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Author Topic: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects  (Read 4417 times)

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Offline 21incher

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Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« on: January 14, 2020, 12:56:27 PM »
I was looking for one of the branding Irons to mark my projects with but having one custom made was quite expensive. I found this 15 watt laser engraver on a Chinese site GearBest for $165 and decided to try it. I see several members have very expensive CO2 lasers but haven't seen a post about these low cost laser diode units so I figured I would share my thoughts. It only can do  6 x 6 area and has zero safety features but does a decent job. It can just be set on larger projects for marking also. I am looking for laser rated plastic to make a shield to drop over it so I don't go blind next.


 

Here is a video link to first use and setup
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Offline btulloh

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2020, 01:03:59 PM »
Nifty.  Certainly more flexible than a branding iron!
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Offline Stuart Caruk

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2020, 02:19:16 AM »
Certainly cheaper than the $32k I paid for my Epilog almost 20 years ago. But then it still runs like the day I bought it.

As a Sawmill, go buy some paper or adhesive backed maple veneer, and use it to engrave and cut a wooden business card. They look slick and your customers typically don't throw them away because they are unique.
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Offline Stephen1

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2020, 07:30:07 AM »
I like it. Since you have to heat up the branding iron, probably not much difference in time to burn your image. I went to get some cutting boards laser engraved with my logo, they wanted $250 for set up and engraving 6 boards. 
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Offline samandothers

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2020, 11:01:31 AM »
 I went to get some cutting boards laser engraved with my logo, they wanted $250 for set up and engraving 6 boards.

Gotta pay for that expensive equipment!   :o  :)

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2020, 12:46:25 PM »
That is pretty slick.  I was looking at a x-y table one that was a mini-engraver and you could slap a 2500mw laser on it,too.  It is only $199 on Gearbest - the C10 Alfawise.  But, I like the idea of the open bottom for use on bigger projects.  I didn't really have a use for the rotary engraver and not sure how well it would work, anyhow.  I think I'll be ordering this one.  I got an Ender 3d printer so I'd be able to build stuff up and burn it down ;)

edit: Price went up - $175.99 and $7.87 priority shipping - good for the next 4 days.
edit: If order is over $150, then $10 discount.  So, with shipping and insurance, $178.95 out the door.  Delivery between the 17th and the 20th.
John Sawicky

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SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline 21incher

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2020, 12:50:14 PM »
I like it. Since you have to heat up the branding iron, probably not much difference in time to burn your image. I went to get some cutting boards laser engraved with my logo, they wanted $250 for set up and engraving 6 boards.

The guy was probably trying to pay off his $32000,00 laser 😉. I was looking at almost $400 for a branding iron so decided to try this first. Not sure how long it will last but it is easy to customize each piece. Manufacturer says the laser can last up to 8000 hours but up to doesn't give a minimum.  played with my phone and a otg cable today and was able to run it with a code loader app. Not sure how small the text can go yet either but will soon find out. It's not a powerful co2 laser with high speed movements but it sure is a fun learning tool.🚪.
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Offline 21incher

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2020, 12:54:55 PM »
That is pretty slick.  I was looking at a x-y table one that was a mini-engraver and you could slap a 2500mw laser on it,too.  It is only $199 on Gearbest - the C10 Alfawise.  But, I like the idea of the open bottom for use on bigger projects.  I didn't really have a use for the rotary engraver and not sure how well it would work, anyhow.  I think I'll be ordering this one.  I got an Ender 3d printer so I'd be able to build stuff up and burn it down ;)

I have seen others make a rotary for it with a couple bearings and a rubber band to spin it. It's definitely a fun starting point.

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Offline 21incher

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2020, 01:37:23 PM »
edit: Price went up - $175.99 and $7.87 priority shipping - good for the next 4 days.
edit: If order is over $150, then $10 discount.  So, with shipping and insurance, $178.95 out the door.  Delivery between the 17th and the 20th.

That's abou what I paid. $165 plus $3.87 shipping from the Hong Kong warehouse.  Funny thing is I just got a email from gearbest and they want to send me other lasers to try. Their prices seem to fluctuate plus you get store credit after it's delivered.
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Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2020, 04:51:22 PM »
I share your concern about eye safety.  Is it the direct (and cleanly reflected) beam that is the danger or anything that is lit with the beam?  That will determine what type of shielding is necessary.  What wavelength is used on your laser?  I want to do a Google or Amazon search for some plastic.  I also have a fairly well stocked plastic fabricating house near me.  I'll probably give them a call when I know what I'm looking for.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2020, 04:58:30 PM »
That is pretty slick.  I was looking at a x-y table one that was a mini-engraver and you could slap a 2500mw laser on it,too.  It is only $199 on Gearbest - the C10 Alfawise.  But, I like the idea of the open bottom for use on bigger projects.  I didn't really have a use for the rotary engraver and not sure how well it would work, anyhow.  I think I'll be ordering this one.  I got an Ender 3d printer so I'd be able to build stuff up and burn it down ;)

