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View Full Version : 50W CO2 Laser Machine Unboxing, Review, Modifications & More



Want2build1
09-05-2014, 09:01 PM
The Box
The pallet it's on is 4' x 4'



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It was nailed and bolted together with speed bolts.


The top off
The exhaust pipe is squished ... the bag contains leads manuals software etc...
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A couple more sides off ...

I opened it up to take out the extras.
The air compressor
The water pump
The rotary table (4th axis)

This reduced the weight a bit

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Once in the workshop, the tube compartment ... stuffed with air pocket packing

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And the tube ... still in one piece :)

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That all the photo's for now.

I'll get it into a suitable position tomorrow and set about commissioning it
More photos obviously.

Over all I'm very impressed with the build quality , considering it's half priced and Chinese !
The cabinet is well made, powder coated and fits well together.
All the catches and hinges work as they should.

It looks the job !

Happy so far :D

GEOFFREY
09-05-2014, 09:10 PM
That looks very nice, great value too. Perhaps when you get it set up you can come up here and set mine up!!! Good luck. G.

Want2build1
09-05-2014, 09:15 PM
Thanks G

I'll put on here how I get on.

From what I've read, your corner problem is common for 'beginners'
The laser power for cutting at full speed, is obviously more than is needed when it slows down for the corners ... I have no idea how to solve that ... A.T.M. I just know it needs solving :)

Lee Roberts
10-05-2014, 12:06 AM
Looking good so far, thanks for sharing!

.Me

Want2build1
10-05-2014, 01:25 PM
nearly ready to move it to a temporary working place .. at the cost of not having space to work at the mo !

This is it currently sat on my Wadkin table saw .. which isn't small !

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Want2build1
10-05-2014, 01:55 PM
hmmmm ... not there either, else I can't use any of my outfeed table !

It really is bigger than I had imagined with a tape measure in my hand ! lol ... doh !!!

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Want2build1
10-05-2014, 02:27 PM
ok ... this will work for now ... I can use my cross cut sled again :)


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Want2build1
10-05-2014, 05:09 PM
Water pump in bucket and air pump (silent!)

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1st test cut ok :)

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Is just the test pattern in the controller rom..
Cut 4mm MDF in default settings, 6mm in two passes.

I've not calibrated. aligned or focused yet, but all is good so far :)

Want2build1
10-05-2014, 06:15 PM
...........

longy
13-05-2014, 01:04 AM
How's the laser going ? I would love to know how your getting on with it. When you get going fully test some acrylic 6mm and over and see if it does the edge cut at 90* I ask because a guy who spent £7.5k on a 1200x900 laser told me they cut at a slight angle and not 90* So keep the pics coming and the video please.
Mike

Want2build1
13-05-2014, 01:13 AM
Hi Mike
Not had a great deal of time with it yet, just getting used to the software (100 page manual)and put the laser on the network etc.
I haven't checked the beam path alignment yet either.
Then I'll need to make a test file up, to cut at different powers and speeds, to get to know how this machine handles .... apparently, they are all slightly different in personality, and you have to get to know them.
I also need a proper water tank, might need a chiller as the summer comes. Will have to get an air filter for the workshop compressor, so I can ditch the silly little air pump that came with the cutter and run a decent PSI through the air assist ... etc.. etc...
Just Ordered some ally honeycomb to make a bed... lots to do !

gavztheouch
13-05-2014, 01:35 AM
Mike all laser cutters will cut with a draft angle on the edge and not 90 degrees to the surface. this is down to the focus lens. The lens takes the 1mm wide co2 laser beam and concentates the beam down to a focused ~0.1mm dot. There is only a narrow range in which the beam is in focus, so with your 6mm sheet fir example maybe only 1mm is in focus then the beam starts the spread apart. Its this spreading of the beam that causes the non straight cuts. Hope that made sense?

Lee Roberts
13-05-2014, 02:54 PM
Mike all laser cutters will cut with a draft angle on the edge and not 90 degrees to the surface. this is down to the focus lens. The lens takes the 1mm wide co2 laser beam and concentates the beam down to a focused ~0.1mm dot. There is only a narrow range in which the beam is in focus, so with your 6mm sheet fir example maybe only 1mm is in focus then the beam starts the spread apart. Its this spreading of the beam that causes the non straight cuts. Hope that made sense?

