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    Default Variable power laser module?

    Hi I was looking for information regarding a variable power laser cutting/engraving module, one that can be used for a CNC

    What are some names, prices, and links?

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenthing View Post
    Hi I was looking for information regarding a variable power laser cutting/engraving module, one that can be used for a CNC

    What are some names, prices, and links?
    You will find much more info over at "the zone"
    unfortunately software here will not allow a link, make the required edits, or search google.

    www. c n c -zone dot com

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenthing View Post
    Hi I was looking for information regarding a variable power laser cutting/engraving module, one that can be used for a CNC

    What are some names, prices, and links?
    What is this "module" you speak of? A laser that cuts stuff doesn't generally package into any kind of modular shape. A bunch of parts work together to get the beam to do what you need.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    What is this "module" you speak of? A laser that cuts stuff doesn't generally package into any kind of modular shape. A bunch of parts work together to get the beam to do what you need.
    Let me rephrase...if you have a 100w laser how can you adjust the output to a stable 50w?

    And separately, which part is most responsible for maintaining a stable laser output?

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenthing View Post
    Let me rephrase...if you have a 100w laser how can you adjust the output to a stable 50w?

    And separately, which part is most responsible for maintaining a stable laser output?

    Fiber lasers can do this. We use our 500 watt at 5% for engraving bend lines on parts.
    Fiber lasers are mostly used on metal they don't really work on other materials.

    What are you planning to cut and engraving and what type of work volume? Because the answers are totally different based on that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenthing View Post
    Let me rephrase...if you have a 100w laser how can you adjust the output to a stable 50w?

    And separately, which part is most responsible for maintaining a stable laser output?
    You have CO2 and fiber lasers. Totally different setups. Most lasers are CO2. CO2 is much cheaper than fiber. CO2 has different ways of firing the tube.

    I guess a broad answer to your question would be regardless of what type/style of laser you have the power supply that operates the laser controls the laser power.

    I feel like there's a big lack of understanding how lasers work in these questions.

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    Unless someone's done some serious reading on laser safety, it's unwise to "DIY" a laser setup that's not fully enclosed and with limit switches if the enclosure is opened. Depending on wavelength, even low mW laser power can be enough to damage a retina, and stuff in the tens of watts will do it very quickly.

    UV lasers have the added complication of not giving "visual" cues as to operation or beam reflection, so extra caution is needed. And you have to consider whether glass or plastic windows in your machine will transmit the wavelengths used.

    All in all, it would be wise to step back from this venture until you've gotten a lot more information in hand.

    At least, so "eye" think...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milland View Post
    Unless someone's done some serious reading on laser safety, it's unwise to "DIY" a laser setup that's not fully enclosed and with limit switches if the enclosure is opened. Depending on wavelength, even low mW laser power can be enough to damage a retina, and stuff in the tens of watts will do it very quickly.
    Which leads us to my favourite safety sign of all time:



    To OP: as others have said the 'other' website will likely be a better place for this... CO2 laser power supplies involve high voltages, and fibre lasers are very expensive. Which type of laser is best for your application depends on what you are cutting as different materials absorb different wavelengths of light more or less well. For cutting wood and Acrylic a Co2 laser is the go-to, but for cutting/engraving metals fibre lasers are much more efficient.

    The simplest laser to deal with in a DIY situation would be a violet or infrared laser diode module. These are available on ebay up to about 6 watts or so. They will engrave wood and other simple materials but they are not going to be much good for cutting anything besides maybe paper, even with an air assist. They are very easy to control though as they usually come with their own driver, simply supply them with power and a PWM signal to control the power output.

    As mentioned above: LASERS ARE REALLY FRIGGIN DANGEROUS. Many lasers fall outside the spectrum that we can easily see, which means you will have no 'blink reflex' to save your vision should you be exposed to an errant beam... The first thing you will see after accidentally looking into the beam is nothing. Possibly nothing ever again in fact.

    Correctly rated laser safety goggles, proper enclosures and proper safety interlocks are all an absolute MUST HAVE. Many of the cheap Chinese made laser cutters are practically waiting to blind you at the first opportunity they get.

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    Quote Originally Posted by csspecs View Post
    Fiber lasers can do this. We use our 500 watt at 5% for engraving bend lines on parts.
    Fiber lasers are mostly used on metal they don't really work on other materials.
    What are the different wattage needed to engrave and cut metal?

    Do you have chart you refer to for different types of metal that gives you exact, or even ball park range wattage? I imagine some metals, such as brass, require much lower wattage to cut than say steel or titanium.

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenthing View Post
    What are the different wattage needed to engrave and cut metal?

    Do you have chart you refer to for different types of metal that gives you exact, or even ball park range wattage? I imagine some metals, such as brass, require much lower wattage to cut than say steel or titanium.
    There is power, focal length, lens style, feed rate, assist gas type and pressure and for marking there is stepover.

