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Thread: Ebay fiber laser, I'll be the guinea pig--

  1. #61
    I have a few questions on the ebay 30 watt fiber lasers, maybe someone can answer.
    I see the pictures of the scanning head at the top of it's adjustable post (about 20" above the table), when in use, what is the average distance from the lens to the object to be marked?
    Also, do the different lens (150, 200, 300) change this?
    Approximately how many passes would it take to etch a hardened steel plate to .001 inches deep?
    Thanks in advance for your replies.

  2. #62
    Actually there's no 'average' distance, it's very specific, as the beam must be in focus to plus/minus a small distance. Lens focus length determines the plus/minus range...

    Yes the different lenses change the distance, dramatically. The beam begins from the lens center, at the mirrors above the lens. Lens size determines the focus distance. From the lens center the beam emanates outwards in a cone shape. The larger the lens, the farther the focus distance, which also increases the 'cone size', aka the working area. As focus distance increases, so does the minimum beam spot size, and the larger the beam spot, the less power density-- so while longer lenses increase working area size, the compromise is you have less power to work with, and to a certain extent, detail suffers. Shorter lenses decrease working area, but power and detail increases. Always a compromise

    One common lens I DON'T have is a 100 (I'm talking working area with these numbers), but I do have two 220's, two 150's and a 70 -! The 220's and 150's are different lenses as to physical size. The small 220 focuses at over 17" from lens to focus point, the larger one is around 14-3/4"... the smaller 150 focuses about 11", the larger around 9-3/4"-- my little 70mm focuses at only 4-3/8" from lens to work, and only has a 2-3/4" work area, but the power increase over the 150 is amazing! It'll take aluminum out real quick, steel almost as quick. Of course, there's a compromise or two; the beam spot is so small that a tighter hatch is necessary, and between the extra hatch lines and heat, slag buildup can be a problem...

    As to .001" deep in anything, it depends on the engraving area... a 1/4" x 1" rectangle, to get a clean .001 deep, anywhere from 30 seconds to minutes, many variables as to lenses and what one considers 'clean' -- just a while ago I engraved "1911 A1" into an old Ranger slide, I made it resemble a single tool-cut pass, text height was .188", I ran it 40 passes of 2 cross hatches: two 'digger' cross-hatches and 2 'cleanup' cross-hatches, followed by another 20 cleanup only passes, for 200 passes total- Sounds like a lot but they're FAST passes, the whole run took less than 4 minutes. Yeah, that's more time than tool engraving, but (A) Setup is MUCH quicker, (B) I can get another job working while it's running, and (C) it takes time to sharpen dull carbide tools... One thing I'll never have to do is sharpen a laser beam!

    Here's a silly-putty impression of the engraving, it's an honest, and clean .003-.004" or more deep in hardened steel...
    a1.jpg
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  3. #63
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    Posts
    57
    As I look more and more at these "California eBay specials" I am quite curious as to if the red laser is merely a dot, or two to allow for focusing height, or is the galvo able to manipulate the red visible laser to provide a preview outline to aid in alignment. It sure would be nice to have that feature. Not sure if these lower end fiber lasers have that avaliable or not?

  4. #64
    --all of the above, and then some

    My 1st fiber (Triumph) has 2 red LEDs, the thru-lens that aims straight down, and an adjustable stationary mounted on the main box, which aims down at an angle. Once optimal focus is found, I just move the adjustable dot until it's just barely to the left and straight across from the lens dot. The 'accepted' way to do this is make the dots converge at the same place, but when they're slightly apart it's very easy to see if one's not aligned to the other.

    My 2 ebay machines have the a pair of adjustable LED's on the scanhead in addition to the thru-lens LED. The 2 LED's converge when focused the same way as my Triumph, only difference is the thru lens LED isn't used for focusing.

    So yes these lasers- all galvo's as far as I know- use thru-lens LED's for alignment. The LED and laser hit the same mirrors so they follow the same path, but not exactly until the red output and laser output are aligned... there's a few procedures to follow to do this (along with compensation procedures for size, side-angles, rotational skew, pincushion and trapezoid misalignments)... When tuned up nicely, the laser will produce square squares and round circles of the correct size, and the red LED and laser paths will exactly match. For visual alignment of your engraving you can output a simple red bounding box representing the engraving's max height & width, or you can output an outline of the actual engraving. Using a loupe and set of HF caliper mic's, you can measure the red light itself for size or location. Fast and accurate...
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  5. #65
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    Posts
    57
    Excellent and informative reply as usual. I get closer every day to hitting the buy it now button! Knowing that you can uaebthe galvo and a red laser to preview before burning in a design is a huge plus! Thanks again.
    30w eBay fiber laser
    Axiom Precision AR4 Pro CNC router
    40W CO2 Laser
    CNC Lathe
    Vinyl Cutter
    Roland Eco Solvent Printer
    Anycubic Photon
    Corel X7
    some other stuff I dont want my wife to find out about

  6. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by Kev Williams View Post
    Actually there's no 'average' distance, it's very specific, as the beam must be in focus to plus/minus a small distance. Lens focus length determines the plus/minus range...

