Big laser cutter

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Fab Lab
3D Printing 2D Cutting Misc



Hive13 Equipment
List of All Documented Equipment
Big Laser 01092016.jpg
Consumables
Owner/Loaner: Hive13
Make/Model: G.Weike LC1512 (google)
Arrival Date: 07/2015
Does it work?: YES
Certification Needed?: yes
Contact: Fab Lab area warden
Floorplan: 1F
Manual: [[LC1512[1]|Manual]]
Big_laser_cutter.png



The Hive13 Big laser is BACK after the fire of August 12, 2019. It took a lot of work. Don’t screw it up.

NEVER LEAVE THE LASER UNATTENDED!  THE LASER CAN START A FIRE AND KILL SOMEONE!

KNOW HOW TO USE THE CO2 FIRE EXTINGUISHER AND FIRE BLANKET IN FABLAB.

Big Laser Fire Pictures: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1OPnucb5EpZwowCxuSwyuKfM3vYnSUt8A?usp=sharing


WARNING: Do not look into laser with remaining eye. Pages to do with the Laser Cutter:

Notice

10/5/2019: The Big Laser controller has been upgraded to a RuiDa RDC6445G. This article will explain the buttons.

The Big Laser can use either LightBurn and RDWorks software. Both are installed on the Big Laser PC

Manuals for both sets of software are on that PC desktop and shared (\\dumpstor)/Lazzorr. You may also find manuals and tutorials on-line. RTFM. The software is immensely capable. The manuals are readable.

To avoid head crashes the big laser bed size is limited to X= 1475 mm and Y = 1150 mm.

The RuiDa RDC6445G Control Panel

Ruida RDC6445G Control Panel

Import your Vector format:dxf, ai, plt, dst, dsb… etc or Bitmap format:bmp, jpg, gif, png, mng,… etc file to the selected software. (LightBurn or RDWorks) Prepare your file with layers, power and speeds.


Turn the Big Laser Key Power switch to on. On power up the laser head will home to the far right corner of the laser housing. This must be done on power up to set the X = 0 and Y = 0. At this point Z = 3000.

Make sure the Exhaust Fan, Chiller and Air Pump are running.

Press the Z↓ Button to lower the Z-Bed to clear space enough to load material.

Load Material and square it to the bed. Use the X and Y motion button to move the laser head into position over the area you intend to cut.

Make sure the gold tipped Z-Axis Probe is over the material you will be cutting. Press the Focus button to set the appropriate Z height. The bed will rise to touch the probe and find Z = 0. Then the bed will drop to the appropriate focal point.

Download the Gcode from the PC to laser. Make sure your file name appears on the control screen.

Use the button arrows to move the head RedDot laser to the upper right corner of the area you wish to cut or engrave. At this point the controller thinks you want to cut the material at X= 0, Y = 0.

Press the Origin button to tell the controller to start from the current position.

Press the Frame to outline the item to be cut. If you previously pressed Origin, the outline will be where you expect. If you haven’t pressed origin, it will go to the previously defined origin. (Not where you expected.)

The Pulse button will test fire the laser making a dot burn.

Press the green Start button to begin the cut. Press it again to pause the cut.

The red Stop button will halt the motion of the controller.


Prepare for the future with documentation that is actually pretty good.

LightBurn Tutorials https://lightburnsoftware.com/pages/tutorials

LightBurn Documentation https://drive.google.com/open?id=1hg_bZnX4bZ7IwOar4EeyqsUB4i2v5wgt

Controller Tutorials RDC6445G - What do these buttons do? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heL-GVxE64I

IMPORTANT - Even though you might have been certified on the Big Laser before the fire YOU MUST BE RECERTIFIED

Users

The Big Laser is only available to Hive13 members who have been certified on its use & care. To become certified, you need to take the certification class. Contact us about scheduling one.

Certified Members - Updated

  • Because of the new Software and Operating Controller you must Recertify
  • Who will be next?

Trainers

  • Brad Walsh
  • Dave Velzy
  • Ralph Blumberg

To Do

New auto z zeroing sensor (September 2018)

Replacement sensor is a LJ8A3-2-Z/BX NPN NO 3-wire 2mm Inductive Proximity Sensor Switch DC 6-36V housed in a custom aluminum contactor. The sensor is commonly available.

Z-Height Probe with imbedded sensor

The picture on the right shows how the new sensor is mounted. The sensor may be adjusted up and down to zero the focal point a the top surface or mid-plane of the material to be cut.

During the installation of the sensor it was learned that a pull-up resistor of 330K ohm is added in line between the 24v line and the output line.

Laser Wiring Information Table
Laser Side Red Purple Blue
Sensor Side Brown Black Blue
Location Left Center Right
Function 24v Output Ground
pull-up Resistor 330K Ohm n/a

New auto Z Settings October 2019 updated to the 127mm laser focus.

67mm is the setting for Focus Length on the new Laser Head.

Monthly Maintenance

Reduce the risk of fire and soot damage to work product.

  • Turn the Power Off - Unplug the Machine.
  • Clean small fallen parts from the catch tray and inside under the tray. Vacuum small bits.
  • Clean soot from support bars. Take them to wash room tub. Scrub with full concentrate floor cleaner and 3M scrub pad. Wear rubber gloves.
    • Stubborn residue may take denatured alcohol or other solvents to remove. Use these sparingly.
  • Clean soot from the underside of the enclosure lid.
  • Reassemble the bars.

Clean Optics - NOTE: Clean laser Optics are critical to performance. Even though the mirrors are coated with a thin layer of fused quartz they can be damaged.

