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PicDither - PicEngrave - PicLaser.
tweakie Dátum/Date: Vasárnap, 2013-06-23, 06:44 | Üzenet/Post # 1
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Anything relating to - PicDither - PicEngrave - PicLaser etc.
 
Al Dátum/Date: Csütörtök, 2014-05-29, 15:42 | Üzenet/Post # 601
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Hi Jerry et al, this ismy first post here so I'm sorry if it goes wrong.  I've been following and
admiring the fantastic work you and others have been displaying here and
sharing the frustrations you have been having over the past months.  I'm
very new to laser engraving but do have some previous experience with laser
systems and laser materials processing, plus a bit of cnc and other stuff.
More of what I'm doing later by way of an introduction.

As Tweakie says it’sprobably easiest to engrave the trout directly on glass with your CO2 which
should work well.  However, I've laser cut masks in the past for glass
engraving to use with a grit blasting technique and also had glass commercially
engraved using this process.  I've cut the masks out of a stick on plastic
we call "Fablon" in the UK, it is not a durable as the masks that are
cut commercially, these are a rubber based stick on material which is more
resistant to being eroded by the grit than the Fablon.  If you intend to
etch glass, then the grit has to be harder than the glass.  Typically this would be aluminium oxide or
similar.  Finer mesh sized grits are better with the Fablon as the coarse
grits tend to erode it quickly particularly at external corners.  You
could stick the plastic on the surface of the glass then vector cut the large
detail shapes out, raster out the finer detail, then pick out the unwanted
material from the vector cuts with a scalpel etc.  Beware of the fumes
though!  Probably you’d expect to scrap a few pieces of glass but if
you've cot access to a sandblaster then it’s worth a go.I’ve got a long way to go to catch up with you guys, hopefully in time I’llbe able to contribute something useful.  I’m
using a modified Roland DXY 1300 (1980s vintage) pen plotter for engraving at
the moment, I’ve junked the electronics, cut out the bed to have a variable
height table and just using the steppers with the X – Y rails.  I’m using
a flying laser head on the Y axis, with the single 445 diode mounted
horizontally and a 45 deg adjustable mirror to direct the enclosed beam to the
table.  I’m also using an additional focusing lens – currently 36mm FL –
to allow some height adjustment on the head and to act as a seal for air
assist, although I’m not using the air at the moment, but added an auxiliary
fan to remove the smoke.  I’m using TTL only at the moment but going
analogue soon.   I’m using a very, very cheap Chinese BOB and
stepper drivers – all wiring PSUs etc lashed up but working ok.  Hardware
and electronics cost probably less than $100 with the exception of the LD which
I already had.  I can’t wait to get the
analogue set up going, plus a new larger machine that will probably be next
winter’s project! The plan is to add another 9mm diode to my machine with the beam set at90 deg to the existing beam to even out the asymmetry with the single beam
profile.  I’ll do this by using a
polarised beam splitting/combining cube (PBS) to combine the beams.
Unfortunately, my Y axis is not torsionally ridged enough for this.  The
weight of the existing head is supported by 4 miniature ball races that run on
top of the axis guide rail, however the mass of the head is the problem on
acceleration and deceleration causing the Y axis beam to flex slightly in
torsion limiting the performance.  The added mass of an extra diode
head plus fan would only make matters worse.
I might have to go to a flying
optics design and mount the LDs remotely – but that’s another
day!   I’ve had some success with DotG, with Art’s great laser plugin
for Mach3 and with John’s brilliant PicEngrave Pro 4 software.  I’ll try to attach some pics to show where I’m
at with it but sorry if it doesn’t work!  This text seems very small too and I can't seem to alter it!

Pic I.  Machine working cutting a vector image.  The first focusing lens (to make a parallel beam ) is adjusted via the knurled ring between the heat sink and adjustable aluminium mirror mount.

Pic 2.  Close up of the head on the Y axis rail, the first focus ring and lens is removed here.  The second (36mm FL) lens sits in the top of the brass barrel.

Pic 3. Close up of the butterfly cut from very thin 3 ply. I Had to do one - lots actually, great for the grandchildren -  but so far failed with my name on the grain of rice!!!  Must try a shorter name!

Pic 4.  I did this one last night. A starling image grey scale and dithered, it's about 3 inches high, half scale and done with PicEngrave Pro 4 free version.  TTL on MDF and took about 8 hours.  There is a whiter band across the image that I'm not sure if is in the file or a defect in the MDF or drop in laser power etc.  The current was set at 270 mA but I didn't check it all the way through the cut.  Any ideas gratefully received.  I'm engraving another today on birch faced ply on a different part of the table to check that out.Cheers, Allan



Csatolások/Attachments: 1002328.jpg(35Kb) · 0119320.jpg(39Kb) · 2729539.jpg(52Kb) · 7895586.jpg(127Kb)
 
tweakie Dátum/Date: Csütörtök, 2014-05-29, 15:57 | Üzenet/Post # 602
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Excellent work Alan - I love that 90 deg laser head. ok

Tweakie.

