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Author Topic: Mach3 and a Laser.  (Read 6129 times)
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Smackre
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« on: January 24, 2008, 03:52:02 PM »

I am just wondering if anyone has had any experience building a laser engraver using mach3.  Also how hard would it be to have a router/laser into one machine.  Maybe have 2 computers and 1 machine and have a router and laser head mounted on there. 

I already have a cnc router that runs off mach3.  And it dont run all that much.  And we need to get a laser engraver.  And its either spend 10,000$ or buy a C02 laser and put it on my router if that is possible.  Also what kind of software would u use to program for a laser.  Right now I have mastercam for my mills/router and lathes. 
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Hood
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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2008, 07:13:42 PM »

You could probably just use the one computer and set up two different profiles for Mach.
Hood
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Smackre
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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2008, 11:39:33 AM »

Anyone have any other suggestions?  Like how do you usually control a laser with mach3?  Right now I have a spindle controlled threw my com1 port.  If I made a second profile and etc.  Say I bought this laser.

http://cgi.ebay.com/100W-CO2-Sealed-Laser-Tube-Power-Supply-220v-Pumps_W0QQitemZ150195002460QQihZ005QQcategoryZ53141QQcmdZViewItem

how would I go about controlling it?

Also does anyone know a good cad/cam for lasers?

If I understand how these lasers work.  You usually have a table that moves up and down for focus length.  Well my table don't move.  Couldn't I just move the focus lens up and down with Z axis.  Have a mirror shoot the beam down and have the z axis focus the lens to my part.
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bowber
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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2008, 05:03:43 PM »

I would think that it all depends what you are doing.

If you are just cutting or marking then you'll most likely just turn the laser on and focus it, but if you are wanting to "print" with it you'll need to control the focus depending on the depth of mark you want which mach will not be able to do.

Steve
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Smackre
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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2008, 10:38:30 AM »

All I want to do is Cut and Mark.  but marking is the big thing.  Cutting would just be a extra.
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Smackre
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« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2008, 04:21:15 AM »

to be exact.  I need to be able to engrave steel with cermark spray.  Engrave logo's. 

Now all the laser powersupplies I see say they run off a PWM or 0-5v signal.  The spindle I run atm runs off a 0-10v signal.  Can I run the laser off this 0-10v signal to control the power?
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jimpinder
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« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2008, 09:06:50 AM »

You've shifted the question again - but I take it that you arn't going to use the spindle of your machine - i.e. it won't be turning. You will mount the laser in there.

In that case it would seem to me that you have control of focus - in that the Z axis can go up and down. The x and y axis take care of moving the laser about your pattern.

Mach 3 puts out a pwn signal - this is tied to the spindle speed. If you disconnect the spindle drivers, you could use the pwm signal output to directly driver the laser (if it will do so) or buy a Digispeed which will convert the pwm signal into a varying voltage signal the limits of which you can set. You could then use the S command in G Code to drive your laser.
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jimpinder
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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2008, 09:21:32 AM »

Having just looked at the laser spec - it is a lot bigger than I thought, BUT daft as it seems, will it mount in place of the milling head on your router. It might look a bit hideous, but may be the simplest way to do it, if you have 6ft clearance. You only have wires and pipes to connect to it.If the laser is not mounted on the head, i cannot see how you can keep the beam on the work ( even by mirrors) as the head moves round the table
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