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Thread: 2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase

  1. #25
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    Default Re: 2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase

    New end mounts printed (those took 2 hours) Now I just need to get those rods smooth, design the drill guides, and cut a new piece of aluminum C channel since I moved the holes. Then I should get my bearings in the next day or two and then I can install the pulleys and spectra line and we can see how it works. Before I drill up the case, I do need to cut up my sheet metal insert and get that installed. I have primitive tools for working with sheet metal, so hopefully that will come out alright the first time. I found that the sheet metal sold for duct work is a cheap source ($6 for a huge sheet) for galvanized steel.

    This stage is 12x12. It leaves very little room for the electronics and what-not, but thankfully the electronics aren't going to need much room and I do have 5" deep to work with so I can layer things as needed. I started looking at the latches to see how to turn them into interlocks and found that the lock and the latch were actually steel. So, when the latch is in place, there is continuity between the two pieces. Simple interlock switch! I wigggled it around to ensure the connection was stable and it was. Only about 5 ohms of resistance at the furthest points.

    BTW, this case is not really aluminum. It is just thin MDF with a plastic decorative skin and aluminum accents. I had a lot of trouble finding a true aluminum case. But that's ok. The MDF is pretty stable (5mm thick) and I will be installing the sheet metal insert in the mechanical area anyway which will add some more strength.

    2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase-mini-blaze-016-jpg

    This might give a better idea of how it will be installed. I am surprised my cuts were good on the first try It is resting perfectly on the lip of the aluminum pieces which line up with the inside and outside of the case walls, respectively. I designed the rod holders deep enough though that it would have been fine if I were a mm or 2 off.

    The front rod holders will push in from the outside of the case like a grommet. On the inside with be set-screw stops. This will put pressure on the wall to stiffen it and hold the rod securely. The back holder will be mounted on the inside of the case. You need to use a rubber mallet to knock the rods into the holders. Obviously I designed them to be tight. I had to cut the front ones off after test fitting.

    The pulleys are also lined up pretty well, so no need to tweak them.

    Last post for today.

    Last edited by Retroplayer; 01-06-2015 at 10:46 PM.


  2. #26
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    Default Re: 2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase

    Quote Originally Posted by buddydog View Post

    A guy after my own heart. lol

    I have been shocked more times than I can count with 120 and high voltage from TVs and digital camera flashes.



  3. #27
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    Default Re: 2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase

    2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase-assembly-jpg

    Started putting everything together as an assembly in sketchup so I can make sure everything is aligned. My pulleys were not as well aligned as I thought. It is not absolutely critical, but it will affect friction in the machine and therefore speed will suffer. To get the maximum benefit of the CoreXY system (which is mainly speed, high accuracy, and perfect circles) everything should be aligned perfectly. The design is very flexible in that the steppers can be placed just about anywhere in the chain. So after putting together this model, that is what I will be working out. The traditional style is to place the pulleys at one end in line with the rod. But I will loose a lot of cutting area by doing that. So a second goal to drawing this up is to tweak the parts to maximize the cutting area as much as possible.

    Last edited by Retroplayer; 01-07-2015 at 09:58 AM.


  4. #28
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    Default Re: 2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase

    I'm going to rant for a moment since Buddy is the only one that seems to be paying attention to my posts anyway. lol

    Why is that the ONE component that is holding up your build from progressing is the ONE component that without fail always takes the longest to get to you? I envy those people that can just run down to the store and select from a variety of bearings. Other than skate bearings, I don't even think there is any place nearby where I can buy a bearing at all!! And electronic components? Forget about it. Even wire. Metric hardware? Barely and I have to buy them 1 to 3 screws at a time in a little baggy for $1 a piece.

    One of the contributing factors to projects ending for me is just the fatigue of waiting for every single part. And God forbid I change my mind about something or forgot to order a part! People ask me why I have a huge inventory of parts. This is why. When I need to order 1, I order at least 10. Of course, actually finding them later on is a problem I am still trying to work out. lol

    Anyway, that's my rant. Sucks living in an area where people just don't seem to be into building things and online ordering sucks because either the vendor or USPS has some sort of ESP that *KNOWS* when that one part is critical to my project and takes their dear sweet time.



