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25Instructables554,628Views56 CommentsLexington, KY
I'm an Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor at the University of Kentucky. I'm probably best known for things I've done involving Linux PC cluster supercomputing; I built the world's first back in Feb. 1994. The Make world is more likely to have seen my technical report on building a digital fisheye camera for under $20 (or one of the many Instructables that apparently inspired).

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  • Making Your Mini Laser Engraver Safer And Better

    Very similar unit, but it has the X axis on the back rather than the top, so there are five open areas to enclose -- four sides plus the top. It's also a little harder to get a good placement of a webcam inside. The interesting thing is that unit uses a laser cut frame and if they had just not cut holes in four of the five sides, you'd have it almost enclosed....

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    • Making Your Mini Laser Engraver Safer And Better
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  • Making Your Mini Laser Engraver Safer And Better

    Interesting. Welding has a much broader spectral profile than laser light, so it's not clear how effective the filters would be. The meaning of "Shade 5" is apparently governed by two formulas: OD = -log T and SN = 1 + (7/3) OD, where T = fraction of light transmitted by the material, OD = optical density, and SN = shade number. If so, Shade 5 is OD=1.7, which sounds feasible for laser light if it blocks the right wavelengths... but does it?

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  • Making Your Mini Laser Engraver Safer And Better

    It's not quite just 2 axis. It does speed control on the fan and power control on the laser while talking via USB (well, serial converted to USB) and watching the 6 user buttons. It's rather memory starved -- apparently only 2KB RAM and the 520x520 image to carve goes into EEPROM. Anyway, I agree that it should be more than sufficient hardware to also run a standard G-code interpreter....

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  • Convert a 3D PRINTER to LASER ENGRAVER | Under 40$

    There are a lot of this type of mod or open-frame laser engravers out there, but you are talking about a Class 4 (500mW) laser capable of almost instantaneously doing serious permanent damage to eyes, skin, etc. As a minimum, you need to use eyewear to protect from direct or indirect laser light exposure and to never laser materials that emit highly toxic gasses (e.g., PVC and Vinyl emit Chlorine gas). A good overview of the safety issues is in http://www.instructables.com/id/Making-Your-Mini-Laser-Engraver-Safer-and-Better/

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  • Making Your Mini Laser Engraver Safer And Better

    I do worry about the balancing of good filtration vs. sufficient airflow. For wood, I think the activated carbon filter is very viable with the tiny fan supplied with the unit; there is a reasonable flow through it with the fan at speed 10 and the burning wood odor is in the "distant campfire" range. I'm less confident I'm at a good filtering level for acrylic, but the little fan can handle a much better filter. I'm still looking at various upgrade options.As for the lens per se, well, it's enough above the workpiece so that the fan has time to divert the smoke pretty well. I've done about 120 engravings so far without any obvious signs of that type of trouble....

    The answer should be "No." I suspect it could mark some metals, especially by burning coatings on them, but it isn't intended for that. In fact, it takes fairly high settings on my 1000mW to cleanly engrave the acrylic dice -- power 7/10, dwell time 150ms.

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  • Making Your Mini Laser Engraver Safer And Better

    Hi, fellow Kentuckian. :-) I don't think it would do much to copper, if that's what you mean... but I suppose that if it is well tarnished (non-reflective), there's a chance. I'd bet it could drill holes in a circuit board, but that's known to be a bad idea because of the chemicals in the fiberglass resin. Overall, I think a little CNC mill is a better answer for circuit-board fab.

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  • Vacuum powered fluidic ink "LEDs" and circuits

    Veroclear is not a consumer-level 3D printable material. The normal extrusion printing process does not produce parts with the same properties. Personally, I have both a MakerGear M2 and a 3040 CNC, so it wouldn't be hard to replicate what you've done. However, my lab doesn't have a CNC (too messy), and for portable making demos I'd want to use either my lab MakerGear M2 or Wanhao I3 (a $400 3D printer which is even more portable). I probably will not get to play with fluidic gates for another month or so, but you've definitely got me thinking about it. ;-)

    This is great stuff... but I'm wondering about some substitutions. I think 3D-printed PLA, made fluid-tight with a thin coat of clear polyurethane, should work for an appropriately scaled-up version, but I don't like the membrane fab. Do you think materials like clear plastic food wrap might work instead?

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