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CO2 laser tube mounted on C-Beam gantry for combined x axis

Discussion in 'Concepts and Ideas' started by ghost2501, May 14, 2015.

  1. ghost2501

    ghost2501 New
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    Imagine a 1000mm length of C-Beam as a gantry above a cutting table. a Chinese laser tube is 50mm (2in.) diameter so rather than buying expensive mounting kits and fiddling with the alignment etc. I plan on just resting it on one end of the C-Beam using a rubber gasket or something to cushion it against the C-beam. It will them aim down the length and once mounted becomes a "modular unit" I can remove and put back with little realignment. I could leave it like that and cut the c-beam off or use the rest for the x axis of my laser.

    The Natural C shape of the Extrusion will cradle the laser tube making it shoot straight along its length 15 mm above its surface straight down the middle. That solves my 2 axis of alignment issue instantly. I can use my Epilog laser cutter to make some mounting clasps and slight adjustment screws etc for super fine tuning.

    Here is where it gets cool, now I just mount a mini v gantry and a 45 degree mirror in the center of it and drill the hole in the center of the gantry bigger. Then I will drill a channel about 20-25mm wide right down the middle of the C-beam at the bottom. This will let the laser beam have one mirror aiming straight down to the lens and cutting area. Or I could flip the C-beam/Laser module upside down and mount it and wouldn't need to cut the bottom out of the C-beam. Anyway cutting out The middle and leaving the ends intact where it mounts and under the laser etc would be fine structurally.

    Then I can just have the table move in the y axis. I will only be cutting 3mm acrylic so its nice and slow movements 7-10mm or so max. I even thought of a way to have a vector table slide in and out like a keyboard drawer so I can have one preloaded and swap them out lock it in place and hit start. then fool with all the cut out pieces on the other table while it cuts loosing no time. I even thought of way to have a roller system to feed longer sheets in etc for longer cuts than the table can hold.

    Super Bonus~! All I have to do is mount another laser tube on the other side facing in and a second gantry plate identical to the first aiming the laser beam down and one gantry is master one is slave and I can move the slave one 6 inches, 9 inches, 12 inches, at from the first to make 2 cuts at once in a "ganged" style cutting my work time in half literally. I could of course just add a second double laser gantry to it and its now 4x my output all adjustable spacing in both x and y axis scalable up to more.

    The best part is I can still move the x axis real fast for engraving and also have 2 full power laser heads engraving not a split beam dual head setup where the power is halved.
     
    #1 ghost2501, May 14, 2015
    Last edited: May 14, 2015
  2. GrayUK

    GrayUK Master
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    It is time to see some drawings now. :thumbsup::thumbsup:

    Gray
     
  3. ghost2501

    ghost2501 New
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    Yeah that is my weakness I design in 2-d corel and cant make sketch up do anything even though he supplies all the parts lol. but yeah I have a few drawings in corel I am working on. Doing some math it would be amazing if c-beam came in 1500mm length it would fix all my problems mainly the laser tube is 700mm long.
     
  4. ghost2501

    ghost2501 New
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    Here is what I managed to make up and it was painful. I know what I want to do the program just don't respond. I can use any of the gantries it seems inside a c beam with the mini v wheels. so just imagine the beam is longer than this one and a laser is resting on it shooting out the "gray laser beam" in this example. the beam will be about 15 mm above the top of the c-beam approx where i show it.

    From there I just cut a channel through the bottom of the c beam so I can mount a standard laser head from a co2 laser. right in the middle of the mini v gantry aiming down. mount 2 little legs on each end and you could put it over a piece of acrylic as is and move the gantry back and forth to laser saw it. I plan on using the outsides of the c-beam to mount safety plexiglass "curtains" that go down within a 1/4 of the cutting surface so looking at it will not have any beams hit you in the eye. it will also allow me to put a vacuum system in the curtain so it is more efficient rather than vacuuming out the whole laser inside. i will also add a vacuum channel below the laser cut path since it only moves along one axis a channel below sucking will increase efficiency dramatically also.