    Yes the different lenses change the distance, dramatically. The beam begins from the lens center, at the mirrors above the lens. Lens size determines the focus distance. From the lens center the beam emanates outwards in a cone shape. The larger the lens, the farther the focus distance, which also increases the 'cone size', aka the working area. As focus distance increases, so does the minimum beam spot size, and the larger the beam spot, the less power density-- so while longer lenses increase working area size, the compromise is you have less power to work with, and to a certain extent, detail suffers. Shorter lenses decrease working area, but power and detail increases. Always a compromise

    One common lens I DON'T have is a 100 (I'm talking working area with these numbers), but I do have two 220's, two 150's and a 70 -! The 220's and 150's are different lenses as to physical size. The small 220 focuses at over 17" from lens to focus point, the larger one is around 14-3/4"... the smaller 150 focuses about 11", the larger around 9-3/4"-- my little 70mm focuses at only 4-3/8" from lens to work, and only has a 2-3/4" work area, but the power increase over the 150 is amazing! It'll take aluminum out real quick, steel almost as quick. Of course, there's a compromise or two; the beam spot is so small that a tighter hatch is necessary, and between the extra hatch lines and heat, slag buildup can be a problem...

    As to .001" deep in anything, it depends on the engraving area... a 1/4" x 1" rectangle, to get a clean .001 deep, anywhere from 30 seconds to minutes, many variables as to lenses and what one considers 'clean' -- just a while ago I engraved "1911 A1" into an old Ranger slide, I made it resemble a single tool-cut pass, text height was .188", I ran it 40 passes of 2 cross hatches: two 'digger' cross-hatches and 2 'cleanup' cross-hatches, followed by another 20 cleanup only passes, for 200 passes total- Sounds like a lot but they're FAST passes, the whole run took less than 4 minutes. Yeah, that's more time than tool engraving, but (A) Setup is MUCH quicker, (B) I can get another job working while it's running, and (C) it takes time to sharpen dull carbide tools... One thing I'll never have to do is sharpen a laser beam!

    Here's a silly-putty impression of the engraving, it's an honest, and clean .003-.004" or more deep in hardened steel...
    a1.jpg


    Thanks Kev for all the very useful information.
    I am interested in buying and using a fiber laser to make pad printing plates for my shop, currently they are etched with ferric chloride.
    Of course there will be many other things that can be done with it too.
    Images will generally be less than 1 1/2" in diameter for most jobs.
    Have you found any accessory/optional lens for the first ebay machine with the 150 lens?
    Thanks again,
    Jeff

  7. #67
    Not yet I haven't, but I haven't been looking much lately - BTW, the engraving above was done with ebay1, it has the 150 lens. Ebay2 with the cabinet has the 220, and I'm actually quite happy with how it works. Haven't done too much deep engraving with it, a couple of rifle barrels last week and they came out very nice, and faster than I expected. It mostly does anodized parts, and it's fantastic for that...

    So with the 3 machines, my best option would be to pick up a 100 that'll fit the ebay machines, that should be all the variety I'll need for now...
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  8. #68
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    Posts
    57
    Do any of you guys with the 30w eBay have a rotary attachment. I messaged the seller in CA 3 dahs ago to see if they offer an optional rotary axis. So far no reply from them. That is not exactly confidence inspiring! I see in the pics that there is a port on the back for a rotary but that of course means nothing.
    30w eBay fiber laser
    Axiom Precision AR4 Pro CNC router
    40W CO2 Laser
    CNC Lathe
    Vinyl Cutter
    Roland Eco Solvent Printer
    Anycubic Photon
    Corel X7
    some other stuff I dont want my wife to find out about

  9. #69
    you can get a rotary and a controller, Cloudray Laser sells them on ebay, as do others--

    These machines have the plug for the rotary but that's it. One of the reasons for the good pricing I'm assuming. I have a rotary that came with my Triumph, it's all I need as I don't use it much...
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  10. #70
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Suwanee, GA
    Posts
    3,569
    I've got one I don't use any more if you are interested.