(Alan, you can just use the standard font size - it is fine).


Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
 
Al Dátum/Date: Csütörtök, 2014-05-29, 16:24 | Üzenet/Post # 603
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Oops !! Sorry guys, the formatting of that post was all over the place and some words joined together but at least I think the photos are included at the bottom of the text.  I guess I need a driving lesson in how to make posts appear properly with photos included in the body of the post please, any advice greatly appreciated.

Cheers, Al

Hozzáadva (2014-05-29, 16:24)
---------------------------------------------
Thanks very much Tweakie, I've been hugely inspired and encouraged by the fantastic work that you've done and presented here and on your own and other web sites.  Apart from all the fine engineering work you've done, how on earth did you manage to animate your cat ??!  Not the place to discuss that or your Rover turbine I know but I'd be interested in your progress there, if you'd email me sometime when you've got a minute.  I used to run one for experimental work some time back.

Cheers, Al

 
tweakie Dátum/Date: Csütörtök, 2014-05-29, 16:28 | Üzenet/Post # 604
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Hi Alan,

No worries - you will get the hang of it smile

When you have uploaded your photo's clicking 'Beillesztés a szerkesztőbe' will place each one at the position of the cursor (you only get to see $image$ but the photo will be there.

Hope this helps.

Tweakie.


Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
 
tweakie Dátum/Date: Csütörtök, 2014-05-29, 16:38 | Üzenet/Post # 605
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Hi Alan,

Sounds like we have a lot to catch up on and share biggrin

Just in case you have not already seen the V-Slot system it would be an easy replacement for your existing linear rails if you do decide to rebuild your machine. http://openbuilds.com/builds/v-slot-belt-pinion-example-build.97/ (seems just right for a laser).

Tweakie.


Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
 
picengraver Dátum/Date: Péntek, 2014-05-30, 00:59 | Üzenet/Post # 606
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Allan,
Welcome.  I appreciate your compliment.

I'm also glad to see you managed to post a first message, and with pictures.  I am especially intrigued with your laser head.  Did you machine it yourself?   Would you care to share parts source?

Looking forward to more posts and pictures of your engraving work.
John


I paint with a blue light beam.
 
Al Dátum/Date: Péntek, 2014-05-30, 12:00 | Üzenet/Post # 607
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Hi Tweakie and John, thanks for the link to the openbuilds site Tweakie, I'd not found their site during any searches.  I had been considering one design using similar extruded rails and making guide wheels etc.  Why re-invent the wheel !  Their system looks very well thought out, designed and manufactured, not only that but the prices seem reasonable too.  Oh dear I can feel a re-design coming on!

Yes I machined all the parts for the laser head myself John, many thanks for the welcome.  The thinking behind the 90 deg beam path was two fold.  One to allow the CG of the head to be more or less above the centre of the Y rail, as the existing rail guides were very flimsy and I wanted to add a carriage to support the weight of the head.  The second reason was that I wanted to include a 45 deg steering mirror so that I could adjust accurately the beam exit position and use a small exit (1.2 mm) dia for the beam to limit smoke contamination on the second lens.  I've included - I hope - some pics to illustrate the design.  The heat sink and fan are shown as solid black parts just for simplicity.  The mirror carrier tube is made from 19 mm square box section aluminium with a 1.5 mm wall - could have done with a thicker wall but that's all I had.  The mirror carrier plate (not shown) actually extends through the front face of the square tube and not quite as shown on the drawing.  The section drawing shows the inner parts of the second lens carrier housing.  The housing sits inside the square tube (not shown) and is locked in place by a grub screw.  All the components of this are made from brass with the exception of the lens holder - shown in red.  This is aluminium to allow the lens to be crimped in place to achieve an air seal.  The lens holder position can be adjusted by means of different height spacers above or underneath it.  The nozzle and lens collar screw into the bottom and top of the assembly which has 10 mm of vertical adjustment.  Not much but I was limited by the close proximity of the bed - that's before I cut it away to give me an adjustable height table.

I get my parts from a variety of sources - usually ebay and the best price I can find, I've listed some with links below.

