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gr8fun
14-07-2016, 07:15 PM
Hi All

I've been running my homebrew plasma table for a couple of years now and I'm still really enjoying it, however, there looks like there could be a requirement to cut some 3mm birch ply.

What parts would I need to convert my plasma machine to a laser machine?
I've seen super fandangled cooling systems, power supplies, tubes and mirrors etc and I can't get my head around what is actually NEEDED.
I believe a 40w laser would do the task - can anyone confirm\reject this?
Should I decide to beef things up (laser wise) what is needed to cut say 6mm mdf? (in for a penny in for a pound!)

Any advice greatly received even if it is "don't bother buy a Chinese thingy"

ATB and many thanks

Danny
:ambivalence:

komatias
14-07-2016, 10:44 PM
I am a firm believer in one machine for one process. So I would suggest you buy a cheap chinese laser cutter even if it is at 40W. I went with the 50W which was slightly dearer but had on board controls.

In terms of what you would need to convert a plasma to laser:

Powersupply 100
laser tube ~300-500
optics 100
holders for the optics ~100
Waterpump or chiller for the tube 10-500
fume extraction method 20-1000

gr8fun
15-07-2016, 07:54 AM
Thanks komatias
I must admit I am with you on the one machine per task. But for a first foray into laser I would be prepared to compromise for a short time.
Thanks for the break down that is fab.
Your 50w machine. ...What is the max thickness mdf it will cut?
This could be the way to go.
Cheers
Danny

komatias
15-07-2016, 09:50 AM
Thanks komatias
I must admit I am with you on the one machine per task. But for a first foray into laser I would be prepared to compromise for a short time.
Thanks for the break down that is fab.
Your 50w machine. ...What is the max thickness mdf it will cut?
This could be the way to go.
Cheers
Danny

Danny,

MDF is a shit material to laser. There are specific ones that work better though but the fumes they give off a sickening. During cutting the glue that holds the particles together melts and runs leaving a very ugly finish on the side. That is why laserply is better in general.

My machine can cut through 6mm laserply at 5mm/s and 4mm at 10mm/s at 56% power.

When it comes to pine, you can really blast through it with very little power as it is a less dense material. Have done up to 12mm pine but you do lose the crisp edge due to the beam being out of focus through most of the thickness.

gr8fun
15-07-2016, 12:13 PM
Thank you!
That's good to hear. Sound advice on the mdf. And a 50w seems to be more than enough. Now off to the boss (wife) for budget :-o

:-D