  5. #29
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    Default Re: 2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase

    2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase-alt_assembly-jpg

    One of these days I will stop tweaking. Moved the pulleys to the bottom side of the stage and made some modifications to maximize the cutting area. I branched this one, so I still have the old design if I change my mind.

    I think I am taking a break from this until the rest of the parts arrive. Probably this weekend. I should spend some time on my K40 and make some progress there.



  6. #30
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    Default Re: 2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase

    After doing some graph-paper iterations with some math, I have made some minor modifications to the platform design to gain about another inch in the Y axis. I will still be putting the pulleys and lines below the platform as before. But instead of two pulleys at the Y end and the guides, I will be using two pulleys stacked on top of each other. What this does is get rid of the need to cross over the pulleys at the rear which means 45 degree mounted pulleys and that took of almost an inch of space. The single pulley on the guides means the guides can now move closer to the rear (the front is limited by the laser carriage.)

    TO gain some X room, I shrank the chamber for the electronics after taking some measurements. I really only need the controller, some wiring, and a few miscellaneous things in there. The controller can mount vertically, as well.

    So, I am locking in this design until I build it and test it out. There shouldn't be any more major changes until then. Obviously if it is a fail, that's gonna change things. But I spent quite a bit of time lining everything up, so I expect success. I have a 25mm fan coming, which will be mounted to the laser carriage to help cool the laser. A small 12V air pump will serve as an air assist.

    Also, there was some misunderstanding on my part about the ability of the GRBL shield to handle CoreXY. It appears that it currently does not but some have hacked it to do it. Of course noone has shared the code and I really don't feel like spending all the time trying to figure it out. So, we will be using a RAMPS instead which supports Marlin firmware, which supports CoreXY and has some additional nice features. Seems a bit overkill for this, but meh.

    I thought I would mention that in case anyone runs out and buys a GRBL shield because Retroplayer said it supports CoreXY. One day, I will sit down and add it if the author doesn't beat me to it.

    I decided to go with the 6mm smooth rods and linear bearings. I have no reliable way of sanding the 1/4 rods to an even diameter. That could show up in the cuts/engraves. I already ordered them last weekend, and just got them today. So this won't hold me up.

    I also just received the constant current dimmable LED controller capable of 2.1A. I need to do some testing before I go about replacing the driver in the laser diode with this. What this will do is allow me to control the power of the laser for "safer" focusing and different materials. It also adds a safer/faster way to turn the laser on and off.

    I'll post a pic of the changed design, but it won't blow your mind because it doesn't look much different.

    2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase-new_assembly-jpg

    2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase-carriage-jpg

    2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase-end_pulleys-jpg

    2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase-guides-jpg

    2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase-steppers-jpg



  7. #31
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    Default Re: 2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase

    Well, I am out of commission on this project for a little bit. My 3D printer heated bed decided to take a crap and let out the magic smoke. I have ordered replacement parts, but won't get them until sometime next week. If I get too antsy, I might MacGuyver it since I am replacing it anyway.

    I will be working on the electronics and laser for this project in the meantime. I've now picked up another diode without a built in driver (since I intend to build two of these anyway.) I also switched to three element lenses instead of the G2 lens. The G2 lens gives more power, but a bigger and more oval beam. The three element lens provides a tighter and more circular beam. I have also received a few different options for drivers to evaluate and a made up a test load to evaluate them before trying them on the diode. We also have a pair of the cheap ebay laser safety goggles and a pair of CE certified Eagle safety glasses. And of course, the transparent red acrylic to test.

    I switched to a Ramps1.4 controller since I didn't feel like monkeying with trying to get CoreXY working on thne GRBL shield yet. Though, I will be revisiting that. Full Ramps1.4 kit is about $75, GRBL shield is $35. So you can see why the GRBL shield is very attractive for this project. At the moment I have the choice to either abandon the CoreXY platform and go with a standard cartesian platform, modify GRBL shield to support CoreXY, or just use a RAMPS with Marlin firmware that already supports CoreXY. My goal was to get this under $300. I have spent more than that on this project so far, but I do believe I can get the cost well under $300 once I work out all the details.

    I also have some 25mm peltiers on their way from China. I will be evaluating those for cooling the laser. The cooler you can keep the laser, the more power you can get out of it. With active cooling, it has been said that you could drive these up to around 3W to 3.3W (max, not constant.) I want to set something up and experiment with these diodes to see what they are capable of and what is the optimum driving methodology.

