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Old 05-23-2016, 04:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default 40W lasers discussion

I didn't want to derail the other thread on the cool little NEJE machines but a few questions were posed that I wanted to answer.

As for what machine, this is the one I bought:
40W USB DIY Laser ENGRAVER Cutter Engraving Cutting Machine Laser Printer CO2 | eBay

It is the newest 2015+ version with the upgraded M2 control board and such. It uses CorelDraw and CorelLaser instead of the old moshidraw software. I actually find this setup quite easy to use but still plan to do a smoothieboard upgrade at some point to do true gcode and color coded operations such as PWM power modulation to the laser, etc...

As for as work holding and such, I recommend ditching the included table and buying a honeycomb table or making your own table. lots of options out there in the DIY community. Then your next hurdle will be table height. Right now I'm just setting blocks of wood under the table to set my height, but will work on a table jack at some point in the near future along with a rotary of sorts.

I'll see if I can find some examples of indexing and setup to answer Keith's question from the other thread but it'll be a bit later as I'm on my way out the door.

There are also a few must have upgrades that I'll cover when I get back.
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Old 05-23-2016, 05:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Carl, Will this laser cut 1/8" rubber sheet? Also, what do you mean about raising the table? Is that to focus the laser?
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Old 05-23-2016, 05:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Ok, a few must have upgrades.

If you are going to cut anything you will want an air assist head. The bonus to that is that if you get the one from lightobject it will allow you to put in an 18mm focal lens which is an overall better quality lens than the included lens. A nice high quality ZnSe lens will make your machine happy.

The exhaust port and fan that come with these units are pure garbage. Remove the port completely and then put a 4" boat bilge blower inline with your exhaust hose. It's 12v so allow for that but you'll be much happier and much healthier for both you and your machine.

Next would be a targeting laser. I'm using a cross shaped laser that paints about a 2" cross hair mark on my target. I've also seen it with single dot lasers, laser pointers, combiners, etc... it's just about how much you want to spend.

And eventually if you're into tinkering with the machine you can visit upgrades to a smoothieboard or similar. These will bypass the need for the CorelLaser and allow you to use any g-code software. This allows things like color coded lines for cut vs engrave in one operation, PWM modulation of the laser to allow for gray scale style engraving and overall more control of the machine. With the base controller and software you have to manually dial in your power setting and you can't vary it during the job with any accuracy. However if you just want to do simple engraving and cutting, this is perfectly acceptable.
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Old 05-23-2016, 05:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MesquiteMan View Post
Carl, Will this laser cut 1/8" rubber sheet? Also, what do you mean about raising the table? Is that to focus the laser?
I don't see why not. It burns ebonite for engraving at about 1/5 of it's power setting. Just make sure you are not burning anything that will release toxic gas such as PVC based materials. They release chlorine gas among other nasties.

As for moving the table, yes. You want to keep the laser focus lens at a set distance from your work piece. Most are 50.1mm but there are some various others for shorter focus ranges.

So when I'm doing flat sheet acrylic I need to raise the table higher than if I'm doing a pen body in a v-block for work holding or a box lid, etc...

You make yourself a 50mm block or any number of other designs of focus distance checking jigs and bring your table up to that height. There are powered z-axis tables out there but I'm going to make my own lab jack with a small stepper to give a DIY powered Z. Until then I'm doing it the manual way with blocks of wood and shims under the table to get the height where I need it.
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Old 05-23-2016, 06:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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A note on metal. A 40W laser isn't nearly enough to engrave metal. So don't expect to engrave bands or clips or the like.

However there are some chemicals on the market such as Thermark (expensive) or you'll see moly lube (cheap but various degrees of success) used as well where when the laser hits it, the coating bonds to the metal leaving an embossed marking. This is on top of the surface of the metal, not engraved into it so it may wear eventually.
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Old 05-24-2016, 02:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Legal version of CorelDraw X5 for $99

Get a legal copy of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite

This was the link provided to me by Corel after trying to use the version included with my laser. I consider it a good deal at $99 but it's crappy that you don't get a legal version when you purchase the machine.
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Old 05-24-2016, 03:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Alas, CorelDraw is MS compatible only. Us Mac-eronis are once again SOOL.
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Old 05-24-2016, 03:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Fisher View Post
I didn't want to derail the other thread on the cool little NEJE machines but a few questions were posed that I wanted to answer.

As for what machine, this is the one I bought:
40W USB DIY Laser ENGRAVER Cutter Engraving Cutting Machine Laser Printer CO2 | eBay

It is the newest 2015+ version with the upgraded M2 control board and such. It uses CorelDraw and CorelLaser instead of the old moshidraw software. I actually find this setup quite easy to use but still plan to do a smoothieboard upgrade at some point to do true gcode and color coded operations such as PWM power modulation to the laser, etc...

As for as work holding and such, I recommend ditching the included table and buying a honeycomb table or making your own table. lots of options out there in the DIY community. Then your next hurdle will be table height. Right now I'm just setting blocks of wood under the table to set my height, but will work on a table jack at some point in the near future along with a rotary of sorts.

I'll see if I can find some examples of indexing and setup to answer Keith's question from the other thread but it'll be a bit later as I'm on my way out the door.

There are also a few must have upgrades that I'll cover when I get back.
Thanks Carl - I bought mine last fall and it engraves nicely. For me it is trial and error to get the setting correct to engrave where I want it to! I agree totally on the exhaust - still using the original but would like to upgrade - I appreciate any advice you can offer!!!
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Old 05-24-2016, 07:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Edited: no need for this post as all of the links are provided below

Last edited by Carl Fisher; 05-24-2016 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 05-24-2016, 07:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Here is a running total of what I've spent so far. Not all of this is required if all you want to do is engrave pens, but many are considered must have upgrades by the Chinese laser community.

Machine:
40W CO2 Chinese laser with the latest M2 Nano board and CorelDraw/CorelLaser compatible
40W USB DIY Laser ENGRAVER Cutter Engraving Cutting Machine Laser Printer CO2 | eBay

Exhaust upgrades
4" bilge blower (12v)
Amazon.com : Attwood Quiet Blower (White, 4-Inch) : Boat Blowers : Sports & Outdoors

4" vinyl flexible duct
http://www.amazon.com/Dundas-Jafine-.../dp/B001PQDUA0

4" dust collection port
http://www.amazon.com/POWERTEC-70150.../dp/B00M3JFNOO

Target Laser
http://www.amazon.com/Focusable-650n.../dp/B00S1EXW3Y

Laser Holder
K40 CO2 Laser Dual Head Laser Holder for 10mm or 12mm | eBay

LED Voltage Meter for setting the laser power
http://www.amazon.com/DROK-Digital-V.../dp/B00C58JGE6

Light Object water pressure sensor
http://www.amazon.com/Lightobject-LS.../dp/B00HUC5FC4

Air pump for air assist head
Amazon.com: EcoPlus 728450 1 to 18W Single Outlet Commercial Air Pump, 793 GPH: Patio, Lawn & Garden

18mm head with air assist
18mm Laser head w/ air assisted. Ideal for K40 machine

18mm ZnSe focus lens with 50.8mm focal length
Improved 18mm ZnSe Focus lens (F50.8mm)

300x200 honeycomb bed
300X200 Honeycomb. Fit K40 machine
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