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Graco Thermolazer Thermolaser Hand Liner Promelt Striper

Graco has been in the striping machine business for decades and manufactures the Line Lazer which is one of the most popular line stripers in the business.  Just a few years ago, Graco created the Thermolazer or Thermolaser Hand liner thermoplastic striper.  It is designed to favor the original line lazer with its front swivel wheel and large back tires.  While Graco is a great company and make a great paint striper it is important to keep in mind that they have only been in the thermoplastic striping business for a few years.  With that being said, lets discuss the pros and the cons of their newest machine and venture.

The standard Thermolazer has a 300 pound hopper for melting the thermoplastic and a 4 – 4.5 hour melt time.  Because of the long melt time you would need to use a premelter to feed hot thermoplastic to the striper.  An alternative to this is to purchase the Thermolazer Promelt system.  This is the same basic striper but with a much more robust melting system. It features a 4 chamber 100,000 btu melting system.  It can melt 300 lbs of thermoplastic in under an hour.  This option can save you the $10,000 plus that you would have to spend on a premelt system.  Coming up with this option was smart on Graco’s part.  Now with just this machine you can tackle all the small jobs.  All of which are very profitable.   In summary, if you have a premelter you would only need the standard model.  If you don’t you would need the Promelt system.

Note: as a general rule the coverage rate for thermoplastic is 3 feet of 4″ striping per pound of thermoplastic.  Or one square foot per pound.

The front wheel design of both the standard and promelt hand liners makes the machine a little more cumbersome than the rear wheel designs, however, with some practice this is not as much of a problem.  Most people are used to a rear swivel wheel.

The Graco Thermolazer comes with a SmartDie II System.  It can be used without heat or in cooler weather with heat.
The unique “floating” die design allows the die to float with a constantly changing surface thus allowing the
best possible line.  Changing a die requires no tools and is fast a simple.  There are no springs which is nice and the dies come with a built in mil adjustment.  All very innovative.  Available die sizes are 3″ – 12″.

Both models can be driven using the Graco Line Driver and both can be fitted with a glass bead dispenser.  The price on the Graco machines is high compared with other models but you do get a very capable machine.  The promelt is especially versatile.

The machines are heavy weights and weigh in at about 300 pounds for the stanard and 350 for the promelt.  If you stripe hills make sure to invest in the line driver system. To give you a comparison the Thermomark II by Advanced Striping Equipment weighs 290 pounds with a premelter.

The standard Graco Thermolazer will cost you between $11,000 and $15,000 depending on where you buy it.  The Promelt model runs about $3,000 more.  Keep in mind that you can pay for the machine with just the first few jobs.

The Graco Thermolaser or Thermolazer gets our recommendation. 


John Deere Z Trak Track Pro 900 Commercial Mower Review

John Deere Z Trak Track Pro 900 – Price $7,500

John Deere has recently introduced the Z Trak Pro Series 900 Zero Turn radius commercial mower.  This line replaced the 800 series and features a multitude of improvements.   A Z Trak Mower will run you about $7,500.  The Z Trak 900 series was designed and developed using real customer input. The seven models reflect this. The Z Trak 900 mowers feature the legendary, durable 7-Iron™ Pro deck with stamped, seven-gauge steel, full-wrap reinforcement and Mulch-on-Demand™ capabilities. High top mowing speeds of 10.5 –  12 mph mean more productivity and more earnings per  hour.  All the Z Track Pro models have the power and performance that commercial lawn companies demand.

Here are a few more features.

  • Ground-drive transmission featuring a piston motor, internal wet disc brakes and a gear reduction final drive, providing more torque to the drive tires.
  • Comfort and convenience package with ergonomic control levers including built-in PTO shutoff and electronic deck raise and lower.
  • Dial-in height of cut adjustment on the control panel, on-board self-diagnostics, run-flat tires and John Deere’s exclusive Brake & Go system.

Z-Trak™ PRO 900 Series Line-up

The increased engine displacement 22 hp model is available with a 48- or 54-inch deck and comes equipped with a gas-powered, air-cooled Kawasaki engine.

With a new 26 hp engine, the Z920A is equipped with a 48-inch Mulch-on-Demand deck.

For maximum value, this model features a 27 hp engine and two deck options: 54-inch Mulch-on-Demand or 60-inch standard.

For long engine life and added durability, the Z930A features an air-cooled, 29 hp engine, available with a 60-inch Mulch-on-Demand deck.

This 31 hp model is available with a 72-inch deck and is equipped with a gas-powered, Kawasaki engine. The Comfort & Convenience package is standard on the 72-inch deck machine.

The Z970A features an industry-leading 37 hp vertical crankshaft and a Kawasaki air-cooled engine. A 72-inch mowing deck and the Comfort & Convenience package are standard.

Wonderful mower.  Received our highest recommendation.  An improvement over the 800 series.



John Deere Z Trak Track Pro 800 Commercial Mower Review

John Deere Z Track Trak Pro 800 Series Commercial Professional Lawn Mower Review

The John Deere Z Trak Pro 800 Mower is a rugged and affordable commercial mower that excels in reliability, durability and productivity. This is a zero turn radius gasoline powered mower.

The new Z-Trak Pro 800 Series mowers include five models (outlined below) with a variety of deck sizes. Four models feature an air-cooled, dependable, Kawasaki engine. The Z840A comes with a liquid-cooled engine resulting in a longer engine life. The new 31-hp Kawasaki engine in the 850-A delivers 14 percent larger displacement and a 40 percent larger hydraulic pump, which allows mowing speeds of up to 12 mph.

Z-Trak(TM) Pro 800 Series Lineup

The Z810A features a 22-hp engine and is available with a 48- or 54-inch mowing deck.

With a 25-hp engine, the Z820A is available with four factory-installed deck options: a 54- or 60-inch side discharge deck, or your choice of a 48- or a 54-inch Mulch-on-Demand Deck.

This 27-hp model is available with a 60- or 72-inch deck, as well as a 60-inch Mulch-on-Demand Deck.

  The Z840A features a liquid-cooled, 26-hp engine and is available with a 54- or 60-inch mowing deck and an easy push button deck lift system.  A liquid cooled engine results in a longer engine life.

For maximum productivity, this model features a 31-hp engine and a 72-inch mowing deck.

The John Deere Z Track gets our highest rating for commercial mowers.  Note – see also the new Z Trak 900 Series Zero Turn Radius Mowers.


Snapper S50x Zero Turn Radius Commercial Lawn Mower – Review

The Snapper S50x zero turn radius commercial mower is an affordable commercial lawn mower with all the features that you expect from a Snapper. It is available with either a 27 horsepower Briggs & Stratton Professional Series engine or a 20 horsepower Kawasaki FX engine.  Most people prefer the Kawasaki for its dependability.  Because of its speed and maneuverability this little mower with a 36″ deck can out cut much larger mowers with larger cutting decks.   Also, twin 4 gallon fuel tanks ensure a long run time with less refueling.

Here are some specifics on the features of this commercial mower.

  • Engine
    • 27-hp* Briggs & Stratton Professional Series or 20-hp* Kawasaki FX engine options
    • Two-stage industrial remote air-cleaner (Kawasaki)
    • Easy access oil drain
  • Drive System
    • Dual heavy-duty Hydro-Gear Commercial ZT-3100 drive systems
    • 6″ Fans mounted on top of dual hydros
    • Hydro filter and dual hydro fluid reservoirs
  • Mower Deck
    • 48″ or 36″ cutting widths
    • iCD Cutting System
    • Fabricated 10-gauge with double top deck, overlap welded corners and double reinforced side skirts, steel reinforced leading edge
    • Cast-aluminum spindles feature 1″ shaft with greaseable 2.5″ x 1″ dual ball bearings with top access grease fittings and pressure relief valve
  • Chassis
    • Heavy-duty 1.5″ x 2″ 11-gauge frame rails
    • ISO mount floor pan
    • Flip-up seat and seat pan
  • Fuel System
    • Twin 4-gallon rotational molded fuel tanks
    • Extra large filler necks
    • Switch for fuel source
    • Top mounted fuel pick-up with Viton seals
  • Operator Convenience
    • Ergonomic control panels
    • Adjustable solid steel padded control arms
    • Pre-wired for simple installation of optional Light Kit


Snapper 5900748 355Z Series 54-Inch 26 HP Riding Mower – Review

Snapper 5900748 355Z Series 54-Inch 26 HP Briggs & Stratton Riding Mower
Overall Rating:
Total Customer Reviews: (0)
List Price: $3,999.99
Sale Price: $3,999.99
Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours
Free Shipping Available

Product Description

The Snapper 355Z Zero-Turn Riding Mower is as powerful and smooth running as a luxury automobile. This commercial mower offers a tight turning radius, dependable performance, and intelligent features that adjust to the way you cut grass. The 355Z will reduce your cutting time and help you keep your yards looking their best.

