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COVID-19 vs. my Etsy store vs. My Failing Laser

Filed under: digifab,Lasersaurs and laser cutters — jet @ 17:00

My last cut for Etsy didn’t cut properly.  I got out my laser power meter, locked down the studio, put on my $$$ CO2 safety goggles and did a test.  My 100W laser is now cutting at around 40W.

Well, that’s not good.  I need to sell a lot of product and buy a new laser.  I’ll use the Protohaven laser and oh look, I’m out of Baltic Birch.

A few months ago, maybe March?  April? I called the local plywood company I’ve used for years and placed an order for Baltic Birch.

Well, started to place an order and was informed that there is no Baltic Birch coming in to the US in the know future and everyone is out of inventory.

I called my backup dealer (same quality, longer drive to will-call) and got the same basic story:

  • Containers that used to rent for $4,000 now rent for $20,000.  These are the big semi-shaped boxes you see on all the cargo ships.
  • There are only “a handful” (maybe 5 or 6) companies that make Baltic Birch and they are all in China or Russia
  • None of the companies will even take an order because they have no idea when — or IF — it will ship.

I do have some acrylic I was going to use for a new synthesizer stand and I can cut that with 40W.  Not sure what the profit margin is, but let’s say I do have $3,000 to buy a 200-250W laser.  How long will it take for that laser to get from China to the east coast?

Etsy store is effectively closed until I sort this out.  Not the best news for my fiscal year.

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