Author Topic: Adjustable focus rather than a moving Z-Axis?  (Read 2463 times)

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Re: Adjustable focus rather than a moving Z-Axis?
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2017, 08:00:26 PM »
>You would need a Mana CNC board, would you not for a 3-axis setup?

Yes, you're right...I have the Mana SE and I thought I saw a Z axis on it, but I was wrong. In that case I'd go with an L8.

The i3 does have a smaller work area so I guess I'd have a look at 3D printers that would have expandable frames. The main thing about using a 3D printer is that it would already be designed with the Z axis. Finding one that uses 20x20 or 20x40 frames would be perfect!
« Last Edit: April 05, 2017, 08:03:16 PM by Administrator »
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mrehmus

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Re: Adjustable focus rather than a moving Z-Axis?
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2017, 09:15:48 PM »
Big 3D printers are usually fairly expensive. Right up there with the good 40 watt CO2 lasers I think. Not that you could not build a home-brew frame though.

I think a single NEMA 17 stepper, geared with 3D printed (or purchased) pulleys can be made to elevate a laser chassis. Might want to shorten the plastic legs to keep the focus in range but I think it can be done with off-the-shelf wood parts and a bit of all-thread with nuts. Maybe a few little 3D printed parts here and there.
I imaging, including a Mana CNC, that the platform can be built and powered for $100-$125 even if aluminum extrusions are purchased to make the platform. 3,000 mm of 20 mm extrusion is $30, the connectors are about $8, the stepper would be around $20, the belt and pulleys around $25 plus misc. wiring and connectors. 1/4" x 20 pitch bolts and nuts would be maybe $5. 20 pitch means that if it were driven 1:1 from a 1.8 degree stepper, that each step of the motor would give a 0.00025" change in position which should be fine enough even though we'd probably drive the system with a 5:1 or so step down.

The A3 laser is 600 mm by 480 mm and weights 3.4 kilos or just under 8 Lbs. so it is easily movable with such a system.

Just preliminary thoughts.
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Re: Adjustable focus rather than a moving Z-Axis?
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2017, 09:45:05 PM »
I googled around and there are lots of aluminum frame 3D printers out there. It would be hard to pick the right one, a good one, but they are out there...so it is a very doable project...just need to determine the work area size and then cut your frames to fit accordingly.

L8, Grbl 1.1e and I like my 1.6 watt laser (don't laugh) and I'm home free...!!! Now I just need the time!
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mrehmus

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Re: Adjustable focus rather than a moving Z-Axis?
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2017, 10:56:00 PM »
Understand the time issue.
mrehmus
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wild.bill

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Re: Adjustable focus rather than a moving Z-Axis?
« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2017, 06:43:49 AM »
>You would need a Mana CNC board, would you not for a 3-axis setup?

Yes, you're right...I have the Mana SE and I thought I saw a Z axis on it, but I was wrong. In that case I'd go with an L8.

The i3 does have a smaller work area so I guess I'd have a look at 3D printers that would have expandable frames. The main thing about using a 3D printer is that it would already be designed with the Z axis. Finding one that uses 20x20 or 20x40 frames would be perfect!

Damn - you keep adding things to my I need to try this list. I have 2 2020 i3's and I agree I don't think it would be very hard to replace the extruder with a laser. But it was just yesterday that I started taking my system apart to add the cheap Z axis that I got from Banggood.

For the controller I still like the old CNC Shield (as long as you are using a TTL laser) because all you are really trying to do is move the motors and turn the laser on and off. The shield has 4 stepper controllers and brings out all the other needed signals to pins. I did have one running for a little while running the laser with an external MOSFET.

I guess I should stop playing with the computer and start working on the projects.
Laser: was an A3 2.0w TTL L6 Z axis now 2'x3'
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mrehmus

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Re: Adjustable focus rather than a moving Z-Axis?
« Reply #20 on: April 06, 2017, 09:38:12 AM »
I've got an old CNC shield with the old red driver boards and a new Mega coming with the CNC shield and the new black driver boards with 1/32 stepping. The reports from the few users of the new system is that the new drivers are really superior. Banggood just shipped mine yesterday so they should be here by the end of the month.

I really think the frame of the lasers and the drive system is marginal to hang another axis on the gantry truck. I wonder if the system will have enough power to handle the higher speeds required if you upgrade the laser power. I will be very interested in your results.