The 355Z Zero-Turn
Riding Mower
At a Glance:

  • Briggs & Stratton 26-gross-horsepower* Extended Life Series V-Twin OHV engine
  • 54-inch mower deck with anti-scalping wheels to lessen turf damage
  • Hydro-Gear hydrostatic transmission

The easy-fill 6.5-gallon fuel tank lets you
go longer between fill ups.

The 7-position height-of-cut lever can be operated with just one hand. View larger.

The pro-style twin lever controls are adjustable for comfortable operation.

Quick and Versatile to Save You Time
Complete with Snapper’s unique Hydro-Gear hydrostatic transmission for added torque when you need it, the 335Z provides reliable, quiet operation. Its versatile design makes it quick around obstacles and in open spaces.

Powerful Engine That’s Built to Last
Thanks to its Briggs & Stratton 26-gross-horsepower* Extended Life Series V-Twin OHV engine, the 355Z offers reliable power with travel speeds up to 7 miles per hour in forward and up to 3 miles per hour in reverse.

For long-term dependability and smooth operation, the motor comes equipped with an Extended Life fuel filter, full-pressure lubrication system, large PTO bearing, premium spin-on oil filter, advanced debris management system, and high-volume cooling fan.

*All power levels are stated gross horsepower per SAE J1940, as rated by Briggs & Stratton.

Low-Maintenance Hydro-Gear Transmission
The 355Z is a high-performance all-in-one package that’s low maintenance. It comes equipped with cooling fans and a large hydraulic reservoir for convenience.

Mower Deck with Easy Height-of-Cut Adjustments
The deep-profile mower deck with anti-scalping wheels follows your lawn’s every contour for precise cuts without turf damage.

For further convenience, an easy-to-operate lever lets you choose from seven height-of-cut positions: 1-1/2 inches to 4-1/2 inches.

Pivoting Axle
The 355Z’s pivoting steel front axle offers better overall flotation and traction, with a greasable center pivot bushing.

The 335Z Zero-Turn Riding Mower is backed by a two-year limited warranty.

About Snapper–Smart Lawn Care
Snapper offers a complete line of residential lawn care equipment that’s easy to own, easy to use, and easy to maintain. Whether your yard is large or small, Snapper mowers, snow throwers, and pressure washers have the smart designs and powerful components you need for dependable performance and professional results. Snapper. . . it just makes sense.

What’s in the Box
Snapper 355Z Series Zero-Turn Riding Mower and manual.



Product Details

  • 6 gallon Fuel Tank with Fuel Gauge
  • 6 Position Adjustable Seat with Suspension and Armrests
  • Electric Blade Engagement
  • 7 Position (1.5-inch to 4.5-inch) Manual Deck Lift
  • Non-CARB Compliant/Not For Sale In California

Rockler CNC Shark Pro Plus Routing System – Review

Rockler CNC Shark Pro Plus Routing System

Product Description

With the Rockler Shark CNC Router you can bring the speed and precision of computer-controlled machinery to your shop. This top value CNC system measures 28-1/2” x 36” it’s ideally suited for carvings and machining operations on a large variety of signs,cabinet doors and other small projects. It has impressive power, speed, accuracy, and is easy to use. It is constructed of robust steel and high-density polyethylene which insures a long service life. The capable machine can take accidental impacts that would normally damage or destroy an aluminum or MDF constructed machine.

It is fully compatible with the Bosch Colt Palm Router and includes a 1/2″ diameter V-groove router bit. The CNC Shark also includes the new version 5.5 of the VCarve Pro software interface which is a $600 value. All you supply is a PC computer or laptop with USB 2.0 port and a Bosch Colt router (router sold separately). Simply connect the USB cable to the controller box and the other end to your computer (not compatible with Mac computers).

This CNC router is made in the U.S.A and features:
*Enhanced controller with more power that allows up to 200 inches per min.
* Increased travel on the machine with a max cutting capacity of 25 x 25 x 5 inches.
* Automatic on and off software control of Router.
* Professional Aluminum case with Push button Stop.
* Pendant control capability included
(Designed for numeric laptop keypad).
* Cut 3D software included ($300 Value!).
* There are 20 3D models, and a font and graphic package provided.
* Extended Aluminum T slot top (28-1/2” x 36”) for more versatile clamping.
* Precision lead Screws with anti backlash on all the axis.

Product Details

  • Enhanced controller with more power that allows up to 200 inches per min
  • Cut 3D software included ($300 Value!)
  • Extended Aluminum T slot top (28-1/2” x 36”)
  • Includes V-Carve 5.5 software, 1/2” dia. V-groove Bit and 2 hold-down clamps
  • Precision lead Screws with anti backlash on all axis

CarveWright N01 Woodworking System CNC Router – Review

Product Description

The amazing CarveWright compact and powerful CNC woodcarving machine measures only 15″ x 18″ x 26″ yet can create amazing products! The rising head and feed-through configuration accepts work pieces 14-1/2″ wide, 5″ high, and with proper support, almost any desired length. Using the CarveWright woodworking system is simple. First you design your project on the CarveWright Designer software which is included. Then choose from images in the CarveWright software library or import images from a source of your choosing. Upload the project that you have created to a special memory card and slide that card into the CarveWright machine. There is no need to attach your computer to the CarveWright machine. After inserting the memory card into the CarveWright , the onboard LCD display will guide you, step by step, through your project. The CarveWright woodworking CNC can be used to perform a variety of functions such as routing, cutting, carving and jointing and has a patented “Quick Change System” that allows the bits to be easily removed and replaced. In fact, CarveWright will automatically choose the correct bit for your job and measure your work piece.The intuitive and easy to use PC or Mac compatible software package contains simple toolbars that allow you to manipulate your design on a 3-dimensional representation of your work piece. Images can be “dragged and dropped” onto the work piece display, allowing you to combine images, add text, size and re-shape, or adjust the carving depth. You can even draw your design using 2D drawing capabilities. The CarveWright Woodworking System comes equipped with virtually everything needed to get started. Included are one carving bit, one cutting bit, two 1/4″ bit adapters, a vacuum bag, a bit removal tool, a CarveWright 0-45 degrees with programmer, CarveWright design software, users manual and a one year warranty. Note: The CarveWright CNC machines are available in the continental United States only.

Product Details

  • Unlimited design capabilities
  • Easy to use
  • Compact
  • Point-and-click format
  • Design elements ready to use


NorthStar Asphalt Sealcoating Skid Sprayer – Sprayer Only, 225-Gallon Capacity Review

NorthStar Asphalt Sealcoating Skid Sprayer - Sprayer Only, 225-Gallon Capacity
Overall Rating:
Total Customer Reviews: (0)

Product Description

The NorthStar Asphalt Sealcoating Skid Sprayer is a heavy duty sealcoat application system that mounts or slides into a standard trailer or truck bed. The machine applies sealcoat material to driveways and parking lots and which adds layer of protection against water (by sealing cracks), UV rays, oxidation and chemical spills (oil, gasoline, etc.) The second big feature of sealcoating is the cosmetic improvement to the lot. Sealcoated lots look new and are a good reflection on the building owner. Sealcoaters can earn from .15 – .25 cents per square foot and many lots are thousands of square feet in size.

Product Details

  • Banjo cast iron pump sprays out sealcoat and agitates to keep sealcoat mixed inside tank
  • Built-in hose and gun locks for added safety
  • Gun storage
  • Three different nozzles to fine tune the application rate
  • Large manhole with an inner and outer cover allows for quick fills and prevents spills

For additional information on parking lot sealcoating and striping CLICK HERE.

NorthStar Asphalt Sealcoating Skid Sprayer with Trailer – 225-Gallon Capacity Review

NorthStar Asphalt Sealcoating Skid Sprayer with Trailer Package - 225-Gallon Capacity
Overall Rating:
Total Customer Reviews: (0)
Sale Price: $2,999.99
Availability: Usually ships in 1-2 business days

Product Description

The NorthStar Asphalt Sealcoating Skid Sprayer applies sealcoat material to driveways and parking lots using a pump spray system. Sealcoat adds a layer of protection from water, UV, chemical, oil and gasoline damage by sealing the surface. The second benefit of sealcoating is the cosmetic improvement. Sealcoated lots look brand new again and give customers a good impression of the business. This package includes 3500-lb. capacity trailer package. U.S.A. The system agitates using the pump system.