I have seen others make a rotary for it with a couple bearings and a rubber band to spin it. It's definitely a fun starting point.
By "rotary", I mean a mini-router like tool.  Not shaping a cylinder shaped object.  Just to be clear...
But, looking at their "rotary upgrade" for labeling soda cans and such, it looks to have a stepper motor.  I think you would take the Y-axis stepper connector and plug it into that.  The trick would be to adjust the rotation (with belt and pulleys?) to have the right surface travel that the code is expecting.  I've got a drawer full of steppers from floppy and hard drives.  Could be some fun ahead.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline kantuckid

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2020, 08:56:28 AM »
For many years my method of "branding", i.e., personalizing my work has been to use my wood burning pen and the mark I learned in 7th grade, Jr high school art class, about 1956, when a man/teacher named Royce Fleming had us all develop our own monogram for our work.
(Looking back he was the first gay man I was around, but then we knew not much about such things.)
  Using a florish of sorts, meaning angled, cursive style, mine consists of the first letter of my last name, superimposed over the first letter of my first name with the year I made the item nearby. No lasers needed!!! No branding irons needed!!! At times I name the wood if it's unusual or came from a certain special place. Always done in a corner niche or special spot not easily seen but yet noticeable.
If I was in wood for a living I'd use hang tags, etc., with addresses and my monogram.
Kan=Kansas;tuck=Kentucky;kid=what I'm not

Offline 21incher

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2020, 03:42:10 PM »
I share your concern about eye safety.  Is it the direct (and cleanly reflected) beam that is the danger or anything that is lit with the beam?  That will determine what type of shielding is necessary.  What wavelength is used on your laser?  I want to do a Google or Amazon search for some plastic.  I also have a fairly well stocked plastic fabricating house near me.  I'll probably give them a call when I know what I'm looking for.

It's 445 nm and from what I have read so far orange seems to absorb the spectrum best but plastic sellers don't spectrum analyze what they sell so that pushes the price up when it's checked. Another thing I read is don't try to engrave any reflective surface because it will send the beam back and burn up the laser. Metal must be coated with a non reflective coating such as the marker they supply.  laser grbl is very easy to change the settings so you could just change the steps per mm to match the od of your part with a stepper rotary as you suggest.  I see a lot of pen makers using the rubber band method that also seems to work good. It's turning into another fun rabbit hole to go down 🐇.
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Offline rastis

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2020, 01:17:46 PM »
I just checked their site and no more shipping to US

Offline TKehl

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2020, 01:49:48 PM »
Slick!

Don't take this as gospel, but about any plexiglass structure should do.  That's what we used for a massive 248 nm laser back in college.  Anything you can't see through would also work, then add a plexi lid.  

Similar bass versus treble at the neighbors party...  Doesn't take much to stop high frequency.
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Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2020, 03:03:46 PM »
I just ordered a 12x12 sheet of orange plexi from JtechPhotonics.  On sale at $16.99 + shipping came to $29.99.  Says its good from 250 to 520 nm so I should be covered.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2020, 03:18:23 PM »
Can you run these type of units from a smart phone 
I don't have a computer?
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Offline 21incher

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2020, 04:29:22 PM »
I just checked their site and no more shipping to US

They gave me a link that I put in the description on Youtube and it's available there. Next week Chinese New Year starts and from what I was told everything shuts down for 2 weeks. I just found out there's a larger model with the same laser coming out in March.

Slick!

Don't take this as gospel, but about any plexiglass structure should do.  That's what we used for a massive 248 nm laser back in college.  Anything you can't see through would also work, then add a plexi lid.  

Similar bass versus treble at the neighbors party...  Doesn't take much to stop high frequency.

That's what I read. Any orange plastic should work but it pays not to take chances.

Can you run these type of units from a smart phone
I don't have a computer?


I just ran it from a grbl controller app on my tablet with a OTG cable so it will work but you need a computer to generate the artwork and gcode. It's a proprietary arduino and I can't figure out how to add Bluetooth to it. I bet a future version has Bluetooth.
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2020, 09:47:30 PM »
Hang on guys. I am just jumping in because this is a safety issue and I am not sure where your info is coming from, but I have to add something here. Years ago as part of my job i had to purchase, install, and design and build an interlocked safety enclosure for a production engraving laser and get the laser permits our state requires. 
 Any lexan or plexi is NOT acceptable. Any colored stuff is also not acceptable unless is it tested and rated for the wavelength of your laser. There is a reason the glasses are in different colors and it is not a fashion statement. ;D It is to match the laser wavelength.
 This stuff is sold by the square foot and it not crazy expensive, nor is it cheap. I used this company for my supplies.
 Now understanding that you guys are using pretty low power lasers, you can probably get away with less, just don't look at the laser cut for more than a glance. At least get glasses. Also, don't breath that smoke. 
 I've been enjoying this thread and may consider one myself for logo work down the road. 
 I just wanted you all to know that you have to be careful with what you read on other sites and word of mouth.
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Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2020, 01:54:56 AM »
I used this company for my supplies.
I just took a look and found one interesting oxymoron.  In the "laser window" section, they offer a plastic that blocks IR, UV and Visible light.  So it is shown as black.  Not sure what value that has as a "window".;)
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline 21incher