    Then you have Cermark coatings for uncoated metals.

    What are you trying to do? If you're talking about cutting metals you need at least a kilowatt of laser.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    There is power, focal length, lens style, feed rate, assist gas type and pressure and for marking there is stepover.

    Then you have Cermark coatings for uncoated metals.

    What are you trying to do? If you're talking about cutting metals you need at least a kilowatt of laser.
    Can you elaborate on "feed rate"? What are the assist gas types? Stepover?

    I've read that these types of laser machines are very expensive, in the order of tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars, but that's for someone looking at an industrial grade manufacturing laser cutter, which is designed for large area and large volume. I'm just a hobbyist so I don't need something capable of such volume, therefore I think I could build one for less than $5-10k. Ideally I would like to pick up some side work here and there to recuperate cost.

    I would ideally like to cut metal, yes. If that is going to be too difficult then at the very least I would like to be able to engrave...which leads me to my next question: is it possible to engrave harder metals like steel/aluminum without leaving behind burn marks?

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenthing View Post
    Can you elaborate on "feed rate"? What are the assist gas types? Stepover?

    I've read that these types of laser machines are very expensive, in the order of tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars, but that's for someone looking at an industrial grade manufacturing laser cutter, which is designed for large area and large volume. I'm just a hobbyist so I don't need something capable of such volume, therefore I think I could build one for less than $5-10k. Ideally I would like to pick up some side work here and there to recuperate cost.

    I would ideally like to cut metal, yes. If that is going to be too difficult then at the very least I would like to be able to engrave...which leads me to my next question: is it possible to engrave harder metals like steel/aluminum without leaving behind burn marks?
    I'm sorry mate, this is going to come across as disparaging but if you don't know what a feedrate is, or what a stepover or assist gas is then you're really not ready to be throwing down cost estimates... A CNC system of any kind is fairly complex and learning the ins and outs of all the different parts that make up a system like that will take a LOT of reading and a lot of time.

    I absolutely applaud a 'can do' attitude, but it sounds like you're in the very early stages of your journey and a site intended for DIY cnc builds would be a better place to start. As others mentioned 'the other website' (C N C z o n e . c o m) is a website much more suited to that type of discussion. I have spent a lot of time on 'the other site' learning when I was getting started, and there are lots of great folks there who will be happy to help and to share the details of their own DIY laser builds...

    This forum is intended for professionals to discuss the use/maintenance/etc of professional grade machinery. The lines certainly get blurred at times but full DIY builds of hobby grade equipment are definitely on the wrong side of the line for this forum sorry mate!

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenthing View Post
    Can you elaborate on "feed rate"? What are the assist gas types? Stepover?

    I've read that these types of laser machines are very expensive, in the order of tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars, but that's for someone looking at an industrial grade manufacturing laser cutter, which is designed for large area and large volume. I'm just a hobbyist so I don't need something capable of such volume, therefore I think I could build one for less than $5-10k. Ideally I would like to pick up some side work here and there to recuperate cost.

    I would ideally like to cut metal, yes. If that is going to be too difficult then at the very least I would like to be able to engrave...which leads me to my next question: is it possible to engrave harder metals like steel/aluminum without leaving behind burn marks?
    Go to hobby site.

    Why do all the hobby folks think that they can build something from scratch when they know less than zilch about the subject?

    Go to a hobby site.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aarongough View Post
    I'm sorry mate, this is going to come across as disparaging but if you don't know what a feedrate is, or what a stepover or assist gas is then you're really not ready to be throwing down cost estimates... A CNC system of any kind is fairly complex and learning the ins and outs of all the different parts that make up a system like that will take a LOT of reading and a lot of time.

    I absolutely applaud a 'can do' attitude, but it sounds like you're in the very early stages of your journey and a site intended for DIY cnc builds would be a better place to start. As others mentioned 'the other website' (C N C z o n e . c o m) is a website much more suited to that type of discussion. I have spent a lot of time on 'the other site' learning when I was getting started, and there are lots of great folks there who will be happy to help and to share the details of their own DIY laser builds...

    This forum is intended for professionals to discuss the use/maintenance/etc of professional grade machinery. The lines certainly get blurred at times but full DIY builds of hobby grade equipment are definitely on the wrong side of the line for this forum sorry mate!
    Wow you wrote this long post but couldn't just answer the questions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenthing View Post
    Wow you wrote this long post but couldn't just answer the questions.
    You're messing with things THAT CAN REALLY HURT YOU.

    And you're ignoring the warnings that you clearly don't know enough to be safe to try what you're attempting. Listen to Aaron. Or go on and fumble your way though. We're not liable if you blind yourself. But we'll be pissed that you should have been smarter, and sorry for your relatives who're affected.

