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Topics - mauriceman

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Projects / Vintage religious
« on: February 17, 2018, 10:21:08 AM »
I primarily engrave line art, reproductions and old metal type ornaments in my work. I have found vintage religious themes to be very popular and acquire a lot of ideas from the internet archive. I can't tell you exactly where I found this but I remember it was done by a "penman" around 1900. This one is a little over 8"X10" to fit a frame I had. Took about 6 1/2 hours using a 2.5w laser at 254ppi (resolution .1mm). It is on 3mm birch plywood that had been stained. My picture taking ability isn't that great, sorry. It is a little more "golden" in color and the frame is actually black.

Inspiration / Small cardboard easels
« on: September 28, 2017, 07:48:57 AM »
I make a lot of small projects, mainly 3"X4" and 4"X6". I paint the edge with metallic acrylic and put a little easel on the back. Hardly no cost and people love them. Here are 2 sizes of easels on 8 1/2X11. I buy 22pt chipboard (think shoebox cardboard) off ebay and laser cut them. Usually takes 3 passes at 500mmm. I clean the edges of soot with a dry paper towel and in a day or so they lose their burnt smell. I attach them to the back with a hot melt glue gun.

General Discussion / This place is too quiet....must be all the snow
« on: March 14, 2017, 08:06:09 AM »
We got 6+" of snow here in Erie PA since last night. Might get an additional 6-12" by tomorrow night, and I need to get gas for the snow blower....but my laser is working well right now.

Projects / I think I'm getting the hang of this.....
« on: February 02, 2017, 06:32:32 AM »
Here's something I did on some 3mm birch plywood, 8"X10". It was stained and had 2 brush coats of polyurethane before lasering. Top spray coat was added after cleaning up with alcohol. Takes about 2 hours with a 2W laser full power, running at 450mm with T2Laser. I've done a lot of inkjet printing and letterpress work using designs from the metal type era circa early 1900s. This is spilling over into my laser engraving. My workflow starts in Photoshop and migrates into Inkscape with the Eggbot Hatch plugin. Most of what I do is for people in recovery and those in senior care facilities, hence this theme. I've included a zip of the SVG file if anyone is interested.

I, like many, have had size issues with exporting DXF from Inkscape, especially when importing into T2LASER. This new version of Inkscape is quite the bugfix and overhaul. They have gone from 90 pixels per inch to the more conformant 96 PPI. I'm not sure if this is causing my sizing anomalie.

Say I create a 100mm X 100mm box in the new version .92. I remove fill and add a .05 mm stroke. Do object to path, ungroup and flatten beziers just to be consistent to what I did before. Save as DXF, mm, Latin, all default. Import into T2LASER and it becomes a 26.5 mm box. Import into Turbocad and the same thing, 26.5 mm box.

Now if I import this back into Inkscape .92, I have a 26.5 mm box. Resize to 100x100mm. Save again as DXF. Now I have a 100.4x100.4mm box in T2Laser and Turbocad, close enough for me.

Did a Google on this but because of the newness of this release, no issues reported. Maybe I'm missing something, maybe because it's Monday. I dunno.

Could any other devoted Inkscape users migrate to .92 and confirm I'm not losing it or point me as to what I'm doing wrong here........

Projects / New gantry via Openbuilds
« on: January 08, 2017, 12:54:19 PM »
I built a new gantry out of Openbuilds extrusion. It's basically three 500mm V-Slot Linear Actuators jacked up on some 20X40 extrusion. Except for some Lexan and hardware it's stock Openbuilds. I robbed the motors, pulleys and cabling from my Banggood engraver. I wasn't sure if I would need to crank up the stepper current or increase their size but works fine with no adjustment. It will do 8"X10" no problem. Very tight. I did some 10pt text at 2000 mm/min with 5 multi-passes and looks great.
This stuff ain't really cheap but there's no comparison to the stock Chinese frame. No wiggle, wobble or twisting of the gantry. It was worth the investment.

The entire gantry is mounted to a 3/4" MDF board via Hurricane nuts on the bottom. I placed more of these fasteners in various locations to aid in holding stuff down.

Still have to redo the wiring to the laser and install venting in my basement. Kitchen lasering doesn't make for a happy spouse.

Here's an old internet meme that seems appropriate. 

