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wood etching laser table questions

Xizor

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Hi guys,

First post here  ;D

So I've been lurking around here for about a week, reading the basic tutorials/FAQs and searching the forums for things that I had questions about. I just want to make sure I have everything straight before I build my laser.

tl;dr short version: My motivation for learning what I have from this forum is the desire to build a laser that burns wood  (etching).

long: I'll build an x,y cnc like table and have the laser attached to this. The laser and the table will all be controlled by computer. The computer program will take a gray scale image and analyze each pixels darkness. The darkness of the pixel will determine how long the laser will be on at a certain (x,y) location. So say we have a gray pixel, the laser will move to that pixel location and then turn on for 5 seconds (guessing), the next pixel is black, so the laser will be turned on for 10 seconds.

Sorry if I'm inarticulate :p


Are lasers capable of this? I am worried that a laser burning wood (assuming I can afford a powerful enough one to do so) will just instantly burn the wood, so the the wood is white one second and then pitch black the next second (no in between). I guess it would still be worth building if it where just black and white, but it wouldn't be as cool as gray scale.


After replies I'll have a few more questions, but I'll wait. Thank you

-Keith
 

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Well, you could try building a red laser, close to 210mW, it should burn wood. It's not that pricy, but not very cheap. As for the time periods, they wont be very long. Try finding some good tutorials, build one, test it, then place it on your CNC.
 

Jaseth

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Good guy who does research before he asks questions :)
Sound like an interesting project. An IR or red laser are your best choices for cheap power for etching into wood, but as far as my experience goes the wood turns black the moment it burns. Maybe it's just my desk and table which are treated with something which turns black instantly, but I sadly don't think so. It might not be possible to create gray tones.
A good laser for initial testing would be the so-called "Dilda" from DX or O-like.
http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.11315
http://www.o-like.com/b2b_cpinfo.asp?id=926
It can reach well over 230mW average (mine is doing 242mW average!) if you use 3.6V CR2s instead of the usual 3V CR2s. This may give you an idea of burning capabilities and the laser is really cheap. The problem with using this for the final project would be a major lack of heatsinking and not having the best quality (slightly loose focus head, artifacts in the dot). If you try this one out and like the outcome you could either make a heatsink for the laser or get a better quality, higher power one. Buying from a member here is usually a great idea for the lowest cost and highest quality. IgorT and LikeitBright are probably the ones I know to be best at building high quality red lasers, but there are also several other brilliant builders here.
Good luck! ;)
 
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Hey, I got a good deal for red diodes, so I can make you a module for 20$! All you need is a heatsink from Jayrob. It will work on 6 volts using a rkctsr driver and an axis module. If you accept, PM me.
 
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the only laser you want to use is a c02. you will be an old gray haired man before you got your first image. Go to www.ulsinc.com and google epilog, universal laser, photograve this forum will not be able to help you...may be a couple of people for the most part wrong forum. go read some post at www.engravingetc.com forum. but for a teaser, here is a picture of some stuff i have made with my laser system
 

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Xizor

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Thanks for the responses!


I got to thinking about the time. If my (x,y) board was about 30 inches by 30 inches (inclusive). I arrived at 30 inches because the timing cable I'm looking at comes in at 77 inches, and I need room for motors and stuff (sorry laser unrelated :p ). That's 2160x2160pixels (according to GIMP). That is 4665600 pixels total. Not sure how long one pixel will take to burn, but I'm just gonna guess on average 3 seconds a pixel, so (4665600 *3) = 3888 hours = 162 days.
That's almost 6  months.

but...

Granted I probably will not burn something at that resolution, the lasers accuracy is most likely not as small as a pixel (for gods sake a period is about 4pxls). If push does come to shove I can resize the image. As for the black/white non-gray scale issue; I could have it only burn stencils out. I've been looking for people burning wood with lasers and so far haven't really found any that really test out if you can get different shades. (yes I thought of hatching and cross hatching too, that'd only work on a big scale, or a very accurate laser).

Are there any lenses that I could buy to sharpen the focus of the laser at a close range?

change 0 to o's
Anyways, I've been looking at:
Diode/aixiz:
stonetek.0RG/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=67&products_id=192
the preinstalled sony diode on stonetek, I looked at the pdf and it appears to be only 100mw, so I may have to take you up on that deal "buildabluelaser".

Driver:
laserpointerforums.C0M/forums/YaBB.pl?num=1185701612/0#0
and build one of these. (I'm extremely comfortable with soldering)

Glasses:
wickedlasers.com/lasers/Red_650nm_LaserShades-49-16.html
yes it's wicked lasers   :-[  but their the cheapest glasses I've found so far. Would I even need glasses if I just put an IR filter of the laser?

sorry about the long post guys, just have a lot of questions and don't want to forget.

