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Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

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Diesel
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Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby Diesel » Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:59 am

As the subject implies, I was wondering if anyone has ever fitted a relatively low power laser to the Z axis on their plasma table.

I've seen some very impressive results so far with traditional scribes, but wondered if anyone has ever tried a laser. This has the potential for making very fine lines for marking bend lines, part numbers as well as offering quite the 'grayscale' gradient effect possible by varying the laser's output as it makes its way across the workpiece.

Regards,

Matt
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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby acourtjester » Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:13 pm

I have seen videos on youtube using lasers removed from DVD writers however the power is only good enough to burn paper.
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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby kkroger » Mon Feb 23, 2015 8:33 pm

I can engrave fairly well with a Porter Cable Trim Router on my PPLLC/CandCNC table...

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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby Diesel » Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:55 pm

acourtjester wrote:I have seen videos on youtube using lasers removed from DVD writers however the power is only good enough to burn paper.


That's a start! I'll have to look those up - thanks!

kkroger wrote:I can engrave fairly well with a Porter Cable Trim Router on my PPLLC/CandCNC table...


I'd say that's quite good!
What sort of router bit did you use on that?

Thanks guys - this is the type of dialogue I was hoping to start.

Regards,

Matt
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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby kkroger » Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:36 am

kkroger wrote:I can engrave fairly well with a Porter Cable Trim Router on my PPLLC/CandCNC table...

I'd say that's quite good!
What sort of router bit did you use on that?

Thanks guys - this is the type of dialogue I was hoping to start.

Regards,

Matt


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Prior to engraving I use a Straight Flute 1/4" Carbide bit to pocket a fixture, then use the V cutter tool and a contour to cut the lettering. I actually do all of the processes on that product, from Blanking, to Powder Coat to Engraving to "Fill" and finally packaging, this is Rev B on the Engraving, to simplify it and take the clients web site info off the product so they can sell it to a distributor and get away from direct sales. It is a tool used by the head linesman in American Football to keep track of the ball location on the down chains...

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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby WyoGreen » Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:37 am

I built a laser to use on my CNC router machine. It uses a laser from a DLP (digital laser projector). As has been mentioned, it works fine on paper, wood, leather, plastic, etc. but will not even make a mark on metal, no matter how slow you go.

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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby Diesel » Fri Feb 27, 2015 4:48 pm

kkroger wrote:Onsrud 1/4" Shank, 60 Degree 0 Point. Carbide, Dry, 30,000 RPM, 25 IPM feed rate (CAN cut faster but the finish is a bit rougher in the groove, this is cut at .010 depth, using a mean "0" I set zero in the center of the plate, then check zero on either side and top to bottom and take the average set the machine to that offset zero and run the program.
Prior to engraving I use a Straight Flute 1/4" Carbide bit to pocket a fixture, then use the V cutter tool and a contour to cut the lettering. I actually do all of the processes on that product, from Blanking, to Powder Coat to Engraving to "Fill" and finally packaging, this is Rev B on the Engraving, to simplify it and take the clients web site info off the product so they can sell it to a distributor and get away from direct sales. It is a tool used by the head linesman in American Football to keep track of the ball location on the down chains...


Outstanding information - thank you!
I'm starting to question whether I want a pneumatic scribe or rig up an electric unit. The latter sure would be quieter and cause the compressor to run less.

WyoGreen wrote:I built a laser to use on my CNC router machine. It uses a laser from a DLP (digital laser projector). As has been mentioned, it works fine on paper, wood, leather, plastic, etc. but will not even make a mark on metal, no matter how slow you go.


Good info, thanks!
I'm thinking I'd need at least 50W of laser output power to make decent lines on steel and other metals.

Regards,

Matt
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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby kkroger » Fri Feb 27, 2015 6:59 pm

Diesel wrote:
kkroger wrote:Onsrud 1/4" Shank, 60 Degree 0 Point. Carbide, Dry, 30,000 RPM, 25 IPM feed rate (CAN cut faster but the finish is a bit rougher in the groove, this is cut at .010 depth, using a mean "0" I set zero in the center of the plate, then check zero on either side and top to bottom and take the average set the machine to that offset zero and run the program.
Prior to engraving I use a Straight Flute 1/4" Carbide bit to pocket a fixture, then use the V cutter tool and a contour to cut the lettering. I actually do all of the processes on that product, from Blanking, to Powder Coat to Engraving to "Fill" and finally packaging, this is Rev B on the Engraving, to simplify it and take the clients web site info off the product so they can sell it to a distributor and get away from direct sales. It is a tool used by the head linesman in American Football to keep track of the ball location on the down chains...


Outstanding information - thank you!
I'm starting to question whether I want a pneumatic scribe or rig up an electric unit. The latter sure would be quieter and cause the compressor to run less.

Regards,

Matt


Make no mistake the router running at 30000 RPM is not "Quiet" by any means, the "Plate Marker" is going to be faster unless you need to coat before you mark. the quality won't be nearly as good either. I used to work in an engraving shop... We had "Manual" Pantograph engravers back then and an Early CNC type, it SUCKED back then!

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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby kkroger » Sat Feb 28, 2015 5:02 pm

I don't want to Post Jump this so I am going top make a new thread on engraving...
I will drop a link here in a few... I have to do some screen shots and so forth...

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=15895&p=91080#p91080

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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby Diesel » Tue Mar 03, 2015 5:52 pm

kkroger wrote:Make no mistake the router running at 30000 RPM is not "Quiet" by any means, the "Plate Marker" is going to be faster unless you need to coat before you mark. the quality won't be nearly as good either. I used to work in an engraving shop... We had "Manual" Pantograph engravers back then and an Early CNC type, it SUCKED back then!


