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First output from the laser

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  • brunneng
    replied
    This is what I'm running.
    http://www.epiloglaser.com/mini24_overview.htm

    I went with a 12x24 unit at 45 watts. I was originally looking at a 25 watt but with more power, means I can run at a higher speed and time is money... or so they say. You can actually get a 12 watt 11.8" x 8.3" (300mm x 210mm) laser for $6500. Not cheap but considering what that would have cost just 10 years ago.

    I'm working on plans for a largely acrylic modelers tablesaw. The type that spins a 2-3" dia blade. My friend has the one made by microlux and after looking inside - the price tag is laughable. The whole unit (except for the aluminum top) is injection molded plastic. The saw tilt mechanism hangs on a pin and a screw - and that's it.
    He also has a $300 american beauty resistance soldering unit. He let me open that up too. What's inside a $300 unit? a commercial light dimmer and a transformer - AND THAT'S IT!!! A $12 transformer and a $9 light dimmer. Needless to say - I made my own.

    Kevin

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  • Evan
    replied
    I have considered building a high power laser since the first do-it-yourself article came out in Popular Science in the 1960s. It isn't difficult these days and motion platforms are also easy. I am highly tempted to fit one as a "photonic" spindle for my mill project.

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  • nheng
    replied
    "Serious case of tool envy developing here."

    I can do that in my shop too ... with an xactio knife

    Very nice work. What type of laser are you using and what wattage? I do a lot of work with solid state lasers but not in the cutting arena. Two thoughts come to mind regarding smoke and mirrors ... positive clean air flow and/or an optical window to pass the beam after sealing up the rest of the optics. You'd need a window that is spec'd to handle that wavelength and wattage without much loss of energy.

    That's odd - this is the 2nd time today that I've replied to a thread and the last one or more replies were not visible until after posting my reply.
    Last edited by nheng; 07-18-2006, 06:53 PM.

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  • brunneng
    replied
    Well, I can't take too much credit for the cuts. I just draw lines and send it to the laser, but it sure as hell beats an xacto knife.

    Stepside: Ah, I have the Epilog mini24 45 watt. I did try to cut a bit of polycarbon - oh, big mistake, won't try that again. Instant toxic fog cloud. hmmm ... poly-many, carbon-black burning sooting... who'd have thought. I've since aquired a materials list for safe cutting. The machine is rated to have a 400cfm exhaust fan, and I'm running 850cfm. I am going to build an active charcol, filter box and then vent outside.

    I have downloaded a demo of Rhino to play with because of the surface development like you said. Also for the ability to generate your surface and then generate the needed cross sections to create it for rib structures for airplane bodies, model boat hulls, dinosaurs, etc...
    I suppose you could cut a master on the laser and then trace it on a copying grinder to make molding knives for a planer/molder.

    One thing I can tell you for sure is I know what kind of Christmas gifts I'm giving this year.

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  • Stepside
    replied
    I have a 45 watt Epilog laser at the school where I teach. I have cut gears for an acrylic clock. the laser cuts fine, but the filter hates the smoke. You need either a real good HEPA filter or you need to vent outside. If your mirrors are clean it will cut .0625 holes through .125 acrylic. I have also cut tap drill and clearance drill size holes for #4-40 machine screws.

    So far every time I have trouble with cutting it has been dirty mirrors. This is especally true when cutting acrylic.

    For serious fun, do some surface developmens with your CAD program and cut them out I use Rhino and its unroll developmental surfaces command. We cut them out of file folders and then fibreglass or carbon fibre cover them.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Looked at your pics again...and discovered the cuts are just too perfect to be listed on HSM. Trying to give people an inferiority complex??

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  • brunneng
    replied
    That's a definate way to cut time... heh heh
    I could make one of acrylic. How about a transparent train. Would that be a stealth train?

    Remember those books that are all cutout to make a paper clock? I've been thinking about some kits like that in wood and acrylic. I'm going to try cutting some wood/acrylic gears and see how they come out.

    Kevin

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    There is a guy who builds live steam locomotives in Finland using lasers powerful enough to cut aluminum and steel. He turns 5 year long projects into jigsaw puzzles that get built in 6 months.
    http://www.saunalahti.fi/animato/steam/460/460i.html

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  • Wareagle
    replied
    Very nice! If only I had a laser...

    BTW, I think there has been I time or two when I wished I would have stopped by that store before....

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  • brunneng
    replied
    I feel envy everytime I see someone with a lathe or mill larger than my mini versions.

    It's time for our annual fishing trip so I'm going to cut some acrylic rod holders for keeping them nice and organized and a leader holder for keeping them nice and wrapped and seperate.
    I saw a magnetic rod tip holder that sticks to the side of your car/truck with a magnet and has a little U shaped piece that holds your rod tip. Keeps it from falling over when you lean them up. Think I'll make a few of those too.

    I can finally get my office built after dealing with the city for 2 months to get my permit. It'll be nice to start making some money with it.

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  • Fasttrack
    replied
    Looks great! That will be a neat and one of a kind addition to any model railroad. The best are always the ones with unique and hand made models! (kits are nice, but not the same...)

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  • BobWarfield
    replied
    Lasers are great for model railroad stuff.

    Nice work!

    BW

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  • Evan
    replied
    Serious case of tool envy developing here.

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  • brunneng
    started a topic First output from the laser

    First output from the laser

    Here's the first useful output from the new toy.This is the prototype for a building inspired by my friends railroad layout. Everything is basswood, 1/32 plywood base and heavy cardstock.

    This is fun. Everyday I get a new idea for something to make with it.









    Kevin
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