Very nice, my first laser was that size, I build a new one 48" x 60" all servo drive.
Goal: To build a hobby grade CNC laser cutter that will cut materials up to ¼ inch thick with a work area of 48 x 24. The machine must be safe, reliable and accurate to 1/40". It will be build using commonly available off the shelf parts and materials. Budget is $2000.
After researching the existing machines, Ive narrowed my design options down to two possibilities.
Design Option #1: A moving XY table with stationary vertically mounted laser and optics
- No Mirrors Required
- Minimal alignment required
- No power loss on reflections
- Less ways to fail
- Wastes space
- Footprint is more than twice the work area
- Long rails are likely to hurt accuracy and add expense
Use something like a large salad bowl mounded upside down over the laser head and attached to a vacuum source to exhaust fumes and filter IR. This would save the expensive building a large cover as required by design option #2.
Design Option #2: Flying Optics design with a horizontally mounted laser parallel with x axis. Work is stationary. Beam is reflected onto work surface by mirrors moving on a lightweight gantry.
Example: Emissions Technology
- Moving parts are fast and light
- Compact footprint
- Shorter more precise rails could be used
- Requires at least 2 mirrors
- Requires 4 mirrors for the most compact footprint
- Requires precise alignment
- Has serious failure modes resulting in smoke and fire
- Wastes some power on each mirror
Option #1 is technically easier to implement and is far less clever that Option #2.
Option #2 is more practical, but will require more R&D to be made safe and reliable.
Right now Im leaning towards option #2 and am looking at ways to implement it with only 2 or 3 mirrors. This seems like the way to go. It will be a slight improvement on the emissions technology approach.
If anyone else has build one of these or is planning on building one, I'd like to hear your thoughts.
Grettings Sir. I've read many of your posts. Very inspiring! I would never attempt it without this place.
Have you had problems keeping your mirrors in alignment? On that 60" run it would seem a slight vibration could be enough to deflect the beam off target.
your laser source, I'm interested where or how you plan on producing CO2 laser with a small budget as you have. Keep us posted.
Do you have pics of your servo machine on this site? And if you don't mind me asking, did you "build" your electronics or buy in a preassembled package of motors, drivers, etc.?
I'm probably a little optimistic on the price. I do think it will come in under $2500. The goal is $2000. So far I've spent about $1100 and picked up a 60 watt CO2 Laser, power supply, 3 mirrors, a nice beam expander/reducer. To me the laser is the big unknown, so I want to get that part working first. I already have a working CNC mill, so was planning on buying new stepper motors for this project and borrowing the other CNC components from what I already have. That's going to save about $300 or $400 over someone starting out fresh. I'm budgeting (roughtly) $500 for some very nice linear slides and bearings. The belts and pulleys should come in under $150. The bulk of the remaining parts will come from the local hardware store, the junk yard, and my shop. If I used conduit and skateboad bearings for the linear slides, it would definetly come in under $2000.
Good to hear form you.
I see your still debating your choices on beam delivery. I hope my advice didn't cause you too much worry about beam alignment if you go with a flying optic setup. As long as the beam doesn't start to miss your focusing lens, then some mis-alignment shouldn't be too big a deal as the lens itself will greatly minimize any effect of beam drift (by reducing the beam in size to a point, it is also reducing any beam offset by the same amount). I'm just used to working where a couple thou make a big difference. Sorry.
And of course, many folks on this forum have already done it, with no problems (that I've seen remarked on, anyway).
I look forward to seeing your machine come together...
If it's already been done, then it ain't NO FUN!
What software do you use to control?
I've seen lasers posted in ebay, that go for roughly 1200 to 2000 with power supplies. You said that you got your 60 watt with optics and a beam expander for approx 1100. Did you get most of your stuff off of ebay, or do you have other sources you don't mind sharing? I'm looking for an 80 to 100 watt laser, which go for around 2K from a seller on ebay. Looking for a middleman who doesn't add 800 to 1000 to the equation, as I think they're available for 700 to 1000 fob China. TIA