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Something to go with the 3D printer

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nowhere.elysium
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PostPosted: 22:05 - 20 Jan 2014    Post subject: Something to go with the 3D printer Reply with quote

In light of the relative success (and level of interest) of my 3D printer build 18 months ago, I've decided to have a crack at building a micro lasercutter. The chassis is lasercut on a larger machine that I have at work, and the electronics were ordered from China, which I've been waiting for since before Christmas.

Anyway; since stuff has now arrived, I'm going to start documenting the build here.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7340/12053479636_dbf28b4823_b.jpg
The bit that's standing on its end is the Y carriage, which the laser head will be mounted to. The small part to the right of it with the three vertical tabs is the laser module holder.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7297/12052923093_99294a7755_b.jpg
Y carriage with the laser module mount and the X motor attached. The metal tubes down at the bottom are the aluminium runners that will act as a bearing on the steel rods. Point of interest; the motors used in this are the same type that are used in CD/DVD/BD-ROM drives. The only thing stopping me from cannibalising optical drives for the parts was that many drives don't use the other motor frame layout that I need for the Y movement.

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2874/12053214603_f80d78d866_b.jpg
Y carriage with limiting endstops mounted to it. These mechanical endstops are to signal to the microcontroller that the end limit of the motor travel has been reached.

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5519/12053033005_4a7436ae4d_b.jpg
One end of the main frame for the lasercutter.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7336/12053640204_658d0e3a26_b.jpg
Almost-completed main frame - you can see the previously shown part on the left (or the right, can't remember which one I assembled first).

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3787/12056239366_58f2bb76fd_b.jpg
Completed main frame, with Y motor and steel rods installed. The warning slogan and name on the top is something that was decided upon by the original designer, not me. I'd have probably called it something sillier, but out of respect for the guy that designed it, I stuck with the original.

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5473/12056223274_2d5afe067c_b.jpg
Main frame and Y carriage assembled. Hopefully, it should be a little bit more obvious how the thing goes together and operates now.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7399/12056266923_61079b1e26_b.jpg
Part one of the lasercutting bed. The tinfoil's not a sign of my impending lunacy, it's to protect the bed from the laser - although the module I'm using isn't strong enough to cut through 3mm plywood, it'd make a total mess of the cutting bed after repeated uses.

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5481/12057353436_39e2e36612_b.jpg
Cutting bed fitted. I'll be tidying up the foil that's stuck to it when the glue's dried out properly.

So, that's it as it stands right now. Jobs that remain to be done are mounting the controller and power boards on the baseplates, wiring, and testing. Depending on how the week works out, I might be able to finish it one evening this week, although it's more likely to be after the weekend at this point.
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Screw Loose
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PostPosted: 12:11 - 21 Jan 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome - Commenting to subscribe Thumbs Up Thumbs Up Karma
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Howling Terror
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PostPosted: 18:12 - 21 Jan 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice one Gerry.... Cool
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The Artist
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PostPosted: 18:46 - 21 Jan 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

What laser module are you using? Any technical specs?
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virus
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PostPosted: 19:20 - 21 Jan 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another cool as penguins piss show and tell thread from yaself gerry, Im not jelous, honest gunv.

What bed size/depth of cut are you expecting out of it?


Cheers
John
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nowhere.elysium
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PostPosted: 19:33 - 21 Jan 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

D'aww, thanks guys.

The laser module is a 300mW 635nm unit from here, so not particularly powerful; it'll cut paper and thin card, but that's about it. It should be able to mark plastics, but in all honesty this is more of a 'because I can' project than one with real practical applications. That said, I'm half tempted to do some business cards on it.

As for the size of the cutting bed; it's laughably tiny. I think it's about 50*50mm maximum, so not really all that useful.
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The Artist
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PostPosted: 19:39 - 21 Jan 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is so cool. Can you go down a few nM and up the wattage? Blue laser would be cool.
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nowhere.elysium
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PostPosted: 19:42 - 21 Jan 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Artist wrote:
That is so cool. Can you go down a few nM and up the wattage? Blue laser would be cool.
If anyone's got a spare BluRay drive that I can take apart, then I can use a purple laser. Blue ones are quite a bit pricier, and they tend not to be as powerful for the money.
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The Artist
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PostPosted: 19:47 - 21 Jan 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

nowhere.elysium wrote:
The Artist wrote:
That is so cool. Can you go down a few nM and up the wattage? Blue laser would be cool.
If anyone's got a spare BluRay drive that I can take apart, then I can use a purple laser. Blue ones are quite a bit pricier, and they tend not to be as powerful for the money.


Yeh but blue lasers... Laughing
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nowhere.elysium
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PostPosted: 19:51 - 21 Jan 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can find an 80mW blue laser for just over 60. The 300mW one that I'm using is 23. I'm afraid that fiscal responsibility wins the day, largely because the blue one won't cut jack.
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waffles
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PostPosted: 20:07 - 21 Jan 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the start of your Evil Scientist phase, I fully expect to see a thread on the best way to harness electricity using a lightning rod on the roof and an expose on the most effective way of stitching body parts together to create new creatures.

Also, that looks incredibly cool Thumbs Up
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nowhere.elysium
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PostPosted: 20:50 - 21 Jan 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

waffles wrote:
This is the start of your Evil Scientist phase, I fully expect to see a thread on the best way to harness electricity using a lightning rod on the roof
There's already a lightning conductor on the side of the block of flats that I live in; it's trivial to splice an extra line into it.
Quote:
an expose on the most effective way of stitching body parts together to create new creatures.
Curved needle and reef knots, insofar as I'm aware.

