My J-Tech Photonics Laser Accessory

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My J-Tech Photonics Laser Accessory

Postby monitoringpost » Sat Mar 17, 2018 4:43 pm

I had been exploring the idea of retrofitting my Shark Pro+ HD to have laser cutting and engraving capabilities. It was at Vectric's User Group meeting in Las Vegas last October that I met Jay from J Tech Photonics, Inc. and had some of my questions answered. With the discount offered to attendees I purchased their 3.8W kit. Here is what you get...

Image

As J Tech Photonics doesn't offer a mounting kit specific to the CNC Shark, that aspect of the retrofit required some prototyping until I settled on my current design. The images show a basic overview - separate details for installing the kit can be found at jtechphotonics.com. My CNC now has laser engraving, cutting and photo rastering capabilities!

J-Tech_Laser_Driver.jpg
J-Tech Laser Driver
J-Tech 3.8W Laser.jpg
J-Tech 3.8W Laser
Shark Controller Relay Wiring.jpg
Shark Controller Wiring

In my next post I'll upload some images of a few fun projects that I've completed!

Craig :D
Last edited by monitoringpost on Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:11 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: My J-Tech Photonics Laser Accessory

Postby monitoringpost » Sat Mar 17, 2018 4:46 pm

Some samples of some simple projects I've done

Sample Engraving.jpg
Sample Engraving

Sample Cutting.jpg
Sample Cutting

Laser Cut Birdhouse.jpg
Laser Cut Birdhouse


Craig
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Re: My J-Tech Photonics Laser Accessory

Postby BillK » Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:18 am

That looks not too bad to install.
A couple of questions:

Does it create a lot of smoke when it burns the wood?
Can you laser engrave metal? How many inches per minute can you feed at and does that change depending on material and engraving type?
Is there a bulb that will eventually burn out and what does that cost to replace?

Thanks!
BillK
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Re: My J-Tech Photonics Laser Accessory

Postby monitoringpost » Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:13 pm

I updated my original post to include a direct link to J Tech Photonic's web page about retrofitting NWA Shark line of CNC's - I'm not sure if this can be done for any of the pendant based (newer) Sharks and Piranhas. There's a wealth of information on the site, particularly under the Blog that I would encourage anyone interested in incorporating a laser to check out. Now to answer a couple of your questions Bill:

Does it create a lot of smoke when it burns the wood?

Not particularly - but I would recommend some form of fume extraction. At the Vectric User Group a small dust collection vacuum was used but with a charcoal filter in place of the traditional dust bag. Worked okay.

Can you laser engrave metal?

Yes, but the metal needs to be prep'd with a product like Cermark - it's available in either a spray, liquid or tape. One applies the product over the area to be engraved and after lasing its simply washed off leaving the engraving. There's Youtube videos on the process - looks simple enough but I haven't tried it myself but will sometime. The product looks expensive!

For the rest of your questions Bill please check out Jay's site in my original post - most of the answers are all there. Another company you can search on that has a lot of good information is Trotec. Remember, I'm pretty new to this so my lasing experience to date is limited. :)
Last edited by monitoringpost on Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My J-Tech Photonics Laser Accessory

Postby bill z » Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:25 pm

Reading the article, caused me to have a question.

My CNC Shark controller does turn on my router but it is always on during the program. For some reason, I would think the laser would need to be turned off when the CNC is repositioning for another cut. When cutting wood with a router, the Z axis is activated so to not cut wood.

How does the laser work so to not burn whatever you are cutting when a cut is not needed and the program is still running?

Sorry in advance if I am not entirely clear.
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Re: My J-Tech Photonics Laser Accessory

Postby monitoringpost » Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:04 pm

bill z wrote:How does the laser work so to not burn whatever you are cutting when a cut is not needed and the program is still running?


Just as its the job of the post processor to create the g-code that'll raise the Z gantry during "rapid moves", like when your using your router, it's the post processor job to create the necessary g-code that'll turn the laser off and on as needed.

Craig
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Re: My J-Tech Photonics Laser Accessory

Postby bill z » Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:42 am

OK.

I didn't think that power port had any real intelligence, like to turn on or off during the program, just at the program start and end.

Good to know.

Thanks.
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Re: My J-Tech Photonics Laser Accessory

Postby Rando » Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:33 pm

bill z wrote:OK.

I didn't think that power port had any real intelligence, like to turn on or off during the program, just at the program start and end.

Good to know.

Thanks.


Oh, it sure does! If you pair up G05 and G03 lines, you'll get pulses 35ms long on the router control signal :D. I use that for my power-control PilotFish attachment :ugeek:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=5303&hilit=+pilotfish

In my case, I hacked the software so I can set which coolant/vacuum/blower type right in the BobCAD (like Vectric) software, and it makes its way through the post processor and GCode, and through my build scripts that substitute in the M05/M03 pulses. That GCode then gets sent to the controller, with the pulses coming out that router-power control signal, over to my Arduino-based controller, which interprets them and appropriately controls ten channels of remote+local power. For remote power control like my insanely loud chip blower, there's a custom power box that's controlled via low-voltage circuit and telephone-grade wiring, that switches up to 20A of local power to whatever is plugged in. And all those ten channels get automagically turned on and off at the start of every single toolpath, if that's what I want :D. It's magical to no longer have to turn on the mister for this one, turn it off for the next one, etc., even though the bit and RPM don't change, and the system just keeps on cutting features. It really is magical.

Cheers!

Thom
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Re: My J-Tech Photonics Laser Accessory

Postby monitoringpost » Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:44 pm

Just wanted to assure Bill and others that there's no software hack or extreme hardware modification going on here. Im my original post there's a picture that shows the wiring that's required - quite simple. The rest is by the g-code as stated.

Craig
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Re: My J-Tech Photonics Laser Accessory

Postby TorbushCC » Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:10 am

I have been reading different threads about using the laser to engrave metal such as brass and came across this last week. I purchased some of the cermark product you mentioned and tried it with brass. 1st attempt and no result. It looked great until I went to clean the product off the brass and what looked to be engraved wiped right off. So I was wondering if you have tried the product yet and if so how did you get it to work?
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