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2020, 09:20:41 AM »
This unit also has safety features built in. If the drives stop moving it shuts off the laser to prevent a fire and if it is shifted,  picked up or bumped while running the laser shuts down.  wood seems to absorb the laser beam and with the included glasses it seems ok but I am investing in a better pair of glasses with  actual paperwork to replace the included pair. Just don't try reflective materials as they say. Any shielding I add is mostly in case someone walks in the room without protective glasses and will be certified plastic. It's amazing I see lasers being added to sawmills and people using them without proper eye protection. l guess some don't value their eyesight. I worked in Engineering for JDSU (Zurich), Nortel (Canada), and Bookham Technology (UK) developing ultra high vacuum cleaving and coating systems for pump laser manufacturing and was also the safety officer at our location so I have been around shielding requirements with high power process systems as you talk about Old Greenhorn.   
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Offline 21incher

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2020, 06:00:17 PM »
Been having a lot of fun with it working out the settings and also some frustration with photographs. Turns out others are having the same issues and Ortur is now working on a fix that will most likely be a firmware update after the Chinese New Year. @ljohnsaw if you got one I will keep you updated. The PWM setting not clearing the register at certain power levels is causing problems with the grey-scale when you aren't in the dither type engraving. Everything else is awesome. Got a good certified pair of glasses and built a barrier around it for now. Going to add an exhaust fan soon. Here are some pics of my results so far.


 

 

 

 
I am finding Lightburn software is much better then laser GRBL and it takes different power and speed levels that can be saved to a library in Lightburn. Works great on hardwood, cork, bamboo, plywood that I have tried so far. Once the PWM issue is worked out looks like it will be great for photos also. Takes to many passes to cut wood so I don't plan on using it for much of that. Will be trying more materials as I get my hands on them. With a class IV laser this is certainly not a toy.
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2020, 07:40:44 PM »
I have to say I am impressed with the quality of your burns, very nice stuff weighed against your heady investment. :D
 What software are you using to convert the artwork into the laser code? Or can you just load in a JPG or something like that?
 You have me thinking hard about picking one of those up as I get growing along.
Tom Lindtveit, Woodsman Forest Products
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I can work with wood, but I am NOT a Woodworker, yet.

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2020, 09:56:43 PM »
My laser came Monday.  And, yes, takes longer to unbox then to assemble it!  Four nuts and two screws.  I'm cleaning up my shop because I certainly can NOT be running this in the kitchen like the 3D printer!  Might get to test it tomorrow.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline 21incher

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2020, 07:06:05 PM »
I have to say I am impressed with the quality of your burns, very nice stuff weighed against your heady investment. :D
 What software are you using to convert the artwork into the laser code? Or can you just load in a JPG or something like that?
 You have me thinking hard about picking one of those up as I get growing along.
The laser grbl program that comes with it does a good job of converting artwork and pictures to the code and streaming the code to the machine but that is all it can do and its hard to customize. I have been trying a demo of lightburn that does the same thing but makes it a much easier process to save and keep track of settings for different materials in a library along with a set of tools that allow you to create simple artworks. It is a $40.00 program that I think I will invest in but not sure that I will need the $20.00 dollar a year update charge once everything it's properly setup and working. You do not need to know anything about creating gcode as both programs do a good job with a simple interface. It's hard to believe what this machine can do for the price. I have a new model that will do a 16" x 20" area coming sometime in the end of Feb when it is released that should let me do large signs and plaques for under $250.00. Not a big Co2 laser that will cut and engrave acrylics and metals but I have other machines to do that. Always fun to try new things to keep me out of the wife's hair.

Hudson HFE-21 on a custom trailer, Deere 4100, Kubota BX 2360, Echo CS590 & CS310, home built wood splitter, home built log arch, and a logrite cant hook.

Offline 21incher

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #25 on: January 25, 2020, 07:08:21 PM »
My laser came Monday.  And, yes, takes longer to unbox then to assemble it!  Four nuts and two screws.  I'm cleaning up my shop because I certainly can NOT be running this in the kitchen like the 3D printer!  Might get to test it tomorrow.

