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Thread: Engraving with a RECI tube - what's the general consensus power that actually works?

  1. #16
    ^^^ Yup the decent RECI and EFR power supplies can do this but not many others
    Poof! and just like magic the shop keeper dissappeared

  2. #17
    tHANK yOU!
    tHAT GENUINE POWER SUPPLIES ANSWER IS A GREAT HELP!
    (oops, sorry about the caps lock!)

    But there must need to be a setting in the software somewhere (RD Works) where you can call up an option to trickle the minimum current like that ?
    Best wishes,
    Ian



    ULS M-300, 55w made 2002 with rotary. Goldenlaser 130 watt, 1300x700 made 2011.
    Flat bed 2500x1300 150/90watt 2 tube laser, 2018 model.
    Esab router, 1989, 4.5 x 2.0 m, conv. to Tekcel, and modded a 2nd time.
    HP L260-60". Roland PNC-1410. Mimaki GC-130 SU.
    Screenprinting carousel 6x4 and 7x4 ft 1-arm bandit vac table.
    Corel Draw X3, Illy, Indesign & Photoshop CS2 & CS5, Enroute 4
    Pencil, paper, paintbrush, airbrush & dagger-liners & assorted other stuff.

  3. #18
    Yea there is, im at work later, I'll have a look and see where ours are set up to do it
    Poof! and just like magic the shop keeper dissappeared

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    284
    There was a seller from NSW on eBay recently and he was selling... not sure either his own laser or as its distributor. The specs stated that he has a 260W tube so I assumed he was talking about a DLT-260. He was claming in the ad that this laser can also engrave. I contacted him via eBay messages and asked him how he made it possible as high power tubes cannot do it. He replied with something like "buy lasers from me and I will explain" He also said that he has some special settings to make this tube to engrave. Not sure if he simply lied to make a sale or indeed found a way to engrave with a 130W tube or even both tubes firing at the same time.
    GCC Spirit GX Pro 100W(synrad)
    Laserlife Ezlaser LCW 300W(Yongli DLT-300)

  5. #20
    I saw that ad also, Mike... and shook my head and decided it was an opportunist...

    Keen to see if Dave finds a setting in RDworks for setting the minimum orr a trickle current for a Reci tube...
    Best wishes,
    Ian



    ULS M-300, 55w made 2002 with rotary. Goldenlaser 130 watt, 1300x700 made 2011.
    Flat bed 2500x1300 150/90watt 2 tube laser, 2018 model.
    Esab router, 1989, 4.5 x 2.0 m, conv. to Tekcel, and modded a 2nd time.
    HP L260-60". Roland PNC-1410. Mimaki GC-130 SU.
    Screenprinting carousel 6x4 and 7x4 ft 1-arm bandit vac table.
    Corel Draw X3, Illy, Indesign & Photoshop CS2 & CS5, Enroute 4
    Pencil, paper, paintbrush, airbrush & dagger-liners & assorted other stuff.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Olalla, WA
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    1,437
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lysov View Post
    ...Not sure if he simply lied to make a sale or indeed found a way to engrave with a 130W tube or even both tubes firing at the same time.
    A 130W tube is not the best for engraving, but it surely can do it.
    Shenhui 1440x850, 130 Watt Reci Z6

  7. #22
    My own experiments - not properly tuned - were with our Goldenlaser 150/130 watt - engraving was 'possible' but not worth it, compared with the quality from the little ULS M-300 (50w now) - unless it had to be bigger than i could fit in the ULS - and even then, quality was still iffy with what we had...if You knew how good it should have been.
    Best wishes,
    Ian



    ULS M-300, 55w made 2002 with rotary. Goldenlaser 130 watt, 1300x700 made 2011.
    Flat bed 2500x1300 150/90watt 2 tube laser, 2018 model.
    Esab router, 1989, 4.5 x 2.0 m, conv. to Tekcel, and modded a 2nd time.
    HP L260-60". Roland PNC-1410. Mimaki GC-130 SU.
    Screenprinting carousel 6x4 and 7x4 ft 1-arm bandit vac table.
    Corel Draw X3, Illy, Indesign & Photoshop CS2 & CS5, Enroute 4
    Pencil, paper, paintbrush, airbrush & dagger-liners & assorted other stuff.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Norfolk, UK
    Posts
    94
    I did some engravings with a RECI Z6 that i thought were pretty great, the variable power ones looked the best. Its not like you'll get trotec quality, and only a fraction of the speed, but its not like they can't do it!

