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Messages - BigAlienRobot

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Custom Size Frames / Re: Building a BIG frame
« on: February 07, 2020, 07:08:44 PM »
I built an approximately 3 ft x 3 ft frame to do 27” round tabletops and haven’t had any accuracy issues. I think you’ll be okay and would love to see a photo when you’re done! I would highly suggest drag chains for your cabling as that was the biggest improvement by far for my setup. I recently rebuilt the whole thing and adding them eliminated sooooo many issues. Amazing how no matter how well you think you’ve got cables situated, somehow they always find a way to snag a motor and ruin a piece.

Projects / Some of my work
« on: December 11, 2019, 09:12:40 AM »
Here's some of the work I've done lately.
Did lots of experimenting with coloring/staining/leafing/painting my pieces after getting bored with regular "black and white" engravings.
Current favorite is alcohol ink. It's tough to work with but I'm getting the hang of it.

Those rounds are simple home depot laminated pine rounds. The tables are built from regular 2x4s.

General Discussion / Re: z-axis
« on: June 07, 2019, 07:28:35 AM »
Ah yes, I experienced that sway/wobble you mention when I started playing with heavier laser modules and it drove me nuts!
I fixed it with this magic piece:

It's listed as a 't-slot door glide' on ebay where I found it and I put one behind the face of the laser mount in the slot of the aluminum x-axis with the threaded part coming through a hole in the acrylic and capped it off with a nut. No more wobble! I should take a photo of it to clarify, as it wound up being a truly successful solution to the problem that others could benefit from seeing. Will do that later today.
One caveat, the one I ordered was too big for my extrusion but with a little careful sanding and slicing it fit beautifully.

Engraving / Re: Large Engraving
« on: June 06, 2019, 07:43:35 PM »
Check out It lets you do jobs with layers. Each layer can be different speeds, vector or raster, etc. Very good for jobs that have lots of different parts that require special attention. It also has algorithms that increase speed by skipping whitespace faster and concentrating on image areas. Basically exactly what I think you're talking about here.

General Discussion / Re: z-axis
« on: June 06, 2019, 07:33:13 PM »
Is there some reason you're not going the typical threaded rod z-axis route for the laser instead of the bed?

You know, one of these guys:

General Discussion / Re: z-axis
« on: June 06, 2019, 08:41:11 AM »
Something like this might work depending on your space:

That single threaded rod/knob can easily be attached to a single stepper motor shaft. I see Amazon has a bunch of different types of those that could potentially be integrated into a bed raising/lowering setup. I have a cheap one and it is quite stable. Certainly stable enough to do a laser bed, but I wouldn't expect it to be stable enough for CNC carving.

Not nearly as much fun as driving a full size one around the mill my shop is in though!

General Discussion / Re: z-axis
« on: June 03, 2019, 04:09:56 PM »
If you have enough vertical space, you could raise and lower the bed with a scissor lift based design and a single motor instead of 4.

Spare Parts Sources / Re: replacement Delrin wheels
« on: March 30, 2019, 08:06:00 PM »
Drilled out the top holes - looks good!
I broke some acrylic plates doing that a couple times. Gotta be careful! Nice work!

Other Software / Re: Lightburn
« on: March 30, 2019, 07:52:57 PM »
Oh wow I had no idea that was in T2!!!
Wow, I feel silly.

At any rate, T2 is indeed my Swiss Army Knife because I can do EVERYTHING in it (including apparently trace frames hahaha) from flashing firmware, dumping GRBL settings from dying boards, running jobs, troubleshooting boards and lasers, and get the best tech support in the game.
It's also my first ever purchased app for this stuff that in a matter of months got me from hobbyist to rent-paying store owner actually making money doing this.
So thanks, Zax  ;)


Other Software / Re: Lightburn
« on: March 26, 2019, 07:54:27 PM »
T2Laser is my Swiss Army knife, Lightburn is my daily production app. I love it. Plus its multi-platform so I can use any old mac, windows box or linux box to control my machines.
Favorite feature- Framing. I have a small 5V visible red guide laser on my machines. Hit frame, and it moves the head around the border of the image. Watch the little red dot go and adjust piece as necessary. No more misaligned burns. Saves me sooooo much time and aggravation.

Spare Parts Sources / Re: replacement Delrin wheels
« on: March 26, 2019, 07:39:49 PM »
I had the same problem. Those stock white wheels that are a bit smaller than the commonly available black wheels are nowhere to be found in obvious places from my experience.
I've gone the re-drilled plate route, the replacement custom drilled wooden plate route, and my new favorite is throwing all the wheels on a a long bolt and shaving them down on a belt/disc sander. Works beautifully!

T2 Engraving / Re: Help on Grayscale and Dither
« on: June 02, 2018, 05:52:08 PM »
That looks like a poorly focused laser...

Trouble Shooting / Re: Incomplete shapes
« on: April 07, 2018, 01:51:56 PM »
It did not. Nor did the samples which I had been using to test already.

Fortunately, all of my backup/spare parts arrived over the last 2 days*. Swapped the clonetroller out with an Eleksmaker Mana SE...same problem.
Swapped the 2.5W laser out with a different 2.5W laser that did not have the controller with the weak switch on it - works perfectly. Gaps closed, all good.

So it's something to do with that laser control board or the way I connected it.

*Got a notice from Amazon that my package of 2 arduino nanos where delivered - 'In or near the garage'.
I don't have a garage.
Fortunately only a couple of my neighbors here do, so I went door to door and discovered my package, with my address clearly visible,  on the floor of the garage of a house around the corner. Nice job UPS!

Trouble Shooting / Re: Incomplete shapes
« on: April 07, 2018, 12:09:21 AM »
Went back down to the bat cave and loosened the belts, tightened the belts, cursed at the belts, and offered the laser bribes while complimenting its figure, to no avail.

Having watched it spit out more unfinished circles and squares I find myself wondering if it's a power issue. It looks like the laser is getting the command to fire and move, but it takes a microsecond too long to fire, resulting in the gap. This is particularly evident while watching squares, as it finishes the last side fine.

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