I have been kicked out of the house with mine. Wife if you want to smell a campfire go camping, don't stink up my house. ;D
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Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #26 on: January 25, 2020, 09:21:23 PM »
Still haven't played with it yet.  I've been working on cleaning up my shop that is years overdue.  Got rid of some stuff, rearranged putting all my metal working stuff on one wall and woodworking in the middle.  Went so far as to setup my dust collection system that has been waiting for 12 or so years! :o :-X  Laser will be on my workbench that is still covered with a foot of "stuff"!
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2020, 09:57:40 PM »
OK, finally got it up and running after a false start.  I have a little work table with a plug strip mounted on the bottom of the modesty panel and a adjustable work light plugged in there.  I plugged in my laptop and the engraver.  Hooked the laptop to the engraver and fired everything up.  The software kept saying there was an error with the laser.  Great... The steppers would not move the head and when I tired to turn on the laser to focus, the fan would just come on a tiny bit.  I recently changed out all my florescent lights with LED.  I know LEDs can interfere with electronics so I ran an extension cord from an outlet and turned off all the lights.  When I unplugged the power strip to move it to the extension cord, I noticed the engraver did not turn off.  Interesting.  Looked under the table and the power adapter was only plugged into one side of the outlet.  The USB was powering up the Adrino and allowing communications but nothing else. ::)  That was a good waste of 15 minutes trying to get it working!

I had a piece of thin plywood.  Looks like luan on the back and birch on the front.  So, started on the back.  Left to right is what they call "Line 2 Line" (true black fill), Dither (random dots, set at about 50%) and Vector.  Vector did not do well at this size (about 7/8" diameter).


  
These were all printed at 1500mm/minute travel and 100% power.  About 6-8 minutes/print.
Flipped over to the better side with the same settings and then doubled the size (12 minutes to print).


  
I put some wax on the big one but that just added "stain" to the grain where it should be "white".

Next up I used a very thin piece of Incense Cedar.  I printed at different speeds.  1500, 1000 and 500 mm/min.  At 500, it really burned away the softwood leaving a very weathered look.  At 500, the print took 48 minutes.  I think it would look pretty neat filled with clear epoxy.
 

 

 

 

 
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2020, 10:02:46 PM »
looking good.  if you hit that with a fine sand paper, like 220 on an orbital sander, it will get rid of the smoke and make the letters pop.
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2020, 10:25:43 PM »
Looks good. The grbl m3 mode works really good. The grbl m4 pwm mode will give you some trouble with the greyscale right now. Ortur is working on it now but can't get the key players involved till after the Chinese New Year  Celebration is over. Probably a firmware update that should allow these units to do an awesome job on photos also.  For the price these are a fun introduction into laser engraving.  I bought a  batch of 3mm Baltic birch on Amazon and can cut that with multiple passes but can't get through 1/4 no matter how many passes I take. Seems like my laser goes out of focus at about 4mm deep. I bet that would look good filled. I have been using air to blow them off before finishing because they leave a lot of soot behind.
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #30 on: January 27, 2020, 11:48:28 PM »
for deep cut on thicker stock, I do drop the lens down as I go.
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #31 on: February 06, 2020, 08:22:39 PM »
Ijohnsaw a firmware update was just posted.  Here is a link.  Ortur Laser Master and Laser Master 2 Firmware Updates 1.34 - GRBL - LightBurn Software Forum
Turns out we were only running at max 25% power and now the photos come out great.  There are instructions on that link and mine works great now. Only thing is all your speeds and power settings will need updating for the increased power.  one pass will burn about 1.5 mm in wood for me now.
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #32 on: February 06, 2020, 08:25:03 PM »
for deep cut on thicker stock, I do drop the lens down as I go.


That's a good idea.  I may try to add a simple z axis to this unit.   These things are fun.
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #33 on: February 06, 2020, 09:18:57 PM »
Thanks for posting the link.  Wow, it was only operation at 25% power?  Its gonna kick some tail now!
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #34 on: February 07, 2020, 11:21:18 AM »
ljohnsaw here is a quick video about updating it 
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #35 on: February 07, 2020, 12:21:31 PM »
It is really hard (for me) to see the laser spot when you focus it.  *It seems* to me that it is a bar rather than a dot.  As I turn the focus ring, I see a bar that goes from long to short and then long again (turn too far).  I have a sheet of the laser certified acrylic that I'm looking through (along with my supplied safety glasses).  Can you see a dot when focusing?  However, the results prove I have it focused as the lines drawn are incredibly thin!  It is just amazing how well it performs.

On a side note, I printed an 12 hole Ocarina (sweet potato "flute") with my Ender 3Dpro using red PETG.  That is an amazing machine for the money as well.  It took 12 hours to print.  Now I just need to learn how to play it!  It has a range of one note less than 2 octaves including sharps/flats.  Just a little "airy" on the high end, but that may be just me not knowing what I'm doing.



 
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #36 on: February 07, 2020, 04:53:04 PM »
We are considering sending for one of the Ortur 20w lasers but am wondering with the virus over there is there any chance that the laser and package could be contaminated .  Randy 

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #37 on: February 07, 2020, 05:57:23 PM »
ljonsaw that's how these blue laser diodes look. When I focus mine I use .5% and it's slightly rectangular.  I just set it to the smallest size that I can. Its funny because at full power it looks like a dot and must concentrate in the center of the rectangle. These have very low cost optics  and I think higher cost lasers have better optics that can help correct that at a cost of $800 for just the laser. I have a Creality CR10S for 3d printing  but don't use it a lot because it takes so long to print decent looking parts.
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #38 on: February 07, 2020, 06:18:24 PM »
We are considering sending for one of the Ortur 20w lasers but am wondering with the virus over there is there any chance that the laser and package could be contaminated .  Randy


I am waiting for 2 packages from China.  An Ortur 2 laser and a Zino 2 video drone.  Have been waiting a while because shipping shut down for 3 weeks during the Chinese New Year and will resume Feb 14. Everything I read says  the maximum possible time Corona could survive on or in a package is 2 days but it really is only hours so far.  Everything goes through customs and I am sure they have the latest CDC warnings and will make sure everything is safe. The problem I could see is airlines refusing to make flights to China if it gets any worse putting big delays on everything.  Always wash good after touching any package from offshore.  Do you think the 20 watt is worth the extra $50.00? It really doesn't have much more capability its only about 4500mw output versus 4000+mw for the 15 and pushing this technology to the limits.
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #39 on: February 08, 2020, 09:22:03 PM »
So here is my update to the laser engraver.  I dug out my handy dandy plexglass thermal bending device. ;)


 
There is a hole in both ends so I can thread PVC pipe through it to heat it up and then bend it however I need.  I slip a piece of the spiral BX conduit inside to help the pipe keep its shape.  Anyhow, I cut a small piece of "laser grade" plastic and formed it with the use of two PVC couplers.


 
Once it cools off:


 
I made a wheel to make it MUCH easier to focus the laser beam.  There is a tiny wheel under the heat sink that is really awkward to reach and difficult to turn.  The first one was just too big.  The second one is not much smaller but just enough that it doesn't bind with the X axis wheels.  I decided it needed vent holes to let smoke out.


 
Installing it I found a couple of problems:


 
First, even with the reduced wheel, it just barely hit the corner of the plastic the two stepper motors are mounted on.  I had to just trim off the corner.  Second, the plastic was just a little too long and scraped the table top (let alone any material to be etched!).  Just a little trimming needed.  Third, the wheel would hit the near leg before it tripped the limit switch.  I could have just moved the limit switch but didn't want to reduce my print area any.  So I cut a 1/2" thick spacer block (clear acrylic) and used longer screws.

In doing this, I noticed that my laser was loose.  I tightened the screw and the laser was tipped.  The laser has two brass spacers screwed into the heat sink.  Those are then used to mount to a slotted plastic mount on the x-axis boom.  It seems to have melted a little?  The screws were just long enough (and metric) for the one washer on the outside.  I wanted to add some to the inside to spread the load and help dissipate a little bit of the heat.  So I went though my junk collection from old hard drives and found what I needed.  If it happens again, I'll be making an aluminum plate to replace the plastic.

Now that the laser is operating at full power, what I ran at 500-750 mm/min works at 1000-1500
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #40 on: February 09, 2020, 09:05:40 AM »
Wow, that came out nice. I was just thinking about printing a knob for  the lens adjustment  because of my fat fingers. That would be real nice if a small vacuum hose could be attached to remove fumes and dangerous vapors. I may steal your idea.
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #41 on: February 09, 2020, 12:07:33 PM »
I had one big concern that the extra mass would affect the movements since the head really slams around when not cutting.  Seems like it moves around 3-4000mm/min and then drops back to the burning speed of whatever I set (500-1500).

I did a test print of a picture at 1000.  Came out ok but using the GRBL, I don't see a "gray scale" setting.

If you want the STL file, I can send it or attach it here.  I did have to chuck it up in my lathe to enlarge the center hole about .01" larger to fit the lens wheel.  I used SketchUp to make it and circles (by default) are 20-sided so I had to smooth out the inside.  Makes a great grip on the outside, however.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #42 on: February 09, 2020, 02:39:29 PM »
I had one big concern that the extra mass would affect the movements since the head really slams around when not cutting.  Seems like it moves around 3-4000mm/min and then drops back to the burning speed of whatever I set (500-1500).

I did a test print of a picture at 1000.  Came out ok but using the GRBL, I don't see a "gray scale" setting.

If you want the STL file, I can send it or attach it here.  I did have to chuck it up in my lathe to enlarge the center hole about .01" larger to fit the lens wheel.  I used SketchUp to make it and circles (by default) are 20-sided so I had to smooth out the inside.  Makes a great grip on the outside, however.



I use the Jarvis in m4 mode. Make sure your not using m3 mode as that doesn't have pwm Dither does not use greyscale either. I like lightburn because you can change the settings and see it happen real time in the preview screen.  I quit using the laser grbl as once you adjust photo settings and go to the preview screen I couldn't figure out a way to make minor tweaks without starting over. I am playing with a orange pill bottle for the shield that's very light and tapered at the top so it won't affect airflow through the extrusion shortening the laser life. Seems to have the same filter capability as my glasses but may need an additional film layer.  You can change max speed and acceleration in the settings but can't save it. lightburnwill allow the machine settings to be in the material  library. When Ortur starts the forum I think it will be easy to get answers
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #43 on: February 09, 2020, 02:49:03 PM »
I use the Jarvis in m4 mode.
 
What is "the Jarvis"?  Is Lightburn free?
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #44 on: February 09, 2020, 05:23:30 PM »
I use Jarvis for almost everything.  it is called dithering.  I think it help blend the pixels to make things look better.  recommended for specific media, like wood.  that is the majority of the engraving I do.
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #45 on: February 09, 2020, 07:52:37 PM »
OK, GRBL has  dithering selection available.  I'll give that a shot on the same picture I tried yesterday.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #46 on: February 10, 2020, 07:21:07 AM »
Dithering doesn't use grey scale.  it is dots and the spacing between them that generates the change of color. It's best for older machines that run m3 without pwm. Jarvis is good for m4 machines with pwm that can vary the s numbers for power creating a true greyscale  that doesn't rely on dot density just a line of varying intensity.  there are several other types of rendering also. Basically they are rules for creating the code file. Play with them all to see which you like best. Lightburn is $40 and I feel its worth it. They have a 30 day uncripled trial period if you want to try it. Make sure the machine is set as a grbl m4 machine to take full advantage of the pwm advantage. Laser grbl works good also but doesn't have file editing, creating, ability to change the power for each line, and the ability to save and recall material settings as lightburn.
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #47 on: March 11, 2020, 02:53:35 PM »
Well finally received the large Ortur and it's great for larger areas. They can take a long time when you have to babysit it. This one is basically a kit.


 

 
Here is a video about it




 Here is my first project with it. A poem that my wife wrote years ago after a nesting swamp for geese was filled in to make room for a commercial building. The frame is catalpa from a tree that I took down 25 years ago that the geese would bring the babies up the road to feed under. The center of the tree rotted out and it's great looking wood .
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #48 on: March 11, 2020, 02:59:18 PM »
Anyone else heading to the woodworking show in Syracuse NY next weekend?
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #49 on: March 11, 2020, 04:53:16 PM »
Wow, another first class video review.  Nice little perk you got there from reviewing the first burner!  Maybe I should start making video reviews for some free tools!  Nah, no way I could come close to your thoroughness and quality.

When you were tightening up the belts on each side of the gantry I was concerned about it not lining up with the toothed pulleys and causing it to rack/bind.  Nice that you showed how they thought about that and provided an adjustment.  That little micro switch on the circuit board - I know the one you mean, same on the little burner.  It just doesn't make a click at all.  I had to deal with it when I modded my burner.  

Nice poem but sad for the geese. :-\
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #50 on: March 12, 2020, 11:25:10 AM »
Wow, another first class video review.  Nice little perk you got there from reviewing the first burner!  Maybe I should start making video reviews for some free tools!  Nah, no way I could come close to your thoroughness and quality.

When you were tightening up the belts on each side of the gantry I was concerned about it not lining up with the toothed pulleys and causing it to rack/bind.  Nice that you showed how they thought about that and provided an adjustment.  That little micro switch on the circuit board - I know the one you mean, same on the little burner.  It just doesn't make a click at all.  I had to deal with it when I modded my burner.  