    Bamboo floorboard:


    Granite:


    Anodised aluminium, about 3" wide:


    detail of the pilot:

    The picture of that wasn't the best, it was a bit low res being an old war photo i found online.

    glass:


    When doing dithered pieces, you can definitely see the limits for laser turn on/off time, lots of missing pixels. Dithering strategies can help overcome this, as can lightening or darkening the image in editing software prior to lasering to bias towards more or less pixels.

    I forget what the settings were for these, but they are all the same photo:



    These are all done with an RDC6332G controller, and the cheap chinese powersupply the laser came with - the P14 helped a lot for the dithers, but I don't have photos. I've just noticed that RECI have a new powersupply out that superseeds the P14, could be worth a look.

  9. #24
    Thanks, Mark. That's interesting. The anodised Al came up well. The rest of what you said makes sense. Your last lion pic is getting there.
    I know our Chinese machine's photo engraving quality is woeful compared with the ULS, but at 150w, it's expected...
    Best wishes,
    Ian



    ULS M-300, 55w made 2002 with rotary. Goldenlaser 130 watt, 1300x700 made 2011.
    Flat bed 2500x1300 150/90watt 2 tube laser, 2018 model.
    Esab router, 1989, 4.5 x 2.0 m, conv. to Tekcel, and modded a 2nd time.
    HP L260-60". Roland PNC-1410. Mimaki GC-130 SU.
    Screenprinting carousel 6x4 and 7x4 ft 1-arm bandit vac table.
    Corel Draw X3, Illy, Indesign & Photoshop CS2 & CS5, Enroute 4
    Pencil, paper, paintbrush, airbrush & dagger-liners & assorted other stuff.

  10. #25
    So, Mr. Sheldrake-- really dumb (or maybe not) question-- is there such a thing as 'sunglasses' for a C02 laser? As in, a lens or aperture or some other device that could simply block or absorb (which may be a bad thing) some of the incident beam before it gets to the regular lens? As a weird reference, the way Gravograph 'focuses' the red pointer beam on my IS400 to a very narrow point is simply by shining the beam thru a very tiny hole. It does work, the spot is very bright and extremely small...

    Out in the garage shop I have 3 laser pointers... I cut a circle out of some .010" brass shim stock, found the smallest drill bit I could find around here (about .015" diameter) and drilled it, then taped it to the front of the pointer, and now the relatively fat beam spot is very tiny and bright, much better for accuracy. I use this pointer thru the lens on my Triumph as it didn't come with one...

    Anyway, just wondering if there was some way to temper/buffer/diffuse/reduce the beam intensity, so that higher powered tubes COULD engrave better? Without creating meltdowns, blinding someone or starting fires, of course!
    4 LASERS -- Gravograph LS900 -- GCC Explorer -- Triumph 1390 -- Triumph Galvo Fiber
    10 CNC ROTARY ENGRAVERS -- NH C2000 -- NH V3200 -- NH V3400 x2 -- NH V3400CL rotary -- NH V5000 -- NH V5000XT x2 -- Gravograph IS400 -- Gravograph IS7000
    Vinyl: NH 20" vinyl cutter
    Extraction: 3 -HF 'green' blowers, 1 HF 'big' blower
    4 -air compressors, 3 -drill presses, 3 -grinders, 3 -shears, 4 -saws, mini-lathe


  11. #26
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Stewart-Koster View Post
    Thanks, Mark. That's interesting. The anodised Al came up well. The rest of what you said makes sense. Your last lion pic is getting there.
    I know our Chinese machine's photo engraving quality is woeful compared with the ULS, but at 150w, it's expected...
    The thing I didn't realise when I was doing those lion engravings was that you shouldn't use air assist when engraving, as it blows the smoke back onto the work and discolours the wood (or in the case of acrylic, deposits acrylic powder in the engrave). I didn't learnt that until I went on a course at Trotec about 4 years later! Those lion engraves actually look a lot better after being hit with a very light touch of sand paper on a hard block (so it can only take the very surface off) - leaving the engrave dark and the surface light.

