Author Topic: 40W CO2 Laser cutter/engraver any useful for electronic hobbyist?  (Read 30305 times)

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Offline rx8pilot

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Re: 40W CO2 Laser cutter/engraver any useful for electronic hobbyist?
« Reply #25 on: June 16, 2015, 05:13:14 pm »
I have owned two of the Epilog lasers in 35w and 50w. They are really easy and reliable little machines with great support. A friend got one of these off-brand machines and had nothing but struggles. First, the laser was bad from the beginning in addition to various motion control issues. Once he got past that, the software was at least as fiddly and crappy. After that, the actual marking performance was on par with what was paid - poor.

While the Epilog's are not industrial machines, they are VASTLY better machines with a price tag that is appropriately higher. After seeing what I saw, I would not waste my time or money on these eBay specials. They seem cheap until you fiddle with them constantly and never get more than a marginal result. There is a chance you may be more lucky, but would not count on it.
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Offline LukeW

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Re: 40W CO2 Laser cutter/engraver any useful for electronic hobbyist?
« Reply #26 on: June 16, 2015, 05:47:09 pm »
So he made it safer on the power cord but replaced the window with some transparent acrylic? The other one was probably safer to protect his eyes, and I also noticed he didn't wear proper safety eyewear, or any mention about that either.

At least he did put a note not to do the calibration with the lid open, but it wouldn't matter if you remove the protective window anyways.

For 10um from a carbon dioxide laser, any ordinary plastic is opaque - eg. acrylic or polycarbonate, and suitable for the viewing window. Just about all materials absorb strongly at those kind of wavelengths.

If you actually want the material to be transparent at 10um, say for the laser lens, then you need to go to specialist materials like zinc selenide or germanium.
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: 40W CO2 Laser cutter/engraver any useful for electronic hobbyist?
« Reply #27 on: June 16, 2015, 09:31:02 pm »
So he made it safer on the power cord but replaced the window with some transparent acrylic? The other one was probably safer to protect his eyes, and I also noticed he didn't wear proper safety eyewear, or any mention about that either.

At least he did put a note not to do the calibration with the lid open, but it wouldn't matter if you remove the protective window anyways.

For 10um from a carbon dioxide laser, any ordinary plastic is opaque - eg. acrylic or polycarbonate, and suitable for the viewing window. Just about all materials absorb strongly at those kind of wavelengths.

If you actually want the material to be transparent at 10um, say for the laser lens, then you need to go to specialist materials like zinc selenide or germanium.
Or Silicon. ISTR a while ago Jeri did a video of making a box with a silicon wafer as a lid to contain smoke when laser cutting
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Offline Halfdead

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Re: 40W CO2 Laser cutter/engraver any useful for electronic hobbyist?
« Reply #28 on: June 16, 2015, 09:41:38 pm »
A while ago I bought one of the cheap Chinese cutters.
The motion controller was a piece of utter junk -parallel port, and flaky as hell - had a habit of freezing part way though a job with the beam on, setting the work on fire. It had no speed control, which you need if you want to do more than simple surface engraving. Also had no height adjust.

The mechanics were sort-of OK, but the optics had no fine-thread adjust screws so alignment is a nightmare to do.

The cooling they provide is a pump you put in a bucket of water - you really need to hook up something more permanent, and enclosed so it doesn't fill up with dirt and gunk. You also need to add some flow detection, otherwise if it gets blocked or leaks you may not know til the tube dies.

The extractor fan they supply is pretty crappy. You _need_ extraction.

Although good for acrylic, that, and thin card & ply, is pretty much all it's good for material-wise.

I subsequently bought one of the cheap 3040 CNC engravers which has proved much, much more useful - much wider range of materials, depth cutting, ability to use for precision drilling of PCBs, jigs and cases, PCB outlines, and potentially also solder paste dispensing.


The motion controllers on these units have improved since then, but not much else though.
 

Offline edavid

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Re: 40W CO2 Laser cutter/engraver any useful for electronic hobbyist?
« Reply #29 on: June 17, 2015, 12:11:59 am »
will this 40watt etch aluminum or steel? Or only acrylic/plastic/wood?

Also, 3mm acrylic is no problem? How much of a kerf (angle) will you see on the finished piece?  What is the minimum slot on a 3mm piece of acrylic will it cut?  0.5mm wide by chance?

for $380 bucks, I have some projects I could definitely use this on. (just gotta come up with the cash)
it isn't really $380, look at the shipping costs.

