It appears that I’m now serious about building an 80W laser cutter of my own design.
I either have or have ordered most of the mechanical parts; just waiting on a few more quotes. External size is 1580mm x 1080mm. The bed area will be 1440mm x 800mm and it will have over 200mm of Z travel; plenty of room to add a rotary axis later. It will be a floor-standing unit 1M high that integrates everything except the exhaust fan, which will mounted to the wall adjacent to the exhaust vent. I plan casters for mobility and locking feet to be sturdy while running.
But I don’t have a good name.
And I’m terrible at coming up with names.
There are so many cool projects out there with cool names, like “Lasersaur”. But who wants to build a laser with a disappointing name?
What’s different about my design?
- Edge-to-edge X — the Y gantry runs on rails set at opposite ends of the case. I haven’t reserved dead space at the side for electronics. The display and controller board will live in a “wart” that I think will place on the right side (because if I ever upsize the tube that’s the same side a tube wart would come out), but it could just as easily be integrated into the lid, or put anywhere else. The rest of the electronics live underneath the laser tube, with high voltage isolated from low voltage.
- Suspended Z — The bed runs up and down with eight openbuilds wheels to constrain it from moving in X and Y, and is pulled up and down by four UHMWPE lines holding it up, one at each corner. This is a feature primarily intended to allow a large bed to be raised and lowered by a single motor without stacking belts.
- Intended to be highly parametric, and thus easy to adjust to different size requirements. My first attempt at making this work in Solidworks was a learning experience, and I plan to start over with the end goal in mind. My hope is that you put in that you want a 750mm x 500mm x 450mm large desktop unit (or maybe you add some constant to an easily-available bed size), and out pop drawings, cutlists, etc.
- Right now I have a design that uses all openbuilds plates and wheels for every axis. I currently intend to use linear rail for X and Y instead. If I do start over and re-do the design, I’ll at least give a thought to making two configurations, one for OB wheels and one for linear rail.
- Because the bed is hanging on thin UHMWPE, if it catches fire badly inside, one of the first casualties might be the UHMWPE. I’ve thought about making it so that if the bed falls, it punctures a seal and floods the case with CO2. I haven’t designed such a system yet, it just feels like it ought to be possible, and I have a large paintball CO2 canister sitting around from when I was going to do a sodastream hack and then discovered that I bought the wrong canister too late to return it. That’s not a replacement for CO2 fire extinguisher and monitoring it at all times, just belt-and-suspenders.
If it works, I plan to post all the information needed to build one. Given success with my custom-designed 3D printers, and what I’ve learned here, I have reasonable hope of success. But part of what motivates me here is wanting to make something other people can make use of. It’s not just about me.
But I can’t post it without a name.
And while I’m full of ideas, bubbling over, I’m utterly inept at names.