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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    "Stuck in Lodi", Ca
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    Quote Originally Posted by doug925 View Post
    My Father runs a Rabbit laser, and has for the past 1.5 years. (You can imagine all the neat little items he has made or engraved for me.

    The Rabbit WILL easily do "colored" metal, but NOT bare metal surfaces. If you want to etch/engrave bare metal, you HAVE to spray a special (and pricey $$) film on the surface to get it to not reflect.

    My issues with the Rabbit (and most of the commodity lasers, Boss, etc....) is that you cannot see /read / or program directly with G code.
    The machine runs on G code, but (AFAIK) there is no way to direct program without Mach III or some other dribble.

    I want to program from my PC, or my CAM system.... I also want the ability to modify my own code....

    You might want to consider a FIBER laser. It will etch / engrave anything it has the Watts to cut into. (I have no familiarity with the programming side, or ability to see/use the G-code on an Epilog)

    I was thinking an epilog, but without the need, it is only a luxury toy.
    Just to add to Doug comments:

    The programming SW and drivers systems ware are separate (usually). The SW is running G-Code. I’m not sure what the really cheap ones are running as you cannot easily access the code.

    The aftermarket system I have allows you to read the G-Code it produces. To edit it you need to download it back out. I am programming G-Code through my CADCAM which I’ve written a post for.

    The C02 lasers mostly use water cooling which have their own problems if not maintained correctly. Deionized or distilled water only and changed often to avoid algae growth. You can’t added things like bleach to the water it can cause tube arcing.

    (C02 laser tubes run on super high voltages (20,000 to 40,000 range) and can kill you. So playing around with the power supply and laser tube you need to know what you’re doing. I saw a video of a cheap 40watt that had a tube failure arc more than two inches because it wasn’t grounded properly.)

    Anyway back to how they program. The machines mostly run two methods:

    Rastering - which is back and forth firing at the points needing the image or letter/number.

    Vectoring – which follows a line i.e. G-Code.

    So you can down load your own G-Code.

    Danielg, mentioned the molybdenum disulfide special sprays and they do work fine but it is time consuming to clean off the overspray after engraving.

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