Die cutter (plotter) vs laser? Buy used vs DIY? Answered
I've already asked the same on reddit to no great result, figured folks here might know better. :)
I'm looking into cutting machines and have some questions regarding them. But first about the various needs/expectations and why I can't decide in the first place. I want to be able to cut most of the common thin materials, primarily: vinyl, paper, cardstock (up to 300gsm or so), fabric, soft rubber, optionally thin leather and felt. It seems, like it's not completely unrealistic to hope this can be done with a cutter using a knife, given that something like KNK Zing can do it. I'd buy it if it was within my budget. Something like wood veneer (single layer, probably paper backed to hold together) is probably not realistic, but would be amazing extra. I'd actually buy it if it was within my budget.
Budget is the second problem I have. I want this piece of machinery to cost me up to 200 euro (~220$). My current research involved searching for used machinery locally online and then looking at what would it cost to get some of those consumer centered machines from Silhouette and such. My budget could get me a used Chinese cutter locally given there is one for sale (EH721, LiYu SC631 and the likes) or a new Silhouette Portrait which I can't really rationalize paying so much for - if I was in US, I'd just get one of those and work from there because of the low price. It would cost me around 200$ to get one here, and that's without their software so I can cut my own vector files.
All of this leads me to yet another alternative - making one myself. I saw a guide for printer to cutter conversion on instructables and am not exactly new to microcontrollers either, so it probably wouldn't end up in a suicide out of frustration or something. Then again, if making something like that anyway, maybe it makes more sense to go for a laser on a flatbed instead of knife? Not sure if I can get one powerful enough on the current budget.
Thanks for reading this far. I will be even more thankful for any directions and considerations, advice from current users and of course people who have made such machines themselves.