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Rotoboss vs. Pi Burn Comparison

  • June 17, 2023

I've always loved my rotoboss but never had to do anything with the customer service side of things...until I couldn't figure out how to engrave dog bowls and yall told me I needed the drop down mounts!

Amber P.

We took an opportunity to look at these two rotaries side by side to point out the differences and similarities. Both are fantastic rotaries. We hope this give you the chance to make the decision for yourself as to which one you need.

Welcome back, I’m Tommy the angry Craftsman and today we are going to do a detailed walkthrough of the Roto boss Junior 2.0 and the pyburn 3.0 rotary for the lasers. Now specifically, mine is designed for the thunder so as we move through understand that. So stay tuned, find out what I find out as I start digging into these, and at the end, we’ll discuss which one seems to be a little bit better or if they’re both the same.

So as we go through both of these rotaries I’ve made some notes I’ve already done some measurements to try to keep this as short and less boring as possible. So we’ll start with the Roto boss Junior 2.0. The overall look of it is, in my opinion, fantastic. I like the attention to detail that they put on the chamfer, and that’s on all edges of it. It kind of gives it an overall higher-end appearance. The moving to the pie burn, it’s very simple. The appearance is there, it’s completely functional. I think that the little added detail that Roto boss rotary accessories add to it is a little bit nicer.

Now we’re going to move to the motors. Looking at this stepper motor and then comparing it to what I could see on the pyburn, they look almost identical. It would not surprise me if they are the exact same motor. And I will preface that with both of these are designed or set up for the Thunder laser Novas. The one thing that I can say about the whole setup for the motor is I do like the cover that covers the wires. It gives a nice clean look with some protection for the plugs that are there where the Roto boss Junior has exposed wires to the outside environment, not exposed wires where you’re going to get electrocuted, and it’s zip-tied to that.

Now re-looking at the motor, let’s say that I decide that I have to replace my motor. Roto boss has these screws that Bolt the motor in place and as you can see from the other side, they’re threaded all the way through. Pyburn, on the other hand, has the same style bolts but they have a lock washer or excuse me a lock nut on the end of it. The lock nut does make for more secure however as the end user it might be a little bit more difficult to get the Allen key as well as a wrench in there to adjust it.

So looking at the drive pulley for pi burn it’s a lot smaller looks like it’s either milled or cast aluminum I figure it’s milled and it’s got two set screws. One set screw that’s sitting on the flat of the shank then an additional one for security. And Roto boss has the same set screw sitting on that flat with the additional so other than the drive pulley being bigger and if I remember correctly from my mechanical stuff the bigger Drive pulley allows for lower steps per rotation where the smaller one is more of a higher step per rotation.

So as you saw me moving the pulleys to turn the motor, I can freely I feel this steps or the clicks as the motor turns. I’ve got no issues there’s no massive clicking or anything like that. And then as I move to the Roto boss same concept they both spin by my hand equally so I don’t see any real difference there.

While we’re here, let’s talk about the clamp here. So this clamp is designed for one finger underneath of it and squeezing or you can. The one thing I can say is this does not because of the design this does not move up as far as maybe I would like it. Now as we move over to the pi burn this one has a spring on top with a tensioner so I can tighten it and make it stiffer or which also tightens it down so it doesn’t and it still lifts up for the most part the same.

Now looking at the cost we already talked about that I want to talk about the warranty. I searched on Lin’s digital’s website and I could not find anything about a warranty specific. That’s not meaning it’s not there I just couldn’t find it. I’m not the greatest with the whole internet searches thing that’s what I have a wife for so but on and Roto boss’s website or on road boss’s website they have a lifetime warranty so if somebody from lens digital can pipe up and leave a comment tell us about your warranty if you have one that would be great if not a well no big deal if you got through that here in a little bit.

Now as I move over to the pie burn, what looks like to be again is maybe machine Billet aluminum but it’s Hollow with the three spokes more like a vehicle or truck wheel with the rubber gasket material over top of it. Ours is a little black from being used so much not taking the time to clean out but these O-rings pop off very easy and with one hand it’s a pain in the butt to get back on. I’ll get back to that here in a second.

For Roto boss I’m having a difficult time. I figure if I got my fingernail in there or something but I don’t really want to damage the O-rings so that is definitely a difference that you might come into is those gaskets or O-rings on the drive Wheels.

“So now that we’ve covered both of the drive section of the rotary Let’s move on to the next so the frame on both is pretty much identical identical sizes and what looks to be identical shape so there’s no real difference there the same thing with the tower here this part of the tower here is pretty much the same whether it’s Billet or extruded aluminum that I don’t know.

