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Thread: Importing a Laser from China...

  1. #1

    Question Importing a Laser from China...

    I was wondering if anyone on this board can share their experiences with importing a laser from China? I've found a supplier from Alibaba.com and after doing some research I think I'm ready to make the purchase.

    What I'm a little stuck on is the actual importing/shipping/customs piece. I know some people here have bought through US distributors, but for those who have ordered directly from China how did you handle this? Did you go through a broker (if so, which one and how much did you pay?) or did you handle the actual clearing of customs yourself.

    Any input and experience would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys!

  2. #2
    Ther have been a couple of instances where members have posted their experiences. I suggest you try searching the forum.
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

    Trotec Speedy 300 Newing Hall 350 Hot Stamping
    Woodworking shop CLTT and Laser Sublimation Sand Carving Graphtec CE5000-60
    Evolis Card Printer

  3. #3
    I think you'll be left out in the cold if/when something goes wrong with the laser and there will be NOTHING you can do about it.

    Not to be overly negative, but I just get tired of reading the stories of woe...

    Epilog Helix 45W
    Horn Lake, MS

  4. #4
    I'm fully aware of the risks. I know that you get what you pay for, etc. I'm actually only looking to purchase a Chinese laser to get started with some test runs before investing in a US made laser.

    I've read a 1 or 2 accounts on buying for a US distributor but not too much from someone importing it themselves on here, and I know there are a few.

  5. #5
    Can you not lease/lease with option to buy a US laser? That'd be 150% less brain damage (from the stories) and the experience you're getting would be directly useful for what you want to do. And if it's wrong, just stop paying.

    Any product can turn out to be perfectly sweet or a complete nightmare, and it's much nicer to have someone who is in range that you can grip gently by the collar, and who you can swear at in your own language if things go wrong.

    The most salient point -if you exclude the money & nightmare potential- is that Chinese/US lasers can be a bit apples/oranges. Software, ways of doing things, setup, glass vs. metal tubes......any test runs and experience you get on a Chinese laser may be valueless on a US one. Even if you have a trouble-free importing experience of a perfect machine. And there is an element of doubt about that.

    Buying a Chinese one to train for a US one is -frankly- silly. Risk, expense and time are all in the "Oh Dear God! Nooooooooooo!" zone.

    If you can't lease one, then there's maybe a laser-owner locally to you that would be willing to let you do the test runs on their machine for a consideration. And probably one with the machine of your choice if you're willing to travel a bit.

    Also, the amount you get hit for by customs is a variable that you can't really plan for and is over and above what you're paying for the machine & shipping.

    Search the forum for stories. There is plenty of stored experience here. And sorry to be negative, but I'd have a rethink of your whole plan, if I were you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    northwestern PA
    Posts
    257
    Hi Ron,

    Don't let these guys scare you. Importing a laser from China is a rather simple process and you can save alot of money by doing it yourself. First and foremost though is finding a laser manufacturer that is making a high quality product and using high quality electronics, rails, belts, and laser tubes.

    I imported a LC6090 WK Laser from Jinan G. Weike Science and Technology Company and I couldn't be happier with it. They have a freight forwarder in the US and I let them handle the shipping and all the customs paperwork and arranging delivery to me.

    The biggest problem with a Chinese laser though is waiting for parts if you have a breakdown, so you should take that into consideration and order some extra parts, like mirrors and lenses and maybe a belt set and a spare tube.

    Would I have preferred a US made laser? As the Amish say in my part of PA., "ya sure you betcha." Eventually I'll have one.

    Skip
    Skip

    WK Laser LC6090 80w - Shopsabre 4896 CNC Router

  7. #7
    I realize that your question is "how do I import directly from China" not "should I import directly from China". But if you have a business plan that involves the eventual need for a "mainline" commercial laser then it might be more useful to pick up a used laser for initial studies than go for the low-cost Chinese laser. Most of the mainline lasers work pretty much the same way; they have CorelDraw interfaces, and many hardware and software similarities. From what people have reported the Chinese lasers do not quite fall into the same category. If your business plan requires a feasibility study but you are using a tool that may be inappropriate there is a risk that you will abandon the project for the wrong reason. Just my thoughts . . .

  8. #8
    Ron,

    The chinese company i dealt with priced everything CIF, which basically included the cost of the equipment and spares, crating for sea export, export duties, loading onboard the vessel, insurance for the freight and the actual sea freight itself.
    (look up "Incoterms" on the net for a full explanation)

    From China to Australia this was US$200 over the price of just the equipment and spares, the shipment was of two crates of 350kg's.

    The seller arranges this with a freight forwarder who passes on all the details to a freight forwarder in your country who they have arrangements in place with, (for example ours came through Toll Freight) prior to the equipment arriving in your country they will notify you of the arrival so you can arrange customs brokerage.

