DIY Laser alignment setup for Plasma system

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DesertFabworks
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DIY Laser alignment setup for Plasma system

Post by DesertFabworks » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:47 pm

I recently added on a laser alignment system for my Precision Plasma table. I took a drill press laser alignment kit and modified it a little to work with my plasma system. It took about 15 minutes to make the mods and get everything hooked up.

I drilled an tapped a couple of small holes in the plasma torch mount so that I could lock down the laser system. The laser system was nearly a perfect fit. It was a little too thin for a perfect fit. I used some foam with a thickness of .19 and cut it too fit on top of the laser system.

This made the system a perfect snug fit. The screws keep things aligned and allow repeat-ability if the mount is removed and re-installed.

The system was easy to align. While a laser is not needed its a neat tool add on for $30 bucks that makes aligning a starting point a little easier, and in the rare case things get messed up during a cut, with pin point cross hairs you can get back to a known point.

I saw some other commercial products from $70 - $199 going to give this a try and see how it works.

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Desert Fabworks LLC
Fort Mohave, Arizona
www.desertfabworks.com

Follow our CNC Plasma Build:
www.cncplasminfo.com
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dgeorgester
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Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Re: DIY Laser alignment setup for Plasma system

Post by dgeorgester » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:46 pm

Very nice setup. I"m just wondering if a little guard would be required to keep the flying sparks from sticking and building up onto the plastic??? Maybe wrapping the the unit in reflective foil.
Samson 510
Hypertherm Powermax 85, Lincoln 256
AutoCAD

Granite
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Re: DIY Laser alignment setup for Plasma system

Post by Granite » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:49 pm

Nice work! Where can we buy the $30 drill press laser unit?

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DesertFabworks
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Re: DIY Laser alignment setup for Plasma system

Post by DesertFabworks » Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:06 pm

The place where I got mine was Woodcraft.com

Here is a link to the page: http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/208270 ... hment.aspx

In case the link does not work just type in laser on there search bar.

I would love it if the thing was made out of aluminum and not plastic but good luck finding a milled aluminum part like that for $30. I'm working on building up a CNC router mill when I'm done I think making an aluminum version will be one of my first projects.
Desert Fabworks LLC
Fort Mohave, Arizona
www.desertfabworks.com

Follow our CNC Plasma Build:
www.cncplasminfo.com
Follow our CNC Router Build:
www.cncrouterbuild.com

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Craig
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Re: DIY Laser alignment setup for Plasma system

Post by Craig » Sat Aug 31, 2013 1:41 pm

For about $13 including AC adaptor and toggle switch, I made this rig. You can buy a cross laser module on ebay for about $5. Mine mounts on a snap n cut (http://www.snapncut.com/) magnetic breakaway torch holder connected to a DHC2 Plasmacam table.

I ran the DC cable back to the computer cart along the torch cable and placed the switch on the side of the computer cart so I don't have to go to the table to turn it on and the lighted LED in the switch helps remind me when I leave it on.

Because the laser rides on the Z axis, at only one height will the laser and the nozzle tip be in alignment, I use the ?Rapid travel height?. I mainly use it for rough positioning and to make sure new cut don't end up in old cuts. It also help keep an old man from having to do the X Y sighting shuffle at my table.

The only thing I would change would to use more heat shrink protecting the DC wires, sparks burned through one in about a year.

Craig Johnson

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dgeorgester
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Re: DIY Laser alignment setup for Plasma system

Post by dgeorgester » Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:10 pm

I didn't have a laser on mine, so here's a little trick I would use to align the tip a previous cut (when indexing on a 4 x 4 table). I'm not sure about other types of plasma cutters, but on the Cutmasters, after pressing the test button on the Plasmacam controller the air would stay on for a bit.

sooo...
1 - move the tip near the end of the last cut
2 - move the z axis all the way up
3 - press test to get a quick blast of plasma and get the air flowing
4 - bring the tip to about 1/8 from the plate
5 - you will hear a distinctive difference in sound when you're over the cut or over metal.

This works better when the previous cut is parallel to the machine's x or y axis. It takes a bit of practice, but for me I could start my cut extremely close the end of the last cut. It would at least confirm the "by-eye-alignement". Also works great for confirming the plate edge.

Of course... if it's just soapstone marks... fugget bout it.

Georges
Samson 510
Hypertherm Powermax 85, Lincoln 256
AutoCAD

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