365 laser cut items in 365 days. I provide the files so you can make your own copies and if you don't have access to a laser then I sell most items too.
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Friday, 9 August 2013

Problems with HPC Laser

For quite a long time now I've been trying not to say bad things about HPC laser. It's well known amongst the maker community that their customer service is pretty terrible, you just learn to live with it. Their hobbyist laser model is a reasonable price and you can work around most of the bugs in the control software. The more expensive models though come with different software that is crappy in different ways and in particular is lacking in any actual grey scale etching.

Where HPC really excel though, is with their laser ply. It was the main thing that will keep me going back to them. It's knot free, blemish free, almost grain free, smooth and cuts like butter. It's the number one question I get at Maker Faires, everyone wants to know where to buy it from. So I ordered a batch yesterday, enough for the next 2 months of making, a big £200 order. It arrived today, as it should when you pay for next day delivery, I opened the parcel and to my horror the laser ply has changed. The new stuff has a very visible grain and is almost orange instead of white (see photo)

So I phoned up HPC several times, the phone rang out the first 2 times. They boast about having 3 lines but clearly only answer 1 of them. I got a relatively cheerful voice on the phone who frankly couldn't care less about my problems. He knew that the laser ply had changed and he said that I should have been told the day before. They are having trouble with the previous supplier so are now stocking both. When I explained that I had orders to fulfil from people expecting the white wood he couldn't get off the phone fast enough.

So where do I go now, I could send the wood back but I need something to cut. I could email them and ask for a better response but my last 3 emails asking for technical information and flyers to promote their company have been met with single line responses that completely ignore the content of the email. (yes I was actually going to advocate people buy their base model at Maker Faires) Every time you email they ask you to phone and every time you phone they ask you to email. It's a company that can't give a straight answer and just don't seem to a give toss about it's hobbyist customers. The ebay men in China always seem more than happy to answer my questions quickly and promptly.


  1. A lot of companies need to take customer service lessons recently it seems.

    I've always got my laser ply from Hobarts, its pretty good quality and cuts really nicely. Not sure how much better/worse it is than the HPC stuff.


  2. I just received a large box of laser ply from Hobarts. I can't recall why I chose them (must have been on cost!) but I ordered it at 3p.m. & received it at 10a.m. next day. Seems nice stuff.

    I bought my laser machine directly from G.Weike in China & I must say that the customer service is impeccable. If I email them one day, I know the response will be in my inbox waiting for me the following morning. Not that I've not had any problems with it during the first year. The company has a good online presence, so they have set the reputation bar high & know they have to keep it there.

  3. That's such a shame. I bought my LS3020 from them a few years ago and was really impressed with their help getting it up and running (although I did drive up to Halifax and collect from their unit). I'd always said to people at our hackspace that HPC were great guys, and really helpful. But they've had similar experiences with poor support, no replies to emails and so on, too. I recently bought a load of sheet materials from Hindleys and they were brilliant. I did have a load of stuff in my Hobarts basket, but then the prices changed when I came to pay - like they'd added VAT twice or something!

  4. +1 for G. Weike. Faster response than I get from many UK busineses and I've been very happy with my 2 lasers from them.

  5. I bought a 3020 laser machine and cant get it to engrave and cut it does one or the other and we were given the wrong manual. when I contacte them they were never there to talk to you said they would call you bac but never did and its sitting in the corner of the studio doing nothing .I asked them about the software which I still think is faulty as it wouldnt cut so he said just go to file click select all and it will work and he hung up!! so i tried it and it didnt work .I a sick of them not getting back to e we even drove 600miles from north scotland to collect it ..never again!!