    Once the ship arrives, your freight which is porbably LCL (less than a container load) will need to be unpacked and transported to a bonded wharehouse, the stevedoring companies charge for this and can charge like wounded bulls. there is a whole swag of charges that they come up with) Once its there your customs broker can then commence the customs clearance formalities.
    (he will have actually commenced clearance formalities a week or so earlier once receiveing all the bill of loading etc from you, that you had received from the seller).

    The customs brokers usually have a fair idea on all the port charges and will give you the option of paying it all for you and then you just paying them, or if you have a bit of time (and you will need some of this if you go ahead with one of these machines) then you can "walk" the freight through these steps.
    Have a good hunt around and talk with some customs companies, its a pretty competitive industry. they will generally quote you on their costs but might have "at cost" where third parties are involved, try and get a hold on these costs early on.
    there is a little bit of money to be saved on the import side of things if you get in with a good broker.
    regarding import duties, well i have no idea about the US, but here in Aus we have no laser manufacturing industry to protect so there is no inbound duties payable.but we do have to finally pay 10% on the final imported price in GST (goods and services tax)

    I'm not going anywhere near the pro's and con's of the equipment, that one has been done to death. I'm just saying how i did it last time.

    hope this, in some way clears things a bit for you.
    Cheers,
    Buschy

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Shelbyville, Tn
    Posts
    1,238
    I'd take a look here before buying a new China made laser.
    http://www.usedlasers.com/
    Brian Robison
    MetalMarkers
    Epilog Mini
    Corel V 12
    BMW, Beta, Sherco, Honda, Suzuki

  10. #10
    Thank you so much Skip and Greg for your responses. I'm well aware of the risks involved in buying a Chinese laser so I'm glad to have gotten some responses from those who did rather than just trying to talk me out of it. The importing process does seem rather daunting from a newbees prospective though so I'm very grateful for the insight.

  11. #11

    Chinese laser

    Dear Ron,

    I've had one now for almost 3 years. It is a 60 watt with a 24 x 36 powered table. The tube is glass and water cooled. I purchased it directly from the rep in China. I have had a lot less trouble than some I have read about with US lasers. Really nothing major.

    I purchased the laser and contacted a freight forwarder in Charleston, SC. I told them where it was in China and where I wanted it to be here in the states. I paid them a total of $560.00 and it was delivered to my front door about 5 weeks later.

    My laser will average about 40+ hours each week doing a variety of materials, but mostly crystal.

    It cost me, total, about $5,000. I'm very happy with mine.
    Bob Keyes
    CI Engraving

    60 Watt Chinese Laser (yeah,I like it), Corel X3, Engravograph, KM 2550, Heat Press.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Null View Post
    Ther have been a couple of instances where members have posted their experiences. I suggest you try searching the forum.
    Mike we bought a used Epilog-- and are finding out now that our tube needs to be recharged-7w output on a 30w unit- our good friends bought a Chinese laser for 3500.00-- replacement tube for 290.00-- they did what we did on different equipment- bought two of em-- one for parts
    Total investment: 8200.00 shipped to their door.

    Qiality is ok- unit works perfectly they tell me and its been working for 8 months- as far as importing- its what we do so if you take the overseas plunge we can certainly lend a hand.

    Mixed emotions here- I think a US machine will be servo vs stepper motors- and probably made much better-if I did it all over again- I would buy two chinese machines for 8 grand or so delivered.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Weiser View Post
    Hi Ron,

    Don't let these guys scare you. Importing a laser from China is a rather simple process and you can save alot of money by doing it yourself. First and foremost though is finding a laser manufacturer that is making a high quality product and using high quality electronics, rails, belts, and laser tubes.

    I imported a LC6090 WK Laser from Jinan G. Weike Science and Technology Company and I couldn't be happier with it. They have a freight forwarder in the US and I let them handle the shipping and all the customs paperwork and arranging delivery to me.

    The biggest problem with a Chinese laser though is waiting for parts if you have a breakdown, so you should take that into consideration and order some extra parts, like mirrors and lenses and maybe a belt set and a spare tube.

    Would I have preferred a US made laser? As the Amish say in my part of PA., "ya sure you betcha." Eventually I'll have one.

    Skip
    Skip this is the unit we are now considering--- can we ask what you paid?
    THey make this I think in 3 power levels- were looking into the 60w unit-

    Also- importing isnt as scary as people think as you said- weve been doing it for 7 years- have been to China often and have great working relationships with our factories there- its easier then people think unless it's a wierd item or textiles- our broker wont even touch textiles.
    But a laser- should be real easy

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