I guess I should have qualified my statement. I was making the following assumption: an electric router running with no load is quieter than the same pneumatic scribe with no load.

I don't envision doing a lot of art type stuff, but I want my table to be as versatile as possible. I work in the diagnostic medical imaging field and get to see a wide variety of parts made from all sorts of materials. The stuff that's laser etched just looks like $1M...but does the end justify the means - that's the question.

kkroger wrote:I don't want to Post Jump this so I am going top make a new thread on engraving...
I will drop a link here in a few... I have to do some screen shots and so forth...


You guys are so polite on this forum. I'll have to check out that thread.
On edit: Great info with the step-by-step instructions!
Thanks for sharing that!

I'm learning a bunch and hope to be cutting in the coming months!

Regards,

Matt
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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby kkroger » Sat Mar 07, 2015 8:02 am

You want to have versatility?
Get Scanything from Stable Designs (Sheetcam) and a $28 SHIPPED Camera from Amazon...
A USB Extension cable will be needed.... it will cost more than the camera!

Then you will have a TRUE optical scanner... VERY nice function to have, the software actually uses the camera to "Drive" your machine around in MACH3 to create a .DXF to generate a cut path.

Pretty slick!

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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby Diesel » Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:03 pm

kkroger wrote:You want to have versatility?
Get Scanything from Stable Designs (Sheetcam) and a $28 SHIPPED Camera from Amazon...
A USB Extension cable will be needed.... it will cost more than the camera!

Then you will have a TRUE optical scanner... VERY nice function to have, the software actually uses the camera to "Drive" your machine around in MACH3 to create a .DXF to generate a cut path.

Pretty slick!


Good point - I saw a few posts here on the forum about that setup.
VERY slick indeed. I have plans on adding one once I get up and running.

Regards,

Matt
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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby blackandtan » Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:09 pm

What camera did you use?

kkroger wrote:Get Scanything from Stable Designs (Sheetcam) and a $28 SHIPPED Camera from Amazon...
A USB Extension cable will be needed.... it will cost more than the camera!

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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby Diesel » Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:17 pm

blackandtan wrote:What camera did you use?


viewtopic.php?f=3&t=14168

Regards,

Matt
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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby blackandtan » Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:28 pm

Thanks

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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby Joe Jones » Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:22 pm

Where would one purchase a separate 100 or 150 watt laser head to mount onto a CNC plasma carriage? I'd be willing to experiment with that, but I have not found a source for the laser without the entire table.
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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby Diesel » Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:00 pm

Joe Jones wrote:Where would one purchase a separate 100 or 150 watt laser head to mount onto a CNC plasma carriage? I'd be willing to experiment with that, but I have not found a source for the laser without the entire table.


That's an excellent question.
I figured that's what I'd do - rob it from an existing complete machine.

Regards,

Matt
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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby WyoGreen » Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:44 pm

You might try searching for industrial lasers on E-Bay, I found a few on there.

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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby abmetal » Mon Mar 16, 2015 9:03 am

Two sites you can check for laser supplies are buildcnc.com and lightobject.com.

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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby Diesel » Sun Apr 12, 2015 9:17 am

WyoGreen wrote:You might try searching for industrial lasers on E-Bay, I found a few on there.


abmetal wrote:Two sites you can check for laser supplies are buildcnc.com and lightobject.com.


Excellent info - thanks, guys!

Regards,

Matt
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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby Diesel » Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:52 am

Here is an interesting option for Mach3 users:

http://jtechphotonics.com/?page_id=1436

Note: this is a low power (2.8W max) laser

Cheers,

Matt
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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby Nacs Fab » Tue Jun 30, 2015 3:52 pm

Diesel wrote:Here is an interesting option for Mach3 users:

http://jtechphotonics.com/?page_id=1436

Note: this is a low power (2.8W max) laser

Cheers,

Matt


WOW, I just got through reading some things on that site. I think i may make a purchase soon and report back what I find. Thanks for the link Matt!
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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby Diesel » Tue Jul 07, 2015 5:58 pm

Nacs Fab wrote:WOW, I just got through reading some things on that site. I think i may make a purchase soon and report back what I find. Thanks for the link Matt!


You betcha.
I'm curious to see exactly how much power is required to get a good etch on various sheet stock and pipe.

Cheers,

Matt
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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby Thor » Tue Jul 07, 2015 9:49 pm

Most all of the cheap CO2 lasers from china and such on ebay etc will not engrave steel at all, no matter how powerful. The wavelength is just wrong and gets reflected by the steel. You can use Cermark spray and laser burn it onto a steel substrate but it can be wiped off. You could get a 2kw RF laser and do it but they are not cheap, nor is maintaining them.

The bigger problem with putting one on you plasma table is speed. While you may be able to set one up to do Vector engraving (lines), to do raster engraving (pics and shades) your plasma more than likely can not get the back and forth motion fast enough to run the laser at optimum speeds/power settings. Not just raw speed either but accel/decel to go back and forth at high rate. Laser engraver machines can do it as they use flying optics, basically the only thing it has to move back and forth on X axis is a mirror and lens.

Trying to make a plasma table into a jack of all trades machine will just end up in a master of none table.

The only real solution I am aware of atm is a fiber laser head from hypertherm that can cut and engrave. I'm sure though it would need a hypertherm controller not mach3 and the laser head itself is no doubt pretty pricey (I would guess at least around $60k)

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Re: Laser engraving with CNC plasma table...?

Postby jimcolt » Wed Jul 08, 2015 7:09 am

The Hypertherm fiber laser can mark plate very well and can cut up to 3/4". It is in the $230k price range.

Jim Colt Hypertherm


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