Thunder/LO Controller Comparison

Discussions and help on this commercial controller.

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Thunder/LO Controller Comparison

Postby evokanivo » Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:51 pm

Any reason I would choose one over the other? I'm wondering about features and software update-cycle. Superficially, LaserGrav and LaserCAD seem nearly identical. So far the only thing to decide based on is price and a slight preference for the LO LCD panel. Well that and the free availability of Thunderlaser firmware and docs, vs. LO's small hassle of forum links to prevent downloads by those who bought from Chinese resellers.
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Re: Thunder/LO Controller Comparison

Postby iGull » Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:00 pm

Hi
As no-one has replied to your question, I'll give you my take - I may use bad words occasionally :-) )
I have a lightobject controller - the electronics work well and have USB and ethernet interfaces - the remote pod is neat and tidy.
I drive mine from my iMac using virtualbox running windozeXP - the software is PC sadly.
To be honest, there is really nothing much to choose between the hardware of LO/Thunderlaser/Shenhui - contrary to popular opinion - promises of great changes to the supplied firmware/software have failed to transpire.
However, while the software may SEEM similar between them - it most definitely IS NOT!
I've used the LO software (Lasercad) for about a year now - there have been a few MINOR improvements, but all the hype and promise of great things (updated software etc) has not transpired.
The software for the LO is pretty awful - the file importers crash regularly if you don't follow a specific set of processes - the tools just don't work - panning jumps all over the place, zooming doesn't work - the tools are generally all in the wrong palettes or menus. The menus suffer from having 'chinglish' (to be fair, the others do too, but you can edit them all to be meaningful in your language).
I don't know about Thunderlaser (I believe its the same as the shenhui 'LaserWorks' software ?) - I do know about the shenhui setup - the hardware looks and performs the same as the rest - no ethernet though - not as a big deal as I hoped for really. Where the shenhui software scores is that mostly, it works - the importers don't crash that much and the tools pretty much work as expected. There are a few points where it is nicer - it shows the toolpath and directions and importantly, it's easily changed - layer order is easily changed, it doesn't hang because it's on layer 2! Because they're all from the same stable (of donkeys, not horses :-) ) the tools are all in the same (wrong IMHO) places.
Doing it again (which I will be in the next few months) - I'd go for the shenhui setup - I was quoted cheaper and even though I know that there (probably) won't be any software updates, I know that the software for the most part, works. You can check the forum on sawmill creek for all the horror stories :-)))
And I didn't swear once :-)
Cheers
Neil
EMOs are a sign of weakness ...
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Re: Thunder/LO Controller Comparison

Postby evokanivo » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:28 pm

iGull wrote:Hi
As no-one has replied to your question, I'll give you my take - I may use bad words occasionally :-) )
I have a lightobject controller - the electronics work well and have USB and ethernet interfaces - the remote pod is neat and tidy.
I drive mine from my iMac using virtualbox running windozeXP - the software is PC sadly.
To be honest, there is really nothing much to choose between the hardware of LO/Thunderlaser/Shenhui - contrary to popular opinion - promises of great changes to the supplied firmware/software have failed to transpire.
However, while the software may SEEM similar between them - it most definitely IS NOT!
I've used the LO software (Lasercad) for about a year now - there have been a few MINOR improvements, but all the hype and promise of great things (updated software etc) has not transpired.
The software for the LO is pretty awful - the file importers crash regularly if you don't follow a specific set of processes - the tools just don't work - panning jumps all over the place, zooming doesn't work - the tools are generally all in the wrong palettes or menus. The menus suffer from having 'chinglish' (to be fair, the others do too, but you can edit them all to be meaningful in your language).
I don't know about Thunderlaser (I believe its the same as the shenhui 'LaserWorks' software ?) - I do know about the shenhui setup - the hardware looks and performs the same as the rest - no ethernet though - not as a big deal as I hoped for really. Where the shenhui software scores is that mostly, it works - the importers don't crash that much and the tools pretty much work as expected. There are a few points where it is nicer - it shows the toolpath and directions and importantly, it's easily changed - layer order is easily changed, it doesn't hang because it's on layer 2! Because they're all from the same stable (of donkeys, not horses :-) ) the tools are all in the same (wrong IMHO) places.
Doing it again (which I will be in the next few months) - I'd go for the shenhui setup - I was quoted cheaper and even though I know that there (probably) won't be any software updates, I know that the software for the most part, works. You can check the forum on sawmill creek for all the horror stories :-)))
And I didn't swear once :-)
Cheers
Neil


Thanks for your reply. I guess I was hoping for some reassurance, which obviously I didn't get, but I'm still glad if it'll save me some frustration. My Shenhui controller search hasn't been immediately fruitful, but I guess I'll spend more time on the sawmill forum and call Shenhui on Monday. It seems people on sawmill just buy the whole machine from Shenhui. As far as the controller, I've come up with this ... I wonder whether people really buy things like this sight unseen.

Also, are you using the latest PC software and whatever firmware? I think 6.27 is the last major release.
evokanivo
 
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Location: Renton, WA

Re: Thunder/LO Controller Comparison

Postby Gadroc » Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:51 pm

I have to say my experience with the Light Objects controller has been fine. Would I go that way for a mission critical business machine - No. But then again I probably wouldn't build my own for that purpose either, so the LO/Thunder/Shenhui controller question is moot. For light to heavy home use LO is a great option. Marco does a pretty good job of answering questions and getting bugs fixed for us. Keep in mind he is just the reseller, so he has to get the manufacturer to update things. I have no experience with the other companies as to whether you get any updates and/or support post sale. Seeing as Marco pulled public updates as other companies where selling similar hardware and people where pulling his updates, I suspect no.

I export out of Alibre and Corel to DXF and never had a problems crashing importing into LaserCad. The import is somewhat limited in that it has very few options during import. The import file is expected to be in mm. You need to make sure you export it right.

As to "amazing new software" I don't remember anyone promising that, but there have been a steady stream of bug fixes and minor new features. Including one pretty big one in PPI. There are many features I would like to see, but the system as is meets all my needs.
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