Home-made laser cutting machine

  • Hello to everyone.


    Here I want to ask: is it reasonable to count a home-made laser-cutting machine as a basic equipment? =) If yes, then I could tell about it more. If this is not interesting, then I would't waste my and your time just to see my threed deleted...

  • Hi Ortin,


    this is a subject, wich many people want to read more about!


    Please tell us, how you manage this!


    (I have tried to use my laserpointer, but it doesn't work... :()


    Cheers
    Bernhard

  • All depends on the price :D. If the construction is cheap, I would do it. (Not only for modeling but also for my business :D.) So, go on with your thread.
    Regards
    Andreas


  • Ok, there is an interest, so I will proceed.
    First of all, your laser pointer is not suitable. What you need, is an industrial CO2 laser. Don't worry, for paper only 10W will be enough.


    Quote

    Originally posted by flimounet
    All depends on the price . If the construction is cheap, I would do it. (Not only for modeling but also for my business .) So, go on with your thread.


    I found all major components on e-Bay. And the price - it all depend on a luck. :)

  • Quote

    Originally posted by Michael Urban
    Ortin,


    this is a very interesting subject. Please tell us everything you want to share with us.


    Michael


    Actually, there are following major components:
    - CO2 Laser with focusing optics and power supply
    - XY motion table, it could be with stepper motors (belt or screw), linear motors or other.
    - Amplifiers for XY motors with power supply
    - Frame of machine
    - Computer with appropriate software
    - Lot of free time to assemble all together. :)


    About XY motion system you can read on related CNC foruns, for example, here: http://www.cnczone.com/forums/index.php?


    I will post here some pictures later and write about all used components.

  • Hi Otin,


    please go on showing us details and some kind of part list will be nice ?


    Indeed this is a very intresting subject.


    Tanks so far.


    René

    So langsam geht's mir wie dem Virus...

    Ich brauch dringend einen Wirt!

  • Quote

    Originally posted by Peter P.
    you constructed this by yourself? if yes, WOW!!!
    how much does it cost?


    Not actually by myself, my father helped me. Other words, we built it together.
    As to the price - it depends what you have in a garage and what can buy on e-Bay. To buy just materials and components, it costed me around 1700USD. XY-table with amplifiers cost 680$ on eBay. Aluminum for frame 160$ in a local store. Laser ~700$ on eBay. The rest was spent on different minor parts, such as cable chains, exhaust fan with pipe, transformers, tools, etc. Some parts were found on a junkjard, such as acrylic for "sealed" case, metal corner profiles, circuit breakers, large metal box for all electric components. Some as focusing lens were waiting for a long time in my table before finally got used.

  • Hello,
    this sounds very interesting.
    Which system do You use on Your computer?
    In my study at the university i had a project with a real-time
    machine controlling system based on real-time linux (RTAI).
    There is also a free CNC controlling software available under
    http://www.linuxcnc.org/
    This must be adapted to the system, but perhaps it helps.
    Is the CO2 laser a sealed-off type?
    Do You move the complete laser-system or do You just
    move optical components?


    In my study i there was a lot about machine-construction
    and controlling-systems of tool-machines, so this is very
    interesting for me, even if i am not sure if i find the time
    and the place to build one by myself.


    Do You think an old plotter is suitable as an XY-table
    for the laser?


    Please keep on with this subject.
    Thank You.


    Markus Schweizer

  • Quote

    Originally posted by Masw
    Hello, this sounds very interesting.
    Which system do You use on Your computer?


    Hi! As a machine control software I use a Mach2/Mach3. It runs under Windows. It has a free demo capable to run a 1000-lines of G-code program. Of cource, computer is dedicated only for this task. :D
    Forget to say that computer is connected to the motor amplifiers and home/limit sensors through the parallel port (LPT). So there is no need in any additional communication cards.


    Quote

    Originally posted by Masw
    Is the CO2 laser a sealed-off type?
    Do You move the complete laser-system or do You just
    move optical components?


    Laser is completely sealed, RF-exited. It is a small 10W Synrad CO2 laser.
    I move XY-table, laser and focusing optics stays in a place while running program. But they are attached to the manual Z axis, so I can move it higher-lower for different materials and fixtures.


    Quote

    Originally posted by Masw
    Do You think an old plotter is suitable as an XY-table
    for the laser?


    Why not? It all depends on design of a plotter. But you rather should make a "Flying optics" systems, meaning your laser and material stays in place, and moving couple of mirrors and a lens.

  • Quote

    Originally posted by Oliver Weiß
    Awesome! Are these U.S. Dollars, or Canadian, Australian ... ?


    They are U.S. dollars (USD). I mentioned it above, but very quick.

  • Hmm, Idon't believe that I'm able to do it :rotwerd:..... but I know where I can find a guy who can do it (if I can give him an explication how to do) ;).
    Ortin, come on with all your data basis. Doesn't matter which language you will use. PLEASE

  • Quote

    Originally posted by flimounet
    Hmm, Idon't believe that I'm able to do it :rotwerd:..... but I know where I can find a guy who can do it (if I can give him an explication how to do) ;).
    Ortin, come on with all your data basis. Doesn't matter which language you will use. PLEASE


    I will not share any tech. drawing just because I haven't any of them. You never know what hardware you will buy/find to use in a machine... But I can tell you guys from what parts this particular machine consist of. And answer any questions. Just do not ask too general like "could I do the same?".
    Ok. Here a brief explanation of build process:
    1. X-axis and Y-axis together with controllers (motor amplifiers) where bought on e-Bay. They are what is called "linear stages". It means that a base plate, 2 rails, linear motor, encoder and moving plate are already assembled together at a factory. Just do not ask me in what equipment they were working originally - no one knows. :D It was a big luck to buy them and find that they are actually working. This saves me a lot of time/materias/nervous if I decided to build them from separate parts.
    2. To make XY table all I need was to put shorter stage over the lager and bolt it. On the very top I bolted an aluminum plate - "working table". Of cource there was a work to attach cable chains, home/limit switches, etc.
    3. Then make a simple ftrame - base plate, two side plates and a "bridge" plate. To that "bridge" plate I attached laser on a manual Z travel axis (similar to what is using with small drill machines). Is has a lock handle to make shure that it will not fall down during work, so I can fix it in any Z position.
    4. Make a surrounding case ("aquarium") to catch a smoke and suck it by fan away. Also made a loading door in it.
    5. Installed all motor controllers, power transformers, power supplys, circuit breakers, emegrency stop switch and other electrical staff into appropriate metal box (founded on a junk yard), put there all cables and connect them properly.
    6. Made a cable to connect computer's parallel port (LPT) with electronics box.
    7. Install on a computer a CNC software, Mach2/Mach3.


    And now everything is ready for work. Of cource, if you can create right CNC program. ;)

  • Bin gerade beim Durchstöbern des Forums über dieses Thema gestolpert, hört sich sehr interessant an.
    Mal eine ganz blöde Idee: Hatt einer schonmal die Präzession von den Lego mindstorm motoren getestet. Bei dem System kann mann ja die Steuereinheit neben dem Kinderprogramm auch mit c++ oder Labview füttern, damit könnte man dann die xy-Verfahreinheit relativ billig bauen und programmieren, allerdings bezweifle ich dass die motoren dass hergeben(sind glaub ich keine Schrittmotoren)


    Mfg