L-Cheapo Laser

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jesse
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L-Cheapo Laser

Post by jesse »

This is a thread for discussing the L-Cheapo laser cutter upgrade.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/l-ch ... attachment

Rostock Max mount: http://repables.com/r/370/

A thread by heathenx: viewtopic.php?f=59&t=6130&hilit=cheapo

Anyone have suggestions for the backstop material?

Here's a safety shield: http://jtechphotonics.com/?product=445n ... -shielding

This site also sell 3d printer laser upgrades: http://jtechphotonics.com/?product=445n ... -shielding

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heathenx
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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

Post by heathenx »

If you are looking for a good source for acrylic then I would recommend Tap Plastics (http://www.tapplastics.com/product/plas ... _color/341). These guys are out of California and shipping takes about 5 days to get to Indiana but it's well worth it. So far the red 1/8" opaque material cuts the best in my tests. Green is another good color to laser but it doesn't cut as cleanly as red. You might have to give it another couple of passes. I haven't tried any other color except for red and green or any other thickness.

I ordered a few sheets of acrylic from Inventables a few days ago (https://www.inventables.com/categories/ ... ls/acrylic). These guys are in Chicago, I think, so perhaps shipping will be much quicker (since they're only a couple hours away). I have no idea if their acrylic will cut as easily as Tap Plastic's. I'll let you know once I get it how well it works.

As for balsa, head to your local Michael's or Hobby Lobby and pick up a various thickness pack. It's like $8. Balsa and Bass wood is pretty much useless stuff for me but it's fun to practice with.
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Tap Plastics 1/8" Thick Red Acrylic (Opaque)
Tap Plastics 1/8" Thick Red Acrylic (Opaque)

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heathenx
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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

Post by heathenx »

I received my Inventables acrylic yesterday. 1/8" thick red opaque. It appears to cut just fine, equally as well as Tap Plastics. I cut a small .375" square.
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0822141156.jpg
0822140740.jpg

bubbasnow
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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

Post by bubbasnow »

just got one of these....this is going to be sick!

critical_limit
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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

Post by critical_limit »

Hi,

I struggle with some settings in the GCode/Firmware.

When I use my Rostock for Extrusion it starts at the Hotbed and going up Layer by Layer.
Now for the Laser it has to go down Layer by Layer. On his Homepage Wiki he said that you have to set the Z-Scaling to -1 in the slicers Profile.
Can´t find it in Slic3r or Cura.

How did you do that? Or do you ignore that? Want to have the focus of the Laser at the optimum 100mm. When I need 30 passes to cut the sheet I have to go DOWN every "layer" for 0,05mm or 0,1mm.

So, what to change??

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heathenx
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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

Post by heathenx »

critical_limit wrote:Hi,

I struggle with some settings in the GCode/Firmware.

When I use my Rostock for Extrusion it starts at the Hotbed and going up Layer by Layer.
Now for the Laser it has to go down Layer by Layer. On his Homepage Wiki he said that you have to set the Z-Scaling to -1 in the slicers Profile.
Can´t find it in Slic3r or Cura.

How did you do that? Or do you ignore that? Want to have the focus of the Laser at the optimum 100mm. When I need 30 passes to cut the sheet I have to go DOWN every "layer" for 0,05mm or 0,1mm.

So, what to change??


Yeah, that Z-Scaling -1 thing threw me for a loop too. I don't quite understand how that works...so I disregarded the whole thing. You really don't need to worry about it if you use my method for laser cutting. Rather than using a 3D printer slicer, such as, slic3r or cura, try using Inkscape with my modified gcode extension (https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/172 ... ode_hx.zip). It's a slightly altered version of Adam Polak's extension (http://polakiumengineering.org/1000-por ... er-cutter/). All if I've done was add up to 99 passes (no one would need that many) instead of 10 and added some starting and ending gcode in the python file.

