’ve been taking recommendations for brands and companies for months beforehand, trying to understand the big complex world of laser ownership. It seems like the majority of lasers are tweaked/refurbished/rebranded imports direct from china. A quick search of Alibaba will show you a selection of very, VERY familiar laser configurations with a variety of labels and color schemes swapped between them randomly.
I ended up going with a Floyd from Hurricane Laser. I was eyeballing the Hugo, but quickly realized there wasn’t a chance of it fitting through my doorway. Alas, maybe next time I experience enforced savings I’ll have the kind of liquidity to afford an improved burning light emitting robot.
My major reason for choosing Hurricane was the recommendations coming in from a few folks, long time laser users all, about their customer service. There are few things more frustrating than finding a good deal on a piece of tech and then pouring all that savings down the drain by wasting your time trying to get it doing its damn job. They also said that the tweaks Hurricane makes to their machines are a substantial improvement on the baseline models you get straight from the factory.
So far, it’s been good, with the exception of needing to install drivers for the laser dongle (which is required to run the laser in any capacity) and the laser separately and the constant nuisance of the clunky laser controller software “LaserCut 5.3″. Since all of the software is bargain basement and originally written in Chinese, the integration between the bits is finicky at best and outright broken at worst. It refused to load on my MacBook Pro running Win7 through BootCamp. Fortunately I had an old WinXP tower around, which has become the dedicated laser computer.
Now begins the journey of making the investment worth it. I’m trying to laze a thing every day and push the tool as far as it can go. At the least, it’s been responsible for some stellar parties.