So, when setting the machine up, are we trying to find the “sweet spot” for the distance the laser is away from the material that it cuts with minimal draft angle but isn’t too close that the power needed to cut burns? the material, or is there more to it?

.Me

Want2build1
13-05-2014, 03:32 PM
So, when setting the machine up, are we trying to find the “sweet spot” for the distance the laser is away from the material that it cuts with minimal draft angle but isn’t too close that the power needed to cut burns? the material, or is there more to it?

.Me

haha ! MUCH more to it than that !
I'm just learning, but it depends a lot on the material being cut, then the thickness, and the focal length of the lens.

I'l post more as I learn, but for thin material a short focal length give a narrow 'pin point' for the 'z' if you like.
For thick material, you want a long focal length which gives a narrower 'pin point over a longer 'z'

Think of the beam as a triangle from the lens to the cut. then follow the lines through to make a cross (X) .
A short focus gives a stubby triangle (eg. 90deg V bit in CNC)
a long focus gives a tall pointy triangle. (eg. 60deg V bit in CNC)


Must get on with work now !!!

Want2build1
13-05-2014, 03:55 PM
BTW ... I wasn't laughing at you ...

but at the whole laser thing.

It seems most 'newB's inc. me, think you'll draw on the screen, then cut it on the laser ..

I found the learning curve like walking on a beach .. nice and gentle gradual rise until you buy a machine.
This just happens to be at the base of a cliff !!!

Sure, it 'might' cut something out of the box .. but to use it properly, is something else completely !

Isaac
15-05-2014, 12:11 PM
Nice machine, I've almost finished my build(700x600) and have kept the cost under £800. If you need any help, let me know. I've been using them for around 4 years now for business :)

Also, the little pump that comes with it is better than you think, the idea is to keep the lens clear and the smoke out of the way of the cut. Too much pressure and you will cool the cut and it wont cut through :) I ditched my air compressor for a pond pump and it saved my sanity.

As for cooling, if your not short on space, get a water get a water butt and fill it. At 50w you will barely change the temp of the water.

Want2build1
15-05-2014, 12:21 PM
Thanks Isaac
What are you using for a controller ?
As for cooling .. I thought a couple of freezer ice packs a day in the bucket will do for a bit.
I just bought some honeycomb for the bed.. I bought from here ..
9.1mm (3/4) 3000 Alloy Aluminium Honeycomb to Buy Online - Easy Composites (http://www.easycomposites.co.uk/products/core-materials/19mm-aluminium-honeycomb.aspx)
as it was a lot cheaper than buying from the people selling it for laser beds ! .. I should get 4 beds out of this piece :)

Isaac
15-05-2014, 12:25 PM
A small bucket like that is similar to one I used a few years ago. In the middle on June I was using 3-4 icepacks every hour :/

The honeycomb is cool stuff, I use it in this machine but want to try the mesh too.

I use a self built controller with mach3 and LinuxCNC, is that the AWC608 DSP with yours?

Want2build1
15-05-2014, 12:34 PM
the controller is from these people
SHENZHENREADER TECHNOLOGY CO.,LTD (http://en.rd-acs.com/pro.aspx)
it seems powerfull enough, and the software doesn't look too bad.
It's for windows, and I use Linux .. It loaded under wine ok in the house, but wont load so far on the workshop machine. so for now I dual boot to use it.
I can see me building a bigger machine, or extending this one. It looks like I could extend the Y axis out the front without much modification. But I need to build another CNC too .. busy busy !
What do you use your laser for ?

Want2build1
15-05-2014, 01:24 PM
ok, after googling DSP .. yes, mine looks like it is DSP :)

Want2build1
16-05-2014, 06:37 PM
Isaac

Can I ask where you got your tube and power supply from ?

Isaac
18-05-2014, 06:35 PM
I got the supply from aliexpress and the tube from cncoletech on ebay :)

I use the big laser for sign/shape cutting and the small one for engraving mainly. Whats the plan for yours?

Want2build1
18-05-2014, 06:38 PM
ah .. I've seen coletech .. and wondered if they were to speck !? I was thinking of buying a higher power tube and power supply and upgrading my cutter. Keeping this one for backup.

Are you happy with the tube / process of shipping etc ?