    I would mount something like this on the gantry or you can just Google CO2 laser head to see tons of them. I cut only one size and this head adjusts a range of 2 inches. So I can mount the beam so I can engrave flat things and then op an inch and a half to where my vector table is and the 1/8" acrylic all without a z table just by adjusting the tube holding the lens that will pop through the bottom of the c-beam where i cut the travel channel out for it.

    I am looking for someone in Florida that can sketch it up for me Using the existing models for open build stuff it shouldn't bee too hard.
     

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  5. ghost2501

    ghost2501 New
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    I could even scale this up on one beam I just stack a second tube on top of one already and put a third gantry in the middle and just have the 45 degree mirror sitting up the 50mm catch that beam like a periscope. Copy that again for a 4th laser and a 4th gantry and I could cut 4 6 inch circles in a space of 24 inches on one axis using one stepper for that axis and one to move the table below. All I need extra is the 3 gantries, 3 laser tubes, 3 laser power supplies, 3 laser head optics, and 3 toggle clamps to grab the belt at various distances. that's it and one laser machine becomes four and will work for my cutting purposes at least. The Whole laser system not counting the table movement below for y axis would be 12 inches tall at most its a pretty neat idea.
     
  6. ghost2501

    ghost2501 New
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    here is a better version its all I can do as you see the table below will move and the laser Gantry will move.
     

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  7. Strooom

    Strooom Well-Known
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    Hi,
    I'm not from Florida but I'm willing to assist you with the Sketchup or CAD models.

    I also have a question: isn't a lasertube sensitive to vibrations? I don't know the internals but I can image filaments etc.
    So it would be important to make the movements very smooth in order to not damage the tube.
     
  8. Tweakie

    Tweakie OpenBuilds Team
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    In general, the Chinese laser tubes are very robust, obviously they won't withstand shock loadings because they are of glass construction but, I think you are correct, the internal gas mixture does behave badly to vibration. When commercial machines are moved to a new location they are generally left to stand for some 24 hours (to allow the gasses to settle) before being used so vibration may have to be taken in consideration when designing the mounting fixture for a tube fitted to a moving gantry.

    Tweakie.
     
  9. ghost2501

    ghost2501 New
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    The C-beam the laser is mounted to does not move. Only the little 50mm black gantry mounted on wheels goes back and forth. So the only vibration the tube will get is from the "laser head" moving back an forth. I cut acrylic at 7mm -10mm speed so I don't think it will be too much of a problem. I will have to think about it more if I start engraving fast back and forth on that axis but for now I wont.

    If the laser tube is mounted in the back like say a k40 machine and the x axis flies back and forth usually the whole machine goes back and forth a little bit anyway. My mercury and epilog do this if you engrave fast.

    So yeah in the second example the bottom c-beam hold has a gantry plate on it holding the cutting table that moves back and forth left and right. The top c-beam holds the laser and the "flying optics" for the laser head. the c-beam itself is stationary just the little black gantry plate moves front to back..
     
    #9 ghost2501, May 17, 2015
    Last edited: May 17, 2015
  10. ghost2501

    ghost2501 New
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    Here is a newer version. I am not too good with sketckup I can explode things and move things most of the time but cant get anything to rotate in any direction at all straight of cant choose when things snap to things for a tight fit.

    And here is the x-y table version I may build first just to make it all real easy. See I can even bend the laser beam down because I cant get it to rotate in one axis at 90 degrees. The table moves and the laser stands still. If I make the table bigger I can add up to 6 lasers and still use the same table.

    I also plan on making the vector cutting table itself slide into some slots and lock into place kind of like a keyboard drawer or any drawer. then when the laser is done cutting I can remove the vector table and slide in a new one ready to cut and hit print. I will waste no cut time picking up the 10-100 pieces of acrylic I cut out.