Product Details

  • Trailer includes 2in. coupler, D.O.T.-approved light kit, safety chains, heavy-duty tongue jack and ST20575R15 tires
  • Sprayer features a Honda GX160 OHV engine with low oil shutdown and an industrial-grade cast iron pump
  • 225-gallon capacity
  • 75ft. industrial hose
  • Built-in lockable gun

We have additional information on the Sealcoating and Parking Lot Striping Business at

Husqvarna 5.5HP Gas Mini Planer Concrete Scarifier CG 200S – Review

Husqvarna 5.5HP Gas Mini Planer Concrete Scarifier CG 200S

Product Description

965152804 The Husqvarna Gas Mini Planer Concrete Scarifier CG 200S (drum type) is an excellent choice for scarifying, grinding or texturing large and small areas in both residential and commercial applications. The little machine is also excellent for the removal of traffic lines. The Husqvarna CG 200S can be ordered complete with assembled drum and cutters. The scarifier has a sturdy steel frame and features a 7 3/4”wide cutting path which minimizes the number of passes needed when scarifying or texturing large concrete or asphalt areas. The Depth control adjustment wheel is easy to use with limitless settings. A wheel locking device is included. -Automatic reset to the preset cutting depth. -Adjustable cutting head height control and retractable handle for easy transportation. -Premium poly V-belt drives power to the drive shaft. -1-1/2” diameter vacuum port allows a dust collection device to be attached. -Motor: 5.5HP Gas. -Cutting Head Width: 7-3/4”.

Northern Industrial Gas Powered Concrete Curb Machine 126cc CMG150 – Review

Product Description

This Northern Industrial 126 cc gas-powered concrete curb machine can quickly create concrete curbs up to 6 inches wide in both residential and commercial applications.

Product Details

  • Walk-behind gas-powered machine makes quick work of curb construction up to 6in. wide
  • Powerful 126cc Robin engine produces 3600 RPM
  • Pneumatic tires, 8 1/2in. dia. x 2in. wide
  • 17 7/8in.L x 9 3/8in.W concrete hopper
  • Includes 3 different curb mold styles and hand trowel

Husqvarna 2HP Electric Mini Planer Concrete Scarifier CG 200S – Review

Husqvarna 2HP Electric Mini Planer Concrete Scarifier CG 200S with 6 mm Tungsten Carbide Cutter

Product Description

The Husqvarna Mini Planer Concrete Scarifier CG 200S with 6 mm Tungsten Carbide Cutter is an excellent choice for grinding, scarifying or texturing large or small concrete, cement or asphalt areas. It is a flexible machine and can be used in both commercial and non commercial applications. It is excellent for traffic line removal. You just need to have an electric power source. This machine can be ordered complete with assembled drum and cutters installed. It has a sturdy steel frame and a 7 and 3/4” wide cutting path which reduces the number of passes that you need to make when scarifying, grinding or texturing large surface areas. The depth control adjustment wheel is very easy to use and has limitless settings. The wheel includes a locking device for extra safety. Another valuable feature is the automatic reset to the preset cutting depth. Tht handle is retractable for easy transportation. The Husavarna Mini Planer has a rugged premium poly V-belt drive which powers the drive shaft. Also, a 1 and 1/2” diameter vacuum port allows a dust collection device such as a shop vac to be attached. Your purchase will include the Husqvarna Mini-Planer CG 200S with complete head assembly installed. -Motor: 2 HP Electric. -Cutting Head Width: 7-3/4”.purposes; also for traffic line removal. -Unit can be ordered complete with assembled drum and cutters. -Sturdy steel frame with 7-3/4” (197mm) wide cutting path which minimizes the number of passes needed when scarifying or texturing large surface areas. -Depth control adjustment wheel is easy to use with limitless settings (wheel includes locking device). -Automatic reset to the preset cutting depth. -Adjustable cutting head height control and retractable handle for easy transportation. -Premium poly V-belt drives power to the drive shaft. -1-1/2” diameter vacuum port allows a dust collection device to be attached. -Includes Mini-Planer with complete head assembly installed.

MK-SG-5 Scarifier with 12 Point Steel Blunt Tooth Drum – Review

MK Diamond 165277 SG-5 Electric Scarifier with 6 Point Carbide Drum

Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours

Free Shipping Available

Product Description

165277 Features: -Scarifier with 6 Point Carbide Drum MK-SG-5. -Designed for scarifying, roughening, planing, leveling, smoothing or creating grooves in concrete surfaces. -Can be used to remove paint or coatings and to clean and prepare concrete surfaces prior to coating, re-coating and floor covering installation. -Rugged sand casting and heavy gauge steel construction. -Precision adjustable depth control. -Engage or disengage lever allows operator to raise and lower the cutter drum without changing depth setting. -Quick-change drum. -Depending on cutting wheel style, production rate varies from 350 to 500 square feet per hour for a 1/8-inch removal depth. Specifications: -Item # 165277. -Engine/Motor: Baldor (Electric). -Power: 5 HP, 230V, Single Phase. -Drum Dimensions: 6” x 8”. -Dimensions: 23” L x 20” W x 43” H. -Weight: 10 lbs.

Product Details

  • Designed to leave a clean, textured or rough finish on any type of concrete or asphalt surface
  • Unique engage/disengage lever allows the operator to raise and lower the drum without losing the depth setting
  • Drums available to provide cleaning, texturing, leveling, grooving and paint removal
  • Drums are interchangeable and provide for fast and easy changeover

EDCO 50100 Dual-Disc Electric Floor Grinder 1.5 Horsepower – Review

The EDCO 50100 series Dual-Disc Floor Grinder has  a 22″ working width and will grind about 400-500 square feet of concrete surface area per hour at  a setting of 1/32″ . This model is a single phase electric grinder and comes with two multi-accessory discs, which accept Dyma Serts, Strip-Serts and all other grinding accessories. The EDCO  50100 series grinder features a 1.5  hp, 115/230 volt electric motor.   It also comes equiped with a 2″ vacuum port for pulling away ground material and a  water port for introducing water onto the grinding surface.  Counter rotating discs help to prevent the grinder from wandering side to side.  This gives the grinder operator more control and the ability to be more precise with the machine.. This is a large 19/9.5 Amp grinder and is ideally suited for production grinding and floor cleaning both large and small surface areas.  Some examples of where you would use this machine would be airports, warehouses, factories, parking decks, manufacturing facilities, malls and sports arenas.

The EDCO 50100 dual disc grinder runs about $4,000 – $5,000 retail. You can earn around $50 – $70 per hour using it. You would need to have a trailer to transport it to each job site. Normally, you would combine this machine and some other machines to create a more diversified business that dealt primarily with concrete such as grinding, polishing, acid staining, thinset applications, etc..  EDCO is a respected name in the concrete finishing business and stands behind its machines.  They have been manufacturing grinding machines for over 50 years.

The uses of this grinder are as follows –

  • Light grinding.
  • Cleaning of concrete surfaces.
  • Leveling uneven joints like on sidewalks.
  • Removing tile mastic or glues .
  • Removing Thin sets, epoxies and urethanes.
  • Leveling high spots.
  • Lightly texturing slippery concrete surfaces.

The specifications on this machine are as follows –

  • Single phase electric grinder
  • Has a speed of 231 RPMs
  • Levels uneven joints
  • Counter-rotating discs prevent machine from pulling side to side
  • Used for light grinding or cleaning of concrete surfaces

The video below shows an overview of the EDCO dual disc concrete grinders. Also, check our online store at the top right for some great deals on these cool machines.

Roland Versa-Camm SP 300i 540i Inkjet Printer Plotter Cutter Review

Roland Versacamm SP 300i and 540i Inkjet Printer Cutter Combo System

The Roland Versacamm SP-300i and 540i provide an economical way to get into the exciting world or large format printing and cutting. These amazing inkjet machines combine quality and performance. The modern design of the Roland SP-300 and 540 printer/cutter series machines shows an effort to provide quality, high production and affordability in one beautiful package. Roland is one of the most respected manufacturers in the industry. They have been producing quality cutters and print/cut combo machines for decades. The SP-300i sells for about $12,495 and the SP-540i sells for around $17,895. Often, bundles are available which include cutting and printing software. The time to get a deal on a software package is always when you buy a machine.

This cool machine is available in both 30” and 54” models. The VersaCAMM SP-300i and 540i series machines are perfect for creating beautiful decals, labels, banners, posters, vehicle and floor graphics and almost any type of sign that you can imagine. Here are the specifications on these machines:

30” and 54” wide-format inkjet printer/cutters
Roland Intelligent Pass Control
Outdoor durability of prints – 3 years ( will be longer when laminated)
ECO‐SOL MAX eco-solvent ink
1440 x 720 dot per inch resolution
Un-Coated media support
Heavy‐duty media handling system. Holds the following weight.
SP-300i – up to 44 lbs.
SP-540i – up to 66 lbs.
VersaWorks 3.2 RIP software
Integrated heater system for ink set
Ethernet connectivity
Automated maintenance system with redesigned maintenance cover
Optional take‐up system

The VersaCAMM SP-300i and 540i systems are considered the industry’s most versatile and affordable entry-level devices, combining 4-color printing and contour cutting all in one device. This allows the user to print a decal and cut around the contour in one easy and automated operation. Print speeds are up to 50 percent faster than the previous models in Standard print mode. The video below shows the machine in use.

