Adding a laser to Gecko G540

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thebenj
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:49 pm

Adding a laser to Gecko G540

Post by thebenj » Mon Sep 14, 2015 8:45 pm

i have been searching around for the right information so i can add a laser to my eshapeoko. most of the info out there is well over my head.

looking for the most powerful laser i can get within the limitations of a standard gecko g540 setup and 48v psu. my dual y-axis is on one axis so i have A-axis spare, if that makes any difference? or is it just connecting up the PWM signal?

thought i post here and see if any of you guys could point me in the right path.

cheers

Ben

cvoinescu
Posts: 4442
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:50 pm
Location: Camberley, UK
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Re: Adding a laser to Gecko G540

Post by cvoinescu » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:33 pm

There are two choices of laser type: a diode laser and a carbon dioxide tube laser.

The diode lasers don't go much higher than 2 watts, which can be useful for engraving wood and for cutting things like paper or thin cardboard. They're small and easy to install and use safe voltages. The diode is sensitive to ESD and needs a special constant-current power supply (a laser diode driver), but it's fairly robust mechanically. Diode lasers are typically blue, and they're extremely dangerous to the eyes (viewing a brief reflection can cause permanent eye damage).

Tube lasers are large, made of glass, and need water cooling and a special high-voltage power supply. They don't really fit on the eShapeoko. Normally, the tube is held stationary, and mirrors are moved on the X and Y axes to steer the beam. Tubes start at about 30 W, with 40-60 W being the most common, and 100 W and up still easily available. You can cut serious stuff with a carbon dioxide laser in this power range (plywood, thick acrylic). A direct hit with the laser beam can set things on fire and can burn skin and eyes, but reflections are not terribly dangerous, because of both the wavelength and the shape of the beam. This is the type of laser used in many commercial laser cutter machines (at the small end). The laser (with optics and supply) costs much more than a diode (plus its driver), and works best in a machine dedicated to it, not as an eShapeoko attachment -- but it's a much more useful tool.
Proud owner of ShapeOko #709, eShapeOko #0, and of store.amberspyglass.co.uk

thebenj
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:49 pm

Re: Adding a laser to Gecko G540

Post by thebenj » Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:45 pm

thanks cat that explains my options really well,

i have been looking at this http://www.banggood.com/445nm-2_5W-2500 ... 93521.html
i think it would be a good attachment to the eshapeoko, although connecting it up and controlling it with the Gecko G540 and mach3 i would struggle with.

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