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Table of Contents
Full Spectrum Laser Pro 36x24 Rotary Attachment
Author: Santiago Ricoy
Email: [email protected]
Date: Last modified on 2/4/17
Keywords: laser cutter engraving etching burning cutting vector raster
The photo above depicts the completed laser etch on a HydroFlask water bottle. This was done using the rotary attachment in conjunction with our Full Spectrum Laser Pro Series laser cutter.
Motivation and Audience
This tutorial's motivation is to teach a student new to the laser cutter how to expand their knowledge of using the laser cutter that can be gained from the precursor of this tutorial. The tutorial assumes the reader has the following background:
* Know how to manipulate size of images
* Ability to measure a curved surface
* Full understanding of material covered in previous tutorial: PREVIOUS TUTORIAL
The rest of this tutorial is presented as follows:
To complete this tutorial, you'll need the following items:
- Computer running Windows 7 or higher with RetinaEngrave3D installed and ethernet connection to laser
- FSL Laser Cutter rotary attachment (friction type)
- Material of choice to cut/engrave
- Nearby fire extinguisher (there are a few placed about the lab; know the nearest one)
PLEASE READ THOROUGHLY
- Please keep in mind that the friction rotary attachment is intended for cylindrical and generally round objects; rotary engraving will likely never work on our machine for something partly rounded like a whiskey flask without some kind of chuck or other solution
- NEVER leave the system unattended during operation
- Keep the area around the machine clutter free
- ALWAYS use air assist while cutting
- MONITOR all vector cuts, as rapid ignition occurs most often while vector cutting.
- CHECK AND CLEAN the laser system before each use (i.e. remove honeycomb, check vent, wipe up dust/debris) as lasers pose a fire hazard in themselves; do not allow the danger to compound
- DO NOT OPERATE the machine with panels removed; it has a Class 4 laser system inside
- The laser produces INVISIBLE radiation; you will not know there will be a problem before there is one
With the machine completely turned off, and the x-axis pushed to the top of the machine, place the rotary attachment, pictured above, on the cutting table.
The side of the rotary attachment with the cable and motor should be facing the side of the machine that has the control panel on it (this should be to your right).
What we are doing is essentially replacing the y-axis of the machine with our rotary cutter. On the side of the machine that has the control panel, behind the belt for the y-axis is the plug for the y-axis motor controller. Unscrew and unplug that, and replace it with the plug for the rotary cutter motor controller.
Once done, the machine may be powered on.
We need to now be sure that our laser cutter's axes are not skewed. Yes, that can be done for some artistic effect, but you may be better off skewing your image in software, and engraving that instead.
To align the rotary attachment, lower the cutting table until the laser head is clear of the rotary attachment. Place the laser head above the rotary attachment.
We check the x-axis alignment of our rotary attachment by simply running our red laser across the attachment's track (using the x-axis crossbeam to move the red laser along the very edge of the track). If it distances from the edge of the track, then we adjust so that it no longer happens. Once the red laser maintains the same distance along the entirety of the track, the attachment is aligned and you may proceed to the next step.
Small Note on Homing:
Power on the laser cutter, and allow it to boot.
Following the introductory tutorial, you may have a preference for homing the laser head on the laser control panel, or homing it via the home button in RetinaEngrave3D; either is fine. However, with the rotary attachment, there is no limit switch on the y-axis, and the homing process will drag on indefinitely.
To overcome this, simply begin the homing process (the rotary attachment begins turning), and allow the x-axis to hit its limit switch. Then, manually push the x-axis beam toward the top and into the y-axis limit switch, after which the machine will consider itself homed. Return the x-axis crossbeam to wherever it was above the attachment.
Activating in RetinaEngrave:
With the laser cutter booted, and RetinaEngrave3D opened, find the rotary attachment option. The rotary attachment option is accessed via the button with the cylinder icon. Enable the attachment.
All default options should be correct for this friction-based rotary attachment, and at the time of writing, should never be changed.
Note: If the rotary attachment option within RetinaEngrave is not activated, the machine will operate the rotary attachment in the same increments that the normal y-axis is operated. To the user, it will appear that the rotary attachment is turning very large distances very quickly (spinning WAY TOO FAST). Be sure not to forget the activation step, as items to be engraved can be easily broken in this manner.
Place the round item to be engraved in between the wheels on the rotary attachment. Be sure both ends are touching the rubber bands on the wheels.
Double check that the laser is directly over the axis of rotation of your object, and use the focusing ruler (found behind the left track for the y-axis) to place the laser head at the correct distance from your object. Using the knob on the left of the attachment, adjust your object so that the same distance from the object is held for the whole cut.
The engraving can be started just the same way mentioned in the introductory tutorial. Simply press “go” or G on the keyboard.
This tutorial's objective was to get a student up and running with the FSL Pro 36×24 Laser Cutter friction rotary attachment.
Speculating future work derived from this tutorial, you may want to consider reviewing 3D projects created using a laser cutter, and a later post that will discussing engraving and cutting materials. In the big picture, the problem of engraving round objects can be quickly resolved using this tutorial, although items that are not cylindrical may require another approach.
For questions, clarifications, etc, Email: [email protected]