BuildLog.Net

Home Built 40W CNC Laser

Project Overview

Note: This design has been superceded by the 2.x Laser. There is a blog post on it, information on the wiki and a lot of discussion on the forum.

This was designed as a "self replicating" laser cutter engraver'. What this means, is all of the high tolerance complicated parts can be made on a laser cutter. So, once one laser cutter is done, it can help make others. All of the other parts can either be purchased or made with common home tools.

This is not a mamby pamby little diode laser than can slowly cut through a piece of thin black tape. This will cut real materials, quickly. If you want to know what it can cut, go to a Ponoko type site and check out their materials list.

This was designed to be a dirt cheap, but fully capable laser cutter. Many of the material choices were made to satisfy that goal. I am sure many people will know of better materials, but usually at a higher cost. Feel free to substitute them .Almost everything that is not an off the shelf item, can be made with a laser cutter or router. To kick start the first generation of 'self replicating lasers, I have some kits located here.

The buildlog is presented blog style (most recent entry first) if you want to go view it the other way click here... Take me to the beginning of the build

How can you contribute to the project?


Buildlog Title: Buildlog.net Open Source Laser

newest first oldest first
Builder: bdring
Member Since: 2009-11-22

Wednesday, March 31st 2010 - 12:38 AM

V25Aspire_Final_Logo.jpg
V25Aspire_Final_Logo.jpg (5.77 KiB) Viewed 29330 times

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I have been using my Vectric Aspire program to laser cut some parts. I made a post processor file for it. Aspire is way overkill for laser cutting, but it should work for all Vectric's other programs as well. Cut-2D is probably a good candidate for lasering and is a decent price. You can download a semi-working version for free.

The post processor is for use with Mach3 and the E1P1/E1P0 control style. I will detail my E1P1 control method in a later post.

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reader comment Comment from: dfowell on Wednesday, March 31st 2010 - 2:06 PM
Hey I have been reading your blog and following your laser build, I am working with lasers in my shop big lasers and wanted to build my own I was wandering if you have a parasolid of your laser build and drawings to scale so i can attempt to build one, Thanks Good Job

very impressed
comment Buildlog Author Comment: bdring on Wednesday, March 31st 2010 - 4:11 PM
Comment From Buildlog Author

Sounds great!

What CAD system do you use? Can you use STEP files? All DXF drawings are to scale and 1:1 where practical.

I assume you have seen the drawings page.

Sunday, April 4th 2010 - 8:12 PM

I finally got around to cutting the window for the cover. It looks pretty good. I didn't put all the screws in place yet, because I will be painting it. I think I might add a window to the front too. It is nice to be able to see the work at a low profile when it is cutting/engraving. I put the gas springs in too, but they are distorting the hinge a little. I think I just need to add a few extra mounting holes right near the ends of the hinge. I have some simple handles too that will go on after painting.
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cover1.JPG

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Saturday, April 10th 2010 - 10:14 PM

I did some finishing on the enclosure skins. I just painted them gloss white. Before I painted the front skin, I split it into three sections. I want the middle section to be easy to remove to get occasional low access from the front.
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Painted.jpg
Painted Enclosure

I also got thew gas springs working. They were putting too much stress on the hinge. I previously had to alternate the screws because the heads were bumping into each other when the hinge was completely closed. I got some flat head M3 x 5mm and that allowed all holes to be used without the heads interfering. It works well now. Edit: I realized the gas springs are mounted upside down and fixed. The McMaster info page on gas springs says the fat end should be mounted above the thin end wherever possible. I think this makes the seal last longer.
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GasSprings.JPG
Gas Springs

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reader comment Comment from: Ben on Sunday, April 11th 2010 - 5:37 AM
The painted enclosure skins look great! My laser enclosure also has the front broken into three sections. The gas springs seem to hold the door open nicely; does it stay closed even when bumped or jostled?
comment Buildlog Author Comment: bdring on Sunday, April 11th 2010 - 1:49 PM
Comment From Buildlog Author

If I shake the table the cover wiggles a little but does not appear to want to close. It feels like it takes about a 1/2 lb of force to pull down. It is pretty close to vertical so there is not much force on the springs when fully open. It pushes itself open for about the last 2-3 inches. All other positions it wants to close. I was mostly interested in having it hold itself open and assist me in opening. The spring is available in 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120 pressures. I chose the lightest one.