    While looking at it remember if you add a second laser tube directly sitting on top of the first one then you add a second 50mm gantry plate w 45degree mirror to the left of the first one, well all you have to do is raise the 45 degree mirror 50mm up and it catches the second laser. Space it however far from the first mirror say 6 inches for example and it slaves to the master head and will cut whatever shape it does. Now repeat this on the other side of the gantry with 2 more lasers etc. and you have 4 laser cutting heads on one belt~! with one motor~! Then just slide this entire "laser assembly gantry" over 6 inches put another one up and you have 8 laser cutting heads on one machine on 2 belts.
     

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    #10 ghost2501, May 17, 2015
    Last edited: May 17, 2015
  11. ghost2501

    ghost2501 New
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    Here is a very simplified not to scale at all .gif to show you the idea just the laser heads would move back and forth (I know i didn't leave room in this gif for them to do so). The laser heads tips will actually stick out the bottom of the c-beam and have room for me to twist the barrels to focus it up and down 2 inches. for me I cut only 1/8-1/16 acrylic so no vertical moving z table is ideal actually.

    If you just needed to manually cut straight lines on sheet lengths you wouldn't even need a table or other axis you cold slide a sheet under it hit cut the head moves across slow as you want and its done. Wouldn't even need a computer or a cut file just an arduino and 3$ pololu driver.

    The main points of this build are multiple lasers while still having a fast moving x axis for engraving and the table gets to be much larger since the y axis can be a 2000mm beam mounted to a long table the x axis could care less how long it is. Now I have a 600mm by 1800mm laser cutting area. and that would go up if the c-beam came in sizes above 1000mm.

    The acrylic curtain and vacuum slot under the cutting area will give 2-3 times the vacuum close to the actual cut area.

    The laser mounting is simplified as the alignment is done already for the most part and it is supported at more than 2 or 3 points. Basically turning a glass tube into a metal laser cartridge that can be removed and put back will little realignment. You could have a backup glass tube mounted in a c-beam and if one goes back swap it in and go. there is only 1 mirror after all so alignment would be real fast and easy.

    Another quick bonus would be if I had a laser beam combiner I could take the 2 lasers mounted on top of each other and just use one laser head a mirror on top bouncing into a combiner mirror before a lens and now you have a double power laser. All could be don't in minutes with no realignment 4 to 2 double power lasers. You simply have a hole that goes all the way through the top laser on the first laser head and later add a mirror in that hole and replace the bottom mirror with a see thru combiner mirror that catches the first one and lets the top one pass through unchanged. All on one machine/axis.
     

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    #11 ghost2501, May 17, 2015
    Last edited: May 17, 2015
  12. ghost2501

    ghost2501 New
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    Hello and thanks for your offer. right now I would love to be able to just take that laser and make it go 90 degrees above the middle of the gantry plate aiming down onto the cutting area. If its not too hard a black square cube catching the beam with a circle opening like laser heads have may only take you a minute. You can make the laser beam thinner i think they are 3mm on average. I just cant get the rotation tool figured out all all i press shift and ctrl and alt while doing i ttoo and nothing seems to work the same way twice even if I try. And I cant seem to make a cube in the middle of the 50mm gantry plate.
     
  13. ghost2501

    ghost2501 New
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    If you still don't get the general idea Think of it this way. Take a normal laser engraver its usually 2 rails parallel on the bottom holding a third rail perpendicular above that holds the laser head that moves back and forth.

    Now for my idea tell the laser head to go to the center of the table now lock down the gantry the laser head is moving on it will never move again. Instead of all those 2-3 mirrors bouncing the laser beam to the laser head just put the laser right on the gantry aiming straight into the hole on the laser head, throw away the other 3 mirrors never need them again. now move the laser head back and forth with the laser firing it cut s in a straight line. Now you just add a table below that moves back and forth in one direction and that is the idea.

    The laser should cut straighter at longer distances because I am not depending on the straightness of 2 per perpendicular rails super far away from each other which then in turn makes my accuracy of the other rail on top that depends on the accuracy of those below and the more inches the more the inaccuracy is amplified.

