What's the laser power limit for my SO3?

woodworkerbob
Posts: 244
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:31 pm
Location: SVE - Mesa, AZ

What's the laser power limit for my SO3?

Post by woodworkerbob » Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:21 am

I've been reading the posts and somewhere between 2 and 2.5 watts seems to be about the max power I've seen.

I know commercially available CO2 lasers output 60+ watts. But the CO2 lasers in these units are too fragile to move so the beam is directed via mirrors. I'm lucky (read spoiled) enough to have access to a 60 watt unit, but the available time is limited and the drive there is 30+ minutes. I've learned what can be done with a 60 watt laser and it's way fun, cutting thru 1/4 inch acrylic in a single pass or 1/2 wood in multiple passes. Now I want to do the same thing at home.

So, what kind of laser power might be available in the near future (6 months). This will help me to determine what projects I can do at home on a SO3.

Bob
Shapeoko 3 - #13, dust deputy, precision collets, limit switches.
SVEMakerSpaces

cvoinescu
Posts: 4442
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:50 pm
Location: Camberley, UK
Contact:

Re: What's the laser power limit for my SO3?

Post by cvoinescu » Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:31 am

2-2.5 W blue lasers are useful for engraving and cutting light, thin materials. It seems unlikely that we'll see a huge increase in power in the short term.

Diode lasers do not compare with the capabilities of CO2 lasers. As you said, though, those require a different type of machine. I would not even consider installing a tube on a Shapeoko.

Check out buildlog.net for an open-source laser cutter based on MakerSlide. It's not cheap to build, though. Besides MakerSlide and V-wheels etc and off-the-shelf fasteners, you'll need a whole bunch of parts from Misumi (extrusion, brackets, insertion nuts), a set of "skins" (which are AluPanel, Dibond or similar aluminium composite -- sign shops can cut those for you, or you can do it on the Shapeoko), and some custom parts. Those you can make yourself (although two aluminium parts involve bending), or you can buy them from buildlog.net members.
Proud owner of ShapeOko #709, eShapeOko #0, and of store.amberspyglass.co.uk

picengravertoo
Posts: 155
Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2014 3:23 pm
Location: Florida
Contact:

Re: What's the laser power limit for my SO3?

Post by picengravertoo » Sat Apr 11, 2015 11:06 am

Here is a source for components to build your own CO2 laser cutter. They offer different X&Y stage sizes and CO2 tubes.

http://www.lightobject.com/X-Y-Stages-C64.aspx

http://www.lightobject.com/CO2-laser-tube-C14.aspx
Shapeoko 2 Laser Diode Engraver-Analog/TTL/PWM
PicEngrave Pro 6 Image to Gcode for grbl/Mach3 controllers-Spindle/Laser
PicLaser: Image to Gcode With Editor
PicSender: Streams grbl Raster/Vector Gcodes
https://www.picengrave.com

cvoinescu
Posts: 4442
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:50 pm
Location: Camberley, UK
Contact:

Re: What's the laser power limit for my SO3?

Post by cvoinescu » Sat Apr 11, 2015 11:31 am

I have not bought anything from LightObject, but the consensus on the buildlog.net forum is that they're serious and reliable. Based on that, I would recommend them.
Proud owner of ShapeOko #709, eShapeOko #0, and of store.amberspyglass.co.uk

picengravertoo
Posts: 155
Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2014 3:23 pm
Location: Florida
Contact:

Re: What's the laser power limit for my SO3?

Post by picengravertoo » Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:47 pm

I know of others that purchased from LightObject and never heard of any complaints from them.

Here is a video of one being used.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnIclADxeZc

If you go to there youtube channel, they have several videos using it. The components look professional quality to me, but I don't recommend any product that I have not personally tried or tested myself. I was just posting information to look into before making a decision on any purchase.

John Champlain (Author of our PicEngrave Pro 5) uses one of there X&Y stages for laser diode engraving also.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlDgTUm8Fi0
Shapeoko 2 Laser Diode Engraver-Analog/TTL/PWM
PicEngrave Pro 6 Image to Gcode for grbl/Mach3 controllers-Spindle/Laser
PicLaser: Image to Gcode With Editor
PicSender: Streams grbl Raster/Vector Gcodes
https://www.picengrave.com

mikenmel08
Posts: 108
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:07 pm
Location: The Mountains of North Carolina

Re: What's the laser power limit for my SO3?