There is a lot of adjustment capability because everything is mounted to the slots. I did not play with it too much. If it tended to close by itself, I could increase the support angle a bit. The nice thing about gas springs is that they keep a constant force throughout the compression, unlike a spring which increases.

Tuesday, April 13th 2010 - 1:31 AM

I bumped the mirrors a few times while installing the cover and gas springs so I wanted to re-align the mirrors. I thought a neat low tech feature would be to have a remote laser trigger. This would allow me to trigger the laser while I am near the mirrors.

I already had a manual button on my front interface, so I just put a 1/4" mono jack connector in parallel with it. I then put a button at the end of a long cable with a mating plug.
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remote_trigger.jpg
Remote Trigger

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Yes....my manual power control knob is timing pulley. I did not have a real knob and the pulley fit :oops:

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Friday, April 16th 2010 - 1:08 AM

I don't think I posted this trick before...

Misumi sells some extruded "slot cover" material. This is a little 'C' shaped piece that snaps into the slots.
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cover_snap.jpg
Slot Cover
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I found that it works great to dress up or hide the wires. It snaps in anywhere so you can start and stop it right where you need it.
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slot_cover.JPG
Captures/Hides Wires

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Wednesday, April 21st 2010 - 10:31 PM

I am working on a new simplified Z lift design. I want to make all the parts out of the same 6mm acrylic material that everything else is made out of. I also want to support it from the frame only. This will make the bottom skin simpler. It will also be much easier to build and adjust.

My first attempt at the design is shown below. This assembly will be the same in all corners but one. One corner will have some adjustment of the idler pulley to allow the belt to be tensioned. The motor (not designed yet) will be in the back of the cabinet. This design looses a little Z travel, but increases the table X/Y size. I think this is better anyway.
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new_z.jpg
New Z Lift Design Idea

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Thursday, April 22nd 2010 - 9:50 PM

I refined the design to use a few less parts. The motor is mounted on one of the corners. This puts it in a nice location for shortest wiring. The lower right corner has the belt adjustment. This is just the sub assembly view. It mounts to the existing frame. Not all small hardware parts are shown yet.

I think I will laser out some parts and test it.
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z_lift_2.jpg

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Friday, April 23rd 2010 - 2:57 AM

I laser cut two parts to test the clamping of the bearing. I think it will work great. I am still thrilled and amazed that the laser is accurate enough to cut a hole that can later be tapped (#6-32) without any clean-up drilling. 8-)

This is one of four upper bearing blocks.
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z_part1.jpg
Z Part Test

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reader comment Comment from: Ben on Friday, April 23rd 2010 - 3:09 AM
bdring wrote:I refined the design to use a few less parts. The motor is mounted on one of the corners. This puts it in a nice location for shortest wiring. The lower right corner has the belt adjustment. This is just the sub assembly view. It mounts to the existing frame. Not all small hardware parts are shown yet.

I think I will laser out some parts and test it.
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z_lift_2.jpg




TBH I wasn’t a big fan of this design until I realized it allows you to mount the Z axis motor outside the perimeter of the cutting area; now I think it’s great :D ! Your method of routing the belt is simpler than mine and accomplishes the same belt contact area. I will probably go with a similar design when I’m able to update my Z axis design.
reader comment Comment from: willyinaus on Friday, April 23rd 2010 - 9:07 PM
.That looks like a really good design you have made up is it ok if I steal it when you have it all worked out ;)

Saturday, April 24th 2010 - 10:51 PM

I fabricated the new Z lift parts. I don't have the correct pulleys yet, so I only put together the motor corner as a test. The parts all laser cut very well. It is a lot easier than routing, because you don't have to babysit the machine as much. With routing there is always concern of a piece of scrap getting itself in trouble. There will also be a piece that rides on the lead screw that attaches to the bed. I will work on that next. I want that to be much more simple than it is now.
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lift_parts1.jpg
Motor Plate

I doubled up on the bearings. This might not be needed, but they are a little narrow compared to the belt. There is a washer between each bearing to make sure there is no stress between the inner and outer races.
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lift_parts2.jpg.jpg
Motor Plate close up

I added one more feature at the last minute that may not even be necessary. Each piece with a lead screw has a tapped hole. This can be used to support the piece against the bottom if it starts to sag. A screw can be lowered to contact the floor as an additional support point. The Acrylic is quite stiff. With eight support brackets, it probably is not necessary.
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lift_parts3.jpg
Extra support point.

