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laser engravers

brownb56

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Tried looking around to see if anyone is using their lasers with a cad chassis. Built a laser a couple years back from info found here, but haven't really done much with it. But with a practical application that doesn't risk getting me in trouble looking to dig back into it.
 

TomP

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I can't help you much right now, as I'm in the process of putting custom current drivers together to power the thing and I don't have a full solution yet, but I've been working on adding a 30w diode laser cutter to my homebuilt 3d printer. If you are looking for resources, the marlin 3d printer firmware has a builtin option to run a laser engraver or milling spindle that is pretty well put together. Depending on how much of a gantry you already have set up and how much code needs to be rewritten, this can obviously become a pretty large project. I'm planning to either use fusion 360 or laserweb (https://github.com/LaserWeb/LaserWeb4) to generate the requisite gcode. Most likely laserweb.

Your mileage will vary with laser diode based engraving, its pretty important to either have a really small spot size or overwhelming power output, as long as you get a reasonably high power density it should work fine. If you already built a laser you know what it's limits for burning things are, so I don't need to tell you that. Personally, if you want to just engrave I would go with a beam expander and focus lens setup on a singlemode diode to get minimum spot size, sacrificing depth of field, and I probably wouldn't bother building a low power cutter.

If you have any specific questions, I can try to help. There are a bunch of tutorials online for software setups like gbrl (https://github.com/grbl/grbl/wiki) and some cheap gantry designs using old cd/dvd players for the x/y gantry.

It's a fun project, even if slightly impractical. Good luck!
 

brownb56

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Thank you for the input, currently have a 3d printer and flashed it with marlin so somewhat familiar with the os. Still debating on what my next build will be. Current printer is a bit too small to add an engraver I think. Torn between another printer or a cnc mill. From my understanding a 3d printer would be better to add an engraver to. If I end up building a mill next may just add a laser to my printer for something small to play with for the time being.
 




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