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laser diode for mylar cutting ???

sawickm

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I want to use a laser diode for CNC Mylar stencil cutting (0.010") material thickness. I need it to make clean cuts at a high speeds and have a high resolution beam diameter of around (0.002").

Is this possible ???, could someone give me some recommendation on the type and power of diode laser and what other accessories I would need to do this.

:thanks:
 

Cyparagon

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We aren't well versed in industrial lasers. But you almost certainly would not use a diode laser. It would likely cost you 5-6 figures for a machine to reliably do what you ask. I'm not even sure .002" is possible at such high powers.
 

Nefarious

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I used to cut mylar all day at my fathers architecture firm when I was a kid... Just curious why would you need a machine to do this task?
 
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As has been said, you are likely looking at a five figure investment. If you already have an xy table and just want to retrofit a laser you may be able to slowly cut black mylar with a laser diode (likely ~10 watts of fiber coupled IR), but for white mylar at high speeds you will need 40+ watts of CO2 laser.
 

sawickm

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As has been said, you are likely looking at a five figure investment. If you already have an xy table and just want to retrofit a laser you may be able to slowly cut black mylar with a laser diode (likely ~10 watts of fiber coupled IR), but for white mylar at high speeds you will need 40+ watts of CO2 laser.
r691175002 - Thanks for all the replies, first of all I do not have the deep pockets for a five figure investment for this project. I have a 12" x 18" xy table that I wanted to retrofit (Fireball V90). I was concidering using a Coherent 40W FAP800 fiber laser with some kind of Collimated lens assembly for this application. I did not want to take the CO2 laser path because of laser tube size and short life it has.:undecided:
 
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Having a table to retrofit changes your options in your favor. The biggest difference between a laser diode and a co2 laser is the wavelength. The coherent diode, will be outputting light very close to the visible range and that means that any white surface will reflect most of the laser. On the other hand, 40 watts of power is no joke and should have no problem punching through thin mylar.

A CO2 laser is far from the visible spectrum and is absorbed by almost all materials so it is far more versatile and efficient for cutting.

Of course, while CO2 is better in that sense, it is far more expensive and will be much more difficult to set up. Unlike the diode where you can essentially tape the fiber to the XY table, you need to set up a series of properly aligned mirrors and lenses to deliver the beam. Were I in your position, I would definitely use the diode because it is convenient; however, a CO2 laser is the ideal laser here.

I recommend making a realistic estimate of the cost of whatever you plan to do. The power supply, diode, focusing optics and perhaps additional electronics will add up, and I find that these kinds of projects tend to suck up much more money than expected. Epilog has a small series of "Zing" desktop engravers starting at around 8000$ and their mini series at around 18000$. They should be able to cut for you at 20-30 and 50-80 inches per second respectively. For that price you get a guaranteed working, safe, enclosed desktop sized machine... DIYing a machine intended for production is always a risk.

You might as well send them an email and see how much a machine that can meet your needs would cost.
 
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Meatball

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Diode's aren't typically used for cutting things on a table because diodes don't have nice round beams to work with. If you want a round beam for clean and precise cuts, you'll need lots of nice optics.

CO2s are used more commonly here because their beam profile is typically at least outstanding. The better the dot, the better the cut!
 
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Since the sheet is only 0.010" thick he should be able to focus the beam to a fine point so the beam diameter isn't as critical.
I would consider it impossible to leave a cut only 0.002" wide though.
 

HIMNL9

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I think the OP refer that measure to the burning point, not to the beam ;)

Anyway, it's small ..... possible, but only with professional optics, not for sure with a simple lens :)
 

HIMNL9

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^ uhm, not from a bare diode bar, but what about the fiber coupled packages ?

They use a piece of fiber for each diode of the bar, and join all the fibers in the connector with a "round shape" ..... then you connect the fiber, and at the opposite side of the fiber, you have a "conical" output beam (if the end of the fiber is well finished), with, usually, round shape and approximatively 5 or 6 degrees of divergence ..... this can be focused in a very precise burning point or also in a "long point" (don't know how you call it, practically you have a very thin focus zone, that have a "depth" that can also be 2 or 3 mm, but usually this require at least a 3 elements optic collimator, and considering the powers, also a cooled one)
 




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