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reader comment Comment from: Robert Williams on Sunday, April 25th 2010 - 12:30 AM
Is the Z motor NEMA 17 or NEMA 23?
comment Buildlog Author Comment: bdring on Sunday, April 25th 2010 - 1:48 AM
Comment From Buildlog Author
Z motor is NEMA 23.

I could probably put both patterns on the motor bracket just for the fun of it. I get the pulleys next week. I did not order the belt yet, because I want to make sure everything fits right. I think I might give http://www.econobelt.com/ at try. The belts seem a lot cheaper than Stock Drive. The pulleys are about the same price.

Now that the laser is pretty productive, I might start selling part kits. I think I will start with an 6mm Acrylic part kit for the XY system, a 1/4" MDF part kit for the skins and an Acrylic one for the Z lift assembly. The kits would just be for the parts not available off the shelf. I might see about qty buys from the v bearing people to get the cost down on those expensive items. The cost would be less than you could get it at Ponoko or Pulolu.
reader comment Comment from: Robert Williams on Sunday, April 25th 2010 - 3:26 AM
[quote="bdring"][comment][/comment]Z motor is NEMA 23.

I could probably put both patterns on the motor bracket just for the fun of it. I get the pulleys next week. I did not order the belt yet, because I want to make sure everything fits right. I think I might give http://www.econobelt.com/ at try. The belts seem a lot cheaper than Stock Drive. The pulleys are about the same price.

Now that the laser is pretty productive, I might start selling part kits. I think I will start with an 6mm Acrylic part kit for the XY system, a 1/4" MDF part kit for the skins and an Acrylic one for the Z lift assembly. The kits would just be for the parts not available off the shelf. I might see about qty buys from the v bearing people to get the cost down on those expensive items. The cost would be less than you could get it at Ponoko or Pulolu.[/quote]

I'll buy your kits NOW!... I notched 4 floors before I got it right, 2 Z tables.
Robert
reader comment Comment from: willyinaus on Sunday, April 25th 2010 - 5:48 AM
Hey Ill buy a kit as well :D

Sunday, April 25th 2010 - 4:24 PM

This is the table bracket I am going to try. This will bolt to the bottom of the table. It uses a T-Nut to ride on the threaded shaft. The T-Nut fits into a special pocket on the bracket. It has a little float to accommodate slight mis-aligned or non straight shafts. It is only held together with gravity. This allows very easy leveling of the table. If you need a corner to move up or down a little, you just lift the table and rotate the nut in 1/3 turn increments.
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table_brkt1.JPG

table_brkt2.JPG

Note: This black Acrylic is really hard to take a picture of. It is like taking a picture of a mirror. I need to get a white light tent.

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reader comment Comment from: willyinaus on Sunday, April 25th 2010 - 9:46 PM
My white light tent is a pillowcase and two coat hangers bent to keep it up :D

Wednesday, April 28th 2010 - 2:55 AM

Remind again me why I tore down a working Z axis?

Here is the aftermath of my battle to get the old Z axis out. The floor had to be cut in half inside the enclosure to get it out. Good thing I have a great built in exhaust fan :D .
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z_demo.jpg

Hopefully I will have all the parts by the weekend. I am sure I can keep myself busy cleaning up.

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Saturday, May 1st 2010 - 12:08 AM

I got sent half way across the country on unexpected business yesterday and my extrusions for the new z lift appear to be one their way to Ohio. I live in Illinois about 10 miles from where they ship the parts, but the tracking number shows them slowing going towards Ohio?

I think I will temporarily use the old extrusions so I can make sure everything fits as planned and swap in the part later.

