One-Week Build

General discussion of laser machines

Re: One-Week Build

Postby bdring » Sat Mar 19, 2011 1:24 am

I think you should definitely start right away. My guess is you will be 90% done by the time the "one week" starts, but you will still not be 100% done by the end of the week. Forgetting for a moment that a DIY project is never "100% done", there is bound to be one thing that holds you up. This is especially true considering that you are the first official builder. The sooner you start the sooner you will find the problems.

Your skins are cutting as I type. So far I have made 7 fronts, 7 backs and a few tops. It is a lot of work man handling the big sheets on my mid size router, but I guess it is not as bad as I had feared. I had a local waterjet company quote the job. They wanted $132 per set in labor. The material is about $80 per set. I will have my price after the first set is cut, but it will be cheaper than that.
Bart
"If you didn't build it, you will never own it."
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First Day's Events

Postby twehr » Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:13 am

OK - I started!

I spent the first hour and a half laying out the parts. It took more effort that I expected, but it was worth it. While I did not redistribute the kits into assembly-related kits as I had planned (would have taken more time than it was worth), the hour and a half I did spend was well worth it. When building sub-assemblies, I could just collect the individual parts and go to work.

You may notice some blue marks on the extrusions. I used permanent marker to show the length of each piece. It cleans off easily with acetone and saves having to remeasure everything as I use it.

[Photo 1 - All parts except skins and window - Bart's hardware kit is still in the bag at the lower right corner]
Laser 2x - Complete Parts.png


I knew that the most critical sub-assembly would be the v-rails. They are most critical because there are no do-overs. I started by marking measurements (offsets from end) so I would not get confused and put rails in the wrong places. I then marked the exact location based on the noted measurements.

As the docs suggested - I started with cleaning the manufacturing grease from the rails. I used acetone which seemed to do it nicely.

I could not get the 409 super glue, but did find Gorilla Glue that is for high impact. I did the first two rails (on one of the Y axis extrusions). After holding the glued rails in place for over a minute, they fell off when I picked up the assembly. :o I put them back on and held them a while longer before setting it aside.

Did not know what the issue was for sure. Was it the Gorilla Glue? Was it the acetone? Since the Gorilla Glue was the only super glue I had access to today, I re-cleaned the other parts with mineral spirits before gluing them up. They seemed to work better. When I went back and checked the first one, it also seems to have taken hold. I'll test them all tomorrow after they have had a chance to sit for 24 hours.

The whole cleaning/gluing process took about 55 minutes.

[Photo 2 - Glued up V-Rail assemblies]
Laser 2x - VRail Extrusions  and Rails.png


Next up - the Z-Lifts. I originally thought this would go fast. But the first one (of 4) took nearly 30 minutes. Selecting the right parts (nuts, bearings, bearing holders, lift plates, etc) took about half of that, but once done, the others were ready to go.

[Photo 3 - Z-Lift Assembly parts]
Laser 2x - Z-Lift Parts.png


The hard part is holding the threaded rod while you screw on the nylon nut. Bart's suggestion (in the docs) to use a couple of 1/4-20 nuts, locked into each other, worked well. But the threaded rods are 8" long, so it is still a bit awkward. After the first complete Z-Lift Assembly, the other three went very smoothly. Total time for the 4 lift assemblies = 1 hour.

I noticed a couple of things we can do to make the docs more clear on this assembly. The docs online have been updated.

[Photo 4 - Z-Lift Assemblies Completed]
Laser 2x - Z-Lifts Complete.png
Laser 2x - Z-Lifts Complete.png (190.81 KiB) Viewed 12583 times


Time for the Z-Table. I haven't decided on what I will use for the actual table top yet, but I can certainly do the frame and it will be ready for the top when I figure out what it will be. BTW - I also have some 1-inch honeycomb from McMasters-Carr. Need to cut it to size and frame it and design a means of attaching it to the Z-Table frame, but will cover all that when it happens.

