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Apr 10, 2021, 07:16 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
Discussion

newbie question


just looking for a basic laser unit for making ribs, formers ect. out of balsa 1/16 inch plywood 1/8 inch 3 mm stuff. i am looking at the Ortur Laser machine. does anyone use this? i also use freecad to make parts , do in need to export the parts in a g code file export software to send the parts to the cutter?

thanks
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Apr 11, 2021, 09:14 PM
I fly, therefore, I crash!!!
SteveT.'s Avatar
My opinion.. stay away from open laser cutters if you like having yours eyes.

SteveT.
Latest blog entry: My old shop....
Apr 12, 2021, 09:40 PM
Neophyte hacker
portablevcb's Avatar
Several issues with open lasers like this.

1) smoke from cutting/engraving will hinder the cutting process. Most good cutters will use an air assist, blowing air directly where the laser hits the target.

2) smoke will fill your room, fairly quickly, setting off fire alarms (yes, I have had it happen )

3) many of the thinner wood is not flat. You need a way to keep it flat to the cutting surface. Better cutters will use an air system to suck the air out and hold the wood to the work surface by a vacuum effect.

4) safety. These things are dangerous. And not just like have a router spinning at 10k rpm. It really needs a safety guard so your hands cannot get into the machine when operating.

5) last but not least. Eye safety. The laser light reflects off of everything, including the resin in plywood. It does not take much to damage the retina in your eyes leaving you with blind spots in the center of your vision or losing the eye entirely. Even people who work with lasers daily sometimes forget their eye protection, or, they think they can get away without it cause everything is aligned properly.

Before you buy a laser make sure it will do what you want. Too many people buy one of the cheap ones and then realize it will take several passes to cut through the material, and that leaves a nice black edge of charcoal. That's if the wood does not start burning and ruin the part.

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Apr 13, 2021, 11:17 AM
Registered User
Thread OP

thanks


maybe i need to make some type of light barrier around the the light for added protection, also a add a good exhaust fan. this is my first buy so maybe i should look at other brans also.

not sure of i the printing process do i

1. make a cad drawings save them not sure what file file format to use
2. import to light wave
3. save file to send to the laser not sure of the file type

i thank

i am using the dev products also make parts i do not know of the printing process either

thanks.


thanks
Apr 13, 2021, 11:43 PM
Registered User
If you expect clean cuts in wood you should be looking at CO2 lasers, not diodes.
Sure, price difference is marked, but so is performance.
Look for better equipped K40 machine if you are after small parts, or something bigger for big ones.
About laser power...man this is a can of worms... 40W CO2 laser will output about 40W of usable power, 20W diode will output 5W at best.
Sellers of diodes ALWAYS mis-represent power delivery by stating what your machine will draw out of the wall instead of what will be put down
onto material you're cutting.

And as mentioned in posts above:
1. Open diode lasers - bad. Safety is a major issue. Expensive to shield the whole machine as you need to use lightwave specific material, that's expensive.
2. Charred edges and burned parts. Diodes cant produce clean cuts, mostly because power insufficiency. Many passes needed.
3. Even if you're happy with charred edges, diodes are damn slow. Like, WAY slow.
4. Smoke extraction. Noisy, needs enclosure to function properly. If cutting plastic parts other problem is introduced - toxicity or corrosiveness of gasses emitted.

Overall i regard cheap diode lasers knocking about in the market properly dangerous.

I'm biased in a way that i own an 80W big laser (900x600mm work bed). But one of my friends has one of them diode toy lasers and ALWAYS ends up
at my door to cut his stuff

As for process of making stuff.
Depending on the design i work on i either use CorelDraw (atrsy stuff) or NanoCAD/Autocad (precision parts). Then export to LightBurn(dxf/svg/direct link macro from corel) which i use to run the laser, feeding the cut files, adjusting power/speed and other parameters as needed for specific cuts.

The whole diode vs CO2 debate has been beaten to death already, all over the net.
Jun 21, 2021, 05:56 PM
Ronaldo Nogueira
ronaldopn's Avatar
I'm totally new to this laser cut subject. I got really interested in getting one for very occasional hobby use (cutting 3-4mm ply and balsa up to 1/4".
CO2 machines are really expensive around here (like $5000 for a 60x90cm working area, 80W machine) which is definitely way more than I'm willing to invest in a single tool for hobby applications.
I found some hope when I saw open frame diode cutters such as this one. It seems do do exactly what I need and I was about to pull the trigger for one but after reading a bit on these forums I pulled back.
Before giving up on this laser idea entirely, is there a way to safely use these open diode machines? Are diode cuts so bad? Speed is definitely not an issue since use will be very occasional.
Ronaldo
Jun 21, 2021, 08:44 PM
I fly, therefore, I crash!!!
SteveT.'s Avatar
Your link only takes a person to Aliexpress, not to the laser.

