New Skin Design

Questions, Suggestions, Tips, Etc

New Skin Design

Postby bdring » Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:22 pm

I need some input on changes to the skins. I want to make the skins universal for all control options.

I want to redo the standard controls so they fit in the same cutout as the DSP control panel. This would be a black acrylic plate that glues into the same hole. I think you could probably pop it off if super glue was used and you wanted to change the control method. Otherwise it is only one panel that would need to change.

I plan on moving the e-stop switch to the front of the machine in a hole cut in the skin. I know a lot of people using DSP don't use an e-stop, but they should. The other panel would just have the remaining items.

I want to incorporate a current meter, but I would like feedback on what type is used and where to locate it. I prefer analog, but will bow to the consensus (not a vote...a consensus :) ). I would like to limit the length of the wiring, so near the back is preferred. I, and others prefer a nice clean, flush top if possible. A nice viewing angle would be nice, but I do not want any special machining required.
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Re: New Skin Design

Postby twehr » Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:18 pm

bdring wrote:I need some input on changes to the skins. I want to make the skins universal for all control options.

I want to redo the standard controls so they fit in the same cutout as the DSP control panel. This would be a black acrylic plate that glues into the same hole. I think you could probably pop it off if super glue was used and you wanted to change the control method. Otherwise it is only one panel that would need to change.

I plan on moving the e-stop switch to the front of the machine in a hole cut in the skin. I know a lot of people using DSP don't use an e-stop, but they should. The other panel would just have the remaining items.

I want to incorporate a current meter, but I would like feedback on what type is used and where to locate it. I prefer analog, but will bow to the consensus (not a vote...a consensus :) ). I would like to limit the length of the wiring, so near the back is preferred. I, and others prefer a nice clean, flush top if possible. A nice viewing angle would be nice, but I do not want any special machining required.


I now have an analog meter at the back of my top panel. It works great. Being flat at that location is easily seen/read. I originally planned to go with the digital meter, but have learned to prefer the analog.

I also have a temp gauge at the back. It is a digital gauge and MUST be at an angle to see/read back there. It is at a 45% tilt back (135% from skin). It works great at that angle. If I try to lay it flat, it is impossible to read without leaning over the laser to get a good angle. In order to get the angle, I built a small housing from acrylic and mounted it in that. The housing is currently sitting behind the mA meter, so I can see both at a casual glance. It does protrude above the skin, but I don't mind it at the back. It does not get in the way of anything back there.

Note: my mA meter also protrudes about 7 mm. I just cut holes and mounted it on the surface. Looks fine, works fine, not in the way.
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Re: New Skin Design

Postby BenJackson » Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:37 pm

I probably won't have a permanent current meter. Once you plot it against the analog control voltage you don't really need it. The pot based power control was very useful for initial setup but I don't plan to use it for actual cutting or engraving anymore. For that initial work you can use a handheld meter. I now have a 1 ohm sense resistor permanently wired into the ground return and terminals where I can tap it if I need to do anything (or if I want to put a scope on it). I used a "eurostrip" 3 pole terminal post.

If you use a sense resistor type meter (all digital meters) the wiring length from the two sides of the sense resistor can be anything.

Speaking of the pot I think it should come with a 3.3k ohm resistor to wire between the 5V and the pot so that it can only produce about 60% max power. That seems consistent with the results people have gotten mapping control voltage to max laser power.

I've always been a little uncomfortable about the E-stop on the front. I like the flat top, but I worry that if I ever have to hit the E-stop in anger it could move the entire machine.

Does everyone end up providing their own switch for external vs knob power control? Or does the DSP drive that toggle somehow?
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Re: New Skin Design

Postby bdring » Tue Sep 20, 2011 6:23 pm

E-stop. I actually have never used it in an emergency. The software stop buttons are usually fast enough for me. I like to leave it in the off position whenever I work on the laser. I can put it on top or in the front. It does not matter to me. I tend to place things on the top, like tools and materials.... like I do for any horizontal surface that is nearby.

Pot/Pwm Switch. I have been using my 4 axis board which does not have one. It was on twehr's wish list, but I do not think he uses it either.

Meter: I like the idea of putting it at the back on top. That gets it out of the way and cleans up the wiring. It is not ideal for viewing, but I don't think you use it on a regular basis.
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Re: New Skin Design

Postby twehr » Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:01 pm

bdring wrote:Pot/Pwm Switch. I have been using my 4 axis board which does not have one. It was on twehr's wish list, but I do not think he uses it either.


It was, and is, on my wish list. I just haven't ordered the 4 axis board yet. I do have both the pot and the PWM operational on my system. The pot is primarily for system testing and the PWM for production.
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Re: New Skin Design

Postby J45on » Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:03 pm

I mounted mine in a project box in front of the tube ( I pinched that idea from whmeade10's build log )
I spent ages carefully cutting it out with a knife only to realise later that I could have laser cut it :lol:
But I like the idea of a flush mounted one in the top panel

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Re: New Skin Design

Postby StigOE » Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:40 pm

I borrowed Edmond's idea and put it in the control panel and put the control panel on the top of the laser.

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Re: New Skin Design

Postby bdring » Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:50 pm

I decided to simply move the e-stop to the front and make a universal cutout for the control panel (DSP or manual). I may pursue an internal current meter mount. I talked about this with some other users offline a while back.

I have orders to fill and need to get moving.

Thanks for the input.
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