In the US, it's really $380 with free shipping, for example http://www.ebay.com/itm/40W-LASER-ENGRAVING-ENGRAVER-MACHINE-COMPUTERIZED-CUTTER-THIRD-GENERATION-GREAT-/141690337410

Question, if I vented one of these out a basement window, would the fumes be enough to bother the neighbors?
 

Offline rx8pilot

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Re: 40W CO2 Laser cutter/engraver any useful for electronic hobbyist?
« Reply #30 on: June 17, 2015, 12:38:59 am »
Question, if I vented one of these out a basement window, would the fumes be enough to bother the neighbors?

Doubtful. It is just not that much and it will disperse rapidly when it exits the exhaust outlet.
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Offline Mr.B

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Re: 40W CO2 Laser cutter/engraver any useful for electronic hobbyist?
« Reply #31 on: June 17, 2015, 12:46:59 am »
Question, if I vented one of these out a basement window, would the fumes be enough to bother the neighbors?

Doubtful. It is just not that much and it will disperse rapidly when it exits the exhaust outlet.

It depends what you are cutting.
When I do organic rubber gaskets if definitely creates a big stink...
[Using a VersaLaser 50w]
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Offline Mr.B

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Re: 40W CO2 Laser cutter/engraver any useful for electronic hobbyist?
« Reply #32 on: June 17, 2015, 12:50:39 am »
anyone know what sort of laser cutter is needed for cutting 4mm carbon fiber?

I know that my 50w will struggle with 0.5mm CF and travels very slow leaving a rough burned edge.
I think I read somewhere that someone was using 200w to cut 1mm satisfactory.
As for 4mm... I dont know.
Perhaps the application engineers at Universal laser Systems (VersaLaser) may be able to help.
They have always been very helpful to me.
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Offline rx8pilot

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Re: 40W CO2 Laser cutter/engraver any useful for electronic hobbyist?
« Reply #33 on: June 17, 2015, 01:27:45 am »
Never tried it myself, but it seems that CF is not very laser cuttable material. The epoxy binder will melt/chemically decompose far faster than the carbon threads would break. I have mainly seen CF being cut mechanically or water jet.

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Offline PE1RKI

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Re: 40W CO2 Laser cutter/engraver any useful for electronic hobbyist?
« Reply #34 on: June 17, 2015, 09:34:18 am »
anybody know how much lazery power is required to make a clean cut in 0.3 or 0.5mm thick alu plate ?
i am outsourching this at the moment and the 4 pieces i had to let cut where 75 euro already.
that was including shipping and setup costs.
 

Offline Psi

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Re: 40W CO2 Laser cutter/engraver any useful for electronic hobbyist?
« Reply #35 on: June 17, 2015, 10:47:59 am »
Thanks guys, looks like there's no point me buying a cheap laser cutting for CF
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Offline rollatorwieltje

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Re: 40W CO2 Laser cutter/engraver any useful for electronic hobbyist?
« Reply #36 on: June 17, 2015, 06:17:18 pm »
will this 40watt etch aluminum or steel? Or only acrylic/plastic/wood?

Also, 3mm acrylic is no problem? How much of a kerf (angle) will you see on the finished piece?  What is the minimum slot on a 3mm piece of acrylic will it cut?  0.5mm wide by chance?

for $380 bucks, I have some projects I could definitely use this on. (just gotta come up with the cash)
it isn't really $380, look at the shipping costs.

In the US, it's really $380 with free shipping, for example http://www.ebay.com/itm/40W-LASER-ENGRAVING-ENGRAVER-MACHINE-COMPUTERIZED-CUTTER-THIRD-GENERATION-GREAT-/141690337410

Question, if I vented one of these out a basement window, would the fumes be enough to bother the neighbors?

Ok, the add I was looking at showed 300+ USD shipping for every country. I'm a bit surprised they can actually make one for that price. I wonder how long that laser tube lasts...
 

Offline FrankenPC

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Re: 40W CO2 Laser cutter/engraver any useful for electronic hobbyist?
« Reply #37 on: June 19, 2015, 08:33:57 am »
I wonder what kind of water filtering they need.  When I was messing with water cooled YAG's, I needed to install inline deionization filters.
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