    Quote Originally Posted by Trevor HinzeNE View Post
    Do any of you guys with the 30w eBay have a rotary attachment. I messaged the seller in CA 3 dahs ago to see if they offer an optional rotary axis. So far no reply from them. That is not exactly confidence inspiring! I see in the pics that there is a port on the back for a rotary but that of course means nothing.
    I have done so much with so little for so long, that I can do almost anything with practically nothing...

    Trotec Speedy 400 80 watt 8/2015
    G. Weike LF-30, 30 watt galvo fiber - 1/2016
    G. Weike LF-30, 30 watt galvo fiber - 3/2015
    Fargo HDP5000 Card printer


  11. #71
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    Posts
    57
    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Hair View Post
    I've got one I don't use any more if you are interested.
    Thanks, if I pull the trigger I will pm you!
    30w eBay fiber laser
    Axiom Precision AR4 Pro CNC router
    40W CO2 Laser
    CNC Lathe
    Vinyl Cutter
    Roland Eco Solvent Printer
    Anycubic Photon
    Corel X7
    some other stuff I dont want my wife to find out about

  12. #72
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    Posts
    57
    Quote Originally Posted by Kev Williams View Post
    you can get a rotary and a controller, Cloudray Laser sells them on ebay, as do others--

    These machines have the plug for the rotary but that's it. One of the reasons for the good pricing I'm assuming. I have a rotary that came with my Triumph, it's all I need as I don't use it much...
    Thanks for the info. I half assumed that the port on the back was nothing more than an empty socket and you have confirmed it. Am I safe to assume that the software is configurable enough to allow you to set it for a stepper motor driven rotary chuck, ie can you define degrees per step and so on? Thanks again for the timely reply.
    30w eBay fiber laser
    Axiom Precision AR4 Pro CNC router
    40W CO2 Laser
    CNC Lathe
    Vinyl Cutter
    Roland Eco Solvent Printer
    Anycubic Photon
    Corel X7
    some other stuff I dont want my wife to find out about

  13. #73
    I messaged the seller and they don't have a rotary. I'm wanting a chuck version for a particular type of part we make. So Kev, was the 4K on the cabinet model worth it?
    I will mainly engrave 6005 T6 aluminum for serial numbers.
    Last edited by pete hagan; 03-27-2019 at 3:07 PM.

  14. #74
    Been very happy with the unit I got last week. Thanks for the original write up Kev.
    Epilog Legend 36EXT ~35W
    30W Fiber Laser
    Corel X6
    AutoCAD 2019
    FFL 01
    Some Patience

  15. #75
    Based on all the other prices I'm seeing lately, many of which don't include duties and tariffs and all, $4000 for these machines is a steal. But BEAR IN MIND, these machines are very much intended for 'seasoned' users, or users who are somewhat mechanically inclined and not afraid to pull covers and plugs and such to adjust dip switches or add simple accessories yourself. Example, I don't know if many people are aware of a simple modification to these machines that can speed up setup and production time, which I found out about accidentally-- As users are aware, when you start the laser, you get an on-screen "MARKING" message during the marking procedure. When marking is done, the message goes away. The problem with this is that while marking, EzCad is now busy and you can't do anything but wait for the engraving to end.

    BUT, built into the controller is a simple function called REMARK... to enable it you need a switch-
    like another foot switch- and you have to crimp or solder the switch wires to the male connector that fits
    the plug shown...
    remark.jpg
    Note that pin 8 is labeled 'REMARK', one of the switch wires connects here,
    the other wire connects to any ground location, of which there's 3, I've
    chosen pin 13, and if memory serves, pin 13 is 'empty'...

    So, what the REMARK function does is this: When you run a job from EzCad, that job remains in the machines memory. What REMARK does is re-run the saved job in memory instead of EzCad feeding the same job over and over from the computer. This is great if you're engraving multiples of the same thing over and over and have another job waiting to set up; When remarking, EzCad is divorced from the machine, which means you're free to set up the next job AND run multiples of the same parts, instead of waiting until all the parts are done to start the next setup! -There is ONE catch, there's no STOP button when doing this (other than the E-stop), but normally there's no reason to stop when running multiples...

    SO, I told you all that to say this: If you're the type of person who can wire up a new switch or install a new scanhead if the original goes out, or have a good friend that can -- then one of these cheap machines may be a worthwhile investment! Otherwise, enter at your own risk... I've been extremely pleased with both my ebay machines, and when my foot switch didn't work on the first one, the seller was prompt and helpful about making it right (it was disabled in EzCad, ez fix!) but I'm also aware that a guy in China can only do so much to help a guy in North America...
    Last edited by Kev Williams; 03-27-2019 at 6:59 PM.
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


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