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Old 08-21-2007, 02:29 PM #17
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Default Re: Power needed to Cut balsa wood

I woud think vibration would be completely eliminated with a fiber optic light guide. If you mean too much vibration anywhere on the plotter's body, with fiber optics you can mount the laser completely off the plotter. With the fiber optics, you could even hang the laser from the cieling or an armature above the plotter on a vibration isolated housing with rubber grommets in the feet and whatnot, and then you wouldn't even have to worry about the plotter dragging the fiber optic cable around over the work material, or getting it tangled up in the plotter's X-Y rails.

If you mean vibration of the laser from the point of the X-Y head to the work material, the distance is quite short at that point, and unless you've got a really crappy optics mount, I don't think the beam should wiggle too much.

The main problem is finding a working second-hand (or third-hand by now) pen plotter that's actually got drivers that are still compatible with today's PC's. If you're enough of a whiz to figure out the laser, how to partialy gut the plotter, AND write your own print driver for a newer OS, I bow down to you! Although, old PC's are not hard to find, and this kind of work is well within their capabilities. 2D work like this would be childs play for even an old 386 or 486 CPU.

Presumably you'd try to leverage your laser pattern as a one-pen, one color drawing using existing CAD programs, and try to somehow hijack the signal for the plotter armatures to go "pen down" to paper, to activate or open the laser's shutter.

The main problem I see is that ink-jet "plotters" that have ink boxes and print heads move back and forth on the Y axis, while the large-format paper just rolls in and out for the X axis had killed most true flat-format X-Y pen plotters off by the mid to late 1990's. You could probably still trick an inkjet plotter into running a laser back and forth, but you'd only be able to cut paper with it, which would then jam or fall apart in the printer. *


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