After months of waiting, emailing and waiting some more, I took the afternoon off to stay home and wait for this special delivery. (I had to wait an extra day due to a shipping issue!) I received three huge boxes in my workshop. Not only did I receive this (not so mini) Epilog mini 24, I put together a stand and unpacked a monster air filter.
Read on for the obligatory Hack-A-Day logo and my first impressions of this sweet piece of kit.
First off I had to unpack and put things together. Assembling the stand was pretty easy – but my electric screwdriver made everything much easier. The laser has an I/O board with a test socket, USB interface and a network interface. Once I connected it to my network, I decided to be lazy and look up the dhcp address on my server – and failed. Surprisingly, the system doesn’t support DHCP. This isn’t a deal killer, but it meant that I had to wade through the setup instructions to manually set the interface. (Epilog just leaves it setup for the usual private lan: 192.168.x.x.)
I took a quick look inside the box – and was surprised by just how small the servo motors are. They’re about the same size as a 1/10 scale model car, plus encoder. The X/Y assembly only moves a small aiming mirror, air gun and auto focus tool, so it doesn’t need to be very large.
Once I got a feel for using the print driver, I grabbed some scrap pine and got to work. I loaded up some Hack-A-Day logo vector art, filled in the areas with some color and sent the job off to the machine. The laser doesn’t do anything until you’ve pushed the go button on the device, so you can send a few jobs to it at once if you like. (The buffer holds 64, I believe.)
On the whole, I’m pretty impressed with the machine. It’s built like a tank, uses servo motors to actuate the X/Y axis, and allows you to use a Mac or windows PC to drive it. If you’re doing multiple runs, you simply select the job, line things up and hit go.
I haven’t picked a winner for the Hackit just yet, so keep on sending up ideas if you’ve got em. We’ll be offering more chances at getting your gear etched as time goes by, so stay tuned!