Isaac
18-05-2014, 06:39 PM
Yeah, first one arrived broken, I sent a couple of pics and within a couple of days he had another sent out to me :)

Want2build1
18-05-2014, 06:43 PM
was it signed for, then you found it broken ?
Or did you check before you signed for it ?
As I've seen that in the terms and conditions ?

Isaac
18-05-2014, 06:52 PM
I signed then opened and found it broken. If you refuse delivery I believe you can drive to the parcelforce mail center and open it on their premises to check it.

The coletech guy was fine, within 10 mins of me sending the pics he told me another was being sent :)

I bitched about it on twitter to parcelforce.

Want2build1
18-05-2014, 07:09 PM
ok .. the deal breaker ! ... would you buy from them again ?

My parcelforce is 5 mins away, but no guarantee that is who it will arrive by !

I'm really impressed with the capabilities of the software and controller etc. .. you can set laser power as a percentage of speed, so it doesn't burn in the corners etc .. Lot's to learn .. but I'm very glad I didn't go with the cheaper option :) It does path optimisation, recover from failed run/power fault .. loads of advanced features !

I can see me ordering another when I get it up and in production :)
.. and then another ....

Isaac
18-05-2014, 07:25 PM
ok .. the deal breaker ! ... would you buy from them again ?

My parcelforce is 5 mins away, but no guarantee that is who it will arrive by !

I'm really impressed with the capabilities of the software and controller etc. .. you can set laser power as a percentage of speed, so it doesn't burn in the corners etc .. Lot's to learn .. but I'm very glad I didn't go with the cheaper option :) It does path optimisation, recover from failed run/power fault .. loads of advanced features !

I can see me ordering another when I get it up and in production :)
.. and then another ....

They send by EMS who is delivered by Parcelforce in the UK. I would definitely buy from them again they were quick to reply and kept to their promise of sending again if it arrives broken :)

Want2build1
18-05-2014, 07:46 PM
Thanks .. usefull info :)

another question missed .. what do you cut with yours ?

MDF ? Plastic ? Engraving ?? etc ..

Isaac
18-05-2014, 07:47 PM
All of the above :) Plywood too.

Want2build1
18-05-2014, 07:50 PM
:)
Ta

I'm looking for a supplier for laser/birch ply 1.5 and 3mm

Any hints ?

My local woodyard says their supplier is 4mm minimum

Isaac
18-05-2014, 07:56 PM
I use Hobarts and Hindleys, and Slec for thinner stuff :)

Bazzer
18-05-2014, 09:03 PM
HPC laser do some nice quality laser ply

Want2build1
18-05-2014, 09:07 PM
Ta :)
Is that in trade qty ?

Isaac
18-05-2014, 09:15 PM
Last time I tried with HPC they wouldn't post. Hindleys has a £7 flat rate for next day delivery(if you order in the morning) and they have cheap acrylic too.

Want2build1
18-05-2014, 09:28 PM
with medite mdf I ususally buy 40 sheets 1220x2440 every month, so these little sheets seem a bit odd !
(so that's 320 sheets 600x600)

I'll contact them and see what they say ..

Isaac
18-05-2014, 09:30 PM
Medite MDF is fine for laser work.

Want2build1
18-05-2014, 09:33 PM
That's what I'd read.... just considering offering birch ply too, and acrylic ... and ... :)

Want2build1
27-05-2014, 11:18 AM
Just a very quick update ...

Something I hadn't considered ! ... dust !
I make tons of it with the CNC router...

Absolutely no good at all for the laser optics ! lol ... really obvious, but I overlooked it ..

I have another dust extractor being delivered today, and will be making a lot of changes to get the workshop dust down as much as posible.

The laser has an exhaust fan, which blows all the fumes outside... but, the air in the machine has to be replaced from somewhere ... that somewhere is the room it's in, and hence the air quality will make a difference to your machine use.

2 problems with dust.. 1st dust on the optics will reduce the output at the cutting point.
2nd, and most important.. the laser beam will heat any dust it sees in it's path. If it happens to be on a mirror or focus lens, then it will heat them, and potentially destroy them !

Cleaning and aligning the optics should be a regular task anyway, but a dusty room is an non starter !


Apart from that, I'm happy to say I've learned enough so far to put the machine to use and have started selling it's output :)

Want2build1
12-06-2014, 01:24 PM
another small update ...
Machine is working wel

Issues I need to deal with ..

Smoke !!!
I he\t my workshop with a log burner .. and worrie about upsetting the neighbours ! I'm a fair bit away from them at the workshop, but the laser is making much more smoke than the woodburner !!! ... I didn't expect that !! ... will be figuring out how to deal with the, and let you know how I get on.

Cooling !
I'm using the laser a couple og=f hours a day at the mo ..water is typicaly 18deg in the morning. I can get a couple of hours cutting and it's up to 30ged ... which I don't want to go beyond. I have a cheapey thermometer with a temp probe I leave in the bucket.

imeadiate solution .. ice packs or froxen water in bottles .. or bigger bucket.

longer tme solutions .. second hand/freebie/recycled freezer .. modded with tubes/pipes etc.. to keep everything cool ...

will update as and when :)

irving2008
12-06-2014, 02:54 PM
Small car radiator and a couple of 120mm 12v fans will do the job I reckon.

Want2build1
12-06-2014, 02:58 PM
Small car radiator and a couple of 120mm 12v fans will do the job I reckon.

do you reckon , or do you know ?

I'm all for experimenting ... but knowledge is good )

Want2build1
12-06-2014, 04:12 PM
remember a freezer is a heat pump ! ... 4x efficient ! :)

Isaac
13-06-2014, 07:26 PM
Don't let it go above 22 or you will shorten the life of the tube. Get to poundland and buy 2-3 of the aluminium bottles in the camping section. Fill them with water and chuck in the freezer. Use 2 when the water is at 18 and top up as needed.

Want2build1
13-06-2014, 10:03 PM
Don't let it go above 22 or you will shorten the life of the tube. Get to poundland and buy 2-3 of the aluminium bottles in the camping section. Fill them with water and chuck in the freezer. Use 2 when the water is at 18 and top up as needed.

even better .. I re use the 2l bottles thet you get the cheap lemonaid or coke in ! ... even if you don't drink it, it's cheaper than £1 !

Want2build1
14-06-2014, 06:49 PM
today is 29deg in the shop (air temp)... ideally I want the laser water at 15-20 deg ... so a radiator at room temp might help, but is not the total solution.

Want2build1
14-06-2014, 06:52 PM
I'm currently looking at used freezers on ebay ,,, seems like £20 is average which seems like a no brainer,

Next thing is coolant.

Laser manual says water and replace every week

I'm thinking car antifreeze ??? what do you think about that ?

Remember , in the winter... temps drop below Z in the work shop !

Bazzer
15-06-2014, 11:04 AM
You want deionised water and some sort of anti freeze that can inhibit corrosion and algae growth etc. I use a chiller and the hpc antifreeze, but will only change my water every 3 months or so

Want2build1
15-06-2014, 07:55 PM
just 'salvaged' the under counter freezer from our kitchen .. It's not been used for about 7 yrs as it cut out some times ... problem was likely lack of ventilation from the sealed run of cabinets and appliances it was housed in ! :/

I plan to fill it with 2L pop bottles filled with water ... as a cold store ... then run a micro bore copper tube (I already have) as sort of a coil ... but to fit where I can ...

I can't see why it wont work ?

Industrial water chillers are plenty £££'s ! ... so I'm hoping to save :) ... hopefully I can use the same set up for my water-cooled spindle too :)

Pics will follow :)

gavztheouch
13-11-2014, 08:27 PM
How are you getting on with your laser, I have been thinking again about buying one of these machines?

Want2build1
04-01-2015, 09:30 PM
It has served me well so far .

I'm just upgrading the tube to 60w as the 50w original tube is about worn out.
It is about 1 foot longer, so will need to take advantage of the removable panel on the side, so the new tube will "stick out" a bit.
An enclosure will be made to protect the tube from me, and me from the tube !

gavztheouch
04-01-2015, 10:16 PM
Cool glad to hear she is doing you well. I was really tempted but in the end I bought some parts from aliexpress to rebuild my old laser.

http://www.mycncuk.com/threads/7231-laser-cutter-engraver-rebuild-build-log/page2

calida
01-02-2015, 06:18 PM
I need help with mine....