CNC Router and Engraver Store – Discount

In the store below you will find great deals on medium and small CNC routers and engravers. There is also a do it yourself ZEN CNC router kit that is very affordable and quite popular. Small routers are great for engraving and wood working. Medium sized routers can do some heavier cutting and therefore can create more products. Although they are considered hobby type machines they can still produce commercial products.

Trusco Trueline Model 250EC 350EC Electric Compressor Paint Striper Review

The Trueline Model 250EC Electric Compressor Striper is a 5 gallon parking lot striping machine similar to the other model 250 machines but powered by a electric compressor and pump. The 350EC is the 10 gallon model. This is Trusco’s newest addition to their growing line of quality line stripers. The model 250/350 electric compressor powered machine sprays using Trusco’s simple but effective airless system that takes compressed air  and presses down on the paint in the main tank forcing it into a spray tip which is in an enclosed spray box. The spray tip puts out a flat fan pattern spray that hits both bottom edges of the box and is directed downward creating a perfect line. This process seems to be  simple but Trusco has spent years getting the process just perfect.

I have used the 250N and 250BP  and like both of them. The EC or electric compressor model is relatively new and is designed for people who do not want to carry high pressure gas cylinders around and who have access to an electrical outlet.

Here is how the machine works. When you get to a job site you would thin and mix your paint, fill the machine, and then plug in the machine and pressurize the main red tank as well as the paint tank.  Once the tanks are pressurized you can unplug the machine and start striping.  The red tank will continue to provide pressure and will easily pump the paint out of the paint tank.  When you refill the paint tank you would plug in the compressor again and start the process over.  The compressor unit is removable so it can be used for other jobs that require air pressure.  It is like getting two machines in one.

The machines center of gravity is fairly low making it easy to handle and transport. Also, once you have run the compressor and pressurized the red tank it is just as quiet as the other Trueline Striping machines.  Unlike the nitrogen model, there is a pump so there are moving parts, however, replacement or repair is simple and inexpensive if ever necessary.

All of the Trusco Trueline model 250 and 350 stripers lay down beautiful stripes and the electric compressor powered 250EC and 350EC striping machines are no exception. If you are using a new or good tip, the correct amount of air pressure, and have mixed your paint to the proper viscosity you can expect a consistent perfect line every time. In high winds this will not change because the spray box protects your spray tip so your lines stay nice even in those conditions.

The model 250EC or 350EC paint striping machines are able to spray acrylic water based and oil/solvent based paints. I personally spray only water based acrylic paint in mine. Water based paints perform just as well as oil and clean up much easier. Oil or solvent paints require mineral spirits or solvents for cleanup which can be a problem. Also, oil based paints do perform well in damp conditions. For example, if you are striping with oil based paint and a mist or dew sets in it can create a real problem.  Water based paints are much more forgiving in this situation.  Also,  oil based paints do not do well with sealcoat. If you stripe over fresh sealcoat with an oil based paint the black from the sealer will often come up through the stripe and ruin your job.  This is less likely to happen with water based acrylic paints.

TIP – When buying paint, keep in mind that the creamier and smoother the paint is the easier it will spray. Chalky paint does not perform well in any machine.

You can get parts from Trusco or in many cases locally depending on the part. If all you need is a hose or a brass fitting there is normally a company in every city that makes them. The tips are T-Jet agricultural tips and are available across the company and also from Trusco. The machines are welded high grade steel and are difficult to damage.

The 250EC and 350EC are recommended for companies or stripers that will always be near an electrical outlet.  The machines are especially good for companies or factories who do a lot of indoor striping in that there are no gas fumes from an engine.  Plus they are quiet. If you do striping jobs where you are far away from power then you would want to consider the nitrogen powered model, the battery powered model or the T2000 Honda engine striper.

Here is a video of the machine in use.


Trusco Trueline Model 250BP 350BP Battery Powered Parking Lot Striper Review

The Trueline model 250 BP Battery Powered Striper is a 5 gallon parking lot striping machine similar to the model 250N but powered by a battery and pump instead of a high pressure cylinder. The 350BP is the 10 gallon model.  The model 250/350 battery powered machine sprays using Trusco’s very simple airless system that takes compressed air and presses down on the paint in the main tank forcing it out the spray tip and into an enclosed spray box. The T-Jet tip puts out a fan pattern spray that hits the edge of the box and is directed downward creating a perfect line. This seems to be a simple concept but Trusco has spent years getting everything just perfect.

I have used the 250 Battery Powered Trueline striping machine and like it better than my Nitrogen powered model. It sprays the same as the nitrogen machine without the need to change out nitrogen tanks.  You can spray for days on a charge and power is easy to find.  The machines center of gravity is low making it easy to handle and transport.  Also, once pressurized it is just as quiet as the nitrogen machine.  Since there is a pump there are moving parts but replacement is simple and inexpensive.

All Trusco Trueline stripers lay down beautiful stripes and the battery powered 250BP and 350BP striping machines are no exception. If you are using a good tip, the correct pressure, and have mixed your paint to the proper viscosity you can expect a consistent perfect line.  In high winds this will not change because the spray box protects your spray head so lines stay nice even in those conditions.

The model 250BP or 350BP will spray acrylic water based and oil/solvent based paints. I spray only water based acrylic in mine. Water based paints perform just as well as oil and clean up much easier.  Oil or solvent paints require mineral spirits or solvents for cleanup which can be a problem.  Also, oil based paints do not do well at all in damp conditions.  If you are striping with oil based paint and a mist or dew sets in you are in for a nightmare. Plus, oil based paints do not do well with sealcoat. You will get bleedthrough. TIP – When buying paint, remember the creamier and smoother your paint is the easier it will be to spray. Chalky paint does not perform well in any machine.

You can get parts from the manufacturer or in many cases locally. If all you need is a hose there is almost always a company in every city that makes them. The tips are T-Jets and available across the company and also from Trusco. The machine is all high grade steel so frame damage is rare but can be repaired by a local welding shop if necessary.

Overall, I give the Trusco Trueline Model 250BP a high rating. It is recommended for companies on a medium budget. If you have a little extra check out the model T2000.

Here is a video of the machine in use. The video shows the battery powered Trueline Striper with the two box option as well as with one box.


Trusco Trueline Model 250N 350N Nitrogen Powered Parking Lot Striper Review

The Trueline Model 250N is Trusco Manufacturing’s nitrogen powered 5 gallon parking lot striping machine. The 350N is the 10 gallon model.  It sprays using a very simple airless system that takes compressed nitrogen and presses down on the paint in the main tank forcing it out the spray tip and into a spray box.  The fan pattern spray hits the edge of the box and is directed downward creating a perfect line.  This seems like a simple concept but Trusco has spent years getting it just perfect.

I have used the 250N Trueline striping machine and am very satisfied with it.  Using nitrogen has certain advantages and disadvantages.  First, the machine is the next to the least expensive striping machine that Trusco makes.  (the model 20 is the least expensive)  This makes the model 250N the choice for many stripers who are on a budget.  If you already have a tank than all you have to do is have it filled with nitrogen and hook it up.  If you do not have a tank you can lease or buy one.  The nitrogen tanks run about $100 plus to buy and about $15 to refill.  Second, the machines pressurize almost instantly.  There is very little waiting for the main tank to build up sufficient pressure to stripe.  Third,  they are very quiet.  There is no motor and virtually no noise.  All you hear is the sound of the paint being sprayed.   This allows you to hear traffic and stay safe. Fourth, because the machine gets pressure from a cylinder there are no moving parts.  You can work on it yourself so there is never a shop needed and almost no downtime. Lastly, nitrogen is a neutral gas and does not react with any paints.  (note-co2 will react with certain traffic paints so you need to be careful if you use co2 for pressure)

The downside to nitrogen is that you have to keep refilling the tank.  Also, if you run out at midnight you have to stop striping.  I keep an extra tank to eliminate this problem.  Lastly, if you get a tall nitrogen tank the machine will be a little top heavy so you need to make sure it is strapped down when you transport it.

All Trusco Trueline stripers lay down beautiful stripes and the 250n is no exception.  If you are using a good tip, the correct pressure, and have mixed your paint properly you can expect a consistent perfect line.  Also, in high winds the spray box protects your spray head so lines stay nice even in those conditions.

The model 250N will spray acrylic water based and oil based paints.  I spray only water based acrylic in mine and have never been asked to use anything else. Water based paints perform just as well as oil and clean up much easier.   Also, when buying paint, remember the creamier and smoother your paint is the easier it will be to spray.  Chalky paint does not perform well in any machine.

You can get parts from the manufacturer or in many cases locally.  If you need a hose there is normally a company in every city that make them. The tips are T-Jets and available across the company and also from Trusco.

Overall, I give the Trusco Trueline Model 250N a high rating.  It is especially recommended for companies on a tight budget.  If you have a little extra check out the battery powered 250 model.

Here is a video of the machine in use.


All About Parking Lot (line) Striping Machines

Virtually every parking lot in the world has lines all over it. Lines that direct you where to go, lines that tell you when to stop, lines that tell you where to park, lines that tell you where not to park, lines that tell you to be cautious, and lines that guide you back out of the lot. Have you ever wondered where all those lines come from?