    This downtime also means I will be spending some more time on the CO2 laser. I really got myself side-tracked with this suitcase project, didn't I? lol The result is NO cutter/engraver right now and I could certainly use it for this project. So my goal is to get the CO2 cutter back up to a functioning level over the weekend. Thereafter, I can incorporate the minor upgrades as I go.

    Thank you to all my devoted followers for your patience! lol



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    Default Re: 2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase

    Don't place too much reliance on the peltiers.

    1/ they themselves produce a LOT of heat

    2/ the amount of heat they can "pump" one side to the other is *hugely* dependent on the temp difference between the two faces.

    After my experiments I determined (YMMV of course) that they were great for cooling down static thermal masses, eg a six pack in a styrene box, but sweet **** all use at removing thermal enegy from sources that were actually generating heat, eg electrical resistance / CPU / diodes etc.



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    Default Re: 2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase

    Quote Originally Posted by Retroplayer View Post
    Well, I am out of commission on this project for a little bit. My 3D printer heated bed decided to take a crap and let out the magic smoke. I have ordered replacement parts, but won't get them until sometime next week. If I get too antsy, I might MacGuyver it since I am replacing it anyway.
    ADD is a good thing Retro! Can't you just jumper around the bad spot? I thought mine shorted a while back since my power supply went into limiting but then cleared itself just as quickly? Intermittent's! Truly the work of the devil.



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    Default Re: 2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase

    Quote Originally Posted by buddydog View Post
    ADD is a good thing Retro! Can't you just jumper around the bad spot? I thought mine shorted a while back since my power supply went into limiting but then cleared itself just as quickly? Intermittent's! Truly the work of the devil.
    Not quite that simple. The connector burned up on the heated bed. It is a flashforge clone, so it has an actual connector on the heated bed. To fix it, I need to remove the connector and install a heavier gauge wire back to the motherboard. I am not sure why it overheated though. The bed still measures 2 ohms as it did before (I think it was 2 ohms before). Perhaps the thermistor is going out and telling the controller to crank too much current into it? Or possibly the FET on the controller shorted somehow?

    I jury-rigged it, but the wire insulation started smoking when I tried it again at a much lower temp. It's just a matter of how much I want to let it distract me, really.



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    Default Re: 2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase

    If I remember right on my Makerfarm the thermistor is just held on by Kapton tape. I was always going to improve it but it's worked for a couple of years now so "out of sight, out of mind". I stick ABS goop all over the bed to try and keep things attached. It does not work on bigger pieces. My only complaints with my machine are the warping and the occasional jamming of the filament causing "air printing" and a lost print! Makes me stay away from those 12 hour prints.



  12. #36
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    Default Re: 2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase

    Quote Originally Posted by buddydog View Post
    If I remember right on my Makerfarm the thermistor is just held on by Kapton tape. I was always going to improve it but it's worked for a couple of years now so "out of sight, out of mind". I stick ABS goop all over the bed to try and keep things attached. It does not work on bigger pieces. My only complaints with my machine are the warping and the occasional jamming of the filament causing "air printing" and a lost print! Makes me stay away from those 12 hour prints.
    Mine is a cheap dual extruder CTC Creator from ebay for $500. I've had it for about 5 months now and it has been a workhorse. I use a glass bed and hairspray. I don't get a ton of issues with warping after I enclosed it. I usually let the bed warm up for a bit before I start printing. I think that makes a big difference, because the bed is not really at temp during those crucial first few layers.

    I had/have a solidoodle 4 as well, but I was never happy with that one. I could barely make it through a one hour print. In true ADD spirit, that one is disassembled pending upgrades. But really it is such a crappy printer, I am not at all motivated to finish it.

    I bought the CTC as a back up printer, actually. But I was so impressed with it, it became my main printer.

    On the CTC, the heated bed is a PCB heater and the thermistor is a surface mount part soldered in the middle of the board.

    I have ran the CTC for a 10 hour print before with no issues. My only real complaint is that it is overall cheaply made and the parts are sometimes hard to find. Thankfully it is very close to the Flashforge Creator so I can use most of those parts. In fact, I just ordered my replacement parts from Flashforge.



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2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase

2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase