I am running into probably 10 hours of effort trying to figure out what my ‘cobbled together’ laser can do.
It is a 2500mW, 2-pin laser mounted on a 3D printing chassis. I’m using a Sainsmart RYC-GRBL-V2 controller board which I was able to update to GRBL 1.1F.
For background - I have a CNC router and a 3D printer - so… I’m pretty familiar with gcode. I did not create this thing - a friend gave it to me (that’s so I don’t have to take responsibility )
My list of troubles…
- I am struggling to figure out how to focus this laser - it’s a variable focus device and it SEEMS like the shape of the spot is more of a line than a dot. I can get it to burn wood and painted tiles (the 2 things I have tried so far), but… I’m thinking maybe my focus is a problem?
- when I run the test pattern (matrix of squares) I have to slow down to like 200 mm/m to get any kind of marking. And the laser only seems to mark the material (wood and tile) at about 70-80% - anything less there is no burning or other marking… does this seem reasonable for a 2500mW laser? EDIT - in both tiles and wood - there is no difference between the colors… when it burns it’s black… otherwise it just doesn’t burn
- I took something I had cut on my CNC and tried to burn it with LightBurn. It was telling me it was a 3.5 hr process (100mm x 75mm) and as it progressed through it - it started losing Y steps… the X stepper got ‘surface of the sun’ hot. I tried twice - and both times the same net effect. I even tried importing a .ngc file and it and it was doing great until it started to do an frame around the image. It started in the X direction… burned across no problem, shifted to Y and made some funny sounds and only progressed maybe 25mm thinking it was finished, burned across the X again with no problem and then started on the Y, this time now funny stepper sounds and it was on its way to crashing into the stop. Possibly belt tension? or stepper timing? or… sun spots (I am a computer guy - whenever I can’t explain a problem, I blame sun spots)
Any suggestions would be great - my hair has thinned with age and I’m close to being bald from this laser (ripping out hair tufts)