Line Stripers have been around for decades and have provided striping companies with a semi automated method of apply lines to the ground. Kelly Creswell created one of the first machines and since then the industry has grown quite a bit.

Trusco Trueline Model 20 Pump Up Parking Lot Striper Review

The Trusco Manufacturing Trueline Model 20 is a very popular small striper used by small striping companies as well as shopping center or facility owners. The base price for a Trueline Model 20 pump up striper is $635 plus applicable taxes and shipping.  I have used the Trueline machines and have found them to be very reliable and easy to work on. They never need to go to a shop because parts are so easy to obtain and install. This keeps downtime to a minimum which over time will actually pay for the machine. The Trueline Model 20 is a pump up machine which means that as you stripe you will need to keep it manually pressurized by using the built in hand pump. This would amount to a few pumps per 80 – 100 feet of striping.

The Trueline machines are low pressure airless machines which means that you will need to thin the paint a little before you pour it through a filter into the machine. This makes it easier for the machine to spray the paint. Because the machine sprays the lines within a spray box, the lines actually come out just as thick as they would if you used un-thinned paint.

The machine comes standard with a 4″ spray box (most common), a funnel and strainer, a viscosity measuring tool and a tank cleaning brush.  The machine is almost fully assembled and you can normally start striping about 30 minutes after you recieve it.  The company builds and ships the machines out of Ocala Florida.  Shipping time for machines in stock can be anywhere from 2 – 7 days depending on your location.

Trusco Manufacturing has been in business since the 1960’s and has one of the best reputations in the striping business.  The company and the machines get my highest rating for quality, simplicity, service and price.

The video below show the machine in use.


Epilog Legend Elite Mini Helix 18, 24, 36EXT, Laser Engraver Review

The Epilog Laser Company produces some of the finest shop grade lasers in the industry.  The machines are built in America in Golden, Colorado. This is important in that availability of parts is crucial in keeping your machine operational and continuously productive.  A quick visit to will show you that the company is serious about its products and service.

Right above the Zing entry level machines you will find the Mini, The Helix and the Legend models.  They come in an 18, 24 and 36 model. All models range in power from 30 watts up.  As you go larger the machine will go from 30 watts to a higher range.  For example the Mini 18 ranges from 30 – 40 watts whereas the model 36 EXT ranges from 30 – 120 watts.  As you step up you get a larger work area and more power.  In determining what size is best for your shop you simply need to know what types of items you will be engraving.  If you know you will be called upon to work with larger objects then get the larger machine or you will be turning business away.   If you only do small items then you are wasting your money if you buy more machine than you will need.  The machine consistently gets high reviews with owners only sorry that they did not get a bigger machine.    The Mini’s start at around $10,000 and go up from there.  At this price you are no longer talking about a hobby machine.  You need to be serious about engraving and have the ability to keep the machine busy.

Here is an overview video of the Epilog Lasers.

Technical Specifications of the Legend Elite Series
Mini 18
Mini 24
Helix 24
Workable Engraving Area

18″ x 12″

24″ x 12″

24″ x 18″

36″ x 24″

Max Material Thickness



Max Material Thickness with Table Removed
17.5″ x 10″ engraving area.
23.5″ x 11.75″  engraving area.
23.5″ x 17″ engraving area.
36″ x 24″ engraving area.
Laser Power
30 or 40 watts
30, 40, 50, or 60 watts
30, 40, 50, 60, or 75 watts
30, 40, 50, 60, 75, or 120 watts
Laser Type/Source
State-of-the-art, digitally controlled, air-cooled CO2 laser tubes are fully modular, permanently aligned and field replaceable.
Intelligent Memory Buffer
Store unlimited files up to 64 MB. Rolling buffer allows files of any size to be engraved.
Permanent Job Save ability at the Laser Store up to 10 jobs at the laser, each up to 2 mb in size.
Air Assist for Cooling
Attach an air compressor to our included Air Assist to remove heat and combustible gasses from the cutting surface by directing a constant stream of compressed air across the cutting surface.
Laser Dashboard
The Laser Dashboard™ controls your Epilog Laser’s settings from a wide range of software packages – from design programs to spreadsheet applications to CAD drawing packages.
Red Dot Pointer
Since the laser beam is invisible, the Red Dot Pointer on Epilog’s Laser Systems allows you to have a visual reference for locating where the laser will fire.
Relocateable Home
The home position can be moved to accommodate items that cannot be placed in the standard home position.
Operating Modes
Optimized raster, vector or combined modes with engraving and cutting in one job.
Motion Control System
High-speed, continuous-loop, DC servomotors using linear and rotary encoder technology for precise positioning.  (Brushless servomotors in the 36EXT.)
X-Axis Bearings
Ground and polished stainless steel NeverWear Bearing System.
Advanced B-style Kevlar Belts.
User controlled from 75 to 1200 dpi
Speed and Power Control
Computer or manually control speed and power in 1% increments to 100%. Vector color mapping links speed, power and focus to any RGB color.
Print Interface
10 Base-T Ethernet or USB Connection. Compatible with Windows® XP/Vista/7
Size (W x D x H)

27.8″ x 26″ x 13.5″

34.5″ x 26″ x 16″

36.5″ x 32″ x 39.8″

50.5″ x 36″ x 42″

70 lbs.
100 lbs. w/stand
90 lbs.
120 lbs. w/stand
180 lbs.
440 lbs.
Electrical Requirements
Auto-switching power supply accommodates 110 to 240 volts, 50 or 60 Hz, single phase, 15 amp AC.
Sound Level
59 db
59 db
62 db
64 db
Ventilation System
External exhaust to the outside is required. There is one output port, 4″ in diameter.
External exhaust is required. This is done via two 6″ output ports.

55 gallon AK2200-B Sealcoating Spray Machine by Asphalt Kingdom – Review

These little sealcoaters are very popular machines and are used all over the country to sealcoat driveways and parking lots.  They do the job and are very inexpensive which allows almost anyone to get into the lucrative business of sealcoating.

The Asphalt Kingdom AK2200-B 55 gallon drum system is a simple machine that utilizes a 55 gallon drum for material storage and a basic gasoline engine powered pump for pressure and agitation. The only difference between the model B and the AK2200 Model T is the capacity of the tank and the material the tank is made from. This compact 55 gallon drum unit is sufficient to sealcoat  about 5500 square feet of parking lot or driveway whereas the larger model T will sealcoat about 27,500 square feet. The main advantage of the smaller machine is portability and a slightly lower purchase price. Also, some people prefer the toughness of a 55 gallon drum. In any event, due to the flexibility of these systems you would always have the option of upgrading to either a larger tank multiple 55 gallon drums.

The AK2200-B machine comes with the 55 gallon drum,  the gasoline engine driven pump and spray wand. One question people ask is whether the machine will pump sand. The AK2200 machines will pump and spray sand. Keep in mind that with this and all machines, pumping sand will shorten the impeller life.  However,  parts can be easily replaced and having sand mixed in with the sealcoat is an important way to increase safety and reduce your liability since sand keeps people from slipping in wet parking lots.

If you have a small pickup the smaller 55 gallon unit may be all you need.  If you need more sealcoat here is what you can do. Lets say you go to a job and you have two 55 gallon drums full of sealcoat. You finish that job and get another down the street and are getting low on sealcoat. Since you have two drums your helper could take the spare and get it filled while you continue sealcoating with the last drum. As you can see from the picture changing drums is just a matter of changing the lid.

If you have a larger truck and trailer and portability is not an issue and you expect to sealcoat larger parking lots then I would recommend the AK2200-T model.

The 55 gallon AK2200-B runs about $1,550 and is often advertised at Asphalt Kingdom with free shipping.  If you cannot find material locally, Asphalt Kingdom also sells the sealcoat.   Asphalt Kingdom has a good reputation and prompt service. They have a broad variety of very reasonably priced equipment and can help you get into the business on a budget. The equipment is simple and rugged.   This is key when it comes to keeping your equipment up because downtime means no sales.

All About Mechanical Engraving Machines / Engravers

Before laser engravers, all engraving was done with a mechanical engraver that was basically a miniature router on an x y axis.  After the 80’s these machines were almost always powered by some type of small computer.  The operator would type in the words they wanted engraved, load the name plate and the machine would grind through the to layer revealing the normally white layer and creating permanent letters or graphics in the plate.  The machine would also engrave metal tags which you have probably seen on trophies.

Today, mechanical engravers work basically the same way but with some really cool features.  New computers and graphics programs can produce some amazing vector art which can then be engraved into almost anything.  Any font, any graphic, etc..   Also, many engravers have a z axis meaning they can engrave at various depths creating artwork with depth to it.

It is rare for a shop to only have an engraver.  This machine is normally combined with other graphics equipment such as vinyl cutters, printers, mug machines, etc..  Like most sign equipment an engraver can earn its owner upwards of $50 per hour.

