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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenthing View Post
    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".
    Sorry mate, this will be my last response. Follow Digger Doug's advice and head over to C N C zone.com with your questions as they are related to a hobby machine and not suitable for this forum.

    I am replying with the best of intentions trying to help you out, and you're responding with a very arrogant tone. It's not my job to help you. I'm taking time out of my paying work to spend time replying to you, and what I was suggesting was that you are not putting enough effort into your own research, which you are not.

    If you 'know all about building a CNC' then you would know what a 'feedrate' is at the very least. It's one of the most basic parameters involved in operating any CNC machine.

    Best of luck in your endeavours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aarongough View Post
    Sorry mate, this will be my last response. Follow Digger Doug's advice and head over to C N C zone.com with your questions as they are related to a hobby machine and not suitable for this forum.

    I am replying with the best of intentions trying to help you out, and you're responding with a very arrogant tone. It's not my job to help you. I'm taking time out of my paying work to spend time replying to you, and what I was suggesting was that you are not putting enough effort into your own research, which you are not.

    If you 'know all about building a CNC' then you would know what a 'feedrate' is at the very least. It's one of the most basic parameters involved in operating any CNC machine.

    Best of luck in your endeavours.
    We were on the topic of lasers and you started discussing CNC, hence the confusion

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenthing View Post
    We were on the topic of lasers and you started discussing CNC, hence the confusion
    Well, okay then.
    You wanna talk about a manual laser- a.k.a. Bport?

    What ARE you trying to accomplish.???

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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.

    I think the original poster would be better served at the "zone" because they are a hobbyist..

    And my suggestion to greenthing. DON'T build your own machine, it's not practical. Buy a Chinese laser machine off ebay and you'll get all the building you want and more out of your system before you get it running.. Plus the machines have easy to use controllers that do most of what you are after.


    Garwood, stating that you need a 1kw laser to cut metal is somewhat incorrect, that is true of Co2 but not all lasers. I'm cutting commercial quantities of metal with a 500 watt fiber laser just fine. The machine I'm using is only $60,000 ($47,000 when I bought before tariffs) which is cheap for a laser but certainly not a hobbyist machine.. I think a lot of shops that could really use a laser to be more competitive are pricing themselves out of the market. My 500 watt can't cut faster in 22ga steel, because it can't accelerate fast enough. Since 90% of my cutting is in 22gauge my 500 watt is just about the perfect machine, I can just barely keep up with the machine breaking the parts out of the sheets and loading new ones.. I do cut some volume of 16 and 14 gauge steel, 14 gauge is fairly slow, but I cut so little of it, that it is not a big deal. I just do something else while it is working away.

    And you can get a 1KW laser for about $80,000.. Sure it's an import, and you are going to have to fuss around with it a little to get everything working 100%.. And while some would say $80k is ridiculous for a laser, I see a lot of shops using hand held plasma torches and jigs, when the owner is driving a new customized king ranch platinum. And all I can think is if that guy spent the money on a laser this year, he could probably afford a big stupid boat to go behind his big stupid truck next year...

    But hey we all have priorities, I have two fiber lasers and drive a 13 year old car.

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    No experience with fiber here, but that's awesome 500w will cut 14 gauge. My 1kw Mazak/Panasonic CO2 is designed for 10 gauge and under steel, but it will cut 3/8" steel with the right strategy.

    I have to say I learned more about lasers in the first week I owned a little chinese one than in years of having a real one. I feel like it was good step for me- The little cheap stuff you can see it, understand it and easily grasp the drawbacks and what the real ones do to overcome those issues. There's also that lack of concern when a mirror or lens is $25 instead of $1000+, a chiller is $300 instead of $10k, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSplitter View Post
    Well, okay then.
    You wanna talk about a manual laser- a.k.a. Bport?

    What ARE you trying to accomplish.???
    I'm building a CNC with a swappable laser component

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenthing View Post
    I'm building a CNC with a swappable laser component
    Alright, then what dooo you mean by post #22..???

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChipSplitter View Post
    Alright, then what dooo you mean by post #22..???
    I mean we are 28 posts into this thread now and no one has answered my question

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenthing View Post
    I mean we are 28 posts into this thread now and no one has answered my question
    That kind of attitude will get a whole lot of go fuck yourself around here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    That kind of attitude will get a whole lot of go fuck yourself around here.
    Gary, I'm looking for actual helpful information. If all you've done is build a kit from China you bought off ebay then this isn't the thread for you. Thank you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenthing View Post
    Gary, I'm looking for actual helpful information. If all you've done is build a kit from China you bought off ebay then this isn't the thread for you. Thank you.
    CNC zone is full of people trying to build their own hobby CNC machine laser milling lathes ECT. Most just talk about it because it's not easy. Building your own refrigerator would be less complicated and you don't see people doing much of that..

    Practical machinest is a forum for people in the industry of making parts.. it is not a hobby machine site.. we Don't generally talk about building machines because it is not practical.

    I've built a few process machines and have done repairs and maintenance on CNC laser machines. And I know how they work mostly. And there is a lot of specially made hardware that makes them work. I don't think building your own is cheaper, better or more practical and had not been for many years.

