xGoat
More tea please.

Sweet lasers

Jeff and I recently purchased a laser cutter. Jeff and Johannes spent a long time adjusting the mirrors and lenses in the cheaply constructed machine until the beam was finally behaving in the right way (whilst I was experiencing my new guitar :). We’ve experimented with cutting through a wide range of things. Thingiverse is a brilliant concept: being able to download and print an object is amazing!

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Johannes and I played around with sintering sugar. After tuning the laser power and speed to get the sugar to melt together, we decided to try out a multi-layer object. This object is made of something like 6 or 7 layers sintered on top of each other:

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We printed the object the other way up from how it’s shown above. The criss-crossed interconnection between the cylindrical walls was added in the last layer we sintered.

There’s more to come on the laser cutter front in the future… The software that the laser cutter comes with is a piece of Windows software called “NewlyDraw”. It’s got quite a limited and inextensible feature set. I’ve currently got this confined to a virtual machine, but intend on reverse engineering the PC-to-laser-cutter protocol so that I can replace it with something significantly more flexible and Linux related.

Posted at 2:53 pm on Monday 24th May 2010

4 responses to “Sweet lasers”

  1. jvdh says:

    Lasers!

  2. Justyn says:

    That’s awesome! You’ve got a laser cutter!
    You’re living the dream now.

  3. Mountain Goat says:

    Yes, would love to have this running in Ubuntu or Linux as well, as running in VirtualBox works well, but I cringe at the sight of MicroSoft Windows starring me in the face. I don’t think WINE (Windows Is Not an Emulator) will work as we need to use the USB dongle thingy and that means a device driver of sorts.

    So, yes, it would be ablosutely wonderful to have a Linux port and encourage you to do so.

    Mountaingoat ~ grazin’ on the green slopes down under but currently enjoying grass in the Netherlands.

  4. rob says:

    @Mountain Goat: Yep, the Windows + Virtual machine situation becomes increasingly offensive as time continues. We’ve just had a rather horrid battle against some algae in our laser cutter’s cooling tank… resulting in us having to buy a new laser, removing time to do more interesting things :/ The interface is actually quite straight-forward to reverse engineer, but I don’t have anything in a publishable form yet.

    Yea, NewlyDraw won’t run in wine without some serious wine mods because of the dongle. Snooping the USB traffic to the dongle reveals that the same transaction happens every time — no crypto in sight!

    Cheers,
    Rob

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