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

  1. #37
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    Default Re: 2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase

    I may dive into it a bit and see if I can rig it to get me through the weekend. But right now, I don't trust it to print unless I am sitting there watching it.



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

    Who was I kidding? I wasn't going to be able to survive a week without my printer! I replaced the wires with high-temp wire and soldered it directly to the bed. I also had fiberglass tape over the thermistor, and thought perhaps the adhesive had become conductive. So I removed it.

    Printing again and so far so good. But this time, if something blows, it will probably be the FET, not the wire/connector. Thankfully I have a couple spares if it happens.



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

    Retro my main complaint about the laser is the fact that I can't manipulate to my hearts content the software. What I mean by that is I wish I could use openscad to program with. I am not a software guy. What I mean by that is while I love creating in say openscad I hated learning it. It's like some of these folks who want to run a laser but refuse to take the time to learn ohms law as it applies to life. Very elitist viewpoint I realize. If there was a way to get .stl files into laserDRW to cut things I would be a happy man. Also what slicer do you use? I switched to Cura a year ago and never looked back!



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

    Quote Originally Posted by buddydog View Post
    Retro my main complaint about the laser is the fact that I can't manipulate to my hearts content the software.
    I've spoken to quite a few guys (geographically) here, so of course YMMV, and while several had different laser driver software for the PC, they all imported DXF.

    Every single one of them that was having issues or difficulties trying to do something, all those problems went away when they used some form of CAD software to do the design and create the DXF, and then just imported the DXF into the laser software and set the settings for each line or group.

    Having myself then tried to do even really simple things like create a 25 mm square or circle in the laser software, I found it impossible, as the laser software simply is not parametric, eg in rhino I can define a new circle by centre and radius, and just type in the exact radius I want, or just define a rectangle and just type in the exact side lengths I want.

    The trick seems to be in the process whereby you export your design from your CAD / Drawing software to a file, and then importing that file into the laser software, the actual import and export processes are not always perfect, and sometimes what comes out the other end aint the same as what went in one end of the export/import process.



  5. #41
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    Default Re: 2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase

    Quote Originally Posted by buddydog View Post
    Retro my main complaint about the laser is the fact that I can't manipulate to my hearts content the software. What I mean by that is I wish I could use openscad to program with. I am not a software guy. What I mean by that is while I love creating in say openscad I hated learning it. It's like some of these folks who want to run a laser but refuse to take the time to learn ohms law as it applies to life. Very elitist viewpoint I realize. If there was a way to get .stl files into laserDRW to cut things I would be a happy man. Also what slicer do you use? I switched to Cura a year ago and never looked back!

    I am much like you. Programming is a necessary evil for me, but I do not enjoy it. I have no formal training in CAD programs, but had to learn it to realize my projects. I am comfortable mostly in the world of electronics. But, with so many interests such as animatronics, I had to learn sewing, sculpting, casting, molding, and other numerous skills.

    But, you just hit on the number one reason I am upgrading my laser cutter. I want to use the RAMPS controller so that I can open up the possibilities of software. Once upon a day, people wrote the G-Code entirely by hand. Still entirely possible to do, but not fast or simple. Not something I would even want to learn to do! But of course, we are forced to know it enough to diagnose problems with our toolpaths and to understand what the machine is doing.

    I use Sketchup almost entirely for my design work and openscad for some things it does better. Its probably silly (my fried thinks so anyway) but the number one reason I like Sketchup is the guide lines. It just makes sense to me in a natural way. And with a ramps controller, I should be able to use Sketchup even for the laser cutting designs.

    Anyway, back to slicers. I use Simplify3D for my 3D printing. It has its own propietary slicer. I used Cura and Repetier-host previously on my Solidoodle. I liked Cura much better than Slic3r, but some things Slic3r did better. It really depended on the model. This printer is a makerbot/flashforge clone, so it uses x3g which a binary g-code. It really limits what software I can use, but Simplify3D seems to work well with it (after some headaches setting it up.)

    And as Elaser says, the ability to import DXF is a definite. Most of my work with the laser will be panel cut outs, enclosures, etc... So, using CAD programs is a requirement. Thankfully I do know Inkscape and Corel a little from a former life doing desktop publishing. But it is definitely not my preferred tool.



