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Fórum » Only in English » Technologies » CO2 Lasers. (Anything relating to CO2 Lasers can be discussed here.)
CO2 Lasers.
Honk Dátum/Date: Vasárnap, 2013-04-14, 19:55 | Üzenet/Post # 81
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Zoli
Thank you for the info! I will use this if I can not get Microkinetics to work and I have to change the machine over to Mach3. But I would like to try to use the Microkinetics stuff I have, if it will work. It was not cheep stuff. but if it will not drive my laser then it does not mater. Does anyone use Microkinetics for a co2 laser for raster engraving? I have spent to much time not fishing and I need to come up with some answers soon so I can go again.

Thanks again
Jerry Honkanen


Az üzenetet módosította/Modified by Honk - Vasárnap, 2013-04-14, 19:57
 
tweakie Dátum/Date: Hétfő, 2013-04-15, 08:15 | Üzenet/Post # 82
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Hi Jerry,

Difficult decision to make and to a large extent it will depend on your intended use for your laser both now and in the future.

Because CO2 lasers are extremely fast acting devices it is essential to have a machine control system which is capable of switching within 2 milliseconds of any axis movement. If it does not do this then a visible ‘dot’ can be produced at the start and / or finish of any engraved lines.

This can be achieved with most machine controllers by switching the laser from the Direction pin of an imaginary axis. The disadvantage of this method is that the laser can be left in the ON condition following a feed-hold or unexpected stop condition.

Mach3 has the advantage of the M11P1 / M10P1 command set which will allow the laser to be switched co-incident with axis movement via an Output# and this way it ensures the laser is always turned OFF if a feed-hold or stop condition is evoked and is a much safer mode of operation.

My opinion…

Staying with your Microkinetics is by far the cheapest option but you may, to a certain extent, be out on a limb as the only laser user with that system.
It’s only money, but changing to Mach3 puts you in amongst the herd (well me at the least lol ).

Tweakie.


Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
 
Honk Dátum/Date: Szombat, 2013-04-27, 01:55 | Üzenet/Post # 83
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Hozzáadva (2013-04-27, 01:55)
---------------------------------------------
Well Tweakie I did it.
I just removed the Microkinetics equipment from my laser. So I pretty much made up my mind on what to do with my software situation. I use Mach3 so it shouldn’t be too tough.
I was wondering about something I seen you did with your diode laser. You had a stepper motor turning a pot to change the power to the laser for the Z height. Would that work with the CO2 laser? The power supply has a place for attaching a 5K pot, to control the output. If my Z height control on Mach3 turned the pot to increase and decrease the power with the height as in Photo VCarve . It would cause light and dark areas in the engraving pass??? Keep in mind I haven’t even fired my laser yet so I definitely don’t know what I am talking about. But this idea has been bothering me ever sense I read your thread on it. I also remember you saying something about it would not work with a CO2 laser. But I was just wondering what would blow up if I did it?
Thanks again
Jerry Honkanen

PS I think I broke this web page!!!

(Edited to remove redundant text - Tweakie).


Az üzenetet módosította/Modified by Honk - Szombat, 2013-04-27, 01:48
 
tweakie Dátum/Date: Szombat, 2013-04-27, 07:56 | Üzenet/Post # 84
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Hi Jerry,

The idea of driving a potentiometer from the Z axis to control laser power is basically sound but as Jeff discovered, potentiometers are not designed to withstand the total number of operations required and they wear out. Jeff then switched to using a rotary shaft encoder and full details of all this are contained in the diode laser thread.

The basic problem I found was that when using a 1 Watt diode laser to engrave an 8 bit grey-scale image the required total power variation was around 80%. When this was translated to a 40 Watt laser the total power variation (to engrave the same image) was less than 2% and this became difficult to control with sufficient precision using this method. This does not mean to say that it cannot be done just that it may require some work and experimentation on your part to get it right.

Tweakie.


Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
 
JJWMACHINECO Dátum/Date: Szombat, 2013-04-27, 11:55 | Üzenet/Post # 85
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Jerry,

There is another option using a digital potentiometer. These come in 3 different values. 10K, 50K and 100k. 

http://datasheets.maximintegrated.com/en/ds/MAX5450-MAX5455.pdf 

I have tried the 10K max5451 and they work very good taking the step and direction output pins from Mach3 to step up and down the 256 increments needed for 8bit engraving. They are not easy to solder being surface mount TSSOP 14pin package, but you can buy an adapter to solder them to that will change it to a 14 DIP package for easy mounting using a socket. 

http://www.logicalsys.com/painfo-vpasp-vb.asp?adapter=pa-ssd3sm18-14

My son was able to solder them by using a small copper wire with some solder on the end of it and heating it with his soldering iron and use the small wire to solder the chip terminals to the adapter.

