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Offline cooldogTopic starter

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laser cutter
« on: January 30, 2008, 08:57:37 PM »
i will be using this thread as a base for my laser cutter. this is where you can post questions and comments. i will start another thread for the actual construction.

so

i through that a laser cutter fits in with robotics so that i can make pro make parts in my garage. i will be building one of there two lasers

http://www.instructables.com/id/Laser-wood-burning-pen/
http://www.instructables.com/id/Laser-Flashlight-Hack!!/

i will mount this laser on a platform that will be able to move forward, backwards, left and right. it will operated by hand because i don't have any experience making it move from pics on the computer. it's should be able to cut through Styrofoam and signboard (the two main materials that i use in my robot chasi. i will start construction on February, 15, 2008. (i have term projects to get done).

just thought i would post this

thanks,
cooldog

P.S. sorry admin if this is one of the useless posts that you have been taking about
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Offline airman00

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2008, 09:13:43 PM »
why laser, laser is very dangerous


to cut stryofoam use a hotwire styrofoam cutter

and why have a chassis out of those materials?Those materials will fall apart quickly.
Check out the Roboduino, Arduino-compatible board!


Link: http://curiousinventor.com/kits/roboduino

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Offline garriwilson

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2008, 10:30:08 PM »
I think that's too dangerous. If you do it WEAR laser eye protection. One sec of that and you could become blind. Second of all if you're going to move it, your hands will get in the way. Wouldn't want that to happen would you? You can cut styrofoam with a knife (i think). And won't styrofoam melt from the laser?

Offline SmAsH

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2008, 10:52:19 PM »
ya my advice is to not use lasers to cut things. it is very dangerous and is pretty useless as opposed to melting the foam!
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Offline cooldogTopic starter

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2008, 06:09:56 AM »
and why have a chassis out of those materials?Those materials will fall apart quickly.

true but there the best free materials i find on a day to day basis

i know that you will all say that it to dangeruse but i guess you can say it is more for the fun of it.
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Offline paulstreats

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2008, 08:34:35 AM »
Why no get a suitable drill and make a milling machine type of thing, then you can cut more stuff reliably. Also if you can control it with a pic thats connect through uart to a pc. Or just make a control pad directly on the pic

Offline cooldogTopic starter

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2008, 09:29:03 AM »
i've been thinking maybe i can use a key pad to control it. so that i don't have to touch it and i don't have to put it through a computer
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Offline Trumpkin

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2008, 09:57:34 AM »
My advice is DO NOT USE LASERS TO CUT STUFF!!!
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Offline cooldogTopic starter

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2008, 11:34:01 AM »
My advice is DO NOT USE LASERS TO CUT STUFF!!!

but there fun
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Offline Trumpkin

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2008, 11:38:57 AM »
True, but lasers that powerful are also EXTREMLY dangerous. 
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Offline BANE

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2008, 12:01:58 PM »
I must agree with Cooldog about it would be a totally awesome project!  And laser does make some nice edges vs machine.  However, I don't know how attainable this project is and realistic as far as functionality.  I know of a few machine shops that have very powerful laser to cut and weld (works nicely for aluminum because of temp i guess).  If you want something safe ;) and attainable, I'd go this trying to make a CNC :P.

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Offline Trumpkin

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2008, 01:28:44 PM »
cooldog, i think you should read the posts on the instructable. It might give you second thoughts.....  http://www.instructables.com/id/Laser-wood-burning-pen/ check out this http://www.instructables.com/id/Easy-to-Build-Desk-Top-3-Axis-CNC-Milling-Machine/
« Last Edit: January 31, 2008, 01:29:51 PM by Trumpkin »
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Offline Admin

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2008, 02:16:16 PM »
cooldog, read a bunch of manuals on laser safety before you do this. Get all the proper safety equipment.

Then, go for it!

Another thought . . . get multiple lasers and point it at the same spot so you can cut through thicker material.

Oh and be careful what you cut, many materials release poisonous fumes when melted. Research each material you plan to cut. Do it in a ventilated area.

And you will want to computerize it. Pushing buttons won't be so easy. The $50 robot controller can do this, no problem.

Offline SmAsH

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2008, 02:30:24 PM »
yea make sure you get safety glasses if your working on it or testing it. make sure no one comes into the room while your testing it...they can burn skin cant they? also the blinding thing tho. this project does seem a bit imagitive tho. if you want to build a robot/rc car that bad you should save up some of your money until you can afford the proper materials, because cheap things normally fall apart easilly, if i was you i would buy a decent chaisi even if it did cost me a few extra bucks.

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Offline ed1380

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2008, 02:59:24 PM »
looks like it'd be a great project, but IDk if it'll be strong enugh to cut through styrafoam effectively

and psht. who cares about safety?  ::)
« Last Edit: January 31, 2008, 02:59:56 PM by ed1380 »
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Offline cooldogTopic starter

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2008, 03:16:33 PM »
finally positive feed back

cooldog, read a bunch of manuals on laser safety before you do this. Get all the proper safety equipment.

Then, go for it!

Another thought . . . get multiple lasers and point it at the same spot so you can cut through thicker material.

Oh and be careful what you cut, many materials release poisonous fumes when melted. Research each material you plan to cut. Do it in a ventilated area.