  • Clean the mirrors in place. Be careful to avoid bumping or pushing the mirrors out of alignment.
  • Use denatured alcohol and a fluffed up Q-Tip or cotton ball to clean mirrors with a gentle circular motion.
  • Disassemble the Lens from the holder and clean it the same way you clean the mirrors. Reassemble.

Check beam alignment.

  • Close up and lock the cabinet access panels opened during cleaning.
  • Plug in and power up the Laser.
  • Place a white small birch-ply target on the cutting table surface. (Paper and or corrugated board char and catch fire too easily.)
  • Manually raise the Z-axis to nearly touch the Z-Datum probe.
  • Manually reduce the laser power setting to 1% or 2%
    • Fire the laser for one pulse using the Laser command button.
    • Assure the beam toasts a circle on the target. If not fire again until a spot appears.
  • Manually Lower the Z-axis to approximately 5 inches from the lens.
  • Manually reduce the laser power setting to 1% or 2%
    • Fire the laser for one pulse using the Laser command button.
    • Assure the beam burns a smaller dot. If no dot is produced fire again until a spot appears.
  • When the laser is properly aligned these two burns should be concentric. Not kind of concentric. They should be dead center.
  • If not centered, the alignment needs to be corrected.

Beam Alignment

This is a team activity to be led by an Experienced Operator or Instructor - Beam Alignment requires care and patience. Carefully done the process takes 30 to 60 minutes.- Beam Alignment also requires opening the safety access panels. Alignment is critical. The new laser head has a 2mm exit orifice. Hitting that tiny target from three meters away after bouncing off three mirrors requires attention to detail, Each mirror must be precisely aligned to maintain the beam horizontal to the laser tube and turning at precisely right 45 degree angles.

  • Take care to wear laser safety goggles and close hatches during test burns.
  • Beam alignment requires at least four small birch-ply targets sized to easily tape in front of the mirrors. A 5mm grid on the target makes the alignment task much easier. Birchply is used because If you burn through the target there will be soot left on the mirror. Paper and cardboard burn through too easily.
  • Mirrors are numbered 1, 2 and 3 starting with the mirror closest to the laser tube mounted in the back of the machine.
  • Place a Target in front of mirror 1. Note: Mirror mounts 1, 2 and 3 have a face at 45 degrees to the beam axis.
  • Close access hatches. Reduce power to 1% and perform a manual burn using the laser button.
  • Inspect the target. The beam should have burned a symmetric oval in the center of the mirror.
  • If the oval is not centered, check Laser tube to be level and on axis. Note: A need to align the tube is unlikely, but possible.
  • Adjust mirror 1 position to center the beam. Test burn to determine placement of the beam.
    • Repeat until the oval is centered plus or minus 1mm or less.
  • Move the gantry to the back of the machine.
  • Remove the target from mirror 1.
  • Place a fresh target on mirror 2. (Left end of gantry)
  • Close access hatches. Reduce power to 1% and perform a manual burn using the laser button.
  • Inspect the target. The beam should have burned a symmetric oval in the center of the mirror.
    • If the oval is not centered, use the adjusting screws on mirror 1 to precisely center the beam.
    • Turn only one screw at a time in 1/8 turn increments between test firings at low power.
    • Replace targets with fresh surfaces to make sure you can see the new burn results.
    • Repeat until the oval is centered plus or minus 1mm or less.
  • Once satisfied the beam is on center at mirror 2, Place a fresh target on mirror 2 and make a light marker burn.
  • Then move the gantry to the front of the machine.
  • Reduce power to 1% and perform a manual burn using the laser button.
  • Inspect the target. The beam should have burned a symmetric oval in alignment with the target burn.
    • If the oval is not centered, use the adjusting screws on mirror 1 to center the beam.
    • Turn only one screw at a time in 1/8 turn increments between test firings at 1% power.
    • Replace targets with fresh surfaces to make sure you can see the new burn results.
    • Move the gantry from front to back between burns to assure the beam is aligned throughout all gantry travel.
    • Repeat until the oval is centered at both front and back plus or minus 0.5 mm or less. Less alignment error is better because errors are compounded by each reflection.
  • Once satisfied the beam is on center at mirror 2, remove the mirror 2 target.
  • Move the gantry to the front of the machine. Place a fresh target on mirror 3 and make a marker burn.
    • NOTE: The face of Mirror Mount 3 is 90 degrees to the beam. This will result in a circular beam. (close to circular rather than oval)
  • Inspect the target. The beam should burn a circle in the center of the mirror.
    • If the circle is not centered, use the adjusting screws on mirror 2 to center the beam.
    • Turn only one screw at a time in 1/8 turn increments between test firings at 1% power.
  • It may be necessary to raise or lower mirror 3 though this is unlikely.
  • Repeat the test firings and adjust until the burns are concentric at left and right position of the cross slide and the gantry forward
    • Repeat until the burn is centered plus or minus 0.5 mm or less.
  • Once satisfied the beam is on center at mirror 3, with gantry to the front of the machine.
    • Replace the mirror 3 target and move the gantry to the rear of the machine.
  • Close access hatches. Reduce power to 1% and perform a manual burn using the laser button.
  • Inspect the target. The beam should have burned a circle in the center of mirror 3.
    • If you did the previous steps right this is perfect.
    • If the burn circle is not centered, Return to previous steps and check alignment of all mirrors starting with #1. Errors at the beginning cannot be corrected further down the beam path.
    • Once the mirror 3 target burn is centered for front and rear gantry and right and left slide positions proceed to perform the above beam alignment check.====