    Lasers are not toys. You can't see the radiation in many cases, or if you do, it's only for an instant. There's no respawn if you blind yourself, or worse, someone else.

    Mills and lathes and saws are tangible, you get a visceral (sometimes your viscera) indication when things are going wrong. You won't get that with a laser.

    Good luck to you...

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenthing View Post
    Wow you wrote this long post but couldn't just answer the questions.
    Do you want help or not ?

    Me thinks not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenthing View Post
    Wow you wrote this long post but couldn't just answer the questions.
    Its not that we cannot answer your questions. Your knowledge on the subject is so very weak that you cannot ask the right question. Get your feet wet with one of those $400.00 units on Amazon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenthing View Post
    Wow you wrote this long post but couldn't just answer the questions.
    I am debating internally how to answer this. The reason being that, despite what you might think, I am heavily invested in helping people learn to do new things, I spend quite a few hours every week answering questions from novice knifemakers helping them get started with their early projects, and I spend a lot of time on this forum doing what I can to pay back the help people here gave me when I was getting started with CNC. I really believe that this is important.

    The issue is that building a DIY cnc machine is pretty much the ultimate exercise in self-directed learning. You are going to encounter difficult new topics to learn every few minutes, and some of the things you need to do to build a CNC machine (especially a laser) are going to involve working with things that are potentially very dangerous. High voltages, linear stages that could crush or amputate a finger or hand, laser beams, etc... Some of the decisions you will have to make involve potentially quite complicated math: how about determining the size of servo or stepper you need to drive an axis of a given size? Moment of inertia of your ballscrew/coupler/load assembly?

    If you are not comfortable researching the very basic terms you were asking about above, then you are going to have a difficult time getting any level of progress without having someone else help you through the entire build. I googled the 3 terms you asked about above ('feedrate', 'stepover', 'assist gas') and got useful articles for all three terms as the first result each time.

    The internet is an amazing place. Find the right forum (like this one or CNC Zone) and complete strangers will spend some of their valuable time helping you learn a new topic or skill. But part of that exchange involves being respectful of everyone's time. If someone uses a term that you don't understand the first thing to do is to attempt to research that term on your own, if that turns up nothing then another post requesting clarification is totally warranted, but to get people to help you you're going to have to demonstrate that you're doing what you can to help yourself first.

    Respectfully,
    Aaron

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    Quote Originally Posted by aarongough View Post
    The internet is an amazing place. Find the right forum (like this one or CNC Zone) and complete strangers will spend some of their valuable time helping you learn a new topic or skill. But part of that exchange involves being respectful of everyone's time. If someone uses a term that you don't understand the first thing to do is to attempt to research that term on your own, if that turns up nothing then another post requesting clarification is totally warranted, but to get people to help you you're going to have to demonstrate that you're doing what you can to help yourself first.

    Respectfully,
    Aaron
    No....the Op needs to go to the Zone, per the rules set up a long, long time ago here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aarongough View Post
    I am debating internally how to answer this. The reason being that, despite what you might think, I am heavily invested in helping people learn to do new things, I spend quite a few hours every week answering questions from novice knifemakers helping them get started with their early projects, and I spend a lot of time on this forum doing what I can to pay back the help people here gave me when I was getting started with CNC. I really believe that this is important.

    The issue is that building a DIY cnc machine is pretty much the ultimate exercise in self-directed learning. You are going to encounter difficult new topics to learn every few minutes, and some of the things you need to do to build a CNC machine (especially a laser) are going to involve working with things that are potentially very dangerous. High voltages, linear stages that could crush or amputate a finger or hand, laser beams, etc... Some of the decisions you will have to make involve potentially quite complicated math: how about determining the size of servo or stepper you need to drive an axis of a given size? Moment of inertia of your ballscrew/coupler/load assembly?

    If you are not comfortable researching the very basic terms you were asking about above, then you are going to have a difficult time getting any level of progress without having someone else help you through the entire build. I googled the 3 terms you asked about above ('feedrate', 'stepover', 'assist gas') and got useful articles for all three terms as the first result each time.

    The internet is an amazing place. Find the right forum (like this one or CNC Zone) and complete strangers will spend some of their valuable time helping you learn a new topic or skill. But part of that exchange involves being respectful of everyone's time. If someone uses a term that you don't understand the first thing to do is to attempt to research that term on your own, if that turns up nothing then another post requesting clarification is totally warranted, but to get people to help you you're going to have to demonstrate that you're doing what you can to help yourself first.

    Respectfully,
    Aaron
    I'm aware that lasers of this power (and much lower) can blind me.
    Yes I know all about building a CNC, ball screws, linear rails, timing belts, power supply, controller, etc.

    My questions are about the laser side of things, not making a CNC.
    I could spend weeks researching aimlessly on the topic, true, or you could point me in the right direction for time's sake and I would be better off for it considering you've "been there, done that".


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