Nice poem but sad for the geese. :-\




Thanks. You should start a channel. Took me over 4 years and thousands of hours with with almost nothing in return to finally hit a point with constant offers and higher paying adds. I see several offers a day now but really would rather buy the item for review as I loose subscribers when posting sponsored videos. I do this for fun and basically now it takes up all my free time and many of my subscribers are like friends so I show them exactly what to expect as accurate as I can. I probably won't see anything else from Gearbest because I just called them out for lying about shipping dates and availability of items they sell as ready to ship that my subscribers are waiting months for. The Corona virus doesn't help but at least they should communicate with buyers the truth. 
NYC expanding out after 911 caused many stories like my wife's poem and was the reason that I left the Hudson Valley.
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #51 on: March 13, 2020, 08:54:50 AM »
Well the Syracuse woodworking show has been canceled due to the new state mandate that there can be no events with over 500 attendees until the Corona virus is contained.  Hopefully they will have it in the fall.
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #52 on: June 28, 2020, 03:18:10 PM »
ljohnsaw wanted to give you an update as I just got the rotary assembly to go with my lasers. It does a nice job. 
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #53 on: June 28, 2020, 03:59:33 PM »
Pretty neat!  So I think I understand the concept.  The rollers are a specific size so the software is rotating them for whatever mm or inches necessary and your work just goes along for the ride.  If that is correct, other than the focal distance, you don't need to make any (software) adjustments when you change the size of the dowel.  So your next mod will be to make it work on spheres? ;)  All you need is  some omni wheels.

What did that cost?
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #54 on: June 28, 2020, 08:45:57 PM »
That is correct.  It is setup to match the linear movement steps per mm so you just draw the artwork based on the circumference no matter what the diameter is. I will be 3d printing adapters for things like that.  I paid  $69 to get it faster shipped from Hong Kong but it still took a month longer then stated at checkout.  shipped from  China is 10 bucks less. There is also a 2nd generation of these lasers comming out soon.
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #55 on: February 01, 2021, 10:51:08 AM »
This is a neat thread and I didn't realize that there were laser engravers this inexpensive. 

Can I have a "year later" update? Is everything still working? 

I have absolutely no experience with this sort of thing, but I'm decent with computers... Is it easy enough to get started as someone totally new?
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #56 on: February 01, 2021, 01:39:02 PM »
They both still work good and haven't had problems. If you use Facebook ( I don't ) Ortur has a large group of users with a lot of cool projects. I understand that the lasers may not last the 8000 hours they say and any problems take a long time to solve with the slow shipping of replacement parts from China. You must learn to do firmware updates and I had to buy Lightburn software ( $40.00) to make them easier to use. They can blind you and catch things on fire so always wear good glasses and never run unattended. A great way to get started laser engraving and newer generations are being released soon to make them easier to use. They are like 3d printers that take some trial and error to get the settings down and much fine tuning for the best results. 
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #57 on: February 01, 2021, 02:27:26 PM »
Thanks for the reply, I appreciate it! I'm about to get the 20w Master 2! I don't know that I really need that big stage but I imagine I'll be annoyed if I find out that I do... It seems like it'll be a fun tool to mess around with. 

My wife just got a Cricut a couple weeks ago, so this may be a nice complement to that also.
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #58 on: February 01, 2021, 02:38:27 PM »
Right now they are getting ready to release a new model with better controller with off line capabilities and longer life fixed focus laser with adjusting slide that focuses better. Covid has pretty much halted everything over there anymore but I think it will be a better second generation unit when they finally release it. I use a Cameo 3 for all kinds of graphics and labels also.
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #59 on: February 01, 2021, 09:40:11 PM »
21incher, we purchased the 20w ortur and the liteburn software. This is a nice unit. 
We are tring to use it to burn a hole 3mm deep. Cathy wants to drop in  crystals, then epxy over them.
Is there a way to burn deeper? 
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #60 on: February 01, 2021, 10:29:33 PM »
21incher, we purchased the 20w ortur and the liteburn software. This is a nice unit.
We are tring to use it to burn a hole 3mm deep. Cathy wants to drop in  crystals, then epxy over them.
Is there a way to burn deeper?


I know my 15 watt ones will only go about 2.5mm deep but I was told to go deeper focus it at the bottom of the cut which would mean you may want to focus it with maybe 2 mm spacers under the feet then remove them to burn. Probably going to take a couple slow full power passes for that deep. I think the edges may burn also. The depth also varies with the type of wood. Darker wood usually burns deeper as these lasers don't do as well on lighter reflective surfaces. 
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #61 on: February 02, 2021, 09:32:43 AM »
Do you guys, that are running this sort of thing, have any links to especially good tips and/or tricks and ideas pages or communities? Upon searching for reviews there seems to be a ton of info, some seems pretty good, some does not.
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #62 on: February 02, 2021, 11:19:00 AM »
Do you guys, that are running this sort of thing, have any links to especially good tips and/or tricks and ideas pages or communities? Upon searching for reviews there seems to be a ton of info, some seems pretty good, some does not.

Like I  said in the first reply to you Facebook is the only place with a big group and I don't  use Facebook.  If you don't  have a lot of time to figure out the settings, debug,  and get software setup they are probably not for you. If you think  it is completely  plug and play then you would definitely give them a poor review. Dealing with companies in China can also be an issue and frustrating.  But it's the lowest cost way to try laser engraving.  If you want a turnkey solution with support and a quality laser then plan on spending about $8k to get started 
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #63 on: February 02, 2021, 11:23:14 AM »
my helix with 60 W, and 18 x 24 inch capacity.  came with a stand with shelves and a rotary attachment was 21K.  by epilog assembled and supported in Denver, CO.
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #64 on: February 03, 2021, 07:38:57 AM »
Thanks @21incher , I'm not a facebag user either... I understand what I'm getting into as far as learning curve and user friendliness. I expect there to be a lot of poor results as I figure out how things work. 

