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View Full Version : Corian engraving for a homebuilt laser



Tony Tyler
11-29-2006, 7:21 PM
Greetings all,

I have a marketing and an applications question at the end of post.

I built and programmed a large format laser table 10 years ago(currently 4'x4' machineable, but thinking of expanding to 4'x8'. Had planned on doing some vector cutting for a buddies Christmas Shop. After that didn't pan out, the machine sat in the garage for a number of years. Then recently, I wrote another driver to do raster cuts with it. I attached a 15" X34" dollar I did for show and tell. I have others to share if interested.

I have contacted art galleries. They think my work is cool, but not up their alley. I have contacted local woodworkers (2). Ditto art galleries comments. I think the engraving/pyrography would look great on doors, cabinets, tables and inlaid COUNTERTOPS.

Question #1: Any tips for approaching remaining cabinet makers or kitchen cabinet folks in the area? Any other way of selling this type of stuff?
Question #2 I would like to try a light pyrographic engraving through the application tape and barely into Corian. I need a product recommendation for refilling the light engraving with contrasting inlay(deeper cut) or coloring (lighter surface cut) that can then be sanded down and made flat and uniform with the rest of the countertop. I contacted Integra Adhesives. They want to send me down the gelcoat road, but I prefer a solid solution over the gel coat.
Question #3: Any other ideas for a large format laser engraver/cutter?

TIA, I love this forum

Tony

Bruce Volden
11-29-2006, 8:42 PM
Tony,


Welcome to the "Creek". First, what is the wattage of your machine? Working with solid surface and having a 100 watt machine a person could do some fancy inlay work!!! By mixing and matching I have achieved some really nice results. I drive a 35 watt machine for cutting this stuff AFTER I have resawn it down to 1/8". I assume a 100 W laser could handle 1/2"??!!

Go to a cabinet shop (a high end one), introduce yourself, ask for a cabinet door (they do make mistakes) tell them you'll be back ~ tomorrow. Take it home and work some magic on it.

If your machine is not that powerful (like mine), you can still raster some really nice things on it. Also try some Inlace (google it) and you'll be impressed.

There was a time I would have loved to have had a large format table for production work!!!!!! At one time I was doing tens of thousands of BBQ handles for a local promotions company.


Imagine.


Bruce

James Leonard
12-01-2006, 5:46 PM
Hi,

I assume that your table is NOT a 'flying optics' but has a movable laser 'spindle'??? Is that true? Would you be willing to share details of it's construction?

-James Leonard

Tony Tyler
12-04-2006, 12:34 PM
My homebuilt is a metal/MDF hybrid. I am moving the whole laser (25 watt Synrad) instead of flying optics. Originally I had driven it with 5 pitch lead screws, but the machine shop badly bent the screws. I had .001 resolution. The warped lead screws actually did fine on vector cuts, but on raster, I noticed a pattern every 2/10th of an inch. Besides, the warp prevented me from driving it past 7 ipm without having it stall and lose steps. I chose to convert it to a belt driven. Now I am getting about 72 ipm at .005 resolution-which is actually pretty close to the kerf of the laser, so I haven't really lost much accuracy. Have thought of some changes that will increase it another 50 ipm or so.

Cheers,

Tony

Tim Goldstein
12-04-2006, 12:37 PM
How do you drive the motion and control the laser? Are you using a print driver approach like most of the commercial engravers or are you using a G-code approach more like a milling machine or gantry?

James Leonard
12-04-2006, 5:29 PM
My homebuilt is a metal/MDF hybrid. I am moving the whole laser (25 watt Synrad) instead of flying optics. Originally I had driven it with 5 pitch lead screws, but the machine shop badly bent the screws. I had .001 resolution. The warped lead screws actually did fine on vector cuts, but on raster, I noticed a pattern every 2/10th of an inch. Besides, the warp prevented me from driving it past 7 ipm without having it stall and lose steps. I chose to convert it to a belt driven. Now I am getting about 72 ipm at .005 resolution-which is actually pretty close to the kerf of the laser, so I haven't really lost much accuracy. Have thought of some changes that will increase it another 50 ipm or so.

Cheers,

Tony

Hi, thanks for this VERY interesting discussion. I have semi home built CNC equipment and I have started writing software (based on CorelDraw 12/ X3) for artistic CNC. I have been looking to build a gantry based laser. Did you use the 48-2 synrad? The specs say a beam diameter of 3.5mm??? Are the focusing optics included with this unit? What is the cost of this unit. It lloks like it is self contained, but the specs also say it should NOT be mounted vertically. Do you have any photos of your machine you can share with us?

-James

James A. Wolfe
12-05-2006, 1:14 AM
Tony,
The Corian shop I get my scraps from has a material specifically manufactured by Dupont for filling inlays. They did some primitive work a few years ago but got mixed results. The problem was trying to produce art with a router. You can do it but it takes more skill and time than they were willing to invest. Let me know if you'd like me to investigate further.
Jim

Tony Tyler
12-07-2006, 2:07 PM
Tim, James and James,

I bought a controller from cybermation 10 years ago. They are since out of business. I am sure you can find a similar controller around. It connects to the comp via a 25 pin printer cable. Output from the controller is also a 25 pin printer cable. That goes to my homebuilt stepper motor amplifiers. Another lead gives a 5V TTL signal that I use to gate the laser(to my laser controller via BNC connector). Laser is horizontally mounted. I bought some rather pricey rails -(2-3 grand for 4 rails and carriages). I think I would go with pipe and ball bearing from Home depot if I expand.
Laser is air cooled. I mounted 10 computer fans right next to the ribs. Keeps it plenty cool, even in the summer, except for when my little one decides he wants to unplug daddy's cooling fans. No worries on the Synrad. The laser overheats and shuts down automatically. I then just cycle the key switch and throw out whatever I was burning. Second passes on vector cuts were beautiful.
I like my synrad laser. It was pricey when I bought 10 years ago. ~10 G for the laser, controller,optics and PS. I have seen them so cheap on ebay that I wanted to cry.
I wrote vector and raster drivers in Qbasic that were based on my cybermation controller.

Hope this helps,

Tony

James Leonard
12-08-2006, 11:40 AM
Tony, thanks. There is a 10 watt synrad on ebay now, but I will watch the listings, I am in no hurry.

These days, the way to go would be Mach3 / Geckos for the controller electronics and software. There are some very capable CAM packages available for cheap to free and CorelDraw can make a GREAT artwork / CAD package witha few addons.

-James

Mike Mackenzie
12-08-2006, 1:28 PM
This is just a freindly warning,

Synrad has stopped servicing and repairing laser tubes that were manufactured 1997 an earlier. All laser tubes have a manufacturing date on them and everyone should be aware of this. It does you no good to buy a tube that is mfg'd during that time or earlier because when it needs service you won't be able to get it.