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reader comment Comment from: lasersafe1 on Saturday, May 1st 2010 - 2:48 AM
bdring wrote:
Comment From Buildlog Author
I might see about qty buys from the v bearing people to get the cost down on those expensive items.


I didn't want to be too critical, but I would suggest you might try something else for riding on the v-channel. I saw the video of your x axis driving fast and the noise seemed somthing horrific. Noise is one of the components of friction. My laser has the rubber wheels that ride in the groove and the movement is just a quiet "shoosh" from side to side. Perhaps you don't view it as a problem if your happy with your speeds and tolerances, but if there is a urethane or nylon wheel to try......

So the Universal laser uses rubber wheels, the Chinese lasers use rubber wheels... Might be a reason for it.

Saturday, May 1st 2010 - 3:00 AM

That would be great if you could find some.

Actually, the noise is not an issue once the cover is down. The tiny motor board fan and steppers are actually louder. The wheel are strong and ridged as hell.

The real issue is cost. They cost about $10 each. They are probably the most overpriced item on the design. I just bought some nylon V wheels from Stock Drive, but the bearings are very loose. They might work under tension, but I am skeptical. I might try on a separate piece later.

I have looked around for rubber, plastic or nylon wheels and not found anything. I'll owe some real favors to anyone who can find a decent rubber wheel and riding surface combo. I even toyed with a press on nylon part to a standard bearing.

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reader comment Comment from: lasersafe1 on Saturday, May 1st 2010 - 1:16 PM
I bought a weight lifting machine from the thrift store and it had many bad pulleys. I bought some urethane razor scooter wheels that were $1 each at the dollar store and chucked them into a lathe* and turned it down to produce a negative groove for the lifting cables. It outperforms the original pulleys and is vitually silent. Now of course these wheels are too big for your application, but there might be something you can find that can be turned on a lathe.

*(note: it wasn't actually a lathe. I used my mill as the turner and had the cutter fixed in a vise)

If you're happy with metal, perhaps you can turn down the outer race of a standard skateboard bearing a 10 or 20 mils. Just enough of a groove to mate the v-rail. I would thing the outer race is at least 1/16" thick. Might be too much work.

Here is a link to a store that sells the ULS wheels. http://www.engraversnetwork.com/store/laser_bearings.html

Saturday, May 1st 2010 - 1:24 PM

That is a good link. I'll post it somewhere. I also searched for the track that the Chinese lasers run on, but found nothing. There has to be an extrusion house in China making them.

The races on most bearings are hardened, so it would probably need to be ground. You can get decent bearings with no play pretty cheaply. I though a press on nylon v-wheel "tire" for a bearing might work.

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reader comment Comment from: lasersafe1 on Saturday, May 1st 2010 - 1:46 PM
There are extruding companies that will make a die based on your design. It would be a large up-front cost, but imagine if you were the only guy selling extrusions that were designed to carry the cheap skate bearings. I guess this is still not good, because it would be the stainless bearing riding on an aluminum extrusion. We still want a hard rubber wheel.

Saturday, May 1st 2010 - 6:05 PM

When you get to the length I need for the Z lift belt, the sizes start going in 8"-10" steps. It is tough to find the size you need. I really want to try Econobelt because the price is almost a 1/3 of Stock Drive. The Z lift lead screws don't need to go at the ends of the table, so I am going to move them closer together. This might cause an issue with the X axis motor. I thought about moving the motor to the top side of gantry. This does not change much at all and gains some usable XY range.

I am going to try this method and show the results.

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Saturday, May 1st 2010 - 9:13 PM

I measured the belt length using a piece of wrapping paper ribbon. It measured about 113" which is right about what the CAD model said. The ribbon actually worked. :lol:. The tricky one to thread is the one with the motor. I may move that to the front. I am sure it will be easier with a real belt that has some stiffness.

Econobelt has a 103" and a 122". I think it will be easier to to move the lead screws together, so I will go with the 103" I ordered three belts.

