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Laser CNC, engraving works, cutting doable?

altera

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Hey guys, I've been lurking for a while and built a working engraving laser CNC (using a LPC-815) with the information I extracted from the forum.

I've documented the build here: Laser 530 (its built from wood and two old printers).

It engraves/burns cardboard and black plastic no problem.

I would love to be able to cut holes in black ABS with my CNC for my various hobby projects (cases for electronics projects). The ABS is about 3mm thick. I'd rather not go with IR or CO2 lasers.

I tried with the 815 going real slow but after hours I still didn't get through. So slow is OK as long as it makes it through this century ;-)

Is this doable with a 405 or 455nm diode? I'd like to keep it in the hobby project range ;-) ~$100
 



Krogith

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Hey guys, I've been lurking for a while and built a working engraving laser CNC (using a LPC-815) with the information I extracted from the forum.

I've documented the build here: Laser 530 (its built from wood and two old printers).

It engraves/burns cardboard and black plastic no problem.

I would love to be able to cut holes in black ABS with my CNC for my various hobby projects (cases for electronics projects). The ABS is about 3mm thick. I'd rather not go with IR or CO2 lasers.

I tried with the 815 going real slow but after hours I still didn't get through. So slow is OK as long as it makes it through this century ;-)

Is this doable with a 405 or 455nm diode? I'd like to keep it in the hobby project range ;-) ~$100
405 nm will have a better beam dot and should do just fine. you'll want a 12X diode and proper heat sinking.

Fun project :beer:
 

altera

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Thanks for the kind comments, it has been a very fun project :)

I'll look around for a member selling 405 diodes then!
 

anselm

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Yep.
Although I might recommend the 445nm diode instead.
It has worse beam specs, true, but that doesn't matter much at distances up to about a foot.
It is slightly cheaper, allows for higher current, about twice the output power, and
most importantly is incredible tough and hard to kill in comparison with the 12x 405.

Welcome to the forum.
 

Krogith

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Yep.
Although I might recommend the 445nm diode instead.
It has worse beam specs, true, but that doesn't matter much at distances up to about a foot.
It is slightly cheaper, allows for higher current, about twice the output power, and
most importantly is incredible tough and hard to kill in comparison with the 12x 405.

Welcome to the forum.
You are right. Both would work. A 445 nm will do more mW's. But 405 nm will cut white things better. But I honesty think a 12X 405 nm at 560 mW Cuts/burns the same if not better than a 445 nm at 1.2W

But a 2W 445 nm will kill a 405 nm 12x
 

qumefox

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But a 2W 445 nm will kill a 405 nm 12x
Not if it dies after a few hours use. a 12x running at 600mA should last a fairly long time if properly heatsinked. I'd be pretty weary of running a 445nm higher than 1.3W or so until you see how long other people's diodes last at 2W+. Another option though is to combine two 405's with a PBS.. No existing 445 is going to outburn 1.2W+ of 405nm. But it will add more complexity though.

On the subject of a cutter/engraver. May I ask what software is being used with this? I kinda half poked around the blog but didn't really see it mentioned. I'll go back and read it thoroughly when I have more time.
 
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Cyparagon

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A 445nm diode should work, but it'll be slow, and you might end up with perforations instead of a clean cut.
 

altera

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As far as software goes I am using EMC on an old machine with the parallel port driver.

Well I don't really care about cutting paper as much as I would like to cut black ABS (plastic).

As you can see in the videos the laser is about 5 inches or so from the surface I'm cutting. I guess it comes down to how well I could focus either laser. The power / spot size will pretty much determine how well it's going to work. Are there any numbers on this?
 

Cyparagon

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The focal point will be smaller if you bring the laser closer. That's why the read lens for optical drives almost touches the disk.
 

jakeGT

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My 445 at 1983mW has over 30 hrs. Estimated use on it ao far with no degradation
1.8A and 405-g-1
 

qumefox

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30 hours is impressive for a pointer, but for an engraver/cutter that's actually being used, that's maybe 4 days worth of run-time. I still say for something he apparently intends on actually using to do actual stuff, he's better off not overdriving a 445 so far until people have had builds last at least a couple hundred hours of use to show that the diodes will actually survive that long at a usable output.

I think personally if I was to build one, i'd go with either dual 12x 405's at 600mA, or dual 445's with corrective optics driven at no more than 1.5A. Then have the output of either pair that was used combined with a PBS, then fed through a Z controlled focusing assembly down to the work. But that's adding a fair bit of complexity.
 

Krogith

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Not if it dies after a few hours use. a 12x running at 600mA should last a fairly long time if properly heatsinked. I'd be pretty weary of running a 445nm higher than 1.3W or so until you see how long other people's diodes last at 2W+. Another option though is to combine two 405's with a PBS.. No existing 445 is going to outburn 1.2W+ of 405nm. But it will add more complexity though.

On the subject of a cutter/engraver. May I ask what software is being used with this? I kinda half poked around the blog but didn't really see it mentioned. I'll go back and read it thoroughly when I have more time.
You have a very good point on the 445 nm at 2W. We will see. I think heat sinking might be the key.

Wow 2 12X's doing a 1.2W beam.. I love to see that... It would be Awesome... Heat sink it if you go that direction... Lotta heat there...
 

Helios

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either a 12x 405nm or a 445nm will do the job. If you want detail 12x 405nm if you want raw power and durability 445nm IMO.

Either one you can run with a flexdrive $23 and the 445nm will run you about $45 shipped vs $50+ shipped for the 405nm. ($46 shipped on ebay right now!)
 




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