The articles in this category cover several types of mechanical engravers.  I hope you enjoy them.

ESSP 550 750 Sealcoating Machine by Neal Manufacturing – Review

Sealcoating is a great business that is normally combined with parking lot striping for obvious reasons.  Sealcoat gives new life to old parking lots and can extend a parking lots life quite a bit.

Neal Manufacturing has been a leader in this industry for over 30 years.  They manufacture a variety of tough, versatile  sealcoating systems.   They produce both the spray systems that use a wand and the ride on spray/squeegee systems that distribute sealcoat using a spray bar and squeegee.  Neal Manufacturing systems are made using the highest quality and longest lasting components available.  They are more expensive but will also outlast most other rigs.  They also use components that are easy to service.  When maintenance is necessary it is quick and easy.  Neal Manufacturing’s goal is to create high production, quality sealcoat machines that stay on the job and not in the repair shop.

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The Neal Manufacturing ESSP 550 or 750 Sealcoating Spray Rigs include either a 550 gallon or 750 gallon tank with a high powered wand based spray system.  The machines spray sealcoat along with sand. This is important for safety and liability reasons.  Sand in the mix prevents lots from becoming slippery when wet.   The tank and sprayer come mouned on a tough dual axle open trailer for safe transport to and from the job site.  The highly maneuverable trailer spray rigs are ideal for companies who seal driveways or medium sized parking lots. The optional distributor bar and second hand wand transform the ESSP systems into ultra high volume sealcoating machines for enhanced efficiency and higher production.

ESSP 550 and 750 Trailer and Sealcoating Machine Features

550 or 750 gallons of sealcoat material capacity
ESSP  custom 100 Gallon Per Minute Pump
2.5 gallon large material filter for extended spraying sessions
Powerful 16 Horsepower Gas Briggs and Stratton Vanguard© twin cylinder engines
Price Range – $15,000  and up (includes trailer)</strong>

<strong>The video below shows the Neal Machine in use and is also a great instructional video.  (video produced by Neal Manufacturing)</strong>

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Sign Warehouse Vinyl Express Q Series Plotter Cutter Review

The Vinyl Express Q Series vinyl cutter / plotters are one of the greatest values for the money.  This brand is carried exclusively by Sign Warehouse (machines are built for them) and are available as a package or machine only.  Our sister company uses the 24″ model and is happy with its performance.  It is my understanding that the Vinyl Express Cutters are manufactured by Graphtec.  The quality of the Vinyl Express Q series is not quite the quality of a Graphtec but it is good.  The Vinyl Express models are as follows –  Q24, Q30, Q42, Q54, and  Q64.  Sign Warehouse offers packages starting at around $2,000 for the Q24.  This includes the machine, software and supply package.

Vinyl Express by Sign Warehouse Specifications:

Cutting Method: Friction-fed media handling, high-speed drag blade with Soft Blade Landing .  Also features Tangential blade control mode which is helpful when cutting thick materials.  Machine picks up blade and realigns it for the next cut.  Helps create sharp edges on challenging materials.
Maximum Cutting Speed: 50 inches per second
Maximum Cutting Pressure: Up to 400 grams of pressure
Minimum Character Size: 0.125″ high, alpha-numeric characters, varies with type of film and font
Tools Accepted: Super steel and ceramic blades plotter blades, water-based fibertip pen for drawing plans, blueprints, etc.., rollerball and ceramic-tip pens for drawing, and a pouncing tool which is used to make perforated paper patterns. (you lay the pattern down, sprinkle some marking powder which goes through the pounced holes, and then paint the design based on the outline.)
Buffer: 2 MB
Media Supply: Integrated Accuload media supply system.  Also features optional media racks for tandem holding vinyl rolls. (up to 4 rolls)
Support Package: 90 days Premium Support Package (PSP)
Warranty: 2 years, parts and labor
Maximum Cutting Width
Vinyl Express Q24: 24 inch maximum cutting area
Vinyl Express Q30: 30 inch maximum cutting area
Vinyl Express Q42: 42 inch maximum cutting area
Vinyl Express Q54: 54 inch maximum cutting area
Vinyl Express Q64: 64 inch maximum cutting area

Maximum Media Width
Vinyl Express Q24: 30.3 inch maximum media width
Vinyl Express Q30: 36.2 inch maximum media width
Vinyl Express Q42: 48.2 inch maximum media width
Vinyl Express Q54: 60.2 inch maximum media width
Vinyl Express Q64: 72.5 inch maximum media width

Weight (for shipping)
Vinyl Express Q24: 103 pounds
Vinyl Express Q30: 113 pounds
Vinyl Express Q42: 132 pounds
Vinyl Express Q54: 149 pounds
Vinyl Express Q160: 164 pounds

Mimaki CJV30 series Inkjet Printer Cutter – Model 60 100 130 160 Review

The Mimaki CJV30 series inkjet printer cutters are amazing machines.  They are designed to increase your productivity and profit potential by combining printing and cutting tasks into one device.  This machine will print everything from a small decal to a large poster and then contour cut around the design.  There are 4 models of the CJV by Mimaki with print widths ranging from 24″ to 64″. (Model CJV30 – 60, 100, 130, 160) Several unique features provide for continuous unattended printing and contour cutting. This machine has the following specifications.

  • Continuous Crop Mark Detecting.
  • Auto Media Clamp Function which facilitates uninterrupted printing and cutting.
  • High density, quick drying white ink increases the applications that the machine can create.
  • Uninterrupted Ink Supply System makes continuous unattended printing possible.
  • 1440 dots per inch resolution
  • The Mimaki CJV30 Printing speeds. 720 dpi, 1080 dpi and 1440 dpi.
  • Cutting speeds of up to 11.8 inches per second.
  • Simple Studio and Fine Cut software are included. These programs are designed for easy sticker making.
  • For professional users, Raster Link Pro4 SG RIP is also included.

Prices for the Mimaki CJV30 machines range from $13,000 for the 24″ model to $25,000 for the 64″ model. If you keep your machines running all the time you can make a fortune off the production.  High volume, high traffic shops can definately benefit from the machines capabilities.  Mimaki is a respected brand and is known to give years of dependable service. This machine gets a high rating from our staff.

The video below shows the Mimaki CJV30 series printer plotter in use.

All About Concrete / Cement Border Curb Making Machines

When I first saw one of these machines being used I was blown away by how simple and cool they were.  Creating concrete curbing by hand is not just time consuming but also difficult.  The main problem is making the job look professional.  These little machines make it look easy because if you own one making curbs is easy.  Plus I do not know anyone who would not want what this machine can produce.  I spent days in my yard putting down blocks for a garden border and this machine could have done the job in an hour. Word of mouth advertising will keep you busy year round.

These amazing little machines utilize a plunger or auger to press or extrude concrete that you shovel into the top of the machine out of a form that creates the curb.  The action is similar to a  meat grinder or a play dough toy.  The concrete holds together because it is mixed to be very dry much like mortar mix.  If it was wet and loose it would not hold its form.  Since the freshly extruded border takes a while to dry you have some time to smooth out the cement,  cut in expansion joints, press or roll in a pattern, etc…  You can either use colored cement or standard cement.  You also have the option of staining the cement later with acid or standard concrete stain.

The steps for making a curb are as follows. Remove the grass with a turf cutter, mix the concrete, position the machine and start extruding the curb. Then just cut expansion joints and hammer in your pattern if necessary.  The machines movement is propelled by the extrusion process so all you do is guide it.

The video below shows the entire process and goes into detail about pricing and the time it takes to complete a typical job.  If you are efficient, a crew of two guys should be able to earn around $100 per hour.  This is after material costs.

Zing 16 24 CO2 Laser Engraver Engraving System Review

The Zing 16 and 24 CO2 laser engravers are American made machines designed for shops that want quality production on a budget.  The Zing machines are loaded with features normally only found on more expensive machines.

Epilog’s CO2 and Fiber laser systems can engrave, cut, or mark a multitude of materials. The examples below will give you an idea of just how versatile this machine really is.  The Zing machines will engrave :

Wood – Wood engraving is one of the most popular uses for the Zing  laser. Wood comes in a variety of types, sizes and colors and is easy to work with.  It reacts well to the lazer and can be shaded by the machine which gives you the ability to actually laser a photo into wood. The Epilog Zing 16 and 24 laser engraving machines are used in almost every woodworking category you can imagine.

Glass – You would think that the laser will simple go right through glass with no effect but that is not true.  A CO2 laser actually frosts glass very well.  You can even product designs on curved surfaces like bottles or glasses.  For a deeper etch you can apply sandblast resist to the glass, burn through it with the laser, and then sandblast.

Fabric – You can’t etch fabric but you can certainly cut through it.  Fabric cutting with lasers has become very popular.  You can do intricate designs and the nice thing is that the laser sears the edges of the fabric as you cut it.  Heat transfer material can be cut the same way and then transfered to tshirts or hats.

