Evolution of a Blog

This blog has evolved as I have as a maker. It starts at the beginning of my journey where I began to re-tread my tires in the useful lore of micro electronics and the open-source software that can drive them. While building solutions around micro-electronics are still an occasional topic my more recent focus has been on the 3D Printing side of making.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Tuning a Laser

There are some distinct similarities between tuning a laser and tuning a 3D Printer.  I have been trying to get an optimal cut from the laser with three parameters to work with:
  1. Focus.  This is all important as the point where the laser beam is focused coming out of the lens is where precise cutting happens.  There are two ways to do this with both covered on the JTechPhotonics website.  The first is to adjust it under low power and the second is to cut some test lines.  I have been doing both as I have also been experimenting with different heights but I think the test lines approach delivers the best results.
  2. Temperature.  Obviously!  Different temperatures for different materials and for different tasks (cutting versus embossing)
  3. Speed.  The longer the laser dwells the more it will cut.   Also the more it will scar the surrounding material though.
It is all a balance!  Just like with 3D Printing where temperature and speed play such a key role.

Here is an example of some test cuts at different heights.  I am using some paper at very low power settings then final tuning on wood.

Here is an example of the level of detail that I would ideally like to be able to cut.  The squares on the cutting matt are 10mm!   I am not even sure this is possible with the larger size of my 3.8w laser.

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