I wonder how they make these belts. I can't imagine they have a mold for each one.
belt_measure.jpg

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Sunday, May 2nd 2010 - 7:28 PM

Here are the mods to the gantry. The putting the motor above gives maximum clearance of the table. My previous design had to allow clearance for the motor along the left side. Now you get about 2" inches of travel. The assembly is actually easier to assembly and uses less parts. The belt is tensioned by moving the motor to the left as it is tightened.
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gantry_mod2.jpg
Gantry - Motor End

gantry_mod1.jpg
Gantry - Idler End

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reader comment Comment from: Ben on Monday, May 3rd 2010 - 10:28 PM
Looks great! I like the way your new belt clamp supports the belt; it also appears stronger than previous designs. Does the new clamp attach the same way as previous clamps?

Monday, May 3rd 2010 - 11:24 PM

It attaches from the bottom with two screws. You mount it lightly, then slide the belt ends in from the side. Tighten the clamp. Then tension the belt.

I hope to post the drawings tonight. This affects a lot of drawing, some only visually.

I want to post everything at once, so there is no period where old and new are on at the same time.

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Tuesday, May 4th 2010 - 3:20 AM

The new versions of the drawings have been posted on the drawings page. This includes all the new Z lift drawings and mods to the gantry to get the motor above the extrusion. I am going to work towards the part kits next. The assembly drawings need a lot of clean up, but that should be usable anyway.

My laser will be down for at least a week while I wait for for the belt. I should be ready to start cutting after that.

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reader comment Comment from: wbarcinski on Tuesday, May 4th 2010 - 9:53 AM
I would use four v bearings on the y for stability.
reader comment Comment from: Robert Williams on Tuesday, May 4th 2010 - 10:46 AM
Put me at top of the list of kit purchase.
Robert
[quote="bdring"]The new versions of the drawings have been posted on the [url=http://www.buildlog.net/cnc_laser/drawings.html]drawings page[/url]. This includes all the new Z lift drawings and mods to the gantry to get the motor above the extrusion. I am going to work towards the part kits next. The assembly drawings need a lot of clean up, but that should be usable anyway.

My laser will be down for at least a week while I wait for for the belt. I should be ready to start cutting after that.[/quote]
reader comment Comment from: benwyne on Wednesday, May 5th 2010 - 9:50 PM
What timing belts and pulleys are you using? I'm guessing the MXL belts from econobelt? Do you have a complete list of parts for both x/y/z axis belts and pulleys used? I'm looking to buy all the belts and pulleys from econobelt in the next day or so. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 5th 2010 - 10:45 PM

The timing belts for the XY assembly are MXL (0.080 pitch). They are open ended and cut to length. I suggest getting about 20 feet. That will get you all three belts, plus enough to replace one if something goes wrong or breaks. I used Stock Drive 1/4 wide p/n A 6Z16-C025. For the pulleys, I used plastic 1/4" bore 18 tooth with metal insert and 2 flanges p/n A 6T16-020DF2508 in all six locations. you need to verify your motor shaft size.

The Z lift is XL (0.200 pitch). For the pulleys I used plastic 5/16 bore 14 tooth with metal insert and 2 flanges p/n A 6Z_3-14DF03710 for the lead screw (qty 4). I used plastic 1/4 bore 10 tooth with metal insert and 2 flanges p/n A 6Z 3-10DF03708...again...check your motor shaft.

Everything above is from Stock Drive.

I bought the Z belt from econobelt p/n QB-XL1032-025.

I'll put this all on the drawings soon.

Update: Information has been put on the drawings.

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reader comment Comment from: benwyne on Thursday, May 6th 2010 - 3:52 PM
Great, thanks for the information. I'm pretty impressed at how cheap the econobelt belts are!

I have another question about the frame assembly. From the drawings you don't have offsets for the 3 horizontal aluminium pieces running along the back of the machine. Any chance these could be updated too?

Thanks and great work! I'll keep you posted on my progress
reader comment Comment from: benwyne on Thursday, May 6th 2010 - 3:53 PM
Oh By the way, please put me down for one of each of the kits! :-)
comment Buildlog Author Comment: bdring on Thursday, May 6th 2010 - 4:20 PM
Comment From Buildlog Author
Dims added.