However, I'd love to be a deranged geneticist. For my first abomination, I'd hybridise a Canada Goose and a Brown Crab. Once I'd gotten the technique right, I'd then be looking at crossing a Chinchilla with a Mantis Shrimp.
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Shaft
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PostPosted: 21:47 - 21 Jan 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

nowhere.elysium wrote:
I'd then be looking at crossing a Chinchilla with a Mantis Shrimp.


Brilliant idea, an impossibly cute furry pet, that can punch your face off if you look at it a bit wrong.

Loving the jeopardy potential there.
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nowhere.elysium
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PostPosted: 19:12 - 22 Jan 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Currently facing a bit of a dilemma; on the original build list, there were a set of LDO 5v regulator modules. However, I couldn't get the pre-made modules at the time, and since I ordered all the parts after a few too many beers, I've got non-LDO regulators instead. Do I just put on some bigger heatsinks, and put up with the slightly lower efficiency in power use, or should I go out and get some LDO regulators instead?
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WD Forte
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PostPosted: 20:13 - 22 Jan 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great stuff !
Me want one !!

LDO, non LDO Is it critical?
I know an LDO is more efficient but as long as the non ldo
gives you the voltage and current you need, I'd bung it in and
upgrade later
Or
How about using a modded ATX power supply for the 5V?
I have one around here says it will give 5v @ 20 A
as I recall

Edit: cant find the sodding thing but another one I have,
a 400W one and as yet unmolested, says 5V @35A
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waffles
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PostPosted: 20:28 - 22 Jan 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

nowhere.elysium wrote:

However, I'd love to be a deranged geneticist. For my first abomination, I'd hybridise a Canada Goose and a Brown Crab. Once I'd gotten the technique right, I'd then be looking at crossing a Chinchilla with a Mantis Shrimp.


Oh, the humanity!
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nowhere.elysium
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PostPosted: 20:32 - 22 Jan 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Non LDO shouldn't be a huge deal, but lowering heat can only be a good thing. Also, an ATX power supply is about five times the size of the power supply that I'm intending to use.
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serlant
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PostPosted: 09:27 - 24 Jan 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can probably get you a couple of blue ray lasers, working in a recycling centre I see loads of broken blue ray players ers and ps3s If they're suitable. Drop me a pm or Facebook and I'll rip some out of some ps3s or something.
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Sabs
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PostPosted: 14:57 - 24 Jan 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm an engraver and use a laser engraver as part of my work. Have to say I like this, great project.
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Carvel
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PostPosted: 17:05 - 25 Jan 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting stuff as always Thumbs Up
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nowhere.elysium
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PostPosted: 17:39 - 25 Jan 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Boom. Got more of the chassis build done today.
http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2849/12136076716_1b768f0503_b.jpg
Building up the vertical columns.
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7354/12135677213_73b4c70053_b.jpg
Mounting said columns on the baseplate - the machine runs off an Arduino Uno, and the other board has the motor relays on it.
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7397/12135403775_601ef5f5fa_b.jpg
Test assembly of the whole chassis. I've just noticed that when i took this photo, I'd mounted the upper deck backwards on the lower half, but it's not a big deal.

Things that remain to be sorted:
power regulator boards to provide go-juice to the steppers,
wire up and test the laser module,
wire up the motors and control board,
upload the G-code interpreter and have a proper go of it.

Serlant; if you could, that'd be good: I'm tempted to try out a few different heads on this, and see what lasers are best. If you're willing to send a set of blu-ray drives over to me, that'd be amazing.

Sabs: what sort of engravers do you use? I've got an Epilog Helix 24 at work, along with two LS1290s. Despite the much-vaunted American build quality, I've just had to rebuild, recalibrate and realign the Epilog yet again; I don't tend to get anywhere near as much trouble out of the 1290s, which are Chinese-built units. Not to mention the fact that 1290s use metric bolts, which makes things simpler.

WD Forte: the size of the PSU that I'm intending to use is distinctly smaller than an ATX box; here's a photo of it:
http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2851/12136018053_2316dbd35e_b.jpg
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Sabs
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PostPosted: 20:12 - 25 Jan 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

We use a Gravograph laser, I can't remember if it's a 30w or 35w, something like that anyway, it does it's job and is very reliable.

I'd just used our for our work needs until recently but I found a site that has templates on it. I'm not sure if there's anything like this on there but I'm starting simple with a chess set. I made a bowl too and I may do the Eiffel Tower soon, it's just time.
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orac
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PostPosted: 23:16 - 25 Jan 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

why go to the expense you have when

http://www.instructables.com/id/Pocket-laser-engraver/

just mount what ever laser you like.

out of interest are the motors going to be micro stepped, controlled from h-bridges or straint drive from the ardiuno

also pie powered
http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/5321

as for the regulators, why not build a couple of buck regulators if you are looking for effeiceny, you will be wasting more power than you have to unless you go that route.

some other suggestions of what can be used if we knew what current rating you require

i supose if you wanted to up the size, you could use old scanners
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Aff
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PostPosted: 09:41 - 14 Feb 2014    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting, as usual.

Posting for updates. Very Happy
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