    My system depends on the straightness of the inside and outside on ONE c-beam. Pretty **** straight I dont care how professional you are at setting up two rails 60 inches apart. I would take the 60 inch c-beam instead. My second axis could care less how straight ow what makes up the one below it it just does its job and its another straight piece of c beam with a laser aligned by its straightness and the laser head moving on it is going really straight as well straighter you can bet than relying on 2 other beams below it and the accuracy of 2 gantry plates and 8 wheels holding it on also. I eliminate all that BS it cuts super straight at super long lengths as the bottom table is one c beam also. Plus I can add more lasers plus the engraving axis is the one on a flying optic so it can go fast.

    The only weak points in my system are the table has to be longer to accommodate a longer cut axis. and I have one mirror. I cant mount a Chinese tube vertically but if this system had synrad tubes i could just mount them vertically aiming right above the cutting surface. But that would only be for laser cutting my system has fast moving x axis for fast engraving. the other weakness is vibration on the laser tube like you guys said. Cutting at slow speeds not engraving I see no issue since the tube never moves just the little 50mm gantry plate w mirror. Fast engraving maybe I will look into using a second split c-beam and just have to align it with the engraving axis c-beam. I could then make my engraving axis longer as it no longer holds the laser tube itself. So right now that is 1000mm i can make the cutting area like 800mm conservative theoretically more like 900mm. All very straight and no worries only 1 mirror.
     
    #13 ghost2501, May 17, 2015
    Last edited: May 17, 2015
  14. JustinTime

    JustinTime Master
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    ghost2501, I can't picture exactly what you want to do but I had no problem making a cube on the 50mm gantry plate. To make things easier for you try hiding most of the components that you don't need while working on a part. Right click on a part not needed and click on 'hide'. To unhide go to 'edit' and to the menu part 'unhide'. Choose 'all' or 'last'. The less parts are visible the easier the remaining parts rotate.

    If you want, make a hand drawn sketch and from it I'll be able to draw what you want.
     
  15. ghost2501

    ghost2501 New
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    I will take my time today and make a corel drawing with measurements so it should be real easy.
     
  16. ghost2501

    ghost2501 New
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    Here is a sketch. All you should have to do is make a 30mm cube on top of the middle of the gantry plate. put a 15mm hole on the side the laser is coming in from and you may have to stretch the cube up taller for it to catch the laser beam that is 15 mm above the top of the c-beam. Put a hole in the bottom of the cube also and a hole in the gantry plate. then if you can put a 20 mm tube in the center of the bottom of the gantry and make the tube go down and stick through the c-beam and pup out the bottom by 20mm. If you can cut a path for that tube like in the sketch 25mm so it fits the tube. the lens will be mounted at the bottom of the tube later.

    Dont worry about the mirror in the cube you cant see it anyway. And also make the laser beam go inside the cube and out the bottom I cant get it to rotate. the laser comes in from the tube side and exits the bottom. Thanks so much.
     

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  17. JustinTime

    JustinTime Master
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    Is that what you had in mind? I didn't do the slot in the c-beam. You can do that since you know best how long it has to stretch. And don't panic. Everything is still in the drawing, I just hid it since it rotate easier when most of the stuff is hidden. Unhide it like I said in my first post
     

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  18. ghost2501

    ghost2501 New
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    That is great yes Now I just need to have the laser beam a little thinner adn go into the hole . then copy the laser beam and rotate it down so its coming out the tube. but I cant ever get it to rotate straight. Thanks a bunch taht will make it good enough.
     
  19. JustinTime

    JustinTime Master
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    To rotate you use the quadrant tool. If a tool, like a circle tool or the quadrant tool, doesn't let you use it on the plane that you want hoover with the tool over a face that is on the plane that you want and press and hold the shift key. No click on the part and the tool will stay on the plane that you chose.
     

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