Yes, Econobelt is way cheaper than stock drive, at least for the belt. Unfortunately the belt needed is not in stock. No word on shipment yet. I am tempted to try it without the fold back bearings in the corners. I think it will work and will be simpler, cheaper... What do you think. Look at the top of a Makerbot.

Kits will start when laser is back on line.
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mb.jpg
Makerbot
reader comment Comment from: Ben on Thursday, May 6th 2010 - 5:38 PM
Keep in mind the scale of the makerbot; its Z axis is very small and light compared to yours and mine. Having said that, I’m confident that my design would work fine without the fold back bearings; the rods can be spun with just two fingers and minimal effort. I’m not sure how much force is required to spin your rods but if it’s similar to mine then you should be fine. You could try wrapping some of the belting you have on hand around the four corner pulleys and see if the belt slips when you raise and lower the Z axis.
comment Buildlog Author Comment: bdring on Thursday, May 6th 2010 - 6:02 PM
Comment From Buildlog Author
Yes, it takes no effort to move one of the lead screws.

The engagement will have many times more force than the motor can deliver. The trick comes down to tension, slack, bounce, etc of the belt in the particular setup. It would be cool if you could make a spring loaded idler that is simpler than all the fold back bearings. I already have all the bearings installed, so I doublt I will test very soon. I just want to get my laser back.
reader comment Comment from: Ben on Thursday, May 6th 2010 - 6:23 PM
Ha ha, I was just thinking about adding a spring loaded belt tensioner! I actually added springs to the V groove bearings on the gantry bracket to maintain contact with the rails. Adding a spring loaded idler to the Z axis is something I may add when I revise my Z Axis but that won’t happen any time soon.
reader comment Comment from: benwyne on Thursday, May 6th 2010 - 8:40 PM
I'd say it's worth a try. :-)

The Next belt from econobelt is 86" is that too small?

-B
comment Buildlog Author Comment: bdring on Thursday, May 6th 2010 - 8:55 PM
Comment From Buildlog Author
That is probably a little short. The width between the lead screws is fixed, but the depth can change by sliding on the t-slots. That allows various sizes of belts to be used. The ideal length is about 112". That puts the lead screws on the corners. That is not available, so you go down to the next size which is 103.2". This means you need to squeeze the depth to pull out 8.8". That means 4.4" out of each depth side of the belt. That sounds reasonable. If you pull out too much, the lead screws get too close together and the table will not be stable. If you put a lot of weight in front of the lead screws, the back might pop up. Removing the fold back bearings will reduce the required belt length by a few inches, but probably not enough to make the 86 inch belt work.

I want to know how they make these belts. Do they mold them? Do they splice and vulcanize them? The fact that they sell huge unjoined lengths is a clue, but why do they show so few lengths? How can they make unstocked belts in a week?

Friday, May 7th 2010 - 2:15 AM

It looks like the belts shipped and Misumi hopefully will make their second shipment attempt tomorrow. Let's hope they hit the right time zone this time :lol:

That will get me all the parts early next week.

I may cut a set of skins this weekend to get a feel for how much work it is.

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reader comment Comment from: willyinaus on Friday, May 7th 2010 - 9:46 AM
Whats a Makebot make :shock:
comment Buildlog Author Comment: bdring on Friday, May 7th 2010 - 11:17 AM
Comment From Buildlog Author
MakerBot

Willy, you loose one geek point for not knowing. It is a open source 3D printer. It uses a lot of laser cut parts. A forum reader is actually using a MakerBot to make a air assist nozzle for my laser design. Funny how that works out.
reader comment Comment from: willyinaus on Monday, May 10th 2010 - 5:22 AM
Do I gain one if I make one no idea what for but it looks super cool when its running.
reader comment Comment from: benwyne on Monday, May 10th 2010 - 9:09 PM
Regarding alternatives to the vgroove bearings, how about this? It seems to run along the aluminium extrusion itself. Problem is they don't seem to do one that would fit the current 2040 extrusion. Any thoughts?

http://www.8020.net/Training-11.asp
http://download.8020inc.net/PDF/Metric_Section_9.pdf
reader comment Comment from: Ben on Tuesday, May 11th 2010 - 12:17 AM
benwyne wrote:Regarding alternatives to the vgroove bearings, how about this? It seems to run along the aluminium extrusion itself. Problem is they don't seem to do one that would fit the current 2040 extrusion. Any thoughts?

http://www.8020.net/Training-11.asp
http://download.8020inc.net/PDF/Metric_Section_9.pdf




I don’t mean to be rude but didn’t you already ask this question here:http://www.buildlog.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=197

Tuesday, May 11th 2010 - 3:35 AM

I got a lot of the parts for the Z axis today. I got the extrusions and the belts.