Metal –  Etching metal can create a variety of valuable products.  Many companies want barcodes etched into machinery and a laser is just about the only way to accomplish this.

Plastic – Engraving plastic is popular because so many electronic gadgets are made from this substance.  Plastic is very easy to etch or to cut right through.  The possibilities for design work and profit are endless.  Name tags are also plastic and you can create basic ones or very intricate tags.

Leather – Leather can be shaded, etched and engraved much like wood.  Imagine laser etching a family portrait onto a leather purse.  With a Zing laser by Epilog this is one of a thousand choices that you would have.

The Zing will also laser engrave Acrylic, Coated Metal, Ceramic,, Rubber, Tile, Stainless Steel, Fiberglass and more.  The resolution is equivalent to about 100 dpi. Here are some more specs:

Maximum Engraving Area: 16 inches x 12 inches

Laser  Wattage: 25 Watt, air-cooled metal waveguide laser tube

Operating Modes: Optimized raster, vector, and combined mode.

Motion Control System: High  Speed  Micro Stepper Motors

Resolution: Can be user controlled ; 100 to 1000 Dots Per Inch

Printing Interface: 10 Base T ethernet cable or USB

Size: 28.75″ W x 11.75″ H x 22.125 D

Weight: 70 pounds

Max Material Thickness: 4″ (101 mm)

Ventilation System: External exhaust to the outside is required. This is done via a 4 inch output port.

Epilog Zing 16 24 Pricing – An Epilog Zing 16 machine will run you about $8,000 and a Zing 24 laser engraver will start at aound $11,000.

The video below shows the Epilog Zing 16/24 Laser Engaver in use.

Zen Toolworks CNC Router / Carving Machine (Do It Yourself) Review

Zen toolworks has a very interesting product that allows you to convert a basic router to a CNC computer controlled router.  This is a DIY kit for creating CNC carving machine. This kit creates a CNC carving machine to do relief carving, letter cutting, inlay and other woodworking projects. Instructions for putting this kit together are online and there are plenty of pictures and a few videos showing the machine being assembled.  The kit also comes with a CD that has videos.

This Zen CNC DIY kit comes with all of the mechanical parts that you need and 3 stepper motors.  You need to remember that the machine does not come with any cutting (carving) tool or driver (controller) boards for the stepper motors.  If you need a carving tool (router) to go with the kit, Zen Toolworks sells a spindle motor and bracket kit separately for around $70.00. This kit is a perfect fit for this machine.  Stepper motor driver boards are available from several places on the internet.  There is plenty of support for this kit via google and discussion boards.   As far as the driver boards, you can build your own from instructions that are available online.  Your level of expertise and knowledge about electronics will determine how you assemble the kit.

I general, people are very satisfied with this kit and its capabilities.  It rarely gets a bad review.  The kit comes in two sizes.  A 7″ x 7″ and a 12″ x 12″.  The kits run $330 and $600 respectively.  As stated before, a motor kit adds about $70.

The body of the machine is constructed with high density PVC material. Steel guide rods, linear bearings and stainless steel hardware are utilized to assemble all the moving parts.  New Nema 17 motors are included for all three axis. The installation easy and all you need is a bench vise and a power screw driver. There are online videos available and an install instruction CD is included in the package. Assembling the CNC router takes around 3-4 hours. It is amazing what you can create with this little machine.   It is sturdy, precise and within any budget. The video below shows the machine in use.

Roland EGX-30A Compact Desktop Engraver Engraving Machine Review

The Roland EGX 30A compact desktop engraver is a larger version of the 20A engraver.  It has a 12 x 8 work area. It engraves in 2d and comes with Dr. Engrave software from Roland.

With a little practice you can begin creating all types of basic engraved items from trophy plates to industrial machine name tags.   This model is a workhorse type machine and will crank out production with no complaints.

The EGX-30A makes engraving an easy task. To operate the machine simply use the bundled Dr. Engrave software to design your badge, nameplate or plaque and let it generate an engraving path for the project. Then simply send the job and the desktop engraver automatically detects the material’s thickness and begins the job. While engraving, you can easily adjust the feed rate and rpm of the machine by simply turning the knob located on the control panel.

The specifications on the EGX-30A are as follows.

Model EGX-30A
Table Top 12 x 8 1/16th in (305 x 205 mm)
Maximum operation area 12 x 8 1/16th in (305 x 205 mm)
Feed rate 1 15/16th in/sec. (50mm/sec.)
Mechanical resolution 0.000394 in/step (0.01mm/step), 0.0000492 in/step  (0.00125mm/step) using micro step control.
Software resolution 0.000394 in/step  (0.01mm/step)
Distance accuracy 0.000394 in/step (+/-0.1mm) or +/-0.5% of moving distance, Whichever is greater.
Right-angle accuracy +/-0.000394in (12 1/16” in), +/-1mm (305mm)
Spindle motor Brushless DC motor, maximum 27 Watt
Revolution speed 5,000 to 10,000 revolutions per minute
Engraving tool mounting diameter 1/8in. (3.175mm)
Acceptable engraving materials Plastics, various light materials and Brass and Aluminum for Scribing
Speed of tool up / down movement 1 per sec.
Interface USB 1.1 (compliant with Universal Serial Bus Specification Rev. 1.1), Serial (RS-232C compliant)
Mode Indicators 2 (ENGRAVER/SCORE)
Power requirements Dedicated AC Adapter: AC 100 to 240V +/- 10% 50/60 Hz
Machine: DC 24V, 0.7A
Acoustic noise level Operation Mode: 70 dB (A) or less, Standby mode: 40dB (A) or less
(According to ISO 7779)
External dimensions 20-1/4 in. (W) x 19-3/8 in. (D) x 8-9/16 in. (H)
513 mm (W) x 491 mm (D) x 217 mm (H)
Weight 13.2 kg (29.1 lb.)
Packed dimensions 34 in. (W) x 24 in. (D) x 12 in. (H)
863.6 mm (W) x 609.6 mm (D) x 304.8 mm (H)
Packed weight 37.5 lb.
Operation temperature 41 to 104°F
Operation humidity 35 to 80%  do not operate in an area with condensation
Accessories AC Adapter, Power cord, USB Cable, Dust collector hose and duct, Character cutter, Engraving-tool holder, Diamond scribe adapter, Hexagonal screw driver, Spanner, Hexagonal wrench, Test material, Adhesive sheet for securing material, Roland Software package CD-ROM, User’s manual

Here is a video of the Roland EGX-30A in action.

Roland EGX-20 Compact Desktop Engraver Engraving Machine

The Roland EGX-20 Compact Desktop Engraver is great for small shops, hobbyists, mall kiosks and small gift engravers. It has an 8″ x 6″ x 1.25″ work area and will engrave in 2d and a type of 3d.  This amazing little machine can engrave plastic, wood, brass, wax, foam, and other light materials.  Normally included with the Roland EGX-20 package is the Roland Dr. Engrave Software, the Roland 3D Engrave Software package and the Roland Virtual Modela Software package. The little machines run a little over $2,000. All you need to add is a computer and some items to engrave.

With the Roland EGX-20 Desktop Engraver and a little practice, anyone can produce beautiful, professional engravings of text and graphics right from their computer. The EGX-20 is designed by Roland to be very easy to operate, even for beginner engravers.

The EGX-20 is powerful enough to handle a  variety of engraving jobs, including awards, product serial numbers, trophy plates, personalized items and more.  It is at the same time, small enough to fit comfortably on your desktop.

One of the coolest features of the EGX-20 is its Automatic Surface Tracking System or AST.  This amazing system automatically tracks the height of the material that you are engraving to ensure a consistent cut depth. It even works on bowed or non-uniform surfaces.  The Automatic Surface Tracking system makes setting the origin point and cutting depth very easy resulting in beautiful results with less learning time and less waste.

The Roland EGX-20 comes with a 15,000 rpm motor giving it the power to engrave more materials than comparable machines.  The Dr. Roland engraving software is your basic program for cutting fonts and graphics.  The Roland 3d program works with the Dr. Roland software and converts your designs to 3d reliefs.  The Virtual Modela lets you view your work on the computer prior to sending the job to the engraver.

EGX-20 Desktop Engraver Specifications

Maximum Work Area 8″ X 6″ X 1.25″
Table Load Weight Maximum 1 Kg
Carriage Cutting Range 203.2 (X-Axis) X 152.4 (Y-Axis) X 31.8 (Z-Axis) mm
Carriage Operating Speed X And Y Axes: 0.1 To 1 mm/sec., 1 To 15 mm/sec.

Z Axis: 0.1 To 1 mm/sec., 1 To 6 mm/sec.

