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Thread: Fiber Automation

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Rock Hill, SC
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    184

    Fiber Automation

    I am working on two automation projects for the fiber.

    The first is a rotary device, which at this time is designed to hold 10 cups/bottles. It will laser, then rotate to the next cup and laser and so on and so forth. Once those are done, I can lift the platter off (what holds the cups) and load a new one on. This will maximize marking time. It can be adapted to anything really but will be mainly used for cups and pens.

    The second is an automated card "pusher". I will be able to load up a stack of aluminum business cards (up to 1000) and walk away while the fiber does its thing. It will mark and then put a new card in and mark and so on and so forth.

    I know there are commercial options available for these items but I like to build things. I have all of the electronic components, code and part of the mechanism finished on the first one. If all goes well, I'll have it operational this weekend. I have all of the electronic and pneumatic stuff for the second one but haven't written the code yet.

    I will post up some pics and video once they are done. Have any of you done any automation stuff?
    Universal 60w VLS6.60 w/ rotary
    RayFine 30w MOPA
    Corel X8, Photoshop

    Fab shop with South Bend Heavy 10, Bridgeport 9x42, 185a welder and a multitude of supporting tools/equipment

  2. #2
    Never done any practical automation. But I am fascinated to see the results.

    What are you using to trigger events between the laser and automation controller?

  3. #3
    Hired my daughter to help one or two days a week, she's my 'automation'

    Using 2 of my fibers one day (in the garage, less than arm's length from each other), she ran a two-setup job, some small anodized parts, logo one side, a registration marker on another; the machines took less than 2 seconds to engrave the parts, leaving 4 seconds changeover to do 10 parts per minute. She averaged about 8 completed parts per minute using 2 machines at the same time, 960 separate engravings per hour @ 75c per engraving--that's lawyer+ money! too bad there were only 450 parts

    -- and that's why I haven't considered 'actual' automation, I don't get multi-thousand part jobs.
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    NW Arkansas
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    me too Kev, I've got a few, one is plastic clips, 16 up, engrave both sides. $0.32 each, but usually only 500 at a time. takes about 36 seconds each side including me changing out and flipping them.
    Another is 4 up, takes about 12 seconds a part as it is rather deep, I keep it running without stopping,but only 1000 each order.....
    I've got a few more that are only about 50 to 100 each.
    I LOVE monkey work. But never tried real automation with the laser.

    Keep us posted with your results.
    Last edited by John Lifer; 11-15-2019 at 11:18 PM.
    Woodworking, Old Tools and Shooting
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  5. #5
    I just love galvo fibers, the things you can make them do- but the variations in TIME to do certain things is a factor to be sure. I have one job that is the same engraving on various colors of anodized parts. All colored parts take about 32 seconds to engrave. But the clear anodized, the customer doesn't want white engraving, so I have to engrave them deep enough for him to paint black. 5:48 to engrave those...! But I USED to tool-engrave ALL of them, which took 7 minutes per pair, plus the anodizing wears out tools fast- don't have to sharpen a laser beam!
    The customer never liked the 'gray' white the C02 produced, but the fiber changed that! So I put up with the slow ones at the same price, the fast ones make up for it!

    This Utah public safety logo below, I may be doing thousands of these...I just love how changing a few settings can give you many 'colors'- not like a mopa to be sure, but lots of shades of golds, grays and browns...
    and FWIW, this logo is engraved only 1.2" in diameter on some semi-mirrored SS, and was scanned from the UT DPS issued logo next to it, using Casmate.
    I split the colors to CYMK, made adjustments to two of the results to darken & lighten certain areas, and scanned each result.
    I superimposed each scan, then kept only the best or needed vectors. That, and 'manually' making circular copies of the border design so I could 'paint' them individually,
    is all the editing I did. The text, eagle, ropes, beehive, everything is engraved as Casmate scanned it from the ~1370x1480 original.
    I recently paid for Vector Magic after my previous win98 computer died leaving me with only Corel TRACE for digitizing... While Vector Magic is a far sight better than TRACE,
    my money was better spent on my "new" 98 replacement computer. I've only used VM twice...
    utdps.jpgutdps-A.jpg
    This logo is fairly time consuming taking 4 minutes flat to run. I can probably whack a minute off the time just by opening up some close hatch fills, but If I were to do just a bright 'sandblast' version, it would take about 20 seconds! But wouldn't look anywhere near as nice. If I get this job, my 'automation' will be a simple jig to hold 4 of the 'things', which will be a 12 to 16 minute run. I've priced them to make money- not lawyer money, but adequate ... Thing is, long-running jobs like these work well for me since I always have many jobs going at the same time. Hit start, then go finish a quote or setup or run another machine.

    But I will admit that, if I could load up a conveyor with 30 of these, the 'set it and forget it' feature of running 2 hours before changeovers would be nice!
    Last edited by Kev Williams; 11-17-2019 at 1:36 AM.
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Rock Hill, SC
    Posts
    184
    So the weekend got busy and I didn't get as much done as I would have liked. I did get most of it machined and laser cut but I still need to wire it up on the machine. Here is what I have so far.

    Main support bracket - .375" aluminum
    cr3.jpg
    cr2.jpg

    Mounted to the fiber with the aluminum platter attached.

    cr5.jpg
    cr4.jpg

    Cup "nest" attached and loaded with cups.

    cr7.jpg
    cr8.jpg

    There are some things that I will do differently for the next "next", that will make it easier to remove from the platter.

    It will probably be a few weeks before I can get back to this project b/c of jobs and the holidays but hope to have it done before Christmas now.
    Universal 60w VLS6.60 w/ rotary
    RayFine 30w MOPA
    Corel X8, Photoshop

    Fab shop with South Bend Heavy 10, Bridgeport 9x42, 185a welder and a multitude of supporting tools/equipment

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Murphy NC
    Posts
    567
    Cool. Very cool.
    Epilog Legend 36EXT ~35W
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    Some Patience

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