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Laser Welder Gloat

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  • #61
    Yes, Cant remember which days. Not anything like it used to be. I did get a nice 1050mhz rf signal generator though last year. Now that I am working again I cant get down there.


    • #62

      Once you get this thing up and running, have you considered making CRT repairs? I've got a Tek SC503 CRT that has the two heater strip attachments separated from the pins to the plug. Trying to find a replacement SC503 CRT has been like pulling hen's teeth. It's a small storage scope that plugs into the TM500/5000 mainframes.



      • #63
        I got the board set over a month ago and ended up also getting a 7i69 board that will allow up to 48 more points of IO and will tie directly into Opto22 IO Racks via 50 pin flat cable.

        Getting a working computer system together has been hell. The first setup (Pictured above) had issues, I could not connect to the mesa daughter boards. Turns out there was something strange with the PIII single board computer in the case. For some reason when set to a 133 mhz buss the 5i25 card became unhappy. Only this card though, all the other cards, USB, WiFi, and firewire were happy. This took a while to figure out and started a hunt for a board that would work. I ended up finding a P4 SBC that would fit in to the existing backplane on ebay and it is working the best out of all the motherboards I have tried, getting about 10000/10000 under the latency test after a couple days running it. It was not without problems though. The board had bulging caps which I replaced (Damn RoHS solder) and then the thing would lock up linux after about 8 hours and I was getting a SMI pulse. I reset the BIOS to fail safe settings and all the problems went away, even the SMI issue.

        I was hoping I could use a firewire c-mount camera I have to add computer vision to the machine but it really kills the machine when displaying video. Linux has been a pain with that. So many little things with firewire and simpler things like the touchscreen.

        So now that I know my machine will actually work I have started putting the panel together. I ended up ditching the old roll around console that the guy was using before me. I got a 2'x3' JIC cabinet to put everything in. This will hold the computer, drives, and all the IO stuff. This is pretty much everything screwed down, I need to start wiring next.

        Laser welder drive panel by macona, on Flickr


        • #64
          Got the drive panel wired mostly wired up short of IO for the control panel and the breakout for the laser. I ordered up a couple parallel port extension cables to tie into the laser. The laser controls terminate in generic Centronics 36 pin connectors so that makes it easy.

          I took the panel and computer over to my friends place where I am keeping the laser and hooked it up. It worked. Of course all the motor directions were backwards but that was an easy parameter change. Everything homed out like it should. I need to find a better GUI for linuxcnc, the ones that come with it are awful.

          The Mesa boards are working out great. The one that ties into the opto-22 rack worked out simpler than I though, any port can be input or output and it is just a matter of reading to writing to that "pin". Now I need to get a friend of mine to write some code to make up some custom M codes to control the laser.


          • #65
            If you are DIY'ing any breakouts and need Centronics connectors let me know. I purchased a big bag of mixed connectors on eBay and it came with about a dozen Centronics types I have no use for. Yours for the price of mail to wherever you are if you want them.



            • #66
              I was going to make some pcb breakouts for the centronics connectors. Then I found I can get 36pin extension cables for $5 shipped from Dell. No contest there. Just cut the cable and wire into the opto22 terminals.


              • #67
                Just as well. I took a look at them and they're all IDC type. I thought they were PC board mount. Oh well, guess I'll hang on to them for 10 years like all the other junk around here ;-)


                • #68
                  Its been a while since I posted about this guy. Between the thermal cameras and the vacuum system I have been preoccupied.

                  So, I now have the drive and power panel assembled. Hooked it up to the servos on the machine and it all works controlled through linuxcnc. At least I can move stuff around. I have not messed with the control of the laser from linuxcnc, that can wait. Pick below of a semi finished board, it has been cleaned up with some wire molding to keep things somewhat in place.

                  I went through a couple different designs for the control panel, I got a 24"x30" cabinet and had a control panel cut out for it on the laser at work as well as a bulkhead for the servo cabinet for the cables. Not cheap, about $130, but a lot easier than trying to make it myself. The left side will hold the 19" rack mount 8U PC display and the two 4U controls for the laser.

                  I plasma cut the openings in the JIC cabinets this weekend and tried to powder coat the control panel and bulkhead plate. The powder went on thin and I am just going to have to paint it.