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
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



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

Notice

9/12/18 The Big Laser is Working again after a major overhaul including tube & optics replacement. There is a significant increase in cutting power and the lens now has a 127mm focal length which increases the length of the narrow cutting sweet spot. Old files and settings need to be reset for the higher output. Your old speeds and power settings are probably wrong.

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.

Note: The list of certified people was WAY out of date. Please notify a trainer to certify, re-certify, etc

Certified Members - Updated

  • Will Bauer
  • Tiffany Bell-Horwath
  • Mason Boling
  • Chris Davis
  • Danielle Fraley
  • Nancy Graf
  • Vicente Gonzalez
  • Cat Hodges
  • Kerensa Juniper
  • Dave Lear
  • Brett Pipitone
  • Uwe Schneider
  • Brad Walsh
  • Jeff Schaber
  • Kevin & Katie Schuler
  • John Osterman
  • Paige Wideman
  • Jason Gentry
  • Skyler Street
  • Scott Hively
  • Chris Davis
  • Kevin McLeod
  • Who will be next?

Trainers

  • Brad Walsh
  • Lorin Parker
  • Dave Velzy
  • Ryan Hershey
  • Greg Arnold

To Do

Counter balancing the lid

The pneumatic cylinders on our laser were bad when we received the laser which cause some near accidents when the lid wasn't supported and came crashing down.

Helper struts have been added and now the lid will stay up.

Pic of helper struts
Helper struts

Still crashes down the last few inches. Hold onto the handle and let it down easy. Careful. It's heavy.

Perhaps we can add a closing damper. The handle could use an upgrade. If only we could machine stuff . . . .

Exhaust Fan Update.

The Exhaust fan has been replaced with a much quieter model. The fan power comes on when the Big Laser is powered on by the key switch.

Work Log

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 February 2017 - This needs update to the 127mm laser focus.

16.5 is the setting we want to use for Org-OffsetLength in the Easycut 5.3 software. The distance from the top of the material to the point the sensor triggers is 1.114". The OriginOffSetLen setting within the syscfg_biglaser.ini file needs to be set to 16.5


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 February 2017 - This needs update to the 127mm laser focus.

16.5 is the setting we want to use for Org-OffsetLength in the Easycut 5.3 software. The distance from the top of the material to the point the sensor triggers is 1.114". The OriginOffSetLen setting within the syscfg_biglaser.ini file needs to be set to 16.5

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 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.

  • 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.
  • 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 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.
    • 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 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.
    • 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 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.