Diodes, 3 element glass lenses, TTL drivers etc Techhood
http://stores.ebay.com/Techhood?_trksid=p2047675.l2563

Heatsink, I use these because they are 40X40 mm, fit a standard 40X40 fan and will dissipate a lot of heat.  They come with a complete set of mountings for the diode and lens but I've made custom bits to replace these as I've cut the heatsinks in half for this application .
http://www.ebay.com/itm....b8e5848

Special lenses - used for my second focusing lens etc- always buy the coated lenses if possible, huge selection and very reasonable prices, sometimes get caught for duty to the uk.
http://www.surplusshed.com/

Dual channel 3A analogue high sided driver with thermal protection for the diode.  I've not used this yet but looks very well made and the guy is very helpful.  It will also allow several diodes to be run in series.
http://www.ebay.com/itm....ea2c21e

Sorry if we end up with multiple copies of this post or no pics etc, I just tried to post it but didn't seem to send!

Cheers, Al

Csatolások/Attachments: 1700527.jpg(48Kb) · 2977408.jpg(26Kb)
 
picengraver Dátum/Date: Péntek, 2014-05-30, 17:26 | Üzenet/Post # 608
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Ingenious.  Well done, Al. respect
John


I paint with a blue light beam.
 
Honk Dátum/Date: Szombat, 2014-05-31, 04:54 | Üzenet/Post # 609
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Hi Al
Thanks for the input. And a well done from me too.
I did a test fish on Baltic  Birch, 10 X 12 inches to see what its going to look like. I did it with the diode, Dithered,  the DAC,  Analog, Horz .005 Pixel Resolution. Now I'm going to try it on Glass and I am sure I am in unfamiliar surroundings. Thanks, Questions to Come! Jerry 

Hozzáadva (2014-05-31, 04:54)
---------------------------------------------
Well I tried and it did etch the glass. C02, Analog, Dithered.  (I don't know how to spell etch) Is there a way to darken the etched glass? Pre paint, Post paint, rub in bacon fat, I just don't know what I am doing but it is fun wrecking stuff to find out. Any ideas?
Thank you
Jerry

Csatolások/Attachments: 6210434.jpg(199Kb)
 
tweakie Dátum/Date: Szombat, 2014-05-31, 06:02 | Üzenet/Post # 610
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Hi Al,

Thanks for posting the diagrams of your 90 deg. laser head - a very neat design ok

What material did you use for the mirror ?

Tweakie.


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Al Dátum/Date: Szombat, 2014-05-31, 13:31 | Üzenet/Post # 611
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Wow Jerry, the trout is absolutely superb, I can just feel it bending my rod - I wish!  I think you got etch just right or I can't spell it as well.  Regarding darkening the image, I think I'd try some small test images and try spray paint probably black but different colours might work, then wipe the excess off the surface with a squeegee - flat rubber window wiper blade- let the paint dry in the etching, then clean the surface with a cloth dampened but not wet with paint thinners.  The bacon fat might grow an interesting shade of mould in time but would smell real good!  I'm glad the CO2 glass engraving worked well, I look to see if I could find any information on the web site of a former contact who is a glass engraver.  Interestingly, as she usees lead crystal glass she doesn't use her CO2 laser to engrave it as apparently the lead in the glass causes it to explode so she says!  Also I remember that she used to do very beautiful deep relief glass engraving by hand using diamond burs on a flexi drive from a dremel like machine.  These appeared very 3D and lifelike just like the lithophanes I've seen presented here and elsewhere.  Now there's a thought, would it be possible to do a similar thing on glass by cnc engraving?  Diamond burrs, very very light cuts and slow feed,  water as coolant retained in a plasticine "dam" on the glass surface.  I bet someone's had a go.

Tweakie, the mirrors I use I cut from a larger mirror with a tiny diamond coated slitting saw mounted on a dremel.  It's a front surface broadband mirror 1.6 mm thick that I bought from Edmund Optics some years ago and I use it for all my beam steering mirrors - link below.  I've included a couple of pics to show their use but in a different application - laser projector and white light laser pointer.  There are two different mount designs but the principle is the same.  The movable mirror mount is held centrally by an allen screw with a half spherical collar under the allen screw head that sits in a chamfered counter bore in the centre of the fixed or movable plate.  There is more clearance than usual between the head and tread of the screw to allow the mount to tilt a few degrees.  The mount is adjusted by 3 or 4 grub or allen screws from the fixed part of the mount.  In the first pic (inside my laser projector) mirror1 is similar although much larger to the mirror mount used in my engraver head.  It has a fixed back plate and a movable mirror plate.  It's just possible to see the small steering mirror mounted centrally.  I use quick set epoxy to mount the mirrors on the mounting plate.  Mirrors 2 and 3 have a different design of mount with the mirror mounted to movable block with a surface cut at 45 deg.  I mentioned combining beams using a PBS cube in my previous post, I've also used this picture to illustrate how it is done for people that may be interested.  The cube is used here to combine two red beams 650 and 632 nm, one beam goes straight through the cube and the other enters at 90 deg to the first beam and is then turned through 90 deg in the cube to combine with the first output beam.  The advantage of using this technique to combine the beams is that the beams will always be co-axial regardless of the Z height, although quite a bit more work setting it all up.  The second pic I've included is to show one of the beam steering mirror mount designs with the half spherical collar shown around the allen screw in exploded view.  If anyone wants to use this design of mirror mount for CO2 beam steering then obviously use gold coated mirrors.

