Let there be light inside your Epilog laser cutter

[Bradley Gawthrop's] biggest gripe about his laser cutter is the lack of Mac support. We don’t think we’d have any gripes if we owned one of these (yeah, that’s a lie…) but we can understand his second biggest issue which is the inability to see the work piece once it’s inside the machine. He figured out a very easy way to light the area as the cutter gets to work.

It occured to him that the optical head is always directly above the part of the work piece he was interested in seeing. He had been using a flashlight to shed some light, but what if he just added lighting to that head? The circuit is certainly nothing hard; some LEDs, resistors and a power source will do the trick. But routing the power is where things get more difficult. You need flexible wiring strung just right so as not to restrict motion on the X/Y axes. Most of his time was spent routing some 14 gauge stranded speaker wire for this task. He added his own 5V DC supply to power the adhesive LED strip which enjoys a resting place on the bottom rail of the head unit. Boom, problem solved.

Comments

  1. biozz says:

    ughhh more rubbing these things in my face QnQ
    if i was not such a poor student i would be all over these things!
    so many possibilities!

  2. Hey guys! thanks for the link. Just a clarification, the resistors etc for the LED strip are all integrated, just feed it straight 12V and it’s a happy camper.

  3. xrayspex says:

    Epilog actually has a program where students can get one of their machines for free.

    (Bender’s voice…) Nah, I’m just kiddin ya.

  4. Mental2k says:

    @xrayspex damn you, I read the start of that and, to use the modern vernacular, shat brix. Though the aircraft design class I’m TA for this semester the lecturer has managed to find a local high school with a severely underused laser cutter that they’re letting us use to cut wing ribs. Hoping to get chatting to him, maybe he’ll cut me some pieces for a clock I have in mind.

  5. Holle Bolle says:

    Maybe visicut will help you to solve your osx lasercutter problem. it’s part of a bachelor thesis at media computing lab (rwth aachen). It’s more than just a driver. :)

    Blog: http://visicut.wordpress.com/
    official link: http://hci.rwth-aachen.de/visicut

  6. charliex says:

    osx, zing

    http://hci.rwth-aachen.de/visicut

    also cheap laser cutters from melody at wklasers.. 80W around 5K.

    • Visicut and the GPL Epilog hack that T. Hudson put together are both valiant efforts, and I wish them all the best, but as they exist today they’re simply not up to production work, at least not in our shop. We’d love to see them get there, but they aren’t there yet. Epilog needs to get on the ball about providing drivers for their products on more platforms.

  7. Aleks Clark says:

    seems more like he mounted it to the y-axis gantry than the actual optical head…

  8. Peter Enmore says:

    This is a great idea. What type of resistor did you use to make this?

    • Volfram says:

      way to read.

      Hey guys! thanks for the link. Just a clarification, the resistors etc for the LED strip are all integrated, just feed it straight 12V and it’s a happy camper.
      -Bradley Gawthrop, FIVE GRAY POSTS ABOVE YOU!

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