Laser Cutter/Engraver Suggestions Please - ED Forums
 


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Old 11-17-2019, 08:28 PM   #1
Kenpilot
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Default Laser Cutter/Engraver Suggestions Please

Hey guys, I'm going to finally build my A-10 Sim Pit and eventually F-18 pit down the road. I'm still debating on just buying the panels already made or making my own. I'm guessing if I plan on making more than one sim pit, it would be more cost effective to build them myself. Does anyone have any suggestions on a cutter/engraver for this type of project and for somebody with zero experience with them? Like most of us, I'm on a budget, so I'm not looking to spend thousands on it and I don't plan on doing anything else with the machine, basically just use it to cut and engrave the cockpit panels. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
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Old 11-17-2019, 11:16 PM   #2
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Heya if you want to see how I am making my panels I sell for inspiration check out

https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?t=245746

As far as machine, Laser is a better start for making panels, usually a good start is a cheap K40 ebay laser if you aren't planning on doing that much. A cnc rotary is fantastic, but I found it just not as good for the panels.
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Old 11-19-2019, 04:35 AM   #3
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Or you could 3d print te panels. Probably cheaper than a laser cutter and materials.
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Old 11-19-2019, 10:38 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlacleyCole View Post
Or you could 3d print te panels.
And suffer the requisite downgrade in quality. 3D printing doesn't handle fine text and details very well. It's going to be cheaper to pick up some 2-layer acrylic like this:

https://www.inventables.com/technolo...-acrylic-sheet

And either find a laser cutting service or buy a cheap Chinese one that's capable of handling acrylic.
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Old 11-20-2019, 06:52 AM   #5
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I got myself one of those K40 laser clones, and with a little bit of work will do the job fine. However you do have to accept that you get what you pay for, and so the quality will be poor as received, hence the need for some work.

Probably the alignment will be poor, screws loose, mine had a bent final mirror 'bracket', the laser power is nowhere near what they say and mine also has an X axis gantry that is o.5 degrees out of square. You also have to remove the clamp it comes with, set up an air assist and if it does the same as mine the water pump will give out after ten hours.

Sounds bad, doesn't it? Nonetheless, I am happy with mine, just make sure you go through it with a methodical check and fix policy and you will actually get something that does a good job.

Cheers

Les

Last edited by lesthegrngo; 11-20-2019 at 04:10 PM.
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Old 11-20-2019, 11:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lesthegrngo View Post
I got myself one of those K40 laser clones, and with a little bit of work will do the job fine. However you do have to accept that you get what you pay for, and so the quality will be poor as received, hence the need for some work.

Probably the alignment will be poor, screws loose, mine had a bent final mirror 'bracket', the laser power is nowhere near what they say and mine also has an X axis gantry that is o.5 degrees out of square. You also have to remove the clamp it comes with, set up an air assist and if it does the same as mine the water pump will give out after ten hours.

Sounds bad, doesn't it? Nonetheless, I am happy with mine, just make sure you go through it with a methodical check and fix policy and you will actually get something that does a good job.

Cheers

Les
Any idea how much total the laser clone and upgrades cost? And does anyone know about how much the acrylic sheets cost to make all of the A-10 panels? I've seen some people use 2 layers for the panels and some people use 3 layers of acrylic sheets.
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Old 11-21-2019, 07:06 AM   #7
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Romeokilo have a amazing build and a great channel on Youtube, I think he has all the answers you seek

He has a thread here, the description on the video has all the links

https://youtu.be/gDy10Wy4vw4
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Old 11-22-2019, 06:37 AM   #8
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Mine was about 400 euros delivered, and then I spent another 50 euros on a decent water pump and some tubes etc, including some thin brass tube from a model shop. I have a CNC engraving machine so I made a new final mirror bracket from MDF that also holds the brass tube which I use to blow air on where the laser hits - i used info on this page https://k40laser.se/ to give me ideas. However you could use a bit of aluminium plate, there is noting sophisticated about it. The air supply is from a cheap airbrush compressor I have, it doesn't need much to work.

For the rest of it, it is your time and no more. When I say about the quality, it really is that everything is there, but either poorly constructed, rubbish materials or not finished properly. Issues I found were none of the screws are the same, they look like second had ones, the brackets are all crappy bits of angle iron with spacers to make them sit straight, rusted bits here and there, the PCB doesn't line up with the hole for the USB cable, the electrical sockets on the back are loose, laser mirrors out of alignment....

But if you just look at it as a simple machine, and use basic engineering you can fix virtually all of it yourself for literally next to nothing.

You can upgrade it as well if you want, with better mirrors and lasers, but to start with you should be able to use what you get quite satisfactorily once you spend a day sorting out the silly issues. Oh, and take out the clamp and replace it with something better, there's lots of different solutions for that - mine was to use some bits of aluminium and MDF to make a little table at the right height, this gives a bonus that it increases the working area too.

If the gantry is out of square that is not an issue either - you have the choice of fixing it physically by adjustment and filing, or as my one was only half a degree, I simply use the 'skew' function in inkscape to modify the .SVG file so that it compensates for it

One thing I did do, and can recommend is to change the laser tube as the original ones are not very powerful. I got a Ten-High one, which was a straight swap, and it is much more powerful, so for the cutting part it is quicker. It's not essential though, just make sure that the mirror alignment is correct - use the site quoted earlier, they have a great 'how to' in there

Finally, us K40 Whisperer as the program for laser cutting - so simple even I can use it!

Hope this helps!

Les
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Old 11-24-2019, 08:51 AM   #9
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Same here. My K40 v2 was a little cheaper but I upgraded it with better pump, way better exhaust, air assist, bed... Even that way, far cheaper than a professional one:

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