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

    Elaser I do what you described all the time in LaserDRW. It has circles, squares, etc and they can be stretched and changed by a panel that appears to the right of them when an object is selected or they have "handles" you can left click "drag" to change them (unfortunately they can't be "aliased". Circles can be made oblong but for instance not teardrop shaped. Squares become rectangles but not parallelograms etc. You can define radius, x and y (for rectangles and lines), center x and y, y1 and y2, x1, x2 and tons of other things. Unfortunately there is no (and I don't know how to describe this) way to make curved lines or just draw an object. The other missing thing is an eraser. I phony those functions with solid "white" (invisible) objects that I create and then position over areas I want to "erase". For instance to create an airfoil shape I overlay a series of different size oblongs, then clone a duplicate set and make them all solid white, the overlay them offset slightly to erase the first circles leaving a line I can "cut" that is a "French curve" {I think that's the name). One nice thing about DRW is it will either cut or raster as you command it with those designs from within it. I have not tried cutting a .bmp or.jpg so I don't know if it would "cut" but they do raster fine. I only use free software so far like with the 3d printer. I just wish I could get openscad files into DRW.
    DRW is cumbersome to draw in as explained above but it does work.



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

    Can you import any formats into LaserDRW?



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

    Quote Originally Posted by Retroplayer View Post
    Can you import any formats into LaserDRW?
    Well if you mean file types, yes it recognizes several including .jpg, and .bmp and so on. I'm not home and don't have it in my computer here. Unlike the internal .lyz that you can modify when you bring it back in, the .bmp's can only be expanded and contracted in size and they can be rotated, something you can't do (as far as I know) with something you create in DRW. In DRW you have to work on each element one at a time, very fiddely. Sometimes when I am happy with an object I save the whole thing as a .bmp and then bring it back in and then I can expand, contract and rotate as I wish. I keep thinking there is something I have missed.



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

    My K40 came with Corel whatever, whatever. I installed it, opened it, and then immediately said, "oh h**l no." The combo of inkscape and the LMN plugin seems to work fairly well. With the RAMPS controller, though, you can use pretty much whatever to create the GCode files. You may need to go in and add manual codes for some of the laser specific stuff if you are not using a purpose-built plugin. Once I get everything up and running, I will be playing around in that area as well. A nice GUI-based system much like Repetier or Pronterface specific to the laser cutter would be very welcome, I think.

    Being able to use Autodesk 123D Make and Pepakura Designer are of particular interest to me.



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

    Oh, here is another cool resource if you didn't know about it already: MakerCase - Easy Laser Cut Case Design

    It lets you design custom electronics enclosures easily and outputs SVG files.


    And just a little status update:
    1. Just a few days ago, the author of GRBL added experimental CoreXY support.
    2. I am going with standard Nema17 steppers. These little steppers are really choppy and I disassembled one and found plastic gears inside. So, I ordered up some 32oz/in 0.9 degree bipolar steppers.
    3. Sticking with the CoreXY platform, but I revived an older project I was working on. The main difference is instead of using the suitcase as the structure, this design uses a plate (acrylic, steel, whatever.) It was designed to be a standalone platform where I can just set it on top of the material to cut and let it go. It will still be installed in the suitcase, but I think this will be much more stable.

    2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase-laser_cutter2-jpg

    Still working on adapting it. The original used the X assembly you see in the bottom with two rods instead of the C Channel. I may even just go with that instead of the C channel. In the standalone configuration, it would have feet attached to the corners where you can clamp it to your workpiece and start it up. It was designed originally for circuit board milling and standard pen plotter functions.

    The stepper mount idea originally came from an upgrade for my CTC printer which has the steppers just mounted with standoffs. I wanted something a little more robust. I should get those up on Thingiverse. They are really handy to design around.

    Last edited by Retroplayer; 01-19-2015 at 06:13 AM.


  12. #48
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    Default Re: 2W 445nm Diode laser cutter/engraver in a suitcase

    Quote Originally Posted by Retroplayer View Post
    Oh, here is another cool resource if you didn't know about it already: MakerCase - Easy Laser Cut Case Design

    It lets you design custom electronics enclosures easily and outputs SVG files.

    There is a cool plugin for inkscape as an extension that does exactly this
    Maker - Tabbed Box Maker



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

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