And you will want to computerize it. Pushing buttons won't be so easy. The $50 robot controller can do this, no problem.


thanks admin don't worry i will do my research


if anything nealy fatal happens i'll be shure to post it in the "wounded in battle" thread
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Offline paulstreats

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2008, 09:22:29 AM »
I think the iportant part of your project is getting the 3 axis movements going to either move the cutting head or ove the material being cut. Once this is done you can ake the cutting head interchangeable, so you could have a laser, mill drill etc... and have a full multi function machine.

(how do you control cutting depth with a laser?)

Offline cooldogTopic starter

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2008, 09:35:47 AM »
they both run from 2 AA so maybe i could hook a dimmer circut to control the depthj

if you get the right voltage and strengh you have a laser engraver
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Offline Trumpkin

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2008, 09:41:40 AM »
I have an idea, you should use the homemade CNC milling machine with the laser.
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Offline cooldogTopic starter

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2008, 09:44:40 AM »
good idea :)
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Offline Admin

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2008, 11:07:08 AM »
Quote
how do you control cutting depth with a laser?
You can't, at least not with closed feedback control . . . its based on time and material, so you could speed up the cutter to reduce cutting depth, but its not that reliable and requires testing.

Laser cuts also are not straight, because a laser beam bevels out in distance . . . might cause you tolerance issues.

And lastly, a laser cut isn't as clean as a cut from a CNC . . . edges are rougher.

I've cut 1/4" and 1/8" steel on a laser cutter and my finished part had these rough ridges everywhere. A good controller can reduce those ridges.

Offline paulstreats

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2008, 10:01:36 AM »
Ive decided to have a go at a small cnc machine myself for working pcb's on...

upto now its cost me:
Dremel tool 17.99 or bout $36
drawer slides 6.00   - $12
steppers 21 - $42

I bought a dremel type tool today, and some metal drawer slides to work as the rails (I think these should be fine). Ive already got the stepper motors, now I just need some long screw bolts but i couldnt find any.

One thing that concerns me is what software do you use to control them? would it be best to create my own. The actual stepper control will be done through a PIC and some kind of home built stepper driver. My computer can communicate with the pic, I just need to know the best way to transform a cad image into something that i can send to the pic for moving the tool head.

My plans are to make a simple frame, and make the circuits etc.. on hobby boards. Then use the finished result to make a proper board for it (so it creates itself a better pcb) and also cut itself better hardware parts so once its built its probably gonna be scratched up and kinda ghetto style, but over time its gonna upgrade its own parts ;D

Offline ed1380

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2008, 10:09:25 AM »
the person in that tutorial used K cam 4
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Offline Kagi

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2008, 11:54:06 AM »
If you are really serious about cnc/laser machines, I recommend http://www.cnczone.com/forums/index.php as it has a wealth of information on it's forums which you will probably find useful.

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #24 on: February 02, 2008, 03:43:47 PM »
Quote
One thing that concerns me is what software do you use to control them? would it be best to create my own.
I use $4k software so I can't really recommend that :P
There is a lot of hobby software out there if you look. You will have to do the low level commands, and have your controller accept G code (google it up).

You can also just use C to generate tool paths with equations, but its kind of painful and awkward to do by hand.

Offline SmAsH

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2008, 03:47:29 PM »
Ive decided to have a go at a small cnc machine myself for working pcb's on...

upto now its cost me:
Dremel tool 17.99 or bout $36
drawer slides 6.00   - $12
steppers 21 - $42

I bought a dremel type tool today, and some metal drawer slides to work as the rails (I think these should be fine). Ive already got the stepper motors, now I just need some long screw bolts but i couldnt find any.

One thing that concerns me is what software do you use to control them? would it be best to create my own. The actual stepper control will be done through a PIC and some kind of home built stepper driver. My computer can communicate with the pic, I just need to know the best way to transform a cad image into something that i can send to the pic for moving the tool head.

My plans are to make a simple frame, and make the circuits etc.. on hobby boards. Then use the finished result to make a proper board for it (so it creates itself a better pcb) and also cut itself better hardware parts so once its built its probably gonna be scratched up and kinda ghetto style, but over time its gonna upgrade its own parts ;D
thats pretty cheap for a homemade cutter! :o
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Offline paulstreats

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #26 on: February 02, 2008, 04:02:59 PM »
Quote
thats pretty cheap for a homemade cutter!

he he...
By my estimation, i think i can actually build my own cnc machine and sort software out for less than the quotes that i have had to have 1 single part prototyped! ;D  :o

Im going to have a look at the export file code for existing cad packages, but im wondering if i could use something like a wavefront algorythm to generate the paths for me....

Whatever im going to have to start with 2d cad packages and then work my way along to unwrapping objects and stuff

Offline SmAsH

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #27 on: February 02, 2008, 04:06:20 PM »
cool keep us posted on whats happening!
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Offline cooldogTopic starter

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #28 on: February 02, 2008, 04:18:55 PM »
dude my thread >:(

just joking ;)

post if you want 8)
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Offline SmAsH

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Re: laser cutter
« Reply #29 on: February 02, 2008, 04:24:13 PM »
naa what i meant was make a new thread and keep posting pics and info in it. and maybe make a tut ;)
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