While I haven't watched more than a review of the machine a YouTube channel TechDIY, I think, has at least one really good video describing the machine and how it works on a high level. Maybe once it's delivered I'll start searching out more info and I'll post some links.
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #65 on: February 03, 2021, 08:40:15 AM »
Actually I was contacted by Gearbest yesterday and they are shipping one of the first next generation fixed focus 20 watt lasers to make a video about retrofitting it to my unit so I will get to see If it works any better. I use them in most of my project videos and have not had a problem that they didn't solve with firmware updates. They use several of us as free testers sending out first prototypes and continually update production models. From what I am seeing now the biggest issue seems to be people adding exhaust fans that create a big static charge and blow the motherboards so be sure to earth ground the frame when you add an exhaust system to handle the toxic fumes. Also don't trust the glasses that come with them.
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #66 on: February 03, 2021, 11:31:43 AM »
Actually I was contacted by Gearbest yesterday and they are shipping one of the first next generation fixed focus 20 watt lasers to make a video about retrofitting it to my unit so I will get to see If it works any better. I use them in most of my project videos and have not had a problem that they didn't solve with firmware updates. They use several of us as free testers sending out first prototypes and continually update production models. From what I am seeing now the biggest issue seems to be people adding exhaust fans that create a big static charge and blow the motherboards so be sure to earth ground the frame when you add an exhaust system to handle the toxic fumes. Also don't trust the glasses that come with them.
Don't trust the glasses? What kind of glasses should I get?
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #67 on: February 03, 2021, 02:55:26 PM »

Don't trust the glasses? What kind of glasses should I get?
I found some on Amazon. I went with one that is OD 6+ 445nm and 20 watts rated . They are orange color that is the proper color for this wave length. The green ones that come with them are the wrong color for proper protection. 

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #68 on: April 22, 2021, 08:16:38 AM »
Bought from Gearbest on 2/1/2021, my laser finally showed up, on the porch, at the compound, last night. I got home, started setting it up, and proceeded to spend the next 7.5 hours screwing around with it. After watching 3 LightBurn tutorials I was doing some neat stuff and pretty easily! The learning curve isn't as bad as I expected and LightBurn does some really cool tricks. I can't wait to do more! Here are some simple things I engraved last night. The first is on a sample of tiny plywood they send with the laser, the second is on some cardboard/pressboard stuff I have covering my workbench and it took to engraving very well! 

Are there any good solutions for mounting it to a table top? The only issue I had was as the laser moved around the whole machine would shake enough to move out of position and cause blur. I slowed the laser down which helped immensely but I assume that'll have an effect on details as I learn and burn more.

Thanks for this post. Running this laser, and creating stuff for it to burn, is the most fun I've had in a while!



 



 
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #69 on: April 22, 2021, 11:24:37 AM »
They are still having shipping problems and shortages due to covid plus people trying to spend stimulus money putting demand through the roof. Lightburn is a really easy to use package with a good support forum for Ortur users. I just cut some corner blocks to locate it. This is an old video showing them for the old laser that needed it to be raised the material thickness.     Running way to fast if it's moving like that and the motion sensor can shut it down in the middle of the print messing it up so you should definitely add some locators. They are fun and capable of doing a nice job once you get the settings right. Have fun, add ventilation to the area, and be careful you don't burn toxic materials. 
Hudson HFE-21 on a custom trailer, Deere 4100, Kubota BX 2360, Echo CS590 & CS310, home built wood splitter, home built log arch, and a logrite cant hook.

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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #70 on: April 22, 2021, 05:55:44 PM »
Pretty great locating design, thank you! 
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #71 on: April 23, 2021, 10:14:21 AM »
Looking at your picture it looks like you added quite a bit of extra mass to the head with your air assist that may be the source of your moving around problem and could cause accuracy issues.
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Re: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects
« Reply #72 on: April 25, 2021, 07:06:55 PM »
That's entirely possible. I'm running at 5700 mm/m now with no shaking, so I think I'm OK, but I also went and got a little HF cart today and plan to recreate your setup. 

I'll be interested to see how different woods go, however, this is complex. I'm using balsa now, bought from a local "RC" show I didn't mean to go to, and it's burning very light. The cardboard and little plywood samples burned nice and dark.

How do you suggest determining what the correct speed and power should be? Just have a ton of sample wood around to see what it does? 
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