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Author Topic: Low Cost Chinese Laser Engraver For Marking Wood Projects  (Read 4893 times)

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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.   
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 #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.
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 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
Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 450, 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) Retired and trying to make a living to stay that way. NYLT Certified.
OK, maybe I am the woodcutter now.
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
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 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.

Online doc henderson

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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

Offline 21incher

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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.
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.

Online doc henderson

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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.
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 #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.
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 ljohnsaw

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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.

Offline 21incher

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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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Offline ljohnsaw

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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.

Offline randy d

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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.
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 #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.
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 ljohnsaw

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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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