[Photo 5 - Z-Lift frame]
Laser 2x - Z-Table Parts.png
Laser 2x - Z-Table Parts.png (149.35 KiB) Viewed 12583 times


Putting the table frame together is pretty straight forward - 4 sides, 4 corner, and a handful of screws. Oops! There are also the nuts that will be needed for the table top. (remove two corners, insert nuts, reinstall the corners... :oops:) It had to happen so might as well get it out of the way early.

X-Lift frame = 30 minutes.

[Photo 6 - Z-Lift frame complete]
Laser 2x - Z-Table Complete.png


Ready to tackle part 1 of the electronics bed - gluing the bed, back-plane, and supports so they will be ready for installing the actual electronics.

I was having a little bit of a problem getting the parts to line up correctly. I realize that the routed areas for the supports needed a slight touch-up. If you find the same issue, a couple minutes with a hand chisel will take care of it. Once that was done, glue up was fast and easy. Trim and glue time = 20 minutes.

[Photo 7 - Glued and clamped electronics bed assembly]
Laser 2x - Electronics Bed Glued Up.png


Top door is begging me to tackle it now. Construction is very similar to the Z-Table frame, but with a few more parts (hinges, handle, stops.) Oops! I don't have two of the extrusions I need (2020-440 x 2). :oops: How did that happen? I think I was the first person to order Misumi parts for this project. Shortly after that, some changes were made to the BOM which means I had mis-ordered a few pieces. No big deal - I reordered. Somehow though, I still ended up with 2040-440s instead of 2020-440s. BUT, I have a couple of left over 2020-560s that I mis-ordered the first time. Enter the hacksaw. Problem solved. Lesson - no matter how careful you are, it is really easy to confuse the 2020s and 2040s - check, check, check, and then recheck.

[Photo 8 - Door parts]
Laser 2x - Lid Parts.png


I don't have the window yet. It should come next week with the skins. But I went ahead and put everything together and placed nuts and screws in as placeholders so that I would not forget them. BE CAREFUL - there are also a couple of hidden nuts (for the door stops) on the bottom that need to be inserted while you are building the frame. Door build time, with stops = 2 hours, 25 minutes (includes the 20 minutes I spent banging my head on the wall and cutting the replacement parts).

[Photo 9 - Door complete - no window]
Laser 2x - Lid Complete.png


[Photo 10 - Door stop - detail]
Laser 2x - Lid Stop Detail.png
Laser 2x - Lid Stop Detail.png (144.2 KiB) Viewed 12583 times


(See the next update for a summary of the first day - I hit the limit on attachments in this one)
Last edited by twehr on Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:39 am, edited 3 times in total.
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First Day Summary

Postby twehr » Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:21 am

So for this first day, I have several sub-assemblies ready to go - 3 V-Rails, 4 Z-Lifts, 1 Z-Table, Electronics bed, and the door.

Total time - 6 hr 40 min.

[Photo 11 - Completed sub-assemblies]
Laser 2x - First Days Progress.png
Laser 2x - First Days Progress.png (180.26 KiB) Viewed 12583 times


Tomorrow is pretty busy with family, but hope to work a while in the morning - I think I will tackle the complete gantry assembly. After that, it is the installation of the actual electronics and starting on the frame. Monday I work, but may have some time Monday evening. If I can get through the frame by then, I can start bringing the sub-assemblies together on Wed night.
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Re: Day 2

Postby twehr » Sun Mar 20, 2011 10:09 pm

It has been a long day and I have to go out of town yet tonight, so this is going to be quite short.

In as few words as possible, I did the gantry today. It took 6.25 hours. That seems like a lot, and maybe it is more than it should have taken. But everything has to be right, here. Getting everything tensioned just right, and aligned, and running smoothly takes whatever time it takes. Yours may go much faster.

[Photo - Completed gantry assembly]
Laser 2x - Gantry Complete.png


One interesting piece is how I keep the x-axis limit switch wires in the track, running it to the other end of the gantry. I cut small strips of some 3mm craft foam I had and used that to hold the wires in place. You can get official Misumi track cover, but this works fine.

