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Swansea Hackspace | Equipment / LaserCutterPurchase
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Laser Cutter

Has arrived

Things to do

  • Cover in safety notices
  • Clean out all remains of packaging
  • Replace all mains plugs with UK ones
  • Check earthing
  • Test coolant loop for leaks
  • Test motor movements
  • Test fire the laser
  • Fit safety interlocks to all compartment doors
  • Better light seal on compartments
  • Add interlock to coolant water flow (needs debugging)
  • Emergency stop button
  • Align laser (well, reasonably)
  • Cut something
  • Fit longer exhaust hose
  • Declare success

Wish List

Future Upgrades


Updated Proposal

Attach:laser_cutter_2.jpg Δ

40W CO2 laser cutter - £349

  • 300 x 200mm cutting area
  • 40W CO2 laser
  • UK supplier
  • USB Control board
  • Exhaust and water pumps included

List price: £349 including delivery


Total £349 paid out of £349 total pledged towards target £349.

Pledges so far

UserAmountPaid
justin£50Paid
eclipse£20Paid
ceri£30Paid
ProjectMonkey£20Paid
gwion101?£25Paid
rparkera£50Paid
tswsl1989£20Paid
preseli£40Paid
Anonymous£40Paid
gerrit£30Paid
picopixie£24Paid

Make a Pledge

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Proposal

Attach:laser_cutter.jpg Δ

LY3020 - £529.12

  • 300 x 200mm cutting area (A4 sized)
  • 50W CO2 laser
  • air assist cutting head
  • removable honeycomb cutting bed
  • FDA Compliant, CE Certification, ISO9001 Quality Certification
  • USB or Parallel port

This laser cutter will need some modifications to work with anything except the crippled windows software it ships with, and will need additions to make it work smoothly.

Extras :-

  • *might* get hit for VAT and import duty, worst case an extra £130 but unlikely.
  • Replace the electronics with a RAMPS, GRBL, or similar board and software
  • Will need a water pump (included) and reservoir of some kind to cool the laser tube
  • Will need an extractor fan and flex ducting to stick out a window
  • Will need an air pump/compressor for the air-assist nozzle feature
  • Would be a good idea to add water flow and temperature sensors as safeguard the laser
  • CO2 fire extinguisher
  • Test earthing and electrics, fit any additional interlock/cutouts required

Estimated total cost £700

Also please note that a laser cutter is not a one-off cost, the laser tube, the mirrors and lenses must be considered consumables, the laser tube has an expected lifetime of 1000 hours, and costs £150 to replace. So there will be an appropriate usage charge for this equipment, a suggested rate is £5 per hour.

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Discussions

Top of our Poll for most wanted new tools is a laser cutter.

A laser cutter allows engraving of many materials, as well as cutting of a selection of non-metallic materials upto about 3-4mm in thickness such as acrylic, plywood and paper/card.

My research so far has revealed the following :-

  • cheap CO2 laser tubes are rated for 1000hrs and cost upwards of £100 to replace
  • All laser cutters need venting, and usually have an extractor fan+tube system
  • All laser cutters require water cooling, pump maybe included but not cooling
  • cutters must be actively watched during operation incase of malfunction or fire which can cause expensive damage.

All of the cutters listed, and all the ones that i can find within a reasonable price range come with propriatry windows software, often old (eg win xp only) and limited. The simplest answer appears to be to replace the entire control board with something more open and standard eg RAMPS, which can handle more than enough stepper drivers (2 or 3) and control outputs to run the machine with standard GCODE.

Further research is suggesting that a parallel port cutter is going to be almost identical to a cnc machine in its interfacing, that could be run with linuxcnc/mach3, or by attaching an external arduino running GRBL/Marlin and translating to usb+gcode. So you could get a sane linux interface without needing to tamper with the internals (not that they are complex) seems that unlike cnc this isnt true, and that the moshidraw boards that so many use have an encrypted protocol on parallel and usb, making the control board completely useless.

Various videos show that all of the power control is handled by the psu, the stop switches, safety interlocks and laser tube drive are on the psu board. which in turn gives 5v, gnd, laser trigger (ttl), and a motor drive voltage (24v?). a seperate motor drive board then deals with the X/Y axis steppers, end stops, and triggering the laser (which you can PWM for finer control). So replacing that board is pretty straightforward, and doesnt involve any high voltages and isnt responsible for safety cutoff switches etc.

Ideas

Cooling water flow is important, pump should probably be powered off same mains switch as the cutter.

A liquid flow switch on the coolant output pipe could be wired to the extruder temperature sensor input, so that action could be automatically prevented/stopped if flow ceased.

Suggested Suppliers

Just Add Sharks - Blacknose. A3 laser cutter. £3000

  • Ready to run
  • 300mm by 400mm cutting area (A3 sized)
  • 40W CO2 laser
  • UK supplier (of imports)

HPC Laser - LS3050 PRO £3000

  • 300 x 500mm cutting area
  • 40W CO2 laser
  • UK supplier (of chinese imports)

Swordsman C50-4040 £980 (+ any vat and duty)

  • 400 x 400mm cutting area
  • 50W CO2 laser
  • CE and FDA certification
  • Higher spec cutter direct from manufacturer in china.

LY6040 A2 laser cutter £1,291.81 (shipped from UK)

  • 600 x 400mm cutting area (approx A2 size)
  • 50W CO2 laser
  • includes air-pump and water-pump
  • USB Port
- Last change December 12, 2016, at 03:19 PM
- Registered in England and Wales 08777436