Update November 10 2018
After much delay and I have to say patience from Banggood, I have now put together this excellent A3 laser engraving machine. Originally, a 500mW module arrived complete with its own power supply (the laser which was not included in the basic kit). It turns out that was the wrong laser and now I have the 2300mW violet laser complete with upgraded 2.5A power supply. In the photo you also see the (important) green protective glasses that came with the kit.
With help from my friend Aidan who has extensive experience with 3D printers and similar, we’re now putting together some Perspex door signs for bedrooms at Willow Cottage using the Eleksmaker (more pics soon, Sylvan Azure and Occitane are the bedroom names for the dooe signs).
Update: See this video on upgrading the engraver.
It is important to note that this engraver is not a toy. Never fire up without the glasses and also be wary of reflective surfaces when the laser is on. It is powerful enough to do damage (obviously, it is used for engraving).
And here it is, up and running at last. I have some cardboard in there and clearly the unit has the capacity to engrave, however, it came out with vague edges so I initially had some focusing to do.
Seemed like a good idea relying on mobile signals instead of high speed broadband for a week or so before heading off to Spain… well,, it SEEMED a good idea at the time, but now I’ve used some considerable downloads to get this laser set up precisely.
Attempt 1. Very small text (14pt in computer printer terms). Came out in reverse, but even using the LOW setting on the laser thinking I might test paper for speed, I managed to go clean through half a dozen sheets. Clearly I need to master the use of speed. However, everything worked and now I know there is no shortage of available power or, indeed, resolution.
Sitting on a box, this A3 engraver has yet to be tidied up but if you want promotion pictures there are lots of websites for that.
The important thing is, this photo shows the complete Banggood-supplied EleksMaker Laser Engraver and NOW I have some decent software to run with the laser (which does not have microswitch end stops before you ask – I may add those later. I have a copy of Lightburn 0.7.02 which works a treat for me on Windows 10 64 bit. The LightBurn company were VERY helpful when I had questions.
Note July 15 2018 – I note that Banggood have the laser engraver on offer. https://www.banggood.com/collection-6286.html?utm_design=136&utm_source=emarsys&utm_medium=mail_ele06_prefer&utm_campaign=newsletter%E2%80%94emarsys&utm_content=winna&sc_src=email_3112987&sc_eh=e375077fc58ebb7d1&sc_llid=75622&sc_lid=121443699&sc_uid=sBhI5Zx9FB
Essentially the unit comes as a well-packed set of 3 motors, various aluminium tubes, a host of pre-cut Perspex pieces and an unfeasible number of nuts, bolts, retainers, wheels and various spacers. I opened the box maybe 9am Friday morning and spent the rest of the day constructing.
At first it all looks a little daunting but that apprehension soon goes away, It did not take long to reach the stage where a whole table was needed to hold all the parts but by mid-day I’d cracked the back of this. I also broke one of the Perspex fastener/tensioners however. Thank heavens for Gorilla glue. I hope it is strong enough. Seems to be up to now, days later.
Two of the three motors move the laser assembly forward and backward (left and right sides). The third motor is mounted with the laser and moves the latter left and right.
No documentation came with the unit but the Banggood site has construction info, software and drivers. What you see here are my own photos, in the link below, you’ll see the construction photos available, which I used to help me assemble the unit. The images in their docs are good but I was left in doubt as to where to mount the small electronic control box on the front aluminium support beam because other suppliers showed the box mounted vertically whereas in the Banggood-supplied revision, the box mounts horizontally. This box needs some trivial assembly which only takes a few minutes. I do not have detailed wiring information but it looks fairly simple. A power supply is provided. No info as to whether to mount this somewhere or leave lying on the bench (unless I missed something). Similarly (now the laser is here) I’ve no idea where to put its supply but I’ll figure that out as I go along.
Perspex motor support
Perspex tensioners and box of wheels and assorted nuts and bolts
Motors and drive structures slide along Aluminium rods
In the process of building to the kit, I assembled six of these small Perspex end-pieces, held in place by one large bolt and holding and tensioning the belt (two per belt).
One failed during construction. I am hoping this will be replaced, meanwhile I’ve had a go at a Gorilla glue repair. Note: this seems to be holding.
Laser mount in assembly with drive motor
And here it is, assembled (stock photo as my temporary workspace isn’t this neat (and the battery on my substitute phone is, as usual, flat – doesn’t quite last the day – I’m on a learning kick about battery charging right now). Typical of demo photos, the wires are not attached in the photo below.
Note that the above assembled photo is from Banggood. Other suppliers may have a different photo as clearly, final construction varies in different revisions as happened with the laser printer. If you are assembling one of these, make sure you follow the instructions provided by the people you buy it from and not just randomly from the web. In other revisions the electronics panel is mounted vertically and the corner supports are completely different. I found this out the hard way.
Finalising wiring and mounting the laser took half an hour in total which makes for 8 hours construction. Then there is the software, on my Windows 10 PC I tried the standard software which seemed buggy to the point of being unusable but thanks to blog readers I discovered LightBurn which (see above, using on my 64 bit Windows) seems to work a treat. That software is also available on other platforms. Simple text, shapes and images take no time or expertise to set up and burn.
My short demo video here: https://youtu.be/iiOCjXQ2tZo
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