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jtechphotonics

Lulzbot Laser Upgrade in front of Extruder

by jtechphotonics Jun 16, 2015
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This is cool, but I have some questions.

Would you be able to post some examples of things done with this setup? I saw the other link in the comments, but there doesn't seem to be any specific examples for this.

Do you need a special build plate? What are the odds I'd damage the pei/glass plate that comes standard with the printer?

Can you use this setup to engrave things like wood and leather, or only things you actually printed first?

... Did you have glasses on for that picture, or...? How are you not terrified of going blind?

Laser safety is very important. I was wearing OD 4+ goggles at the time. We recommend that everyone follow strict laser safety rules when operating our lasers. We sell laser laser shielding and goggles here in the shop.
https://jtechphotonics.com/?product_cat=safety-gear
Every laser we sell comes with one pair of goggles. As a laser engineer who has had laser experience for over 25 years, I understand the importance of safety around lasers and follow rules in our shop to make sure everyone is safe. Knowledge is power:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_safety
https://jtechphotonics.com/Downloads/Laser_Safety/laser_rmcoeh_20021007.pdf

Good response! I was just worried that some amateur would slap on a laser and blind themselves instantly just toying around.

Adding a laser cutter next to my extruder is an idea I've been toying with on my home-built machine. Practicality is something I can't seem to gauge though. What kind of stuff can you cut with that?

I agree - I hope all people who purchase understand the importance of safety. We certainly stress it in all of our literature and discussions. As for applications, there is a nice page here that describe some of the things you can do with the laser.https://jtechphotonics.com/?page_id=1177
I would categorize our lasers as very good engravers and "OK" cutters. For less dense items you can cut pretty good. Things like foam, paper, balsa wood, etc... When you start getting into the more dense items like hard wood, then it becomes more difficult with low feedrates and many passes. If you are just using it as a hobby, then you are good. If you want to cut plywood for a business, then there are better and faster ways to accomplish it.
I think the engraving aspects are the coolest. You can engrave variable intensity photographs on wood at 2500mm/min with the 3.8W laser. Many people use it to make logos on products. It is also just pretty cool to mess around and see what you can come up with!

My Taz 5 does not have a hole in the aluminum plate for the M3 screw to thread into. Will just using the screw on the bottom of the extruder mount be sufficient?

I just noticed this on our new Taz we got a couple of months ago. They took off the little screw tap off the extruder metal plate. I think it might be fine just hanging from the one bottom screw. I will look into making a new mount that attaches onto maybe the far right fan screw or the other extruder bottom screw on the right side as well. Getting to the right extruder screw is a bit more difficult, so I was hoping not to use it.

Does this work very well with ABS? For instance, print something and then laser engrave writing on to it?

Yes, it will cut and engrave on ABS. It produces toxic fumes though. So only do this with a completely enclosed fume extractor environment. We found this out after doing our demo video... Our blog post is here: http://jtechphotonics.com/?p=3387