I'm pretty sure it was this mirror or equivalent.
http://www.edmundoptics.co.uk/optics....20

Cheers, Al



Csatolások/Attachments: 6803880.jpg(54Kb) · 3378079.jpg(92Kb)
 
tweakie Dátum/Date: Vasárnap, 2014-06-01, 13:24 | Üzenet/Post # 612
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Hi Al,

Thanks for explaining about the mirrors and the adjustable mountings. I guess they are tricky to adjust but I suspect it’s one of those things that gets easier with practice.
The 3 way beam combiner is something else - very impressive indeed and my congratulations sir you have done a great job with that.
The twin beam combiner, especially because of it’s co-axial beam, is probably the most useful for the things that we do here and I look forward to hearing of your progress with this.
Thanks for sharing all this information, it is much appreciated.
Keep up the good work my friend.

Tweakie


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picengraver Dátum/Date: Szerda, 2014-06-18, 12:13 | Üzenet/Post # 613
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This was engraved with gcode from PEP.  I made some minor manual editing so the gcode was compatible with My Shapeoko 2 machine operating with an Arduino UNO controller and GRBL, the popular Arduino gcode software.  I used the development version 9d of GRBL, and a gcode sender program I am developing for GRBL.  The image is 5 x 4.5 inches, and took about 1hr 10min to engrave.

Pixel resolution - .0075 inches
Feed rate - 50ipm
Laser diode M140 at 1.7 amps max.

I have been experimenting with the Shapeoko 2 with the Arduino controller for a few weeks now, and while I find it very limited in features when compared to Mach3, I am pleased with its laser diode engraving performance.  Presently I am using a Dave's DAC for the laser, but I soon will start experimenting with a simplified digital pot circuit and also an MA3 rotary encoder.

I plan to engrave the same image today using PicLaser Lite to generate the gcode, and I will post results for comparison later.

Regards to All,
John Champlain

Csatolások/Attachments: 7066141.jpg(60Kb)


I paint with a blue light beam.
 
tweakie Dátum/Date: Szerda, 2014-06-18, 13:08 | Üzenet/Post # 614
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Excellent work John (both with the image reproduction and your Arduino / GRBL work) respect

Tweakie.


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picengraver Dátum/Date: Szerda, 2014-06-18, 23:07 | Üzenet/Post # 615
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Thank you Tweakie. 

Here is the PicLaser Lite version I did this morning. 
John
Csatolások/Attachments: 4725881.jpg(68Kb)


I paint with a blue light beam.
 
Doug Dátum/Date: Csütörtök, 2014-06-19, 21:16 | Üzenet/Post # 616
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Hi John, Looking good!  (as always).  Thanks for providing your specs.  What is size of engraving?
 
picengraver Dátum/Date: Szombat, 2014-06-21, 00:09 | Üzenet/Post # 617
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Thank Doug,
It is about 5 x 4.5 inches, and took about 1hr 45min to engrave.
John


I paint with a blue light beam.
 
madmike8 Dátum/Date: Szombat, 2014-06-21, 00:09 | Üzenet/Post # 618
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Hi, I'm new. I'm thinking about making a small CNC laser engraver using the 445nm diodes.

i was looking at using picengrave pro. I haven't downloaded it yet, but will try this weekend. What's the difference between it and PicLaser Lite you just demoed?
 
picengraver Dátum/Date: Szombat, 2014-06-21, 00:16 | Üzenet/Post # 619
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Hello Mike, and Welcome.

PicLaser Lite, which is not quite ready for release yet, has far fewer features and engraving options than PicEngrave Pro, and it is not planned to have updates from time to time as has been the policy to-date with PicEngrave.  PicLaser lite is primarily directed towards Arduino users who want to get started at less cost doing basic engraving using GRBL, although it can also be used with Mach3.

Thanks for asking.
John


I paint with a blue light beam.

Az üzenetet módosította/Modified by picengraver - Szombat, 2014-06-21, 00:17
 
madmike8 Dátum/Date: Szombat, 2014-06-21, 00:28 | Üzenet/Post # 620
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I'll probably go with the Pro. I can kinda go either way. I have Mach3 and a breakout board, an UNO with. GRBL shield, and a Mega2560 with a RAMPS board. I plan to try the Mega/RAMPS combo first using Marlin Firmware adapted for use in this project. But if that fails I can fall back to the Mach3 setup. I'm still gathering parts, so it'll be a bit...
 
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