State of the Lazor

Evening all. Just a quick update on the laser cutter status. Jim was having trouble with the laser head crashing into the side of the machine, so I gave it a look and determined it was a configuration issue. Updated the config on the machine, but noticed it wasn’t cutting. Upon investigation, I discovered the sight beam was completely out of alignment in the back. The mount for the sight is completely borked. I did a makeshift adjustment of the cutting beam to get the laser cutting again, but I can’t guarantee how straight it is. It’s usable at the very least. We need to redesign a mount for the sight beam, or else this is just going to keep happening. Ideas?

Also the Z axis stepping motor is broken in some way. Whenever you try to set the Z Axis Datum, it just makes a high pitched squealing noise. I suspect either the motor isn’t getting enough power from the power supply (which we’ll have to check) or the motor itself is broken. I didn’t have much time to investigate this evening. I’ll be back tomorrow to do some probes with a multimeter.

Jon and I spent some time Monday night aligning the targeting laser, but the cutting laser path was in position before we started. We made no adjustments to mirror angles, and the mirrors seemed pretty tightly locked in place. Most of the problems seem to be with the targeting laser as you've discovered. Elly was cutting 1/4" hardwood until nearly midnight, so it was at least working when we left.

Here's a quick list of the problems I've seen over the past several weeks. Is anyone noticing any other recurring problems or potential causes?

  * The beam combiner / targeting laser mount is poorly designed and difficult to properly tighten.
  * The aforementioned mount has a stripped screw, which allows it to move almost freely on one axis.
  * Due to the above problems, allowing the lid to drop even a half inch knocks the targeting laser out of alignment. The lid must be closed extremely gently until the door struts can be replaced.
  * The targeting laser produces a diffuse cone of light rather than a dot, making alignment even more difficult. This should probably be replaced.
  * The beam combiner mirror was caked with soot at one point. Bill cleaned this and realigned the laser a couple weeks ago. This is something to check when the laser seems to be cutting with inexplicably low power.

I'd agree that fabricating a new targeting mount is a good idea. My initial thought was to cut off a slice of square steel tube and slot/drill/tap as necessary to create a mount similar to the other mirror mount in the rear of the machine. This could then be bolted directly to the sheet metal frame. Better suggestions from the HiveMind are welcome.

You guys are starting to build a nice set of steps for “Troubleshoot Zee Laser” - perhaps something for the wiki.

Just a quick note on the worth of this laser. Some people at the Hive, myself included, now rely on this machine for some aspect of their business. If you are unfamiliar with how to use it, or need help, please just ask! We are all more than willing to help and educate people on it, or find someone who knows how to do exactly what you are having some trouble with!

Also please please please be GENTLE with the lid and all the components of the laser. This is a fairly delicate machine, and it only takes a bit of effort to use it with more care. The air brake system on the lid seems to be worn out (a problem we are looking into fixing soon), and a slam of the lid, even from only a half an inch, can jar the laser out of alignment over time.

This is the only laser cutter that most of us have access to. It is an expensive and unique piece of equipment at the hive, so it is important to remember to leave it working properly, or document and publicize it on the list it when something goes wrong. That way others don’t show up expecting to use it, only to find that it is not functional. This should go for everything at the hive, but especially the more unique items, that are harder to get access to.

Thanks :slight_smile:

I proposed a “Service Log” Wiki page for the laser, that way if we want to know who’s worked on it, all we have to do is check. We use a similar system at work, and it’s amazing. When I get to the Hive tonight I’ll create it, along with a more comprehensive Troubleshooting page. Feel like helping out Ryan? :stuck_out_tongue:

Went ahead and created a service log for the laser. Any maintenance or attempts at repair NEED to be documented here, for the benefit of everyone.

I did not get a chance to do much actual troubleshooting tonight, as I had to leave sooner than I anticipated. Hopefully I can get there tomorrow to give it a shot. I will keep this thread updated.

Any update on the state of the laser?.. :slight_smile: Is it all fixed up? If not, what is the current course of action/what are people thinking?

The Z axis adjustment is still hosed. Attempts to adjust the Z axis via the laser control panel result in a high pitched screaming sound.

The table doesn’t seem to be jammed. If I cut the power to the laser, the table hight can be easily adjusted by moving the belt. I suppose the table height could be set manually this way. I’m out of my depth troubleshooting the electronics, though.

I’ll be down there in a little bit to test the power supply. Anyone else going to be there tonight?

I’ll probably be down as part of the “hive after hours” contingent.

I’ll have beer and techno music waiting. ;]

With a tip of the top had to Paul for suggesting the correct fix, the Lazor's back online. It turned out to be a configuration problem rather than a hardware problem. I had a backup of the old configuration files lying around. Shadoxx dropped it into the current directory and hey presto. The Z axis works.

I’ve taken all the config files that “just work” and created a zip file and uploaded them to the Hive docs. Anyone with an account can access the link below:

If, for whatever divine reason, the laser starts acting weird, restore these config files FIRST, and if that doesn’t work then you can begin troubleshooting the hardware itself (minus laser alignment issues). I will update the Wiki appropriately.

Together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and we can say with renewed confidence that the state of our lazor is strong.

Even so, we must carry ourselves in a way that exudes our unwavering determination and our continued preparedness. Today the lazor is strong, but who knows what tomorrow will bring. We must stay the course, and be ready for whatever crisis we may face in the future. I have confidence in each and every one of you. Thank you.