Bill's CNC Adventure and FullSpectrumLaser 40w Rebuild

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Bill's CNC Adventure and FullSpectrumLaser 40w Rebuild

Postby bill.french » Sun Nov 20, 2011 4:52 pm

I am a member of FUBAR Labs - a Hackerspace in NJ - which works into my plans quite a bit. I found this site via the Makerslide kickstarter project. My Makerslide reward got abducted by some folks at Rutgers for a senior project: http://www.makerbot.com/blog/2011/11/18/makerbot-electronics-in-a-pick-and-place-machine/

Here are my planned tasks:

    Build a DrawBot to get a basic handle on computer control, stepper motors, and stepper drivers
    Rebuild FUBAR's old FullSpectrumLaser 40w unit
    Maybe build a arduino / chipkit / netduino based laser control unit with network access
    Maybe fool with some 3D printing
    My ultimate goal is a nice sized CNC routing table, maybe 4' x 4'

I've made some progress already, and have gotten some great information from this site and forum already.
bill.french
 
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Re: Bill's CNC Adventure and FullSpectrumLaser 40w Rebuild

Postby bill.french » Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:35 am

Here's a link to a video of my drawbot. A drawbot seemed to me to be the simplest/cheapest/easiest entry into cnc that actually does something. It's basically just two steppers, two pulleys, some belt, and some miscellaneous stuff. The next step up in complexity is the eggbot, which we also have at Fubar.

I didn't want to look at anyone else's code for my drawbot, as I really wanted to learn how to make it move on my own, using the Accelstepper library and Adafruit motor shield on an Arduino Uno. The math is really simple, not much more than the Pythagorean Theorem. Once I got it working with some x/y coordinates, I had it draw a star:
Image
... but it was strangely distorted. At least it looked like a star, though! I was on my way. Once I corrected the stepper speeds for the slopes of the lines I was drawing:
Image
... I got a star that was a little better laid out. The waviness had to do with resonance in the belts and gondola, so I slowed down the motion considerably:
Image
Success!! Still some tweaking to do to get 1" to equal 1", and square everything up, but I was on my way, with a handle on getting steppers to work, stepper drivers, acceleration, resonance, speeds, etc.

I had seen several drawbots on the web, but the one that threw me over the edge was the "polargraph":
http://www.polargraph.co.uk/
.. the drawings it does are really something special. The device is so simple!
Last edited by bill.french on Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bill's CNC Adventure and FullSpectrumLaser 40w Rebuild

Postby bill.french » Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:49 am

Next I moved on to the Full Spectrum Laser 40w laser cutter at Fubar Labs. The unit had not worked since before I joined the hackerspace in 2010. The power supply certainly was broken, probably the tube, too.
I proceeded to "thoughtfully disassemble" the unit, taking pictures, labeling wires, etc. I pulled out the stepper controller:
Image
Seems to be a straight-forward parallel port stepper controller. Revision 3.5, apparently. I mapped out the pins, using a multimeter to verify a document I found in Full Spectrum's support forums:
http://www.fullspectrumengineering.com/ ... ction.html
Image
Once I was confident I knew the controller's interface, I configured EMC2 and guessed at some settings, taped a sharpie to the laser head and tried the demo code in EMC2:
Image
Success!! I was able to make the x/y system in the laser cutter work. Next I wanted to tackle the laser itself.
Last edited by bill.french on Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bill's CNC Adventure and FullSpectrumLaser 40w Rebuild

Postby bill.french » Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:55 am

I ordered a chinese tube and power supply off ebay. It arrived in perfect condition in 4 days -- amazing. I followed the instructions here:
http://www.buildlog.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=630
I wired up the tube, keeping it in its cardboard box for now. I just cut some holes for the water tubes and the actual laser output.
I inflated a balloon and gave it a whirl. It worked. This is a video of the second test:

So, I've got motion, I've got laser... just need to bring those together.
bill.french
 
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Re: Bill's CNC Adventure and FullSpectrumLaser 40w Rebuild

Postby bill.french » Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:37 pm

I've made considerable progress, but I'm a bit behind on my buildlog updates. I have managed to bring motion and laser together.

I've run through the demo EMC2 code, while manually activating the laser. Next will be getting software control over the laser!

Image
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Re: Bill's CNC Adventure and FullSpectrumLaser 40w Rebuild

Postby lasersafe1 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 6:16 pm

bill.french wrote:I wired up the tube, keeping it in its cardboard box for now. I just cut some holes for the water tubes and the actual laser output.
I inflated a balloon and gave it a whirl.


You would be amazed at how fast it can get rid of squirrels at the bird feeder too.
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