The Strategy for Mobile Laser Diode System (MoBeam)
I have had a K40 for some time and have been watching the evolution of the Laser Diode engravers. I recently bought a cheap VG-L7X unit with the intention of making a unit that is much more portable and simpler than a K40. (No cooling and simple optics). That said I have low expectations for cutting with a laser diode. Turns out that I use my CNC router for cutting most times. Most of my work is in wood and plastic.
I just started my learning phase and you can monitor progress here.
I will try to keep this status page updated as the build progresses!
The choice of a controller is a many factored one dependent on your key wants. Mine are:
* What are you going to do with it... engraving and some thin material cutting.
* What toolchain do you want to use? .i.e. How will you design the parts you are going to engrave?
* What computer OS you are running [this is often just a religious discussion :)]
* How will you connect to the engraver; usb, wifi, SD card?
* What protocol will the controller support. The most universal IMO is Gcode.
* Controlling from a computer, the local SD card or both.
* Size: fits into the enclosure schema
* Availability of firmware source code for troubleshooting and modification**
* The availability of schematics and wiring diagrams **
* The availability of free technical support**
** these are critical IMO for a scratch builder.
I have decided to use the AwesomeTech controller MiniGrbl as it meets my needs, I know @Paul_de_Groot at AwesomeTech. Note: Paul is a member of this forum
I plan to use the frame that came with the VG-L7X with stability and enclosure modifications.
My Planned Work Flow
- Review all documentation
- Improved the X-axis stability by adding eccentric bushings.
- Initial Power up, successfully burned
- Learned about Laser Diode optics/lenses; the focal point, length, and spot size
- Checking out the stock software and controller
- Document stock controller wiring
- Aquire docs on the laser unit
- Design Z adjustment mechanism
- Design/Fab Small safety cover over laser
- Interlocks & alarms
- Integrated design and documentation of the AwesomeTech Controller
- Wiring diagram and schematic for the entire unit
- Mount for an upgraded controller (AwesomeTech)
- A full enclosure that allows placing the unit on top of targets materials
- Full system check
- Design mobile air assist
- Design mobile air extraction and filter
- Firmware changes for interlocks, laser, and air control