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Sep 09, 2014, 09:00 PM
AndyKunz's Avatar
Build Log

Building a Laser Cutter - IT WORKS!


A few months ago I got the opportunity to get a laser cutter.

My goals with the laser were to be able to cut 3' lengths of balsa and ply up at least 12" wide, with sufficient power to cut all the ply thicknesses I would need for my models. Laser cutters come in standard sizes, and for me this meant a 900mm x 600mm system with a 60W tube.

After weeks of searching the web to learn all I could, I placed an order at http://www.lightobject.com/ based upon a number of factors:

1) An obviously experienced tech support person (Marco),
2) Nearly everything from one source (Light Object),
3) A pattern of success from other customers, and
4) A price that fit my budget.

Shortly after I placed my order, I saw a thread with a not-so-successful builder who was selling his system to recoup some of the lost money. Even though I had placed my order, Marco made it clear that if I wanted I could cancel the order and purchase the system from this other fellow. Unfortunately that was a smaller system (600x400), but the level of support he had given to him before this was amazing to see. I knew that this was the kind of company I would want to deal with.

Over the next few weeks I plan to document the construction of the system. Tonight I only had time to take a few photos and open the first box.

Andy

2014-Dec-13: Added complete BOM spreadsheet. It is missing a link and price for the Air Chamber Adapter (line 22). I'll add those when the information becomes available.

2014-Dec-19: Revised spreadsheet & PDF to include material in post #248.

2014-Dec-20: Revised spreadsheet & PDF to include mA meter and its power supply.
Last edited by AndyKunz; Dec 20, 2014 at 10:37 PM. Reason: Change tube to 60W
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Sep 10, 2014, 01:26 AM
Registered User
I'll be watching with interest.

Scott
Sep 10, 2014, 09:07 AM
Registered User
I see a large balsa and plywood order in your future. LOL I hope that cost got figured into your budget.
Sep 10, 2014, 09:17 AM
AndyKunz's Avatar
Next time you're over I'll have to show you my stash!

Although I am working on getting about 1500 more sheets of contest balsa direct from South America ...

Andy
Sep 10, 2014, 10:40 AM
No retreat no surrender
newguy's Avatar
Also watching with interest!
Sep 11, 2014, 10:01 AM
Registered User
Cool
Sep 11, 2014, 01:48 PM
AndyKunz's Avatar
The hardware is conveniently packaged. I was pleasantly surprised to find the frame kit includes locking casters; I had shopped around earlier to see what was available.

A number of the extruded parts are labeled as "COVER" or "DOOR," and the remainder are without labels. Most of these extrusions are also covered with thin plastic to protect them from damage during shipping.

No printed manual was included, but the instructions are available as a PDF from this link. http://lightobject.info/download/file.php?id=1871 The part lettering shown in the PDF lead me to mark the mark each of the parts according to the lengths shown, as this would make the assembly quicker.

Sorting and organizing will help.

Andy
Sep 11, 2014, 02:04 PM
AndyKunz's Avatar
Assembly began by pouring the nuts into one bowl and bolts into a another so I could get them easier w/o spilling. I hope not to spill, that is...

Next step is to put one bolt and nut onto the angle brackets. If you put both in now, it's hard to tighten them down. If you try to get the bolt to capture the nut after sliding the nut into the rail you'll be taking a lot longer to build than you should.

Just get the thread started - you need it to be loose enough to slide into the rail.

After you get the bracket onto the first extrusion, then you can add the second bolt and nut.

BTW, if you happen to have a "little helper" around the house, this first step of assembly is a great way to get them involved. You can get them to add the second one too.

Andy
Sep 11, 2014, 02:49 PM
AndyKunz's Avatar
All through the assembly you need to do two things - look ahead, and work from the inside out.

The lowest layer of the frame has two cross-pieces in the middle. You can't make the outside shape and then put in the two cross-pieces. It's better to put the cross-pieces in first, then add the outer ones. You'll need to think this way for the whole project. It's because it's impossible to thread a nut that's lost in the middle extrusion.

The wheels get added next. There are only two bolts here, on the diagonal.

When you slide them onto the lower rails, try to get as much overlap of the plate to the outer edge of the extrusion. It will make help it last longer.

Andy
Sep 11, 2014, 04:41 PM
Lynx Heli Team Pilot
eolson's Avatar
Very neat project......
Sep 11, 2014, 04:49 PM
AndyKunz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyKunz
Assembly began by pouring the nuts into one bowl and bolts into a another so I could get them easier w/o spilling. I hope not to spill, that is...
OOPS! Fail! It would have worked had I not dropped a big extrusion into the bolts...

Andy
Sep 11, 2014, 05:00 PM
AndyKunz's Avatar
The next step (after cleaning the bolts up) is to begin assembling the next layer up. Remember that "from the inside out" principle? Well, it's about to come into play.

I assume you're looking at a copy of the PDF in post 7.

I started by making the two sub-assemblies from parts E and K. These get mounted onto two rails of D, which then get joined to the two B and then the final two D rails are slid on. When working with these sub-assemblies, they are not being tightened down; they're simply snugged up. This will provide the strength/stiffness we need to assemble, but not be difficult when it comes time to wiggle things into the exact final position.

Andy
Sep 11, 2014, 08:09 PM
Hope to get out of life alive
kenh3497's Avatar
Boy, have I got a job for you.

Seriously, If you want a small job to try out I have something that might fit the bill.

Ken
Sep 11, 2014, 08:50 PM
Registered User
Interesting project indeed.
Personally I would have gone for a Router /Cutting head .
Laser doesn't cut perpendicular.. it's a V groove.
And 1/8" "real" ply (not popular /lite ply crap) is often BBq'd wood with a 75 watter.
Only downside to a Cutter is not doing square corner cuts.
PLUS one can set one up to carve entire airframes out of Billet (so to speak) Foam .
Not within a laser's capabilities.
Sep 12, 2014, 03:45 AM
Registered User
Maybe you could also add a milling head. Should be no problem when cutting wood.


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