Also if you plan on lasering 8bit shaded images using standard g-code running in Mach3, then I would not recommend PhotoVcarve. I started out lasering shades with it and really struggled getting good results. I would recommend John's PicEngrave Pro 4 Laser Edition because, in my opinion, he has mastered the code generation for this process. There are definitely a big difference how the two programs generate the g-code.

http://www.picengrave.com/ 

I did a comparison using the same image with both programs in post #152

http://hobbycncart.com/forum/63-151-8

Also, like Tweakie is saying, with that much laser power compared to the diode I am using, you will need to move your axis very fast. This is another hurdle you will need to overcome with the accel/de-accel of your motors. 

Jeff


Extensivly Re-worked/Re-designed/Modified Servo K2CNC KG-3925 and the Mini Laser Engraver
 
Honk Dátum/Date: Szombat, 2013-04-27, 15:31 | Üzenet/Post # 86
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Jeff and Tweakie
Thanks for the reply. I will be in the hunting mode for more information on this process but I am rewireing all my machine for this change to Mach3. It will take some time as I am limited to how much, at a time, I can do, between paydays.
I am learning PicEngvave and it seems to me, to do well, for my router. The finishing process is a little different. It does stain darker than PVC but I think I'll get it figured out. Here is my first attempt at PicEngrave. Im in the process of teaching my son how to do this and it is a lot of fun.
Thanks again
Jerry Honkanen

(Edited to remove redundant text - Tweakie).

Csatolások/Attachments: 9174775.jpg(185Kb)
 
tweakie Dátum/Date: Szombat, 2013-04-27, 16:28 | Üzenet/Post # 87
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Excellent work Jerry. cool

There are some good articles and videos on wood staining and finishing techniques in the Hungarian section but it may take a bit of searching.

Tweakie.


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picengraver Dátum/Date: Vasárnap, 2013-04-28, 13:41 | Üzenet/Post # 88
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Jerry,
Really an excellent piece.  It's hard to tell from the picture, but it appears that you may have used a dark color stain (walnut?).  I, too, am not good with a finishing technique, but I prefer an antique oak stain for wood engravings.  Seems to give more of a Sepia look to an engraving.

Please post your settings and other info about your engraving (type of wood, time to engrave, PEP settings, etc.).

Best Regards,
John


I paint with a blue light beam.
 
Honk Dátum/Date: Péntek, 2013-05-17, 20:13 | Üzenet/Post # 89
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Hi John
Yes I did use dark stain and I am not good with it eather. The wood I use is usually Popular but I don't know how to spell it. Mainly because it does not have knots. The dark stain works good with the PVC program, at least I have had good luck with it. I used 0.04 depth of cut. Your PEP4 is an awsome program but it does stuff a little different. (good different). I think it was a coupple of hrs. to do it but I didn't keep track. I am going to do it again as I am teaching my son how to do this and I will keep better track. I am not sure but I think you helped me with the settings. I will attach a file with the .jpg of the settings Oh one more thing: I did use Paint Shop Pro to touch up the black background behind there heads.
Thanks
Jerry
PS: I will try lighter stain on this one.

Edited to remove redundant text - Tweakie).

---------------------------------------------
Tweakie
I have my laser about ready to go but something has come up which I am not to sure about. I attached the laser tube to the pump and was purging the coolant circuit and the laser filled, the small inside tube filled first and the outer tube filled 1/2 full. This does not make sense to me shouldn't the inner tube be gas filled? I don't know!!! I do have it running on Mach3 now and what a difference My X axis will run at max in Mach3.
Thanks for your help
Jerry Honkanen

Csatolások/Attachments: 5088487.jpg(67Kb) · 4993357.jpg(155Kb)


Az üzenetet módosította/Modified by Honk - Péntek, 2013-05-17, 23:34
 
tweakie Dátum/Date: Szombat, 2013-05-18, 13:08 | Üzenet/Post # 90
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Hi Jerry,

Not sure I understand what you are saying about the inner / outer tubes filling with coolant - could you perhaps post a picture please ?

Tweakie.


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Honk Dátum/Date: Szombat, 2013-05-18, 14:10 | Üzenet/Post # 91
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Tweakie
This is some pics of the laser tube in my machine. The inner tube A (smaller tube inside) fills with water first when the punp is turned on. Than the large outer tube fills. I do not understand! Shouldn't the small inner tube A be gas filled?
Thanks
Jerry

Csatolások/Attachments: 3970195.jpg(82Kb) · 8201819.jpg(52Kb)
 
tweakie Dátum/Date: Szombat, 2013-05-18, 16:23 | Üzenet/Post # 92
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Hi Jerry,

Oh Dear !
Sorry buddy but your tube is damaged beyond repair. Coolant should not get into the large diameter part at all - More expense but a new tube is required. sad

Tweakie.


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Honk Dátum/Date: Hétfő, 2013-05-20, 02:30 | Üzenet/Post # 93
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Tweakie and or John
Thanks for the information. I did buy insurance when they shipped it. I am  hoping I can work something out with them.
While I am in some down time with my laser I have been trying to figure out how to work Johns PEP4 laser program and I am having a small problem. AAH I mean 2 small problems. When I save the G code it faults my computer and shuts down PEP4. It does write the G code and saves it but turns off the program. (Windows 7, 64 bit). Problem #2 is: Mach3 will need to tell the laser to turn on and off??? Do you know where I may obtain information on this? (TTL Low). I did download the Mach3 Impact laser plug in and did a dry run. I can't wait to make it work.
A question about Hobby CNC Art. How did I put the pictures I downloaded on the page? They only come out as a link and not on the page. I did it before but I don't know what I did.

