Bunch of build questions

General discussion of laser machines

Bunch of build questions

Postby dark_helmet » Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:04 pm

Been lurking for awhile now, and thinking its finally time to start designing, working on a laser engraver for my shop. Have a pile of questions though. I'm thinking about a laser with a envelope of 2' by 3' maybe even 4' if possible Would like to build as large as I can but realize the accuracy declines the farther away from the tube output you get. Looking at probably 80-100w tube, controlled with a DSP

1. If I buy a laser tube from coletech on ebay, what other charges might I be hit with other then shipping?

2. I have some parts I make that are 1/2" thick acrylic both cut and engraved. Will an 80w handle this at a reasonable speed? I know epilog told me a 60w could do it but I think that may have been either 2 cuts or really slow feed. Machine engraving sucks as the sheets typically are not flat so get diff engraving depths with rotary tools which isn't the best for small details.

3.Is 3' of travel in X reasonable with a non bridge mounted tube? What about 4'? If I went with a bridge mounted tube what considerations would there be for that, like probably have to keep the accel down on the Y a bit more, anything else?

4. I see some linear encoder strip on ebay and reader heads for not bad price, made for large plotters and the like. This should be a std quadrature output that I could feed right into the DSP or stepper drives correct? I know I would need a way to hold it, I have access to a CNC machine shop so that shouldn't be much of a problem.

5. How do you know what size mirrors to get? I see a couple diff sizes and no real distinction between them. Same with lens.

6. What type of lens would I need to be able to do relatively fine detailing as well as cut through the 1/2"? The smallest engraving is numbers 1/8" tall.

7. Any thoughts on strong movable table under this? I could be doing sheet stuff one day and engraving anodized aluminum parts another that need some good clearance under the head. I'm not planning on building a rotary right away but want to have that option as well. Just wondering if threaded rod in each corner with belt or chain drive is good enough or some other ideas?

I'm sure I'll have more questions as I move forward with the thoughts currently in my head. Thought I'd start with these to make sure I have the right grasp of whats happening and costs involved etc. Much thanks in advance, and really like this forum for all the ideas I see floating around here.

Jeff
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Re: Bunch of build questions

Postby lasersafe1 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:31 pm

It is doubtful someone will answer all of your questions. Mostly because the answers are already here if you read the posts. Try asking one question at a time, but at least do a search for the answer first. I will take the first question. This question is impossible to answer unless we know where you are located. In the US, shipping is all that we normally incur. If you are in EU, you probably have VAT and other import duty.
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