Hi all! Finally got my act together and joined the forum.
First off; yeah, I had a go at installing the laser cutter. Lots of bit missing, as summed up in the list in Hampus´ post above. I am sure that the Z-axis motor is not far gone, and the other bit easily replaced, EXCEPT the software dongle. This bit caused me a bit of sorrow. When the machine was still at Ateljé Stugan this was stolen along with the laptop next to the laser. I invested time and money in getting a new one, and now this new one seems to have gone missing too. The controller card in this laser uses a specific software, Lasercut 5.3, that requires this dongle. The choice is now to either buy yet another dongle from china (1000kr, one month of waiting) or get another controller card (est. 3500kr plus a heapload of research in what model and probably quite a lot of tweaking). A new controller would then be one not requiring a dongle at all.
Second: To be weighed in the reasoning around getting the laser operational again is the estimation of how much power the old tube has left to give. It was rated at 80W when new, Given the quite hard use at Stugan towards the end I’d say we probably have 40W now. Surprisingly, a new one from China, preferably of the brand RECI, is only about 5000kr.
So, completely possible to both get needed parts and beef up the power, but will require a lot of hours of work. I can do much of it, but would love if I was accompanied by another tech wiz with some knowledge on the topic. Need to check that the power supply is compatible with the proposed cathode tube, new controller compatible with the stepper motors etc.
If we are looking at getting another laser cutter, there are a fair few choices. Getting one directly from China is by far the cheapest, but even doing research let alone getting offers thru AliExpress is opening a can of worms. There is a plethora of machines, controllers, manufacturers etc. A 120cm x 90 cm, 120W machine should cost around 60-90k kr. There are cheaper options, but you almost always end up with some drawback, like the laser power not being controlled by software, shit precision etc.
Another choice in getting a new machine is going thru the handful of Swedish companies selling china machines they imported, sometimes rebranded, and checked for quality. This would give us a warranty, some service agreement, and the possibility of a leasing deal. I have dealt with Indukta previously, good guys and trustworthy. My assessment is that you end up paying about 110k for a machine that would have cost 60k if you imported yourself.
There are also the desktop laser segment, like the FabFactory one linked above, or the kickstarter-funded GlowForge. These are great in terms of usability and operational ease. They take little space too. Alas, if we have the kind intended use I suspect, the power and size will not be enough. I gather that there will be a lot of people not just doing small models and engravings, but more people wanting to cut crazy constructions out of plywood and acrylic.
Regarding power: My experience is that more power is not always a good thing. Sure you can cut thicker material, but at the expense of precision. The 80W machine we have can do beautiful fine cuts ad dead-on precision, both mechanical and in laser power. The 150W machine from Indukta I have been using was both a bit flimsy mechanically, but foremost the laser tube would not fire under a certain power, so that fine engravings would thus suffer in detail and contrast.
My bet would be to look around for used lasers, or consider importing one from china.
Also, as a side note, I would try to steer the general use of lasercutting towards more prototyping and aesthetic projects rather than full-scale manufacture and huge projects demanding lots from the machine. For example, one can instead of making all the plywood parts for a construction by the lasercutter, instead cut a router template/jig and route the multiple pieces.