I started by loosely assembling the parts onto the rails, making sure the belt looped through the pulleys and fold back bearings correctly. The parts were assembled close together so the tension of the belts was not making it difficult.

Next I positioned the rear lead screws assemblies. I secured them tightly making sure the lead screws were perfectly vertical.

I them positioned the front lead screw assemblies. I decided at the last minute to put the motor towards the front. It does not really change anything, but puts the trickiest part up close where it is easy to reach.

I ran out of T-Nuts so I can't attach the table, but I set it in place to check the dimensions. It looks good.
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newz2.jpg

newz1.jpg

newz3.jpg

newz4.jpg

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Thursday, May 13th 2010 - 2:35 PM

I got new Z axis and table installed. I works well. It runs a lot faster, smoother and quieter than the chain drive version.

One of the lead screws had a slight bend to it that cause a little wiggle in the table. I was able to strighten it by hand. I rolled it on a table to verify it was straight.

One of the bearings for the lead screws was a mounted at a little angle that caused a little resistance to turning. That was easily fixed.

When I cranked up the speed to "ludicrous speed" I was able to get the belt to walk off one of the fold back bearings. This was on the back right lead screw. When the belt is coming from a near by pulley, the pulley flange keeps it on the bearing. When coming from a distant fold back bearing and running fast, the the belt might bounce a little and allow walking off the bearing. I accidently bought 0.25" wide belts instead of 0.375" wide. The wider belt will probably self limit the walk before it can jump off. I slowed the speed to go full Z travel in about 8 seconds. It went up and down for about 10 minutes without a jump off. That is fast enough. I may even slow it down further, because it is usually run in jog mode to finely adjust the focus. Speed just makes it more touchy.

I will take some pictures and a video soon.

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Thursday, May 13th 2010 - 11:24 PM

Here is a picture and video of the completed Z. I think one of the shafts is still a little bent. You can still see and hear a tiny little shimmy (let's see Google translate that). I am OK with it as is though.

I put aluminum perf stock on the top of the table I will put honeycomb on top of this, but I wanted the air to be able to blow through.

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z_surface.jpg


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reader comment Comment from: Tweakie on Friday, May 14th 2010 - 5:53 AM
Looking good.
Will you be able to alter the height during the work process (on the fly, so to speak) ?.

Tweakie.

Friday, May 14th 2010 - 11:19 AM

Yes,
The most complicated so far is one run with two thickness. If you can handle the gcode you could etch on an egg, but the beam is always at the same angle, so there are limits on what you will get

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reader comment Comment from: Tweakie on Friday, May 14th 2010 - 12:41 PM
That's going to be a very versatile system - can't wait to see it all finished (or almost finished)

Funny you should mention Egg. Used a rotary axis for this Revolutionary Egg just this morning and I am eating the omelet as I type. http://www.cooperman.talktalk.net/DSC00339a.jpg

Tweakie.

Friday, May 14th 2010 - 12:46 PM

Huevos revueltos :D

...it's been finished several times. Actually, I did a few test cuts last night and checked the alignment. I am back in business.

I have one more thing on this project's TO DO list. My old floor had the air intake with filter. I did not like this for two reasons. It did not do the best job of removing smoke near the top of the cabinet. I used to crack the cover open about 1/4" on smoky jobs. I was also worried about my new perforated table. If for some reason the beam went through the work, honeycomb and table and hit the filter I thought there was a chance for a fire. With a couple hundred CFM of air, things could get exciting quickly. The beam is way defocused by that point, but even a 2" diameter spot at 40W on paper could catch fire.

I am moving the air intake to the middle front panel.

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