Donnerstag, 25. April 2013

I needed new T-Shirts - or: How I got a Laser-cutter.

Last week, spring finally arrived in Germany and I realized I need new t-shirts. The new Iron Man film is only days away, so it's time to upgrade the Arc. Short thought, I could make them like I did last year.
Ain't nobody got time for that.
And cutting the stencil by hand sucks! So a quick look in the "junk" boxes where I collect all the electronic parts I used or bought for my projects - yeah I have everything to build a Laser-cutter!!!!! A 1 Watts blue laser diode will be enough to cut through a thin plastic sheet, that's all I need. Everything else is routine. Designing a simple XY-Stage took only one evening, printing the parts took another.

The funniest part, the assembly, unfortunately took only half a day.
As controller an old Gen6 RepRap motherboard will do the job. I used it for my first 3D-Printer but without heated bead and fan support it got replaced by a Ramps1.4 on the second one. Some little adjustments to the firmware (Repetier FW) and the first results are very promising:

Finding good cheap materials to make the stencils of was a little difficult. After some failures I found the perfect one:

I think I have thousands of this older dividers, most of them are not longer in use. But they do have exactly the right thickness and my laser is able to cut them.

Here we go, as I say BURN!
Making the t-shirts was a matter of minutes.

The Logo on the blue shirt is the Mayday emblem, a large German EDM party taking place this weekend. Nice timing!!! 
Overall I'm very happy with the results:

The Laser-cutter is a solid base for future improvements. 

Some words to the stage: it needs some improvement, first of all a z-axis. This makes adjustments much easier.
Secondly, I will make a drawer where I can put the cutting material and slide it inside, so I don't have to open the hole case. 
Thirdly, the x-axis swings a little bit too much, I will add a threaded rod to make it less flexible. 

If this modifications are successful I will upload the *.stl files an schematics here.

I'm closing this with a nice picture of the beam taken by the webcam I used for beam monitoring. Lasers look awesome:

I've updated the model a little bit: 

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