    The really interesting thing with the CO2 tubes is the lack of shading inthe light areas - this is where the fiber and RF lasers really shine so to speak. In the raw picture where it's varying the power level to do the engrave you can see much more shading and you also get the sky engraved. On the dithered versions, the original image has many black dots in the sky area (you can see on the left on the lion's nose in Gimp2, top and bottom right corners in several images - but the laser can't switch on fast enough to engrave them. Then on the darker areas, the laser gets to turn on because there are several dark pixels in a row or close enough together that the tube does ignite - but the very small pockets of light pixels in those areas are lost as the tube won't de-ionise fast enough - so it's still creating light after its turned off... then comes back on again very fast to keep the dark engrave going. Those images are probably a realistic 500dpi along Y, but across X you probably only get white or dark features that would fit in a 250dpi print - ie: about 0.004"/0.1mm.. maybe even 1.5-2x that.

    With a better powersupply, you can do better. That was on the stock powersupplies I blew 2 of (JNMYDY brand).


    Kev, I'm not sure that's the solution, a CO2 tube should be able to fire at about 10-12% of it's max power, so a 150W laser should be able to do a 15W engrave which isn't a lot for wood, acrylic or anodised aluminium, at least in my experience (with the Z6 I was always at about 30-40% for wood, 100% for aluminium) - this is purely related to chinese lasers - on a trotec i'd be going 85-100% power for pretty much anything haha. I think the problem is more the tube length if you're having issues, because you need to ignite a much longer tube it takes longer to ionise/deionise? That would be my guess as to why a low power CO2 laser is working better - its faster to arc up and for the arc to break down.

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Norfolk, UK
    Posts
    94
    I'm actually thinking for the laser power and pre-ignition (firing the tube a say 8% power), it wouldn't be too hard to make a little bit of microcontroller code to pull up the laser power line to the correct voltage for say 1 second after any laser pulse. I don't have a laser to test on at the moment, but it's certainly something I can look into if anyone's interested in trying?

  13. #28
    So, Mr. Sheldrake-- really dumb (or maybe not) question-- is there such a thing as 'sunglasses' for a C02 laser? As in, a lens or aperture or some other device that could simply block or absorb (which may be a bad thing) some of the incident beam before it gets to the regular lens? As a weird reference, the way Gravograph 'focuses' the red pointer beam on my IS400 to a very narrow point is simply by shining the beam thru a very tiny hole. It does work, the spot is very bright and extremely small...
    Yup there are Kev, Beam Attenuators, usually quite pricey (I blew mine up when I forgot to turn on the cooling) basically lens's designed to absorb some of the beam energy and dump it as heat into the cooling fluid.

    Lower power tubes have a smaller incident beam so in general a bigger spot size hence much lower power density, I won't usually engrave anything plastic using more than an 80 watt at 15% or so power with 2 inch lens (just enough the whiten up the surface)
    Poof! and just like magic the shop keeper dissappeared

  14. #29
    The problem isn't Voltage Mark, it's current, DC tubes usually fire at well above the operating current just to get them going (hence the *dig in* at the start of the line) pre-ionising reduces rise time but doesn't make any difference to the spike
    Poof! and just like magic the shop keeper dissappeared

  15. #30
    I've been doing some experimenting, engraving an image that's about 24 x 10 inches, on acrylic.
    The ULS did a great job except it could not handle the memory size of the BMP (quite small), so I had to drop the resolution down to 105 ppi before it would do it.

    The Chinese Goldenlaser did a rough job, but that was with the 4" FL lens. Tonight I changed the lens for a 2" one, and ran some more files.
    Very impressive, actually. I got the power down to 20%, and at that level, (speed 800, acceleration 1500) the ammeter was peaking at 4.5 mA or so.
    Not perfect, and not as good as the ULS, but totally quite acceptable!
    Best wishes,
    Ian



    ULS M-300, 55w made 2002 with rotary. Goldenlaser 130 watt, 1300x700 made 2011.
    Flat bed 2500x1300 150/90watt 2 tube laser, 2018 model.
    Esab router, 1989, 4.5 x 2.0 m, conv. to Tekcel, and modded a 2nd time.
    HP L260-60". Roland PNC-1410. Mimaki GC-130 SU.
    Screenprinting carousel 6x4 and 7x4 ft 1-arm bandit vac table.
    Corel Draw X3, Illy, Indesign & Photoshop CS2 & CS5, Enroute 4
    Pencil, paper, paintbrush, airbrush & dagger-liners & assorted other stuff.

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