Post by mikenmel08 » Sat Apr 11, 2015 1:06 pm

The guys at LightObject are top notch......I bought a 40 watt C02 K40 clone off Ebay and upgraded it with the DSP kit from them.....And some other stuff.....

Image

Called them on the phone several times before I ordered from them and this weird thing happened.....An actual person answered the phone:D

Very friendly people....Hope this helps
Shapeoko 2 #8233

twforeman
Posts: 1351
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:51 pm
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Contact:

Re: What's the laser power limit for my SO3?

Post by twforeman » Sat Apr 11, 2015 11:44 pm

There is no reason I can think of that you can't put mirrors and a 60W laser on an S3...

I'm not sure I'd want to undertake the project, but I bet you could do it.

Might be cheaper/less headache to just buy a pre-built... or rent time on one somewhere.
Ender 3 3D Printer
ShapeOko v3 serial #0004 - upgrade thread
All of my ShapeOko related blog posts

Daelith
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2014 1:43 am

Re: What's the laser power limit for my SO3?

Post by Daelith » Wed Jun 03, 2015 5:46 am

I just finished installing a K40 on my 1M SO2. Only took 3D printed brackets for the mirrors, a forced air setup, an adjustable mount for the tube, and a firmware modification to GRBL to change the spindle output because my power supply is active-low. As long as you have an appropriate wasteboard setup, there's really no reasonable limit to how strong the laser can be. Most of the parts were stripped out of the K40 chassis. Still working through air-supply issues for the forced air, but works fine for engraving in the meantime. Still have the Makita mounts on it, too, so I can still use it as originally intended.

woodworkerbob
Posts: 244
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:31 pm
Location: SVE - Mesa, AZ

Re: What's the laser power limit for my SO3?

Post by woodworkerbob » Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:19 pm

Daelith wrote:I just finished installing a K40 on my 1M SO2. Only took 3D printed brackets for the mirrors, a forced air setup, an adjustable mount for the tube, and a firmware modification to GRBL to change the spindle output because my power supply is active-low...
Pictures. An estimated cost.

How did you handle focusing? The laser I have used raises and lowers the base (Z axis) to the laser focus point. This would seem to keep the mirror system simple.

Bob.
Shapeoko 3 - #13, dust deputy, precision collets, limit switches.
SVEMakerSpaces

Daelith
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2014 1:43 am

Re: What's the laser power limit for my SO3?

Post by Daelith » Fri Jun 05, 2015 1:12 am

Demanding, aren't we? :P

Total cost was sub-$600 for the addition. $470 for the K40 clone on eBay, <$20 for hardware I couldn't scavenge from the K40 chassis, $5 for a tub for a cooling reservoir, and probably $5-10 in material for the 3D printed brackets plus air nozzle. Had the wire and electronic components for the spindle-to-K40 input. I already had an air compressor for forced air, but I'm probably going to spend $80-100 to get a continuous supply so I don't burn my compressor out. Going to cut an electronics enclosure for the K40 power supply once I get the air assist situated.

It doesn't do focusing and doesn't need it for my uses, the lens bracket is mounted directly to the spindle carriage plate. With my setup, the focal point is right at 5/8" above the work surface so 1/2" honeycomb puts the material right where it needs to be for cutting (given it maxes out at 1/4" for cutting anyway). There's enough adjustment in the lens cover to raise or lower it the 1/16" of an inch I might need. Only limitation with my thick wasteboard in place is a max piece depth of 5/8" for engraving.

If you needed to focus, it would be fairly simple to separate the last mirror from the lens assembly and mount them on the carriage plate and spindle mount, respectively. Then control the lens height with your Z axis.

Pictures of brackets and mid-setup.
Attachments
LaserMounted - Copy.jpg
LaserMounted - Copy.jpg (47.26 KiB) Viewed 4049 times
Laser Brackets - Copy.jpg
Laser Brackets - Copy.jpg (71.81 KiB) Viewed 4049 times

Post Reply