I'm going to work on the rising platform approach.
mrehmus
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Elekslaser A3 2.5 watt via Banggood
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wild.bill

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Re: Adjustable focus rather than a moving Z-Axis?
« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2017, 11:10:33 AM »
I've got an old CNC shield with the old red driver boards and a new Mega coming with the CNC shield and the new black driver boards with 1/32 stepping. The reports from the few users of the new system is that the new drivers are really superior. Banggood just shipped mine yesterday so they should be here by the end of the month.

I really think the frame of the lasers and the drive system is marginal to hang another axis on the gantry truck. I wonder if the system will have enough power to handle the higher speeds required if you upgrade the laser power. I will be very interested in your results.

I'm going to work on the rising platform approach.

I think the X-axis is marginal but the cheap Z-axis from banggood is not very heavy so I figured I would give it a try. If the end result is not solid enough it will come off, but I like to build things so I have to give it a try. The big thing now is should I mod the existing X-axis gantry or design and make a new one.

I made new longer legs for my platform yesterday to lift it.
Laser: was an A3 2.0w TTL L6 Z axis now 2'x3'
          OpenBuilds ACRO 510 w/ 2.0W TTL laser Cohesion Mini Z axis Homing switches
          K40 Cohesion Mini 60W LightObject LPS
          80W Red-Black 500x700

cool is simply a subjective state of mind

Koskee

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Re: Adjustable focus rather than a moving Z-Axis?
« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2017, 11:42:48 PM »
Ohh!  :o That "honeycomb" burn platform looks awesome! where can I find some of that?

I bet that would do wonders to control stray reflections..
« Last Edit: April 06, 2017, 11:43:49 PM by Koskee »

wild.bill

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Re: Adjustable focus rather than a moving Z-Axis?
« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2017, 03:35:35 AM »
Ohh!  :o That "honeycomb" burn platform looks awesome! where can I find some of that?

I bet that would do wonders to control stray reflections..

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01AYK3M2S/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=2FU35ZD31JMHY&coliid=I1P33W26F7SG1J
Laser: was an A3 2.0w TTL L6 Z axis now 2'x3'
          OpenBuilds ACRO 510 w/ 2.0W TTL laser Cohesion Mini Z axis Homing switches
          K40 Cohesion Mini 60W LightObject LPS
          80W Red-Black 500x700

cool is simply a subjective state of mind

ThothLoki

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Re: Adjustable focus rather than a moving Z-Axis?
« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2017, 08:37:37 AM »
I get the concept, but what does the honeycomb actually offer?
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nottingham82

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Re: Adjustable focus rather than a moving Z-Axis?
« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2017, 09:09:28 AM »
One thing I noticed with cutting wood is that the gasses need to escape from underneath the wood.  Having it on a honeycomb or just putting a something of equal size under each corner will leave less chads and under scorching.  i originally used extruded metal but everywhere the wood was over metal would leave a chad.  I actually just use a sheet of steal under the laser for safety and some 3mm circles for props now.  The little 10 mmm circles were l scraps from previous projects.
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ThothLoki

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Re: Adjustable focus rather than a moving Z-Axis?
« Reply #26 on: April 09, 2017, 08:29:18 PM »
Thanks nottingham. That is probably what I am doing wrong with my cutting jobs. BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD!
Laser: A5 2000mw with L7 Board / A3 2500mw PWM with Mana SE -- All using T2Laser
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mrehmus

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mrehmus
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Elekslaser A3 2.5 watt via Banggood
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Machine Shop with manual and CNC machines

wild.bill

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Re: Adjustable focus rather than a moving Z-Axis?
« Reply #28 on: April 10, 2017, 04:46:47 AM »
I have some TB6600's and they are way overkill for the motor's on the laser system.

Did you happen to notice that is needs 24 volts for the motor side?
 I am not sure our little motor's will take 24 volts.
Laser: was an A3 2.0w TTL L6 Z axis now 2'x3'
          OpenBuilds ACRO 510 w/ 2.0W TTL laser Cohesion Mini Z axis Homing switches
          K40 Cohesion Mini 60W LightObject LPS
          80W Red-Black 500x700

cool is simply a subjective state of mind