So, with this extension in Inkscape, you basically tell it how many passes you want at what layer height. After you export your gcode and open it in a text editor you'll notice that your Z values are negative values. That's what makes your rostock go downward instead of upward. For instance, in Inkscape if you've set the Z height to drop down every .5mm then you will see a -Z.5 just before every pass. Pro tip: You could even do a find/replace on all "Z-.5" and replace with "Z-.45" or something else if you wanted to chnage just the Z depth values. No reason to re-export the from Inkscape again.

I set my Z0 to 85mm (not 100mm) above my scrap surface because that's where I get the sharpest laser dot. If I want to cut acrylic that measures 3mm thick (about 1/8") then I open the gcode file in a text editor and change "Z0" to "Z3.0". That ensure that your laser is sharpest on the top of your cutting surface. Remember, you are working downward.

I had hoped to record a youtube video of my entire workflow to help others but I just haven't had a chance. I really need to do that soon. It would definitely help others get started.

By the way, regarding your focus, you need to turn your laser focus ring all of the way out (or loose). Get about 70mm away from your surface. In other words, move your Z up 70mm and set it as 0 on your LCD. Then put your goggles on and turn on your laser. The laser dot will be really fat. Turn the focus ring with your fingers until it's the smallest dot as you can get. Don't worry, you're your going to burn your fingers. After that you need to move your Z up or down until the laser dot is the smallest/sharpest. That's where you'll set your new Z0. Mine happens to 85mm. Yours might be a little different. Whatever it is just remember it when you go back and forth from lasering and 3D printing. I 3D printed a simple 85mm tall shim to help me set my Z faster. Setting the focus ring is a one time deal..so...set it and forget it.

jesse
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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

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heathenx
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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

Post by heathenx »

Excellent work. You out that together in no time.

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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

Post by bubbasnow »

got mine mounted

Image

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heathenx
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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

Post by heathenx »

Oh, I like that mount. I'm working on a magnetic variation of my mount. Ordered and received about 50 magnets to play with. I'd like to easily snap mine on and off.

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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

Post by jesse »

heathenx wrote:Excellent work. You out that together in no time.


Thanks to your design.

Code: Select all

How did you calibrate the spot size / focal length?  Is it better to have the laser near or far from the material?  What are you using to make the g-code?


Nevermind, i read the earlier posts.

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heathenx
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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

Post by heathenx »

jesse wrote:
heathenx wrote:Excellent work. You out that together in no time.


Thanks to your design.

How did you calibrate the spot size / focal length? Is it better to have the laser near or far from the material? What are you using to make the g-code?


Jesse, read a few previous posts. I explain what you're asking. I use Inkscape with a modified version of Adam Polak's gcode extension.

It's always better to get your laser as close as you can to your work. However, on my setup 80-85mm is where mine works the best.

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Eaglezsoar
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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

Post by Eaglezsoar »

bubbasnow wrote:got mine mounted

Image

What is the black box above the laser diode, I would guess a fan and perhaps the laser driver board.

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heathenx
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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

Post by heathenx »

A very large fan. It's ziptied to the verticle driver board.

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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

Post by jesse »

FYI, the mount on repables by heathenx is also compatible with the v1 rostock max.

To generate gcode from a normal slicer follow these steps.

Turn off the 3d printer
Unplug the extruder motor
Turn on the 3d printer
Generate gcode: Filament extrusion width 0.05mm, speed ~0.25 mm/s, infill 0%, 1 loop, perimeters first
Open the gcode in a text editor: Comment out any M140, M106, M109 gcodes with a ";"

Open the gcode in Rep-host and remove everything after the 1 loop. Use the gcode editor/view in rep-host which shows the gcode in 3d in yellow when the cursor is on the line

Set your z-height to the focal length where your laser point is the smallest (also, hottest). For instance, my bed height is 375.15 and my z-height is 141.15

Put on your safety glasses, turn on ventilation fan and/or air purifier
Enable the extruder heater in Repetier-Host

Run Gcode

When finished, turn off the extruder heater

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heathenx
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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

Post by heathenx »

I had about a two hour window yesterday to record a video. It's a bit rough, a bit long, I have some mistakes in it but it should be good enough to get someone started with the L-Cheapo if they are interested.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDRigsK ... e=youtu.be

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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

Post by jesse »

Nice video.

