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Power and wavelength for laser engraving?

kuhny1

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I have noticed that since I had built my 1 watt, I can cut things relatively easy. So I was wondering why don't I make a laser engraver/cutter?

I have made a 3d printer in the past and have decided to tear it apart and use the electronics to make the engraver. I'll just buy a kit then for a new printer.

I think I got everything sorted out. But the question is what combination of the wavelength and power will be the most efficient. If I'm not mistaking, 445nm is obsorbed by most colors. So that should work just fine. But I'm pretty sure that I can make a high powered IR laser. I hoping to hit 5 Watts and since it's going to be used strictly for engraving, visible color doesn't matter and it should be safe. I have eagle pair safety glasses because I know that what you can't see can hurt you...

So my main question is, would I be better off with a 5 watt 445nm laser or 5 watt IR laser

I'm looking for fast burning so I can move the head as fast as possible.

Thanks!
 

ElectricPlasma

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I would use a watt of 405nm, that's what I have in my engraver. But if you're really set on burning fast I'd try to either combine a couple of the 1W 405nm diodes or use a NUBM44 at full power, but you're gunna need a fairly large heatsink for that if you're gunna be running it for a while to do some engravings. You should integrated temperature control and shut down when it gets too hot. Also, how are you going to build it, are you going to create your own design from scratch or use something like a laser engraving board with pre-loaded software?
 

kuhny1

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I would use a watt of 405nm, that's what I have in my engraver. But if you're really set on burning fast I'd try to either combine a couple of the 1W 405nm diodes or use a NUBM44 at full power, but you're gunna need a fairly large heatsink for that if you're gunna be running it for a while to do some engravings. You should integrated temperature control and shut down when it gets too hot. Also, how are you going to build it, are you going to create your own design from scratch or use something like a laser engraving board with pre-loaded software?

Most likely going to stick with the RAMPS with the a4988 drivers. I'll do some design searching and base mine off them. That's how I did it with the printer.

At this point I'm not sure whether or not I'm going to write my own interperator or not. I think I might actually get away with using my 3d printing host software. If not, then I will find some software to upload to the mega under the RAMPS and find a new host software.

It'll be a fun project :)

Thanks for the reply btw. I'll go with the 1 Watt 405nm. It'll be easier to cool, and I'll put a medium to high temp thermistor on the heat sink for an independent thermal pause or shutdown :D
 

ElectricPlasma

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Most likely going to stick with the RAMPS with the a4988 drivers. I'll do some design searching and base mine off them. That's how I did it with the printer.

At this point I'm not sure whether or not I'm going to write my own interperator or not. I think I might actually get away with using my 3d printing host software. If not, then I will find some software to upload to the mega under the RAMPS and find a new host software.

It'll be a fun project :)

Thanks for the reply btw. I'll go with the 1 Watt 405nm. It'll be easier to cool, and I'll put a medium to high temp thermistor on the heat sink for an independent thermal pause or shutdown :D
That sounds like fun! Are you going to include a Z axis as well? For something like a laser engraver it's not really needed, as the only thing that would be affected is the focus. I guess if you wanted to adjust the focus automatically and could be useful, but I'd say adjusting it manually and saving your steppers is the way to go.

The independent thermal detection and stop sequence is a great idea, a decently sized heatsink and a fan will go a long way though, the fan really helps if you can add it.

If you plan on using 3D printer software you're going to have to be pretty good with G-Code, because you're going to be using a 2D image as an output instead of a 3D file/design.

What kind of material do you plan on engraving?
 

kuhny1

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That sounds like fun! Are you going to include a Z axis as well? For something like a laser engraver it's not really needed, as the only thing that would be affected is the focus. I guess if you wanted to adjust the focus automatically and could be useful, but I'd say adjusting it manually and saving your steppers is the way to go.

The independent thermal detection and stop sequence is a great idea, a decently sized heatsink and a fan will go a long way though, the fan really helps if you can add it.

If you plan on using 3D printer software you're going to have to be pretty good with G-Code, because you're going to be using a 2D image as an output instead of a 3D file/design.

What kind of material do you plan on engraving?

Mostly wood and paper type material (I should be able to cut cardboard/paper, balsa wood and maybe black foam, though it may require multiple runs).

I might go without a z axis for simplicity reasons, and manually focus the laser.

I probably going to have to make my own interperator because I'm going to want some PWM control for the output of the laser as well as the emergency thermal shutdown. I do have some beefy mosfets (30v @ 60 amps max) which should work fine without heatsinking. The only problem, is that I don't think many boost laser drivers will be happy with a PWM supply :/

If I could find a 1 Amp linear LD driver that would be great but heat dissapation will be an issue.
 




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