I was able to spend another hour and a half tonight on the project and I've made my first engraving! Yes you read that right. After 8 days of working on the project, with a full time job and kids (basically only time I could work on this was after 7pm). I've gotten the CNC to the work! Does it still need work? Yes of course, there is a lot of tuning to do. But it sure is satisfying to see the darn thing work!
Here is a photo of the scrap piece of balsa I engraved with the text "Laser 530". Some of the letters didn't quite come out but mostly this is looking very promising. The laser was running at 160mA. There still is some room to go up. I believe I've seen figures of 200mA to be possible and not burn the laser out. Also I need to work on the focusing, which will be a lot easier once I have the goggles.
I generated the G-Code for this sample using a tool I found on this page. It basically does the work for you. Not bad! Below is a short clip of the laser burning the text.
- Up Laser power
- Focus Laser
- Turn off laser in between letters (use Z height instead of Spindle maybe?)
- Clean up cables