[Photo - X-Axis limit switch wires]
Laser 2x - Gantry Wire Keepers.png


I did start working on the electronics. Got most removed from the old laser and part of it mounted on the new electronics board. This is also going to take a bit longer than I anticipated. My electronics are different than Bart's so not everything fits the same. I also will be using the DSP from LightObject. It is a larger board and will take a bit of work to make it fit. I am building using Mach3 so I can report on how it goes following the written instructions, but will then convert it to the DSP. I have already used the DPS in one laser, so converting another will be pretty straight forward. I'll make a separate update when I get it done.

That is it for now.
Last edited by twehr on Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: One-Week Build

Postby bdring » Sun Mar 20, 2011 10:57 pm

Tim is doing a great job. I know I picked the right person to build the first one.

Tim and I have been working behind the scenes for a while to clean up the documentation and BOM. He is the one responsible for the major re-write to the assembly instructions that happened a few weeks ago.

His build times quoted include a few fixes and trips to the hardware store, that hopefully others will not need to do.
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Re: One-Week Build

Postby cpdude » Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:34 pm

Looking good Tim. I'm keeping the popcorn handy!

Brian
2.x laser ( Mach3 | SmoothStepper | FSE RetinaEngrave)| DIY CNC Router (EMC2) | Prusa I3 3d printer | Building a Wolfstock deta printer | Rhino v5
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Re: One-Week Build

Postby Guldberg » Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:41 am

Looking sweeet!

Sounds good with the documentation. I found the assembly instruction a little hard to understand without pictures or drawings, so I plan to take a picture of every step when I start assembling mine and integrating it into the instructions. Hopefully this could be helpful to other people
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Re: One-Week Build

Postby twehr » Mon Mar 21, 2011 1:21 pm

Guldberg wrote:Looking sweeet!

Sounds good with the documentation. I found the assembly instruction a little hard to understand without pictures or drawings, so I plan to take a picture of every step when I start assembling mine and integrating it into the instructions. Hopefully this could be helpful to other people


I have updated the docs with lessons learned so far. Will continue to do so as new learning opportunities arise.

As for the drawings and pictures....

The lack of drawings in the assembly instructions was intentional. If things change (and they always do), Bart would have to update drawings in two places - the official drawings and the instruction drawings. Very easy to get out of sync that way. I printed out most of the official drawings and the instructions and stapled them in two separate sets. I lay them side by side as I go through the steps and flip through the drawings as needed. That way, they are readily available when I want them and not disrupting the flow when I don't.

Some additional pics would be good. I am taking lots of pics as I go and only posting the most important ones here. I will tell you that taking pics of everything is extremely time-consuming. At times, it seems it accounts for as much as 20% of my "build" time (part selection, layout, shoot, set aside, post-assembly setup, shoot, etc). If I were starting over and wanted to further improve the documentation in a really meaningful way, I would concentrate on single photos of the plastic and other manufactured parts. Then I would insert them as identifying photos where the parts are mentioned in the docs. That would save part selection time during the build. In fact, I will attempt to do that during the rest of the this build.
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Praise for Bart

Postby twehr » Mon Mar 21, 2011 1:33 pm

After two days of building this project I want to pass on some very well deserved praise for Bart. Not so much for the design - it is great and we all know it and appreciate it. We would not be doing the build if we did not think so.

What I am talking about is the time, effort, and care put into assembling the kits - especially the hardware kit. When you unbundle the kit, please notice how many different parts there are and that the parts are packaged and labeled with part numbers that match the drawings and with correct quantities. There are so many similar parts that having everything clearly organized is a tremendous help. I just laid out all the individual packages on a huge table (4x8 plywood on sawhorses) in the garage. Selecting parts is time consuming, but having them well marked and organized is a huge time-saver.

I am sure the time Bart spents on this one task alone far exceeds any compensation he gets for it. I honestly could not imagine doing this build any other way than with his kits.

Thanks, Bart!
tim
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Re: One-Week Build

Postby yuchan » Mon Mar 21, 2011 3:58 pm

Thank you from me too Bart!

I haven't even started and all of the information here is invaluable.
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