Cutting-Depth Control Active Surface Tracking System
Maximum Cutting Depth for Machine 3D Cutting Mode: 0.002 To 0.27 ” (0.05 To 7 mm)

Engraving Mode: 0.002 To 0.039 ” (0.05 To 1 mm)

Materials that can be cut Composition: Resin (Rigid Acrylics, Modeling Wax, Abs, Polyacetals, Polycarbonates, Foamed Material, Etc.), Wood, And Gypsum

Maximum Thickness: 1.18″ (30 mm)

Cutting Resolution .00039″/Step (0.01 mm/Step)
Spindle Motor 12 Watt (DC Motor)
Spindle Rotating Speed 4,000 To 15,000 rpm
Blade Diameter 3.175 mm
Interface Parallel (Compliant With IEEE 1284)
Power Supply Dedicated AC Adapter

Input: AC 100 To 240 V ±10 %, 50/60 Hz

Output: DC 19 V, 2.1 A

Power Consumption Maximum During Operation: 0.6 A At 100 V, 0.27 A At 240 V
Operating Noise Level Standby: Less Than 45 Db

No-Load Operation: Less Than 70 Db (According To ISO 7779)

Machine Dimensions 20″ (W) X 14.5″ (D) X 10.65″ (H) (515.2 (W) X 368.3 (D) X 270.6 (H) mm)
Machine Weight 24 Lb (10.9 Kg)
Package External Dimension 26.5″ (W) X 20.4″ (D) X 16″ (H) (673 (W) X 518  (D) X 412 (H) mm)
Package Weight 34 Lb (15.5 Kg)
Operating Environment Temperature: 41° – 104° F (5° To 40° C)

Relative Humidity: 35 To 80 % (No Condensation)

Included Items And Accessories AC Adapter, Power Cord, Power Plug Adapter, Blade, Blade Holder, Depth Regulator Noses (Large And Small), Adhesive Sheet For Mounting Material, Test-Use Plate Material, Hexagonal Screwdriver, Hexagonal Wrenches (Large And Small),

Roland Software Package, User’s Manual

Here is a video of the Roland Engravers at work.

Lil Little Bubba Concrete Curbing Curb Machine – Review

The Lil Bubba Curb (Curbing) Machine is one of my favorite. It has some advanced features that solve a few problems that other machines have. One is an extreme plunger system which rises seven inches into the hopper to avoid bridging problems. In other words, it pulls concrete down into the plunger area to avoid gaps that can be caused by cement not gravity dropping in. The machines also feature 4 horsepower Honda engines which are very reliable. The money you can make with these machines is unbelievable. This is a great business for anyone including husband and wife teams. The equipment is self propelled so all you need is someone to mix cement and someone to guide the machine.

A Little Lil Bubba concrete curbing machine will run you a minimum of $4,500.  The videos below show the Lil Bubba in action.  It does not take a lot of imagination to realize that this machine is a real money maker.  Either by itself or combined with a landscaping business.

Graphtec Vinyl Cutters and Plotters – FC 8000 Review

Graphtec plotters are one of the best in the industry. These amazing machines are rugged and have lots of features that make a signmakers job much easier. Graphtec FC8000 machines are especially suited for the sign and vinyl graphics industries.

The FC8000 is a newly designed plotter and features a 3 inch wide LCD control Panel and a dual configuration function so that two separate users can save their own custom configurations. It has an optional Ethernet capability and can be tied into other computers and machines. The FC8000 also has additional push rollers with triple tension settings and an enhanced registration mark detection system. This Graphtec series boasts a maximum cutting speed of 58.5 in/sec, and 20 to 600 grams of precision cutting pressure. These features allow users to cleanly cut diamond grade films, high intensity reflective sheeting, rubber sandblast material, automotive window tint ,paint protection films, self adhesive sign vinyl, and a variety of other types of media.

The FC8000 is a very fast high production machine. It is also very precise which makes it good for detail work. Each Graphtec FC8000 includes a standard media roll rack for holding the vinyl rolls, a floor stand, and dual media catch basket for capturing continuous long length jobs.

If you want the best and foresee needing a lot of options then an FC8000 is a great choice. Graphtec machines are expensive machines but they are priced right for the features, durability and performance that you will get. I have a 30″ Graphtec and am very happy with it.

Miller MC250 and MC350 Concrete Curb Extruder Machines – Review

The Miller MC250 concrete curbing machines are rugged easy to use machines for creating curbs in landscaping areas or commercial applications. The Miller MC 250 and 350 models are available with different dies to create different types of curbing for home landscaping or commercial curbing.

The MC250 and MC350 take mixed cement or mortar mix and extrude it through a die thus forming a perfect curb. A little finishing is needed but the machines does the majority of the work. It takes a little practice at first but after a short while you can create almost any shape your customer needs. The machines weigh about 220 lbs and come with a 6 year warranty. Both models run in the upper $3,000 range.

For home landscaping, a ground preparation machine is recommended. These machines pull off a 2″ layer of grass so that you can get down to solid earth.

Profit margins are good and on a $1000 job you should be able to keep about $600 in profit.

The video below shows a Miller concrete curb machine in action.

Edgemaster Series 800 Concrete Curbing Machine Review

The Edgemaster concrete curbing machine is one of the more popular commercial curb machines on the market today. It is available with different dies to create different types of curbing for home landscaping or commercial parking lot curbing. Also available is the Edgeprep ground preparation machines which is a must have machine when doing residential landscaping curbing.

The Edgemaster 800 takes mixed cement and extrudes it through a die thus forming a perfect curb. With a little practice you can create almost any shape your customer needs. The Edgemaster is available in a honda gas and an electric model. It weighs about 220 lbs and comes with a 2 year warranty.

The Edgeprep machine is similar to a tiller and preps the surface so it can be leveled and hold the new curb.

For home landscaping, proper ground preparation machine is recommended. A ground prep machine like an “Edgeprep” will pull off a 2″ layer of grass so that you can get down to solid earth.

Profit margins for a concrete curbing business are in excess of 60%.

The video below shows a Miller concrete curb machine in action.

Full Spectrum Laser Engraver 60w 50w 40w Professional – Review

The Full Spectrum Laser Engraver is a popular commercial quality engraver built by Full Spectrum Lasers out of Las Vegas, NV. They provide a low cost alternative to asian laser engravers. Unlike foreign machines, you can get parts and service readily for a Full Spectrum product. They carry a hobby size model as well as commercial machines. 40 watts to 60 watts in power. A laser engraver can be used to simply engrave or to cut all the way through plastics and metals. Prices have come way down on these machines and they are now within the price range of both commercial operators and hobbyists. The website for Full Spectrum Lasers is . The video below shows the 60 watt machine in operation.

Shopbot Buddy CNC Router BT32 BT48 Review

The Shopbot Buddy BT32 and BT48 CNC routers are amazing and affordable machines capable of creating an unimaginable number of products.   The machines cut and shape in 3D and are in many ways like a robotic carving machines.  A CNC router is also like a saw but will cut in multiple directions.  All controlled by a computer or laptop and some easy to use CAD/CAM Design software.

The Shopbot Buddy is a small footprint CNC router designed for industrial, commercial, or hobby applications. It is able to cut wood, acrylic, and soft metals like aluminum or brass. Like all CNC machines the Shopbot Buddy is controlled via a computer software program which enables you to make everything from simple cut-out shapes to complicated 3 dimensional carvings.  The Buddy is different from most CNC routers which are very expensive and designed for industrial applications only.  The Shopbot Buddy model BT32 and BT48 incorporate many of the same features as full-size industrial systems. The machines weigh less than 600lbs and require about 16 square feet of room.  Both machines come with easy to use but functional software to drive the machine to make parts for everything from the dedicated home improver to a small business owner.  Shopbot Buddies are available in two models. One had a 24″x32″ work area and the other has a 24″x48″ work area.  Shopbot Buddies come pre-assembled and are ready to plug in and use. Shopbot offers a PowerStick attachment which allows you to work with materials up to 12 feet in length.

Here is a video of the ShopBot Buddy in action.

All about CNC Routers

A CNC router is basically a router mounted on a mechanism that allows it to travel on an X and Y axis as well as up and down.  This movement is controlled by a computer or laptop.  CNC stands for computer numerical control.  This basically means that the machine uses mathematical formulas to move and cut.  You don’t need to know math but the software does.  A CNC router uses scalable vector graphics to cut from.  Sign cutters (vinyl plotter) also use vector files but a CNC router file also contains data that controls the depth of the blade.  In other words, the router will cut in 3D.

CNC routers can create a huge variety of products.  They create foam letters, aluminum parts, cabinet doors, integrated furniture, wooden signs, stencils, 3D art, guitars, plastic parts, toys, engraved products, picture frames, switch plates, stamps and dies, plaques, and much more.  If you can imagine it, a CNC router can cut it.

If you create the right products and keep your router productive you can easily make $50 – $200 per hour.  It really depends on the products you are making.  Sometimes the more boring products like name plates will make you the most money.  The key is customization.  Duplicating easy to find products like toys or furniture will make you a little bit but creating hard to find custom products for industrial or commercial applications can make you a lot of money.