SteveT.
Latest blog entry: My old shop....
Jun 21, 2021, 08:54 PM
Ronaldo Nogueira
ronaldopn's Avatar
It is working for me, Steve, even if I sign off from my account.
Try this one from the manufacturer.
Jun 22, 2021, 05:47 PM
Ronaldo Nogueira
ronaldopn's Avatar

Enclosure for diode laser


Did a search about laser enclosure and found this. It would be quite easy to make something similar.
I would go even further and not even make any windows but rather stick a camera inside and transmit to a monitor outside, what do you think?
Making an enclosure for my Laser engraver (10 min 21 sec)
Jun 22, 2021, 08:08 PM
Neophyte hacker
portablevcb's Avatar
Just about anything non-flammable can be used to make an enclosure. If you use a metal then I'd paint/anodize it so you don't get stray reflections. The main purpose is to control smoke.

I'd still get decent safety goggles for the diode wavelength.

I would feel confident that the diode laser listed will cut thinner balsa and liteply. Maybe not very fast and maybe not very clean cuts. If you want to be sure I'd wait and find a video of someone using that laser to cut the wood you are interested in. There has to be a youtube somewhere.

If not, buy it, try it and take a video to show us what it will do

charlie

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Jun 22, 2021, 09:42 PM
Ronaldo Nogueira
ronaldopn's Avatar
Thanks Charlie, below is the first video I saw from this particular machine. He shows 5mm ply and 3mm MDF cuts with the 30W laser.
I understand it took 6 passes with the 30W diode laser at 100% to cut 5mm ply. The cuts look nice from the video, even with a lot of passes but I'm no expert in the subject.
I would order the 40W version (15W output). The thing I really like is the large work area (460x810m) for a non-professional machine.
If I order one I'll make an enclosure with no windows and stick a small webcam inside at the corner, wired to the notebook.. This way I can see the cutting while in the computer and stop the machine immediately if needed.
Ronaldo
https://youtu.be/kBJLl4jsCG0?t=586

It looks like I'll have to make some kind of air assist too
Neje 40w laser modul [unbox / review / first test] best laser modul modul i try (17 min 7 sec)
Jul 03, 2021, 03:11 PM
Neophyte hacker
portablevcb's Avatar
See all the black edges? That is charcoal from cutting with a low power laser. It rubs off on everything and makes some glue joints not as strong. Any time you have to use more than one pass you run into this kind of issue.

But, if that's all you can afford then you learn to deal with it.

For thin stuff it probably does ok. Ply edges are a pita anyway, which is why so many people don't use aircraft ply with lasers. That 5mm ply is probably liteply (poplar). It is fairly easy to cut which is why you see a lot of laser cut products using it. The Chinese are turning out millions of products made from laser cut liteply, which is probably why their lasers are getting cheaper.

charlie
Sep 05, 2021, 12:11 PM
Registered User
Thread OP

questions


for someone that needs a simple cutting unit for balsa, thin 1/16- 1/8 in plywood will some of the lower cost unit work?

can a small box be used to shield the light of the laser be made to shield the laser when cutting to protecting your eyes also?

i am looking for a simple cutter for ribs and formers only. i know many of you are using major cutters but for me a simple low cost 30 / 40 watt unit is best.

thanks
Sep 05, 2021, 01:11 PM
I fly, therefore, I crash!!!
SteveT.'s Avatar
A K-40 will do that and is much safer than a diode laser. You will still need a chiller for cooling. It’s not great for 1/8” but will work better than a diode laser will. The problem with most aircraft ply is the glue which is designed to be fire resistant, and therefore doesn’t cut well. There is a place called ‘Aircraft Plywood’ that sells ply that is designed to be cut in a laser and it cuts very well.

SteveT.
Latest blog entry: My old shop....
Sep 05, 2021, 04:36 PM
If it flies, I can crash it.
rocketsled666's Avatar
The low cost diode lasers like from Banggood will work. But they're going to be slow, which means more charring and an increased chance of setting the workpiece on fire.

You should wear safety goggles when working with an "open frame" laser cutter. An enclosure is a good idea, if not for the light then the fact that laser cutters make a lot of smoke. If you have an enclosure, you can suck the smoke out of it and exhaust it outside. Otherwise, you're not going to be able to use it inside.

Making a transparent enclosure requires specific materials, you can just use any old Lexan.


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