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Laser Cutter Bed Leveling Tool

Visitor

Well-Known Member
Not exactly electronics, but I'll bet a lot of people here use laser cutters and may find this useful.

I recently found a community group that offers time on a laser cutter at a very good price. I made a reservation for some time, but was informed that the laser cutter was not working well right now. After some discussion, I offered to help. Long story short, what I didn't know was that it had been more than 6 months since the laser had worked properly, and that any number of people had been wrenching on it. Argh. After a few long days and the realization that nothing was correct, the laser cutter is working again, but needs some additional optimization to cut evenly across the entire 48" x 36" bed.

One of those optimizations is getting the bed level. I came up with an idea that has proven very helpful - essentially a (laser-cut) feeler gauge with 1mm steps. Pick a corner and set the bed height so that center step of the gauge will just slip between the bed and the gantry. Then use the gauge at all the corners to measure the variation from that center step to determine where adjustments are needed.

If this looks useful to me, send me a message with your email address and I'll send the svg file.

I didn't get a good picture of the tool in use. I colored the center step green with a Sharpie, including the top surface, and the adjacent segments red so it's easy to tell where you're at. The not-so-good picture with the colors shows why you move the gauge out from under the gantry when moving the bed!

Height Gauge.jpgScreenshot_20210624-133336_Gallery.jpgScreenshot_20210624-133449_Gallery.jpg
 

Tony Stewart

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Interesting…. When I put together a 40” square gantry with a laser, I just used end stop XY home switches then locate the target origin with a known offset and was able to burn photographs into wood With intensity modulated power and speed.
 

Visitor

Well-Known Member
This laser, at a community service organization, had some problems, the initial cause of which isn't clear. After 6 months of various people wrenching on it, it couldn't even cut through a sheet of paper.

I saw that I could rent time on this laser for a very affordable price. I made a reservation, and was informed that the "laser isn't working well right now. After some research and discussion, it seemed like a simple alignment was all that was needed. Not complicated, but perhaps tedious. I volunteered to help.

Long story short, once I realized that no adjustment on this machine was correct, and none of the changes made should have been done, things began to fall into place quickly. After a week, the laser was cutting well. Some tuning up still remains to get even cutting across the full width of the bed (48"). My success has created a problem to completing the process – many people have been waiting for a long time to use the laser, so getting time to completely dial it in has been difficult.

It's been a learning experience!
 

Tony Stewart

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
It was a few years ago that wanted to help a friend who was a competent machinist and electronic enthusiast get some business with my contact at U of T EEC. so we got a contract for 4k$ to supply a 1m square gantry for research scanning high power antenna for EV charging. I was retired with no experience in modern systems to do this cheaply yet lots of SCADA and control system experience since my aerospace days.


I had no idea how to use an Arduino or where to find the system or components to do this. (for less than $10k. )

After a month of research, eureeka.

I found the open source software , a supplier for a modified kit and my friend tooled the rugged adjust legs to support the gantry height for WPT magnetic field measurements. The next month was getting the Arduino Uno, GRBL code, micro fans and other bits while waiting for delivery in 2-3wks. I got the kit functionally working with a laser in a week which would later be replaced by the researcher‘s sensor. it worked of the USB port to a laptop and I was able to increase the max acceleration and speed to 1m/s without slip. And repeatability << 0.1 mil.

Then transferred to my friend who made it rugged and reliable. All in 8 wks on schedule for about 1k in material and Our spare time. We tossed the STM32 controller that was supplied with the kit and laser and retrofitted the Uno with a CNC shield, code and GRBL Panel which was awesome for this task.

This was just to prove capability so he could get continued biz. It worked.
 

gary350

Well-Known Member
Call the laser company talk to the service department. Tell them the problem they will tell you how to fix it.

I did service work for several years, I flew from State to State and repaired machines, most could be fixed in 30 to 60 minutes, replace a part or make an adjustment.
 

Visitor

Well-Known Member
I know what needs to be done, thanks

This machine has been abused by people who thought they knew what they were doing.

As of today, the bed is reasonably level, the alignment has been touched up, and cutting is consistent across the bed.
 

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