T2 Engraving / Ramblings from an old man
« on: January 02, 2017, 09:53:55 AM »
First, I'd like to thank all the contributors to this forum. It's very interesting reading about all the different directions this hobby entails. I do all vector engraving on wood so my bias is in creating artwork of line drawings and text.

Here are several ideas that would enhance my engraving experience.
1) The file name of the artwork loaded into T2LASER in the top title bar.
2) Showing the laser power and feed rate settings established on the main screen, on the laser control window. This would avoid having to go back to the main screen to check settings (short term memory loss?).
3) Add using color to change feed rate as opposed to laser power in DXF engraving. Most of my work is at full laser power to speed jobs up, being able to slow feed rate for a small section (to make them darker) would be handy.

Just some thoughts. Overall, T2LASER works great for me. Thank you ZAX and all the contributors.

Engraving / Air Assist
« on: November 15, 2016, 07:37:52 AM »
I do mostly vector engraving and use transfer tape (aka wide masking tape) to stop scorching. This requires a slower feed time (about 2:1) and limits my control of line width a bit. I have read about air assist and attempted with tools at hand. Looks promising to not having to use the tape method. Before I invest in a air pump any thoughts or ideas as to what others are doing/using. I was thinking about one of those aquarium pumps on eBay, 800+ gph, bending some tubing to fasten to the laser assembly and direct to laser focus point on material. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks.

Projects / Vector Engraving
« on: November 02, 2016, 07:20:39 AM »
I have approached using my laser engraver from the vector drawing perspective. Coming from Photoshop and Illustrator, Inkscape has been a bit of a learning curve but I'm finally getting the hang of it. Normally I letterpress these wooden nickels but the laser has given me a new avenue to experiment in. The "nickel" is 1 1/2" inches in diameter. Detail is very good. When I get some hardwood pieces, I'll start playing with raster engraving.

As always, thanks for all the input.

Inkscape dxf to T2laser v1.3j
2 watt TTL laser 100%
Banggood/Eleks Maker machine

T2 Engraving / Center point home
« on: October 28, 2016, 06:16:45 AM »
Currently using V1.3j and grbl_11c2.hex. I can't seem to use the center as home anymore. It always defaults to bottom/left. Say I send a dxf of a single 25mm x 25mm box. If I define 0,0 on the laser screen (right click home button) no matter which I select on the main screen for center (absolute) or not, it always defaults to bottom left home. If I reload a previous version (say 1.3e) I can start from the center and have it draw around that point. Am I missing a setting?

I also used to have the laser come on with low power when jogging. That was nice to locate the start center on my work piece. The laser doesn't come on anymore unless I set a very low power then manually turn on the laser. Again, am I missing something here or was this just a fluke for my particular setup?

Thank you all

T2 Engraving / Zero point burn...revisited
« on: October 27, 2016, 01:11:33 PM »
Greetings, a newbie here.

First of all I would like to thank Zax for an intuitive GUI that controls my laser very nicely. It takes my vector drawings from Inkscape and interprets them very well. Coming from Photoshop and Illustrator, Inkscape is quite the learning curve. How many times have I hit CTRL-0 and nothing happened. Thanks to all the other contributors helping out as this new hobby matures. I enjoy reading all the posts.

Zax, I take it the newest version 1.3j still installs the j-tech firmware as default and the newer GRBL 1.1c is included for experimenting via external flashing.

Something I found. I have one of those 2.5W Banggood lasers that doesn't work with TTL so I purchased a 2W with external TTL board from China. Too bad it wasn't the same physical size. Today I finally fired it up and, like another person noticed, when you go to the laser screen in T2LASER, the laser fires full tilt for several seconds. Turns out the TTL board that came with the laser has a 10K pull-up resistor on it and it appears to me the PWM pin on the Arduino goes high impedence between the main and the laser screen (clicking on the USB icon). The TTL threshold on my TTL board is about 1.2V, so I added a 2K resistor in parallel with the TTL input and now no more unwanted bright flashes of light. I tried different versions of T2LASER and reinstalled the J-TECH firmware and default parameters to no avail before adding the pull-down resistor.

The 2W laser I bought is all over the auction sites. It's the one where the TTL board is on a heatsink with it's own fan. Oh yes, and very short wires. It's the one with the warning "TTL Modulation: Make sure input TTL level PWM dightal signal" (copied verbatum), for without the TTL connected, the laser is ON.

Thanks again

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