I found that it's possible to mount the L-cheapo without removing the hot-end screws.

The effector has 6 #6-32 holes. It's possible to use one set of three holes for the hot end and the other set for the laser.

Image
Image
Image
Image

Note, however, that I'm using an E3D v6 hot end, extra 1/2" spacers and screws, and a SeeMeCNC J-Head mount.

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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

Post by critical_limit »

I´m planning a Laser-Mod too. But here are some toughts:

Lets say the mount for the Laser is 80mm in hight. adding 100mm Laserbeam to have it focused well, you have 180mm from bottom of the effector to your cutting.

When the effector tilt for whatever reason ever - geometrical issue, lack in bearings etc. - lets say 0.2 degrees, your focussed laserspot is moving 0.63mm off. That´s massiv for a quality cut.

Even if it is tilting less than the above example, the more your effector is above your "cutting spot", the less is the quality.

For that reason isn´t it better to build a Holder that is above the effector Platform like it is for the Hotend? Or am I wrong?

Bubbasnow did it with his way of attaching, and I think it´s a better solution for higher resolution/quality.

Or am I completly offtrack?

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heathenx
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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

Post by heathenx »

@jesse

That's the way you are supposed to do it. I don't remove my hotend end screws ever. They are just long enough to accept my laser mount. All I have to do is screw on the nuts.

I just recently removed my E3Dv6 and went back to a stock hotend. I think I was getting some jamming with the E3D.

By the way, your mount looks really nice. Great job!

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heathenx
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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

Post by heathenx »

critical_limit wrote:I´m planning a Laser-Mod too. But here are some toughts:

Lets say the mount for the Laser is 80mm in hight. adding 100mm Laserbeam to have it focused well, you have 180mm from bottom of the effector to your cutting.

When the effector tilt for whatever reason ever - geometrical issue, lack in bearings etc. - lets say 0.2 degrees, your focussed laserspot is moving 0.63mm off. That´s massiv for a quality cut.

Even if it is tilting less than the above example, the more your effector is above your "cutting spot", the less is the quality.

For that reason isn´t it better to build a Holder that is above the effector Platform like it is for the Hotend? Or am I wrong?

Bubbasnow did it with his way of attaching, and I think it´s a better solution for higher resolution/quality.

Or am I completly offtrack?


Yes, it is better to mount your laser on top like bubbasnow. Always. However, I didn't want to unassemble anything. I don't like doing that. I want to easily go back and forth between 3D printing and lasering. Bubba can easily do that with a magnetic mount but I can't. That why I suspend from the bottom.

So far I've not run into delta issues with this mount. My parts haven't been any bigger than 3". My cuts seem precise and are not tapered. Clean side walls. Only time will tell if I start to have problems.

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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

Post by critical_limit »

@heathenx:

Don´t get me wrong please. No critics to your build. You did an amazing job and brought me to the Laser mod. Thanx for your posts, hints and of course the video. Good job.
My english isnt good enough to find the right words. So please execuse if it sound rough sometimes.

Anyway. But there is a advantage to first mod with magnetic ballends.... ;-)

Here is a quick draft of my Effector i made in the last 15 mins (I´m at work ;-) ):
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heathenx
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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

Post by heathenx »

That's alright, really. I didn't misunderstand you. I'm not a sensitive person. I can take critique. But it's not that at all. I agree with you actually. I'd love to get the laser on top of the effector but it wasn't easy for me that way. You actually gave me an idea for a magnetic removable hot end...not the effector.

Your mount design is quite interesting.

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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

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Image

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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

Post by Kevinvandeusen »

Anyone want to buy an unused l cheapo laser, I got,it but not the time! I paid $220. will sell for $190 shipping included. it is the 12 volt version, with universal mount, mounts for other printers can be printed, see above!!!
Distributor of SeeMeCNC in South Carolina

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Re: L-Cheapo Laser

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