Thanks again
Jerry
 
tweakie Dátum/Date: Hétfő, 2013-05-20, 07:28 | Üzenet/Post # 94
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Hi Jerry,

I hope the tube suppliers come up with a replacement.

Idézet
Problem #2 is: Mach3 will need to tell the laser to turn on and off??? Do you know where I may obtain information on this? (TTL Low).


There is some information here; http://hobbycncart.com/publ....-1-0-29

Idézet
I did download the Mach3 Impact laser plug in and did a dry run. I can't wait to make it work.


Just a note but at the present time the plugin will not work with 64 bit systems.

Idézet
A question about Hobby CNC Art. How did I put the pictures I downloaded on the page? They only come out as a link and not on the page. I did it before but I don't know what I did.


Choose the file and once loaded click on 'Insert into Editor'.

(I am not sure quite why it happens but quite a lot of extra garbage gets added to the end of your posts so that may have something to do with the problem relating to pictures).

Tweakie.


Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
 
Honk Dátum/Date: Kedd, 2013-05-21, 04:19 | Üzenet/Post # 95
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Tweakie
Could you take a look at this and see what I need to do to make it work? I run the PEP4 laser program and cannot get a voltage change on pin14 and ground from my beakeout board. I could not find anything in the threads and would really be thankful for some help
Thanks
Jerry



Csatolások/Attachments: 2744770.jpg(72Kb) · 6597684.jpg(72Kb) · 4501548.jpg(99Kb)
 
csewe Dátum/Date: Kedd, 2013-05-21, 04:57 | Üzenet/Post # 96
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Hi Jerry,

X axis dirpin,and Y axis steppin = 3 it is no good.
C axis steppin,and digit trig pin = 14 it is no good.
You can not use the same pint for two tasks.

C axis dirpin not set,therefore, the power is adjusted in one direction only.

Zoli.


Az üzenetet módosította/Modified by csewe - Kedd, 2013-05-21, 05:07
 
tweakie Dátum/Date: Kedd, 2013-05-21, 07:17 | Üzenet/Post # 97
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I think Zoli has already covered it.

Your Step pin for Y axis is incorrect.
You need to disable the Digital Trigger.
You need to specify a Direction pin for your C axis.

(Obviously the Motor Tuning for the C axis also has to be set-up)

Tweakie.


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Honk Dátum/Date: Kedd, 2013-05-21, 15:36 | Üzenet/Post # 98
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Tweakie and Zoli
Thank you both, That did it. but I might have it the wrong way. When 5 V is on pin 14 (TTLl) does the laser fire? Or when the 0.119 V does the laser fire? At least I can see it working now.
I am in contact with a lady in China about my laser tube. She told me that the tube has to be completly full of water when it is circulating. I do not understand. Why is this true? if they call it a CO2 laser shouldn't there be CO2 in it? I don't know these things and I have spent a lot of time trying to find an answer but how to hook them up must be a trade secret.
Someday we will get it going.
Thanks again
Jerry

Csatolások/Attachments: 6429526.jpg(66Kb)
 
tweakie Dátum/Date: Kedd, 2013-05-21, 16:29 | Üzenet/Post # 99
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Hi Jerry,

Most (but not all) laser PSU's use the TTL(L) signal to trigger the laser. That is to say that the laser fires when the voltage on the PSU trigger pin is taken low (approx. 0 Volts).

Idézet
I am in contact with a lady in China about my laser tube. She told me that the tube has to be completly full of water when it is circulating. I do not understand. Why is this true? if they call it a CO2 laser shouldn't there be CO2 in it? I don't know these things and I have spent a lot of time trying to find an answer but how to hook them up must be a trade secret.


She means that the water jacket must be completely full (no air bubbles) with water (including the mirror cooling jackets at each end of the tube) before the laser tube is used. The large diameter glass part, spiral and small inner glass tube is where the gas should be.

Tweakie.


Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
 
Dave Dátum/Date: Szerda, 2013-05-22, 00:06 | Üzenet/Post # 100
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Hi all,
Spent the afternoon playing with the new co2 laser. It's taking some getting used to since it acts like a printer rather than a cnc with gcode and mach3. I'm very impressed with the ease that it engraves on granite tile, glass, mirrors and wood. Cuts right through 1/4" plywood. Even though I've traded analog shading for a bunch of dots, but the image quality looks much better than what I was getting with mach3. And it's way way faster than my diode laser was. Not sure of the speed in inches per second, but it looks like two or more 10" raster lines in one second to my uncalibrated eyeball.  A really nice toy!!! Looks like the diode laser cnc is going to go back to it's previous life as a cnc router. biggrin
Dave
 
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