One-Week Build

General discussion of laser machines

Re: One-Week Build

Postby bdring » Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:42 pm

That is likely to be quite a bit more expensive and probably less accurate after assembly.

I think the design is sound. Let's let it play out. The bearings should never move from the v rail. The v rail will keep them in place. One wheel cannot wander on it's own. If anything moves it would be the gantry, but the wheels on the other side should prevent that. The wheels may slip during assembly, but should be fine after that if everything is lined up.

When I quoted the linear bearing system, I had the company that makes the dual v bearings quote bearings with a molded in place Delrin v wheels. They quoted them for $2 each ($2,000 min buy though). I think that is the ultimate solution.
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Re: One-Week Build

Postby LeonS » Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:14 pm

I think the current design is working great. When the wheels are positioned in their working configuration I don't think there will be any problems at all. I really like how smooth and quiet they are.

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Moving forward

Postby twehr » Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:12 am

First thing of the new day was replacing the rvail assembly on the gantry. That went pretty well - took about an hour and a half all together. The performance now is great - fast, quiet, and generally exactly what I wanted. I hate the amount of time and effort it all took, but it was also well worth it.

[Video - new VRail performance]
Last edited by twehr on Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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New Controller

Postby twehr » Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:22 am

Mach3 was great for initial testing of the x and y axis, but I will probably never use it, preferring the DSP controller from LightObject. It does engraving, cutting, rotary, pretty much everything I need/want. I have the one that was installed in the old machine so I will use that.

I intended to have both Mach3 and the DSP set up in the new machine. Realized that I the interface board would be just sitting there, so no reason for it to consume the space. It was going to be hard (but possible) to fit everything in. So I pulled the interface card, moved a couple of things, and installed the DSP card.

Had one issue that I finally gave up on. The DSP is capable of configuring machine zero to be any corner. Previously, I had it in upper left. Laser 2.x is designed for lower left. Should not be a problem, but for the life of me I could not get it configured to work correctly. Also could not get it to work the way I wanted in the upper left. Seems it was only happy with the upper right. So I moved both limit switches (thanks Bart for the flexible design), and everything is happy now. I'll get a video of the control under DSP later and post that.

This morning, I want to verify that all is working correctly mechanically and then it on to the optics and laser tube. If all goes as it should (there's a laugh!), I could have a working machine before the day is out. Then it will just be skinning and the aesthetics.
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Re: One-Week Build

Postby bdring » Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:06 pm

Mach3 was great for initial testing of the x and y axis, but I will probably never use it


The nice thing about Mach3 is you can do all the setup and testing with the free version. I heard you might even be able to run the engraving plugin with the free version.
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Re: One-Week Build

Postby lasersafe1 » Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:33 pm

Even better, you can download a live CD of Linux EMC2. EMC2 has a MUCH MUCH nicer setup program for testing the motor speed and acceleration capabilities of your system. In Mach, you have to make the change, apply the change, exit the setup section and then drive your motors with the keys. In EMC2, it launches a little program that sweeps your motor back and forth based on the number of inches you have entered. It then gives you sliders you can adjust to try different acceleration and speed values. All are applied in realtime as you adjust.
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Major Milestone(s)

Postby twehr » Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:15 am

This morning I completed the DSP controller wiring and ran some mechanical tests with it.



This afternoon I moved the laser to it's final home on the custom laser desk I built a few weeks ago. I installed the laser tube and did some divergence testing (data tomorrow). Then it was time for optics - several hours of mirror alignment. First mirror went really well - the second one beat me up pretty good, but after 3 hours, it is dialed in pretty good.

Tonight, I leveled the table, set up the working area (in the software) to match the usable area on the laser, and got the output calibrated for size. Overall, I am getting 545mm x 280mm (21.46" x 11.02"). I always want more, but compared to my old machines 13" x 9", this is pretty good.

I made a quick video of me running a simple engrave and cut project. Works really well.



What's left? Skins, air, fume extraction, the honeycomb drop-in, and formal plumbing. Some of that will happen this weekend. I go back to work on Monday, but fell like the One-Week Build was pretty successful. Sometime this weekend, I will complete my posts, and summarize my experiences.

Tonight, I am done. It is 9:15 pm, we are babysitting some of the grand kids and the wife and I have to do a 5K fundraiser tomorrow. I think I am going to get some rest.
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Completed (but never done)

Postby twehr » Sun Apr 03, 2011 11:14 am

Saturday was a fun day, just doing the odds and ends that allow me to call the One-Week Build complete. I added the air line, ran the plumbing and installed the skins and door. I think everything looks really nice.

[Photo]
Completed laser 1.png


[Photo]
Completed laser 2.png


I also did a final "test" project. For this I wanted something that would do both engraving and cutting (outlining) and would use most of the usable area of the machine. The following video is the running of that job. Be sure to watch the whole thing.

[Video]


I still have a list of thing to do - add the honeycomb insert, readjust the second mirror so I can get a beam through the air nozzle at all points on the table, mount the DSP control panel, and I am sure there will be a few others, as well. But for now, I am calling it complete. I plan to go back and update some of the online docs, to clarify anything that I can for others, etc.

Again, I want to thank Bart. Obviously, I (we) could not have done this without him.
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Re: One-Week Build

Postby twehr » Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:31 pm

Sorry - I had made the video private - fixed now. :oops:
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exhaust and 2nd mirror

Postby LeonS » Sun Apr 03, 2011 1:28 pm

Looking great Tim. Congrats!

What were you using for an exhaust fan? There didn't seem to be much front-to back air flow in the video.

Do you think having the laser tube exposed to the smoke and acrylic fumes may cause problems?

Sounds like there has been issues with your 2nd mirror. Any advice for those of us in the pack from the path finder? :-)

I share your appreciation of all Bart has done.

Cheers,
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