@jaseth:  From what I've heard on these forums DX doesn't ship to the US anymore :(
o-like looks pretty good. I assume these already have a driver in them. No heatsink would be a problem, and I'd want to take it apart to some how power it from a wall wart and turn it on and off.


@laserman532:  Buying a machine would defeat the purpose. I'm really doing this to learn, so far I've learned about moving servo motors with computer code, and now I've learned more about lasers than I ever knew was out there (I'm afraid of IR now  :p  ). Oh and that stuff you made is awesome, I'm jealous, I'm just a poor college student right now, but one day...one day...
 

GooeyGus

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Either go with a CO2 or a 5-50W fiber-coupled infrared diode. Anything else is going to take FOREVER and it would be easier to do it another way.

A good high power fiber-coupled infrared diode can be had on ebay for 100-200 bucks if you look around. You will need some sort of crude z-axis adjustment, just so you can make sure that the focal point of the laser is always right at the surface of your material. Also, at the focal point, you should easily be able to burn one pixel. With a higher power (5W or more) diode, you should be able to burn a pixel in much less than a second EASILY
 

Hemlock_Mike

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How deep do you intend to burn?? I've seen stuff burned about 1/2 inch deep. You will need a CO2 for that or a lifetime at low power. A NdYag might also work too.

Mike
 

Xizor

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So far this is the only thing that looks like a decent deal on ebay
cgi.ebay.c0m/1-Watt-Fiber-Coupled-Laser-Diode-830nm-Infrared-Burning_W0QQitemZ110372106717QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item110372106717&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=66%3A2|65%3A1|39%3A1|240%3A1318|301%3A1|293%3A1|294%3A50

and I think that's the same thing this guy is using
instructables.c0m/id/Laser-wood-burning-pen/

Thanks for the help! I had to at least try and get out of paying   :p

-keith


edit: replace 0 in .c0m with o
 
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Xizor said:
So far this is the only thing that looks like a decent deal on ebay
cgi.ebay.c0m/1-Watt-Fiber-Coupled-Laser-Diode-830nm-Infrared-Burning_W0QQitemZ110372106717QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item110372106717&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=66%3A2|65%3A1|39%3A1|240%3A1318|301%3A1|293%3A1|294%3A50

and I think that's the same thing this guy is using
instructables.c0m/id/Laser-wood-burning-pen/

Thanks for the help! I had to at least try and get out of paying   :p

-keith


edit: replace 0 in .c0m with o

did you even read anything I said or suggested?
 

Cyparagon

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Listen to Laserman. CO[sub]2[/sub] is the only feasible option for this build. Wood has varying degrees of darkness and and diode laser will burn the slightly darker portions to a much darker (likely black?) color than the lighter areas. The light from a carbon dioxide laser will burn all areas equally, and can be focused far more easily and to a finer point than any high powered IR diode.

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right.
 

GooeyGus

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Cyparagon said:
Listen to Laserman. CO[sub]2[/sub] is the only feasible option for this build. Wood has varying degrees of darkness and and diode laser will burn the slightly darker portions to a much darker (likely black?) color than the lighter areas. The light from a carbon dioxide laser will burn all areas equally, and can be focused far more easily and to a finer point than any high powered IR diode.

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right.




I didn't even think of the variation of the material itself  :p

There was a nice little 10W CO2 tube on ebay a few days ago that sold for only $62... I wanted it REALLY bad... but I had to refrain...
 
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GooeyGus said:
[quote author=Cyparagon link=1240259321/0#11 date=1240339112]Listen to Laserman. CO[sub]2[/sub] is the only feasible option for this build. Wood has varying degrees of darkness and and diode laser will burn the slightly darker portions to a much darker (likely black?) color than the lighter areas. The light from a carbon dioxide laser will burn all areas equally, and can be focused far more easily and to a finer point than any high powered IR diode.

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right.




I didn't even think of the variation of the material itself  :p

There was a nice little 10W CO2 tube on ebay a few days ago that sold for only $62... I wanted it REALLY bad... but I had to refrain...[/quote]


word up brother...but WADR 10 watts barely scarrs wood. I use about 25 to 30 watts to engrave photographs in wood. 50 watts will cut into walnut or pine about 1/4" to about .375"

10 watts is great if you want to pop balloons or light matches tho ::)
 

Cyparagon

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So do you want etching as the title suggests, or darkening as the description suggests?
 

Xizor

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Well darkening, but if I have to co2 I guess both. Haven't found anything on ebay for a good price yet, but I guess I'll just have to keep my eyes out.
 




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