Pyroplotting - art on wood using CNC vector laser writing
Originally Posted by bobleecnc
Hi has anybody used their cnc router to do any woodburning work?
Yes I'm doing this again after a year off. I used a large router for farm sized art, signs and such, ( see pix 1 ). Then when we sold the ranch and moved into town I had to reduce the size of the tool and bit the bullet and added a CO2 laser ( See pix 2 ) . The machine handles 36" x 48" workpieces and has enough resolution to write on toothpicks. Mostly I do small wood pieces, boxes, little signs, trinkets and such. So far it's still a R/D machine and I'm learning new stuff every day but it produces nice work ( See pix 3 ) . You can have a look at my project log at http://www.pyroplotter.com. My wife is the artist and I'm the maker - works for me and we're now just gearing up for the Xmas season.
Wil thanks for replying
Nice site & nice work looks like fun .That laser system must have set you back a few pennys?
Will it engrave metal too?
Do you mind me asking how much for the complete laser setup?
Yes I can do some metal engraving but it's not what I built this table for. Still, I can engrave clear aluminum at full power of 10 watts. I did the back of some cell phones to ID them. Anodized aluminum is easier than clear. Can't do much on shiny stainless steel, but can on copper, brass and iron.
If I include the original purchase price of the components for the large router and ancillary components and add the laser and optics it's about $16,000 for all of the hardware. I have a lot of software separate from the table activities but you can add a couple thousand more for pure engraving tools. I bought Engravelab Laser Pro 7.1 and am well pleased with that package.
If I were to build another of these I figure I could do it for under $10K for everything.
The laser side of things is actually two parts. I took advice from some members in this community and also contacted a couple of experts at the manufacturers factories. What I did was make my own beam enclosure tubes but bought brand new optics - a corner mirror and a 2.5 FL Gasjet Manifold. Those cost about $1100. I bought a newly reconditioned laser from the manufacturer with a 90 day warranty for another $1000. I did not get a collimator, or a red dot diode pointer which would be another $2000. I have a work around that involves a couple of steps in setting uip the tool and that's it.
Two things I was told repeatedly by the experts - don't skimp on the optics and keep them clean. Also, keep your laser horizontal - don't be tempted to mount it vertically on the Z axis gantry to save money.
My gas purge system ensures that at no time does any of the pyro gases get to the lenses or drift up the tube to the laser mirror or beam bender. I blow CDA over all three areas while using the machine and after now many noxious material cuts I have examined the mirror and lenses and they remain clear and unclouded. Not a hint of contamination.
I've chosen to listen to the experts and am rewarded with a very nice tool and you will too if you choose to go this path.