Our new Epilog LASER

 
 

When we started playing with this machine I found the process too satisfying to not record. The cutter (engraver) works by emitting 40 watts worth of light (invisible to humans). Some materials convert this particular wavelength into heat, some materials simply scatter the beam and convert nothing. For instance, the stainless tray will not even get hot. It will however, reflect the beam back and burn the underside of whatever you are cutting, so there is a different tray for cutting than for engraving.
















This thing is great for marking anodized aluminum! I mean GREAT. The anodized layer converts the beam to heat and instantly vaporizes itself. The base aluminum does not, so it is left alone. It does such a great job we have been marking parts with QR codes and they work fine. So far anodized 6061 and 7075 have worked great. Some lower grade alloys contain copper so I will be curious to see how they turn out also.


















If you need to mark a metal that doesn’t convert this particular wavelength into heat, such as chrome or nickel, you may use a ceramic tape (cermark) that can be applied to the part to be marked and fused on. I have tested it on some sockets and it works pretty well. You have to try but it CAN be scraped off. It will last a long time with normal use though. Here is an image of Kevlar we cut.
















The problem with the ceramic products come when the material you are trying to mark is a good conductor of heat, such as copper, bronze, aluminum, etc. Marking on poor heat conductors such as titanium with cermark turns out great. 


With this day and age comes the ability to use cutting edge technology more cost effectively than ever before. The Mini-24 uses low dispersion, zinc selenide optics, the best possible for the transmission of this wavelength. Zinc selenide is a relatively soft, vapor deposited chemical that has a very low adsorption coefficient and the ability to take a great amount of thermal shock.



















The real fun though is coming up with things to cut. I’ve been making gears to mess around with and these things are neat. I’ve been making all kinds of gearboxes. In fact they’re great for projects because they are so cheap. I’ve had so much fun making them that I set up a site to sell them for people that do not have access to a laser cutter here: www.mcalpinedevices.com I’m selling them for near the cost of making them (machine time and materials) and I would be curious for anybody to shoot me an email of what they came up with for these gears. If there are a few charity cases out there I can throw you a couple of gears to play with, but I would really like to continue to make them, so buy a few!

Adafruit has also be playing with her laser, and she has found some interesting results with different materials, particularly with Titanium! AdaFruit LASER Cutters




















CLICK HERE TO BUY SOME REALLY NEAT AND INEXPENSIVE GEARS!

Epilog MINI 24

Cutting with the MINI-24