    Again this forum is mostly for shops that make things for profit.. so many topics are not really appropriate here.. like a topic about Dremel tools, we all probably own one but it's not really a business machine and more a last ditch maintenance/repair tool... If I'm going for my Dremel swearing had been happening for several minutes already and this day is going badly.. but I don't need to ask which one is best because I don't think about Dremel tools as expensive, They cost less than some of the end mills we use.

    Again CNC zone is a hobby site and is the place for your project. This is not.


    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.
    Raycus has a chart for cutting, not engraving. We just figured that if 100% cuts a hole that 5% will not go through. And did some process of elimination and got it working.

    But co2 or fiber lasers behave differently.. a fiber laser gets roughly a 50% better performance on metal but are nearly useless on anything else. And metals like copper brass zinc aluminum and others are actually harder to cut than steel. They are vastly more reflective and can damage the machine or operator if you cut too thick or with the wrong settings. Lasers are extremely dangerous machines because the beam is reflecting very frequently especially when engraving or starting the cut.. with a fiber laser 300 watt will cut to about 18 gauge but most machines start at 500 watt because the cost is not much higher and the performance is much better.

    I highly recommend buying an assembled machine that is fully enclosed. There is a lot going on in a laser cutting machine. There is a computer a io board a capacitive sensor to control the Z axis. A laser head water cooling system a laser power source and valves to control the assist gas.. we rewired the head on our welder to reduce some binding and it took a couple days to track down each wire and move it over... A fully assembled machine took a week to get setup and fixed after the shipper had their way with it. Starting from a pile of parts with no instructions or software is basically impossible.

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    I think we are feeding a troll here. OP needs to do a LOT more reading on the subject before asking questions. By doing so the OP will be able to ask intelligent questions, get intelligent answers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scruffy887 View Post
    I think we are feeding a troll here. OP needs to do a LOT more reading on the subject before asking questions. By doing so the OP will be able to ask intelligent questions, get intelligent answers.
    Actually csspecs has been quite helpful


    Quote Originally Posted by csspecs View Post
    But co2 or fiber lasers behave differently.. a fiber laser gets roughly a 50% better performance on metal but are nearly useless on anything else. And metals like copper brass zinc aluminum and others are actually harder to cut than steel. They are vastly more reflective and can damage the machine or operator if you cut too thick or with the wrong settings. Lasers are extremely dangerous machines because the beam is reflecting very frequently especially when engraving or starting the cut.. with a fiber laser 300 watt will cut to about 18 gauge but most machines start at 500 watt because the cost is not much higher and the performance is much better.
    See, I was initially interested in C02 laser but a user in this thread recommended fiber. Are you saying I don't need fiber at all and should just stick with CO2? Can you comment on which is easier to "wire up"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenthing View Post
    Gary, I'm looking for actual helpful information. If all you've done is build a kit from China you bought off ebay then this isn't the thread for you. Thank you.
    This guy's a troll.

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    Again I'm going to say your on the wrong forum. We don't really build machines here. CNC zone is a perfect fit for this topic.
    There is a 10% chance I know you in real life, because I've had part of this conversation before. Any chance you live near Daytona beach and know a guy named Mark that does CNC milling and the like drives a red truck.

    To answer the question neither are easy to wire up, beam delivery is difficult on both, the fiber laser uses a 10 meter chunk of roughly 3/8" fiber optic cable which must be protected from bending more than I think an 8" radius which means you have a 16" tall cable drag chain on every axis, and you need to plan that early on because drag chains that size are huge.

    CO2 use special mirrors which reflect the wave length of CO2 lasers. This is both easier and harder since the the beam path needs to be clean so it is normally purged with filtered air, so lots of channels and the like. And the mirrors need to be kept aligned perfectly and they are on moving parts of the gantry so you can probably see the issue.

    There are a couple newer solid state laser technologies that are not really out yet that are small enough to mount directly to the head of the machine. With only power, signal, cooling and assist gas being needed at the head.. But they are probably several years off.

    Something I think you are trying for is to swap power heads on a CNC gantry. With the idea of swapping back and forth between different tasks, a sort of CNC swiss army knife. The main issue with that is going to be the loads exerted. A laser gantry is light often made from aluminium or carbon fiber and fast moving since lasers have basically zero load while cutting, so the only goal is to precisely place the gantry over a material bed as fast as possible. A CNC mill has completely different needs for material holding and are normally made from cast iron to keep vibration reduced.
    Many of the Chinese laser machines use the same gantries as CNC routers, but they use a different machine base and different drive motors. A CNC router needs a very flat table that can support material and keep it from shifting. A CNC laser needs support slats to hold the material and allow the laser beam and assist gas through, and a fume extraction system for the gases made from burning whatever is being cut.

    Inventing is a good thing, but you really need to get the basics understood before embarking on it. There are a lot of older websites about lasers because building them used to be more of a thing. Now that mostly viable chinese made laser machines are widely available for low costs with mostly working software, the build your own option has mostly gone away.

    Another thing is software. Lasers, CNC mills, 3D printers, and engraving machines use fundamentally different software. And many of the small performance improvements over the last few years have primarily been in software. Avoiding unneeded movements and air cutting can save 20-30% of process time, which is HUGE but the only change was computer programing.


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