I figure I should finally start to document my building of the 2.x Laser. I have a very large amount of pictures that I am currently uploading so once they finish I will post a link to the library (They have finished uploading
). I will also post a few pictures in the following post to highlight a few aspects of my build. I will also be posting various videos in a third post.The Frame Assembly
I built the frame a few weeks ago and did not have much difficulty. I did notice that there were quite a few errors in the instructions. This wasn't an issue because every time I installed a piece I looked at the system assembly drawing and counted the needed t-nuts. I did go through and create a new chart a few weeks back. You can find the chart here
(Hopefully this will be included in the instructions soon). A few people have looked over the chart and we agree that it is currently correct (I recently finished the mechanics of the laser and all the t-nut counts are correct). One helpful hint is to have a pair of calipers and a friend to help you out when building the frame. Also I did order some extra post assembly nuts, the spring ones (HNTP5-5, 30 total) and a few normal post assembly nuts (HNTA5-5) just in case.
Another thing I purchased was some misumi slot cover
(HSCB5-S) which is a rubber slot insert that comes in 2.7m pieces for $3.80 each (A picture is in the next post). I used it for a door closing dampener and used it to hold wires into the slots. I highly recommend getting one or two. they also make plastic slot cover check out some of the later posts for more info, it works better for holding larger wires (The part number is "HSCA5-S").The Laser
I ordered my tube a few weeks ago from Love-HappyShopping back before they deactivated their account. They actually deactivated it the day after I purchased my laser and power supply which scared me a little. I paid about $340 for the tube and the power supply which seems like a fairly good deal (that included shipping). The laser arrived 5 business days later in one of the largest packages I have ever seen. I actually had to pick it up from the post office the guy was pretty confused and said something like that is one big doggy bone. I am planning on using a liquid cooling system for the laser tube. I have the following parts from a previous system:
-MCP655 Swiftech Pump (317 GPH) - link
-Dual 120mm Fan Swiftech Radiator (I am pretty sure this will be enough... hopefully) - link
-Small Swiftech Reservoir - link
I also purchased a flow rate sensor to monitor flow and will also include multiple thermocouples to monitor heat levels. I did set up the laser to do a few test fires to make sure that it works (and have a little fun in the process). Here is a link to my test fire video: video
. As Bart said in the instructions I was amazed by the power of the unfocused beam. Also to note I was wearing laser safety glasses during the making of this video (I bought these
I was able to get a hold of Barts new laser controller and three polulu drivers. Also to my surprise I get a new aluminum back plate in my electronics kit it was very nice and very easy to work with. I made a few changes to the power distribution layout to make it a little better. One of the things I did was purchase 3 solid state relays. One of the relays is placed directly after the power switch this way I can turn everything on and off with a barrel key switch on the front. The other two relays are used to switch each of the outlets on the back plate. This way I can turn the air assist or exhaust on or off from mach3 or from front panel switches. I also included a 5V/12V power supply so that I can power my extra electronics and the water pump. I wanted to pimp my laser out and bought five meters of LED strip from ebay (This will not all be installed in the laser).
Another change that I did was to mount the power supply under the interface panel. The mounting tabs on the power supply perfectly stretched the gap between the two rails. I figure I will also be able to route the high voltage line along the top of the frame to the tube which should make it far enough away from the motor drivers. I will post how this worked out once I get mach3 running.
I ordered my cable carriers from Missouri Power & Transmission after the initial I have no idea what you are talking about they called the manufacturer and were able to order the parts for a little over $30 for the two of them. Which seemed a lot cheaper that what other people were getting so you might want to try them out. The box is shipped from the manufacturer anyway so it doesn't matter if you order local anyway.I ordered the following part numbers:
0132-15KR37 x 34 Links + FA/MA
0132-10KR20 x 50 Links + FA/MIThe Mechanics
This past weekend I finished building the gantry and mounting all of the belts and motors. I don't have much to say about this part because Barts instructions were very clear and everything seemed to work out. One extra thing that I did was to order some extra limit switches and a limit switch bracket from Bart so that I can have min/max limit switched on the X and the Y axis. There were a few things that confused me though like why was I only to put one screw into each of the table lift brackets. My table seemed to line up and I had left over hardware so I installed the other ones anyway, I am just not sure why this was. I also noticed a little bit of wobbling from the Y axis shafts it appears to only happen when the set screws are tightened on the motor. I don't believe this will affect the performance but I should probably fix it. Edit: I ordered two 5mm x 6.35mm (~1/4") flexable shaft couplers from ebay for a total of $14 and then ordered some 1/4" shaft from mc master carr so once these arrive I will replace the wobbling shaft and let you know if it changes anything.Air Assist Pump
I bought if off of ebay its title was "Hydrofarm Commercial Active Air Pump 8 outlet 70L pond". It is a 70 L per minute pump I got it for about $68 it is a lot higher quality than I expected.
One thing to note for some crazy reason (oh electrical engineering) this pump can't be turned on and off by the SSR's (solid state relays) I have. I have an easy solution though, I am just going to run a simple wall wart with the same outlet which is enough to trigger the SSR.Exhaust Fan
I decided to get a 6" 424 CFM inline fan from HTGsupply (link
). It is a very powerful fan and has quite a bit of suction so I believe it will work well (I'll update this once I get it tested). It is quite noisy though but I can reduce the noise with the fan speed controller.Table Material
I am not sure what I want to use for the table material yet.
This are the materials I have found so far:
-MDF - $20ish - Not good for plastics
-Perforated metal (steel) - $50 - Too much surface area closed so not the best for plastics
-Perforated metal (Al) - $70 - Has to be fairly thick and Too much surface area closed so not the best for plastics
-Al Honeycomb - $a bunch - Has to be bought in a 4x8 compacted sheet and not the strongest but the best for plastics (can be dinged easily)
-Vector Cutting Grid - $60 - $100 - Expensive but seems the best in all aspects (link
I really like the vector cutting grid but didn't want to spend that much. I can't find any other supplies to check for the cheapest price.
Not sure what I want to get... Edit: I am planning on ordering the vector cutting grid it seems like the perfect material. I will let you know how it works out once I actually have it.
Edit: I got the laser cutting grid earlier today and made a few test cuts and I am very happy with it, I highly recommend it.Controlling the Laser with G-Code (Mach3) More Information Here
I never did get the E1P0/E1P1 commands working but I did get the laser cutting by changing the gcode commands (In the mach3 files (instructions below)) M3 and M5 to "activateSignal(OUTPUT1)" and "deactivateSignal(OUTPUT1)" respectively.
To do this go to C:\Mach3\Macros\<Your mach3 profile name>\m3.m1s and edit it to say "activateSignal(OUTPUT1)" (no quotes)
C:\Mach3\Macros\<Your mach3 profile name>\m5.m1s and edit it to say "deactivateSignal(OUTPUT1)" (no quotes)
This will allow you to run most gcode easily. I built a post processor that I will post later that turns off the laser before rapid movements (G0) and then turns them back on again when the rapid movement is over. it also adds things like the controls for my exhaust and air assist. The post processor has worked on every part that I have made with my Cambam trial.
I also use the following commands (I didn't have top modify anything to use the following I just set flood and mist to the relay outputs on Barts interface board):
M7 - Turns on my exhaust
M8 - Turns on my air assist
M9 - Turns off my exhaust and air assist
I will continue to update this post with more information. Last updated 1/24/12