Laser cutter, Take 3:


(Ryan Mitchell) #1

Well, it took a while to find someone who wasn’t fussy about shipping, but it’s finally on its way.

(Also this was cheaper than a previous order that fell through, so if the reimbursement gets authorised I owe the space $12.95. It’ll be on next months donation.)

Fingers crossed it’ll be here by Friday, but that might be pushing it. If not, I expect it on Monday without fail.


(Ryan Mitchell) #2

While we’re here, would anyone be interested in an hour or two long “Introduction to design for Laser cutters” course? It’s something I think would be nice to reach out to the wider community with, but last time I ran a class like this was 2016, so I would want to do a dry-run on our internal members first.

It’d walk through getting/installing the software you need for design, setting it up for use creating designs for the laser cutter, creating a design to be cut in the laser cutter, exporting it, then cutting all the designs.

At the end of the session, all participants get a 50x50mm keychain they designed themselves.


(Max Bainrot) #3

I’ve already got a laser cutter and been using it but I am keen as I am certain I’ll learn new tricks and teach a few too


(Ryan Mitchell) #4

Wouldn’t be surprised, laser cutting (and designing for it) it more of an art than a skill, everyone has their own little tricks and methods, I always love finding out peoples own unique ways of doing things.


(ian) #5

@RyRyPrime, a walk through on the laser cutter would be awesome.


(Amr Tawfik) #6

Yup from me too!


(Stephen Davies) #7

Hi @RyRyPrime,
that sounds fantastic. Personally, I’d like to learn about cutting 3mm acrylic, MDF and ply. Small boxes and trays for now.

Maybe a bit of ‘arty’ engraving, images, logos, that kind of thing.


(Ryan Mitchell) #8

I thought I’d start with just a simple 2D cutout…

… simply so people understand the process of engraving, scoring, and cutting, and, if that goes well, perhaps have another session to do 3D designs.
I’m sure people are keen to get right to 3D, but it’s a bit difficult if they don’t first understand the principles.

I’m going from memory of teaching Year 7 students the basics, but if I remember I got the process pretty streamlined and getting everyone on their feet for 2D was still a good hour or so.
This is why I’d be interested to do a dry run on space members who perhaps don’t care so much if it takes a little longer, just so I can iron out the kinks.

(The first session would also be important, and tell you everything you need to know, for taking someone else’s design and getting it running on the cutter)


(Max Bainrot) #9

First maxtip :slightly_smiling_face:

Painters tape is awesome for engraving wood

It reduces the power level a bit (handy for k40 lasers, which are akin to performing plastic surgery with a sledge hammer) and more importantly it stops the smoke poop stains from staining the part :slightly_smiling_face:

Press it down on the part and really really press it down like you’re sticking down a decal, making sure to remove bubbles too

Air assist helps a lot too with smokiness


(Ryan Mitchell) #10

That looks too thick for a vector engrave, but I don’t see how a regular engrave would get through the tape? To totally obliterate the tape, but only slightly burn the wood?
I used tape to stop smearing when cutting, but the only way I can think this’d work would be to stick the tape on, score around what you want to engrave, and peel out the middle.
I’ll try as soon as we get a cutter online, but I fear I am missing something obvious.


(Steve Kennedy) #11

The walk thru would be great i’m interested on going it aswell


(Max Bainrot) #12

I knew I had a piece somewhere where I recorded my speeds n feeds :grin:

5mA is 1/4 power or about 5 watts on my laser cutter, it’s as low as she’ll go before the HV psu has a tantrum

That is 7mm ply which the cutter can juuuuuust cut at very slow speed but barbecues the daylights out of the material

I haven’t tried the 3mm ply yet


(Miles Goodhew) #13

Ryan,
Quite keen on such a presentation (and eventually a play on the cutter)


(Stephen Davies) #14

Hi Max,
Looks very clean. What did you have to prevent smoke stains:
A) exhaust
B) air blast
C) both

?


(Ryan Mitchell) #15

Shouldn’t be a problem, idea is to get everyone on the same page so they can confidently use the machine themselves.
Tech everyone to design, show them a basic cut, let them go off for a few days to design on their own, then drop in on Tuesday/Wednesday and I can walk you through the process in a one-on-one session with whatever you’ve designed.


(Max Bainrot) #16

Painters tape, applied with a lot of fuss to ensure proper adheasion, air assist and exhaust fan

Air assist is a 240v air bed inflator from Kmart plumbed in with 6mm vynle and 3D printed aa nozzle


(Jamie Reid) #17

I am interested in a walk through.


(Max Bainrot) #18

Paying more attention to the screenshot, looks similar to mine, word of warning, the included exhaust fan’s wiring is diabolical, it’s wires twisted together with the fibre glass insulation just resting on top

It’s easily fixed if you know about it though. I found it’s capabilities rather meh so I ended up laser cutting a flange to work on ducting that my rule bilge blower attaches to, faaaaaar better performance :grin:

I highly recommend installing an air assist nozzle from day 0 to save the main mirror as even with the baller rule bilge fan smoke still can get to the mirror in the far reaches, also significantly reduces the fire risk, a lot :fire:

On my todo list is to get one of those co2 cartridge regulators used on mini kegs so when I hit the “omg make it stop make it stooooop” button it dumps co2 into the build volume, I think 16g of co2 is a few litres of it iirc


(Ryan Mitchell) #19

I’ve played around with plumbing in fire extinguishers into cars before, I’d never thought about it on such a smaller scale, but one of those little cartridges would be perfect for a laser cutter.
Knowing the sort of use it could get (considering how lazy people are, and yes, I’m thinking of myself here), it’d be tempting to get a full sodastream canister and hook it up to a solenoid for quick, controlled bursts.
Heck, the newer sodastream machines are already solenoid operated, would make for a quick hack if you could get one used for the cheap.


(Ben Paton) #20

From memory a 16g C02 cartridge will displace 21l of liquid. Assuming that none is asorbed into solution.