A Homebrew Endeavor

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Joshua Vasquez
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Location: Sunnyvale, CA, United States
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A Homebrew Endeavor

Post by Joshua Vasquez » Thu Nov 24, 2016 10:23 pm

I've been hacking away at this labor of love for about a year now. It's a 60-watt laser cutter built from a conglomerate of components from LightObject.com, the OpenBuilds Part Store, and a few home-made pieces made on a Taig micro mill.

Project Post: http://www.doublejumpelectric.com/proje ... er-cutter/
Flickr Feed: https://www.flickr.com/photos/77947059@ ... 1292150515

In the last year, I've learned loads about topics that I never considered: machine design, real-time motion control, EMI. If anyone's looking to muscle up their skills in this domain, I'd encourage you to take a shot at homebrew laser cutter gantries.

By far, one of my biggest limits was the precision of my fabrication tools. It turns out that getting mill-precision square ends on my extruded profiles would be the make-or-break difference between a skewed and square gantry. I'm currently fixing this issue, now that I have the tools to square off the ends of my extruded profiles. Another issue that cropped up was a reminder to accommodate real-world tolerances with this build. Now, most connections that have dimensions that matter also have a range of set-points. Despite all these issues, cutting real, functional components has made the entire journey worth it.

I'm currently on a second revision of the machine frame this month. Once that's up, I'll post a few more pics (and the CAD/dimensioned-drawing files).

Thanks for taking a look!
Homebrew 60-watt laser cutter built from VSlot extrusions, LightObject components, and controlled with LinuxCNC; 450mm (Y) x 600 (X); Laser Homes to BL

Joshua Vasquez

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Keith Sherwin
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Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2016 3:44 pm
Location: Heart of Canada
Country: Canada
Nickname: Keith
Laser Machine Make or Type: POS China
Laser Power: 80
Laser Bed Size: 400 x 600
Home Position: TL
RDWorks Version: V8.01.23
Accessories: Hot dog roller, doHICkey Power Meter, Multi-Lens, High power exhaust, Interior filter soon.
Windows Version: W7 Pro

Re: A Homebrew Endeavor

Post by Keith Sherwin » Thu Nov 24, 2016 10:44 pm

EXCELLENT :!:
:idea: Started this forum.
Lead in creation of the RDWorksLab English Manual.
Cheers, :D
Keith

Per Eklund
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Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2016 3:16 pm
Location: Jönköping, Sweden

Re: A Homebrew Endeavor

Post by Per Eklund » Fri Nov 25, 2016 1:51 am

Very nice work!
This is exactly what I'm also planing to do so this is good inspiration!
I have built a couple of cnc-mills using LinuxCNC and for lasercutting I'm positiv it's a very good option. Specially if you shall cut somthing from a CAD design. Then it's easy to make a post-processor for that so you don't have to convert the drawing to different formats.
The concern I have with LinuxCNC is engraving, and software tools for engraving with LinuxCNC.
Have you had time to test engraving, and if you have, how is your experience with that?

--Per Eklund
Per - Jönköping, Sweden
Laserpro Venus 12W. About to by a Bodor 100W or build a 100W laser.
Software engeneer, built a couple af CNC-mills.

Joshua Vasquez
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Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:24 pm
Location: Sunnyvale, CA, United States
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Re: A Homebrew Endeavor

Post by Joshua Vasquez » Fri Nov 25, 2016 2:02 am

Hi Per,

I'm using a tweaked version of dxf2gcode to export valid gcode for my laser cutter and the 2x_laser configuration for Linuxcnc.
https://github.com/bjj/2x_laser
The project does support Raster engraving, but I've not actually used it before.

From what it looks like, no gcode input is required! Bjj's work has gone far enough that you can just point to the file directory of the picture, the dpi, and the software handles the rest. Nifty!
Homebrew 60-watt laser cutter built from VSlot extrusions, LightObject components, and controlled with LinuxCNC; 450mm (Y) x 600 (X); Laser Homes to BL

Joshua Vasquez

Per Eklund
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2016 3:16 pm
Location: Jönköping, Sweden

Re: A Homebrew Endeavor

Post by Per Eklund » Fri Nov 25, 2016 5:08 am

Thanks a lot for your answer. Will absolutely have a clooser look on that before deciding on controller for the laser.
Per - Jönköping, Sweden
Laserpro Venus 12W. About to by a Bodor 100W or build a 100W laser.
Software engeneer, built a couple af CNC-mills.

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Gene Uselman
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Location: Suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota, US
Country: USA
Nickname: Gene
Laser Machine Make or Type: QC1390
Laser Power: 130W EFR
Laser Bed Size: 36x49
Home Position: TR
RDWorks Version: V8.01.19 LO
Accessories: I have a combining lens, pin tables [homebuilt], honeycomb table [LightObject], wireless remote on the way [crossed fingers]
Windows Version: Win 7 Pro

Re: A Homebrew Endeavor

Post by Gene Uselman » Fri Nov 25, 2016 7:07 am

You, sir, are a very talented young man. “get it working; then, redo it until satisfied” has been the story of my life, my daughter and I started a sign business 20+ years ago and sooo many things needed fabricating quick, and as I learn what is good (and bad) about my initial design, it is revised, and often, revised again. I am retired now and have the time to re-do a lot of things that work but I know I can do better. Very satisfying. Coincidentally I was watching some videos about the OpenBuilds V-Slot extrusions at 4:00 this morning- I use a lot of 80/20 extrusions for fabrication- and these parts will be a welcome addition. Bravo. Gene

Joshua Vasquez
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Location: Sunnyvale, CA, United States
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Re: A Homebrew Endeavor

Post by Joshua Vasquez » Fri Nov 25, 2016 4:32 pm

Thanks, Gene. It's been an after-hours labor of love. Once I'm finished assembling the latest version, though, I'll put up a few assembly docs.

VSlot has definitely been good to me over the last year. The only headache I discovered was squaring up the corners. If you're going to screw in a cube corner connector (http://openbuildspartstore.com/cube-corner-connector/), or if you're planning to mate any extrusion to the chopped end of another extrusion, they must be as square as you can get them. Originally, I figured my Dad's chop saw with an aluminum blade would be sufficient, but the cuts are still off by about a degree. Propagated over about a meter, 1 degree can make a big difference as to whether or not the gantry will make square parts. To remedy the issue, I needed to drop these profiles into my micro mill and square them up with an endmill finish. (I'm still not quite finished squaring up all the profiles, so I'll snag a few pics of the process. the size of the part relative to the mill is actually pretty hilarious.)
Homebrew 60-watt laser cutter built from VSlot extrusions, LightObject components, and controlled with LinuxCNC; 450mm (Y) x 600 (X); Laser Homes to BL

Joshua Vasquez

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