Small laser status

Dave V and I worked on the small laser today. (Thanks Dave)
We replaced one of the mirrors and the lens (50mm focal length now)and it seems to be working well.
We performed a beam alignment and the spot looks pretty clean.
I’ll try and convert the Materials Test to the Lasercut software and run some tests Tuesday night.
The Z datum is still messed up so you will need to setup the Z manually. I did some test spots and it seems that 56mm from the bottom of the lens holder is the sweet spot.

I’d like to play with the config settings to see if we can dial things in.

I’ll get a one pager written up Tuesday.

We should order some extra 20mm mirrors and some lint free wipes for cleaning.

Good times,


Since this laser cutter requires manually setting Z and it is our only laser cutter for now oughtn’t we have a requirement to be “re-certified” or at least receive an in-person demonstration on how to do so. I used the small laser once in February or March after getting a verbal explanation on how to set Z and I found myself guessing a lot.

Then again I think the unit of measure given wasn’t in terms of millimeters so much as it was “the height of the metal thingy on the computer table that someone moved and we can’t find now”. Never-the-less, the small laser is a bit less automagic and some of us may want a brief refresh.

Totally agreed. It is quirky in its own way.

I’d like to get it tweaked a bit then offer a class. I’ll be at the meeting Tuesday.


Does the small laser not have the non-contact height sensor anymore? Can’t we just make a new metal cylinder the correct height?

Yes it has the sensor but the Datum setting in the awesome software has it going down and crashing when you press Datum in Z mode.
If you put a metal spacer in place and go up, it will stop when the sensor is tripped.
I am going to make a correct height spacer Tuesday.
I’d also like to figure out the software so we can do a correct Z datum like before, but it is very cryptic and not very clear.
Probably require some troubleshooting and time to setup.

I spent a few hours with the small laser tonight and it is “kind” of working.
I created a metal spacer for the 50mm lens (labeled 50mm lens).
You lower the work surface sufficiently to get the metal cylinder on your material and beneath the non-contact sensor. You then raise the work surface and it will stop when the non-contact sensor detects the metal cylinder. This should be the correct distance from the laser lens.
I did some test cuts and it seems to be working.
I then tried to remake the material test cut file and things went south.
Even though you change the speed in the software, the laser seems to just do whatever it wants. (basically not changing). It feels that it is going too fast. The power adjustment seems to be working. So I’m thinking something is wrong with the configuration file but I don’t know what.
I can’t find where the max speed is defined. There are some places to change the ACC ACC (which I’m assuming is acceleration) but nothing clear. I didn’t have an extra day or so to work through all the possible combinations.
I officially hate this software/controller board combination.
There was some discussion on different options. I’ll try and stay in the loop and suggest a direction.
If you want to play (torture) yourself, it should work with some simple geometries.
Be sure to remember to have the air pump running as it is an extra step to plug it in. (In fact I think I left it running, if so please unplug).
Right now it should be unplugged and the plug draped across the control panel to remind people to plug it in.
If someone spends some time and gets it working, please document what you learned to save others time and headaches.