Generally speaking on the tower, the brackets that hold the auxiliary Wheels are generally shaped the same. If you’ll notice on the Roto boss the auxiliary Wheels they spin freely because there are bearings on both sides so there’s two bearings on this where the pi burn that might be a small bearing in there but the way it feels it doesn’t it isn’t and it’s bolted in place and it just kind of spins freely same concept with the rubber gaskets there and then your roller for your cup support Roto boss does not come standard with that right now I think there is talk about adding that in the packages all together but I’m not sure what Roto boss comes with is an aluminum back plate or heel plate that can be taken off and added a wheel as an accessory.

As we move back over here looking at other things so this is your locking nut to keep your Tower in one spot so I have this locked it’s tight but I can still move it freely tighten it up a little bit more I can still move it freely this is one of the issues that I have with the pi burn is I can move it by touching it now I don’t know if their 4.0 version has that same issue so I can’t speak to that if they change some designs then it would hopefully have fixed that.

Moving back over here there’s no pushing that down spins freely spins freely I did notice that Roto boss this spinning is tight and then it’s very slow to go down that way you’ve got an ease for micro adjustments versus this one it’s fast to spin up or spin down so micro adjustments may not be the greatest thing in the world and what I’ve determined is and I could be wrong because of that threaded bolt right there and the pitch and number of threads is what allows this to Sprint spin fast versus this pitch and number controls it Roto boss also has this anti-backlash system in here not in here which prevents that this from moving and trust me I’ve tried here’s the Locking nut for locking this in place if you show so choose to and here’s the Locking nut for the pyburn so that’s all the way down yes I can move it that’s all the way down and yes I can move it both of them take a little bit of a little bit I asked to move but for the most part it works.

Now the neat thing I found about the Roto boss Junior here is the all thread I can make Minor Adjustments using this or the way it’s designed once this is loosened up this pushes forward nice and easy to pull it back you see that washer right there and I don’t have two hands or this would work stupid easy you can slide it back or you can make the micro adjustments based on this now I do know that I can detach this pull the thread out from under here and this functions the same way as this so that is an option that Roto boss gives you is that can be removed if you so choose to.

We’re going to take this one first and talk about the overall layout of it you’ll notice that Roto boss has these long I’ll call them legs that are on both sides of the most part the same.

Now I want to talk about the pulley tensioning system so I’ve taken the clamp off just so everybody can get a better View it’s on the pyburn the way this works is there’s your idler pulley which is also a it’s like an idler pulley and it’s your tension so pyburn has a slot with the nut and bolt to adjust you loosen you have to try to push down to get some belt tension and then tighten this up at the same time might be a little bit of a difficulty there.

And again on the Roto boss Junior 2.0 I did the same thing I took that off so here’s your idler pulley and then they have a specific belt tensioner that pushes down to tighten the belts and you’ll notice on this belts are fairly tight if I come over back over here to the pi burn they’re a little looser so that’s definitely one difference another difference that I noticed on the build quality and whatnot because of the design for the tensioner and the way the wheels and pulleys are set up on the pi Barn if I hold I can pull them up I can pull them apart and and I shouldn’t really be able to do this because of the way it’s not catching and holding on the Belt when I move over to the Roto boss Junior and do the same thing I can’t move the drive wheels at all they rotate together but there is no pull rotating them apart due to the build construction of it so in my mind this the build quality that’s a that’s a little bit better.

Now we take a look at the drive Wheels what looks to be to me is a solid maybe Billet aluminum that’s been milled with the black O-rings and these O-rings appear to be molded that’s all the white is is mold release it’s a normal thing we do molding here as well so I’m quite familiar with it the solid design looks pretty good the chamfering again letting the aluminum shine it’s a nice touch and then you could also see the two bolts where that cup spacer bolts into place it’s actually really easy to get it in there I may go questions about the two that I didn’t cover feel free leave a comment I will do my best to answer them I hope I haven’t stirred the pot on this again everybody has their own opinions I’ve tried to keep my opinion out of it just going by what I’ve seen with the build the quality the look things of that nature so again feel free leave me a comment if you’d like and I will answer accordingly but hopefully you’ve enjoyed this I hope that you have found something interesting in it to help you make your decision.

Watch Our Rotaries in Action

Checkout our video of our RotoBoss Ascend rotary laser engrave on a wooden baseball bat. Order yours today!


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