My New Toy

rray Mar 26, 2022

  1. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I am still experimenting with settings, which will take a while to iron out, but I was able to cut a tiny sheet of Z Scale brakewheels in 30 seconds. So the laser is fast. I just have to make it clean. That's a matter of defining the power, speed, and frequency recipe's for each type of material I cut. it took me about a year to stumble on the perfect recipe's for the CO2 laser, but i should be able to do it faster this time.

    So here is what I have for installation so far:
    Laser Installed.jpg

    And here is where I am as far as test cuts, these are 16" and 24" brakewheels. The 16" are not resolving very nice but the 24" ones are do-able...so far:
    Test Cuts.jpg
     
  2. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

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    Rob,
    Thanks for the visuals! Nice start! BTW, I'll take your discards.:rolleyes:
    Scott
     
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  3. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    Tried to engrave today, but the laser seems to have burnt out. Tried re-installing drivers, and power cycling, etc. The Red Dot laser and the Mark laser do not function. Contacted seller. I guess that's the $7000 gamble when you buy a Chinese laser
     
  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yikes! Can't click "Like" when this happens to someone. :(:(:(
     
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  5. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    Me neither, dang....
     
  6. Kisatchie

    Kisatchie TrainBoard Member

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    So sorry to hear about your problem!

    Hmm... I'd starve before I'd
    eat Chinese bananas...
    [​IMG]
     
  7. bostonjim

    bostonjim TrainBoard Member

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    That $#@&'s. Can your credit card company help? Nobody stateside services them? I would certainly let others know if you don't get satisfaction from somebody. Good Luck. Jim
     
  8. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Oh no!!!! :confused::eek: Here's hoping for good customer service...
     
  9. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    My bad, I forgot the lens cap, and burnt it smoking my lens. Fortunately, I only tried the burn on low power and did not push it. Instead I contacted the seller, and the Facebook group, and everyone replied... NooB! Lens Cap. I guess it's a rite of passage, as everyone immediately replied with photo's of their burnt lens cap. I used the lens cleaning supplies from my CO2 laser and all cleaned up nice.

    So, back to business of learning Fiber Laser drawing, and I decided to make brass ladder ends for my Z Scale cabooses, since they break too easy made from wood. I used .01" brass sheet, and all the detail resolved OK. I need to use a few more passes to clean up my work a bit, but look at those brakewheels, they came out great! ladder1.jpg


    So I used Black lines in my drawing for cutting all the way through, and red lines for the fold lines at half way through, and I only broke one of the folds for the brakewheel tab, but the ladder folds folded up fine:
    ladder2.jpg

    So overall, I feel good about this laser. It took 150 passes at 60Khz PWM, 80% power, 50% speed, and about 3 minutes. Way faster than making a photomask, exposing and developing the resist, then etching the brass. And cleanup is a snap! No chemicals or long lead times!
     
  10. Vern

    Vern TrainBoard Member

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    Huge sigh of relief from me, buddy! I am the world's worst gambler.
     
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  11. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    Gee, I just received 4 undec Milw Ribside caboose's that could use these, can I be your first customer?:rolleyes:
     
  12. CNE1899

    CNE1899 TrainBoard Member

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    Rob,
    Nice recovery and great parts! You da man!

    Scott
     
  13. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member

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    That is some really cool stuff there Ray.
    I envy your skills and knowledge.
    Please carry on Sir.
     
  14. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    In Z scale? I would love to see some pictures. :)
     
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  15. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Great to hear the equipment was not damaged beyond repair!
     
  16. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I will make stuff available for trades after I get good at making things. I like to trade for 50's era and older Z Scale stuff.
     
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  17. kimvellore

    kimvellore TrainBoard Member

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    OMG... just reading all this, wow... That's pretty cool toy to have. Does the fiber also change colors on plastic? maybe you can laser on plastic instead of the decals. I also see slight contours, maybe you can have half round brake wheels (3d), does it have any rastering feature? The chain looks amazing...
     
  18. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    OK, So the color change thing... I played with that on steel, and guess what it it? It's just an oxide layer. I can make a kind of olive green tinge and a kind of reddish tinge, but it's not profound. You need a MOPA laser instead of the basic Q Switched, because the MOPA lets you change the pulse width from 4 to 200ns, where mine is fixed at 200ns. MOPA can do more colors because of more control over the laser.

    Every 400 angstroms of oxide the color changes from red to green. I learned this 40+ years ago when operators skilled at etching doped wafers had to leave a specific thickness of oxide on the silicon, and they had the developed skill to determine the thickness based off of pulling a wafer out of the batch and look at the color, then quickly dip it back in the acid and check again every few seconds till just the right color they wanted was left. This is how it was done before the ellipsometer was brought into fabs.

    So the point is, any colors you get can change over time and environment unless you seal it with a clear coat, and the colors are not really profound enough for use in model railroading as they are just metal oxides. You can however get usable black to white grayscales.

    I chose the JPT laser over others because it has a frequency range of 1-600KHz vs the Raycus or MAX laser only do 20-80KHz. This way I can anneal as well as engrave, but all the frequency control does is change how many pulses are fired per second. In this example I whipped up with paint I can illustrate better:
    pulses.jpg

    The pulse is 200ns. If i set the frequency low, and pulses are fewer between, there is time for them to build up energy, so each pulse burns deeper. Useful for cutting. If the frequency gets a bit higher, the energy is a bit less in each pulse, so it don't cut as deep but tends to burn the material black, as it's leaving ablated material or slag behind. as the frequency gets higher, the the slag gets burned to ash, the depth of the cut is less deep, and the color turns white. As it gets even higher in frequency, only the oxides get burned off the metal, and lots of residual heat spreads throughout the metal, effectively annealing it soft...not hard. You have to quench it to make it anneal hard. How is that useful to me? I intend to anneal the bend and fold lines so the models I make can fold easily where it's supposed to bend. Part of the process I am trying to develop.
     

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