Camera use for my laser

OK, I’m going to throw this out there. I see a lot of YouTube videos with cameras over lasers to show items being engraved or cut, but what actually is a true benefit of a camera? Is it primarily used to show tutorials and videos? I’m a newbie, I admit it, but I’m getting into it big time. I have a Ray5 10 W laser with lightburn 1.4. What are the specific benefits and what actually can you do with a camera hovered over your laser? And if beneficial, what cameras are recommended, and if I deem it’s worth a “go” - what’s the approximate cost? I do know, they have to be USB cameras. I purchased this laser as a hobby in my semi-retirement and possibly thinking about using it as a minor side-hustle [for vacation $$] in my local area. And one last thing – a shout out to all the veterans this Memorial Day weekend… “Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for your service.”

The sole benefit: LightBurn’s calibrated camera image overlaid on the workspace, letting you (well, me) arrange all the shapes on whatever previously gnawed sheet I’m using:

Laser-cut shop wipes may be over the top, but, hey, if you have a pile of old fabric and need wipes and have a laser cutter, well, why not?

With the lid closed, the camera has a restricted view of what’s going on inside, so that’s not useful to me.

LightBurn’s calibration requires the camera to have a fixed position with regard to the laser’s workspace, which pretty much mandates a permanent installation. Dropping the laser on the workbench and dangling the camera overhead won’t work.

The advantage to using it, for me, is once calibrated you can set an image overlay of the object your engraving. This makes sizing and position artwork specific to that object WAY easier. That’s one.
Second is once calibrated you can tell the laser to go to a specific point and it will move right to it…rather than using jog to inch your way along.
Now how you would mount it in a fixed location on a small diode frame I’m not sure. I have three big co2 lasers with cameras hard mounted. I actually cutout the top plexi in a large square then made a plexi fram that suspends the cameras right over dead center so I can see with the lid closed.
However I have two diode lasers and there isn’t an easy method to fix the camera over the bed and make sure it doesn’t move. Once calibrated you don’t want the camera to move relative to the bed or vice versa……or when you use the position to feature it will be off.
So that’s some advantages and they are great but on a diode you’d have to be creative to fix the frame in position then the camera so reactive to each other they don’t move

Great info. I’ll have to think the whole consideration process through. Thanks for a prompt reply.

Just want to throw my $.02 into the ring.

I have no use for the camera, as far as lining up cuts or laying out engravings.
I just like to watch. With decades of experience in CAD and Design, I have no problems lining up my projects with proper scaling and Absolute Coordinates. So instead I use my camera from a production view point, not an alignment view point. It’s great to hand someone a finished product, but it’s even better to show them a video or clip of the project being created. A record of the process is important to me. I project the camera image onto a TV screen across the room from my desk almost every time my laser is running. And I don’t need the cover open to keep an eye on things. Win-win.

Wide Angle, and Manual Focus is a must.

Just sayin’


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Thanks for the info. I’ll have to give it some thought.

Laser cutting meets Twitch livestreaming:


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