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Thread: Laser Engraver - Advice Please

  1. #1
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    Default Laser Engraver - Advice Please

    Hello kids!! Been awhile, but I'm still kicking (while the day job kicks my ass most days).

    Thinking about acquiring a laser engraver to do polymer and metal engraving / ablating. I've done a little research (and read VDX's thread) but I need more education on the subject. From what I've read, there are several Chinese fiber lasers in the 50W range with scanners (for instance: http://www.bogongcnc.com/fiber-laser...g-machine.html). I've read alot about frequency - are they q-switched, or, is something "better" (larger range of capabilities)?

    What about MOPA lasers?
    Could I get a ready-to-go engraver and swap out to a different source to save some bucks?
    Are most of those 1064mn?
    Is this something I could build myself? Looks like that is what VDX is doing, but there is *A LOT* of learning i need to do.
    How much does scanner speed effect engraving ability?

    I'm looking for something I can do projects like the pic below. Any advice, help, links, etc is greatly appreciated.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
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    ... engraving or "muti-pass-cutting" of thin metal sheets can be done with a 20Watt-fiberlaser and attached galvo-head (starts with the cheap chinese "open" kits for 2000USD or more) ... but not so reliable (lifetime/durability), as higher quality kits for much more bucks.

    "Deep-engraving" can be done with the 20Watts too -- but with "endless" passes to get some tenths of Millimeters - here the "fun" starts from 30Watts up.

    A "MOPA" with variable puls-length, down to 10 Nanoseconds, didn't cut deeper, as a common (fixed pulselength at 200ns or 400ns) type, but can handle "sensitive" materials better and can apply some surface colouring effects (or "darker black") on specific materials ... and costs a good part more ...

    Polymers are problematic with fiberlasers @1064nm -- if they are transparent or translucent for the NIR wavelength, then engraving can only be done with coatings (dark colors or special marking-coatings) ... cutting is only doable, if the materil absorbs enough energy to evaporate instantly -- if it's only partially melting, then the "cut" won't open ...

    Viktor
    Aufruf zum Projekt "Müll-freie Meere" - https://reprap.org/forum/list.php?426
    Call for the project "garbage-free seas" - https://reprap.org/forum/list.php?425

  3. #3
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    Thanks Viktor.

    Is it about the same difficulty to build an engraver as it is to build a projector? OR - get a cheap Chinese system and replace the source (that seems wasteful).

    What is the most popular software / DAC to control the lasers/galvos?

    --Doug

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    ... I was building/developing comercial fiberlasers for my last day-job (and something longer at home too with all sorts of laser or other "fun" stuff) - it's essentially to assemble the components into a housing and install+configure the software ... but "the devil is inside the details"

    You can read through some of my related posts here: https://photonlexicon.com/forums/sho...ng-and-marking

    For the galvos I'm using BeamConstruct with the E1701D controller from HAlaser - http://halaser.de/feature.php

    Viktor
    Aufruf zum Projekt "Müll-freie Meere" - https://reprap.org/forum/list.php?426
    Call for the project "garbage-free seas" - https://reprap.org/forum/list.php?425

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by VDX View Post
    ... I was building/developing comercial fiberlasers for my last day-job (and something longer at home too with all sorts of laser or other "fun" stuff) - it's essentially to assemble the components into a housing and install+configure the software ... but "the devil is inside the details"

    You can read through some of my related posts here: https://photonlexicon.com/forums/sho...ng-and-marking
    Your thread is great. I've read it 3 times already.

  6. #6
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    ... what materials do you want to engrave or cut? -- if cutting - what thickness?

    Depending on your needs/wishes you have to select which laser and if it has to be a galvoscanner or (much cheaper) XY(Z) system ...

    Viktor
    Aufruf zum Projekt "Müll-freie Meere" - https://reprap.org/forum/list.php?426
    Call for the project "garbage-free seas" - https://reprap.org/forum/list.php?425

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by VDX View Post
    ... what materials do you want to engrave or cut? -- if cutting - what thickness?
    I'm looking to do some intricate patterns - from surface marking only, all the way to a complete hole or anywhere in-between. Anodized aluminum and steel mostly. The picture below, the holes were made with galvo/fiber laser (but which kind of fiber laser, I do not know ??). The guy that did this work has a video. The holes were made with the laser (many many many passes).

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails p4.jpg  


  8. #8
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    ... hmmm ... the dark part is much easier to make with a cnc-mill than with a laser ... or you make it with a SLS setup (metal 3D-printing by selective laser-sintering/fusing metal dust).

    The gold part can be laser-engraved and -polished ...

    Viktor
    Aufruf zum Projekt "Müll-freie Meere" - https://reprap.org/forum/list.php?426
    Call for the project "garbage-free seas" - https://reprap.org/forum/list.php?425

  9. #9
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    This guy does use a mill, and yes, the holes are easier on a mill, but he uses multi pass laser.

    https://youtu.be/YOCPgEHxceI?t=40

  10. #10
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    ... the laser power in the video seems to be much more than 30Watts!

    Here an example, what's possible with a 20Watt marking laser (actually I have a 30Watt, but not this much more effective):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42judTPnBXY

    Viktor
    Aufruf zum Projekt "Müll-freie Meere" - https://reprap.org/forum/list.php?426
    Call for the project "garbage-free seas" - https://reprap.org/forum/list.php?425

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