Better Lighting for 50w laser

As i have had some issues with getting my lightburn camera to align and recognise all registration marks in calibration and alignment set up. I have decided i am going to add a better light source and see if this will improve the process.

first of all, i am going to identify current strip is running 12v or 24v or 240v so out with my trusty voltmeter. As i can see a 3 prong pin looks very similar to some i have seen on Amazon or aliexpress so once i know voltages i can look at my options. i am hoping its 12v as then will be as easy as buying a connector and digging out some led tape.

high voltage led strips so i have decided to go down the route of low voltage dimmable LED’s as cheap easy to fit.

Some fun with LEDs

As a maker, i had all the bits, apart from the led tape that i needed to order. So I found a cheap 5m kit off amazon prime as time is always an issue when ordering from China.

I have 50m of red and black, led wiring cable in my stock of parts. I started off by stripping the wiring off both wires and tinned them, I then took used my flux pen to clean up the terminals and added solder to both solder pads. I then soldered the wires to the pads.

All ready to tin and solder

I then used isopropyl alcohol to clean the area i was going to stick the tape to. I started bottom right worked the tape around the edge of the bed above the rim. Till it had gone around the bed.

all stuck down now to run the wiring

i added cable tabs to so i could keep some cable management i then threaded the wiring through the laser and out through a hole in the floor i then wired up a d 2.1 x 5.5 female connector to the end of the cable.

this is where i connected the dimmer switch and plugged the lighting into the mains

The end result looks good and hoping will cure my lightburn camera issues.

All wired up and working. yes, i will be cleaning my bed this week.

Next up:

I am going to see if i can now calibrate properly using the lightburn camera. if that works fine, I will design a slimline camera mount for the lightburn camera. As an issue with current cameras mount is the laser head hits is when running on the bottom of the printer.

New project time: Dual temp gauge and mA meter housing.

One of the first modifications i did to my machine used a 3d printer to make an mA meter housing. So i could stick on to the top of the laser cutter as don’t want to drill/cut my laser yet.

I finally decided to make something a little nicer. still not drilling my machine i know very unlike me lol.

my existing housing.

As the UK as the summer finally hit 32C warmth at last. but my water tank temperature has gone through the roof. so until i can afford a CW-5200 Chiller. Have gone back to 15L paint bucket and will be adding iced bottles every night so i can keep the temperature below the dreaded 25C, Unlike the last few days of 34C. So I have decided to design my self housing that is going to house a dual temperature gauge and my mA meter so i can monitor the temperature of the water coming in and going out of the laser tube.

Wiring up the wires:

Temperature Gauge water input/output temperature wiring:

I brought an inside-outside panel mount temperature gauge off amazon a few weeks back as like to keep an eye on water temperatures link for this here.

new temperature gauge red is tank temperature blue will be returning water to tank temp.

the downside is it comes with only 1M lead for each probe. i have ordered some 2M long ones from China but for this idea, i need them to be at least 3m long if not more. so i am going to make some extension leads up, I have ordered a box of JST-XH 2.54 connectors from amazon prime as wanted to knock this out of the park quickly, As from previous posts you might guess i am doing quite a few things on at the moment but love the pressure. link for parts here.

Time to make some extension leads. As a some one who like to make stuff, I have lots of wire kicking around going to start with the panel end of the extention lead, i am going to use red and black wire start off by crimping to JST-XH connectors to wires female crimps for the panel end. I then insert them into the 2 pin housing. you will need a JST crimp tool to do this.

crimps done and first wire inserted in to housing
Fist crimp completed

now to probe end i am going to solder this and heat shrink it. So to do this plug the probe into the male connector then using my solder workmate. First of all, i tin the wires i then i run 3 pieces of heat shrink over the wires, 2 small to cover the pins after soldering and one larger one to go over the housing make it look nice and give it some strength. Then using my gripers I line the pin and wiring up before soldering them together.

Then using my heat gun i shrink down the 2 smaller bits over the freshly soldered joints. I then i slid the large bit over housing and using heat gun shrink it to the base of the housing is covered and connected to the wire.

ready to solder the first pin.
Both soldered now to heat sink the connectors
Now for outer heat sink.
Heat shrink installed ready to test
Tested and working one down now to repeat
both prob cables now done now just to run them.

now to get power for the temperature gauge going to use 5v off laser power supply from 4 pin connector, not in use on the 50watt PSU so will use the Ground pin and 5v supply.

will use 5v and G to power my temp guage as will run on 5v minimal mA to power.
power cable made for temperature gauge with pin crimps make it all match on the Laser PSU.
power wired in for temperature gauge
right ready to go just need to cut my design

mA Meter Wring:

This is just a recap as did this a few months ago.

pinout for k40 style psu

If you look at Laser PSU diagram above you will see L- on pin 1 this is were the mA meter will sit between. this wire comes from the low voltage end of the laser tube. (Laser PSU might be different from machine to machine) the principle will be the same though.

Now prep for the mA meter, As I have already did this so this is a copy from an earlier post.

The wiring I started by running 2 wires through the housing of the laser down to the electronics controller boards and power supplies of the laser. I will then crimp the 2 wires and attach them to the mA meter the + side i will attach some red heat shrink to represent the live side. on the mA meter, there is a minus sign telling me that the other pin is positive. as pictured below.

positive connection cripmed
added some heat shrink to make it easy to identify after threading through the machine.
both ends attached this meter only shows – so that will be going into the PSU ignore housing as new one will be installed later.

this will attach to the wire i will remove from the PSU going to use a terminal block for time being till i decide if i am going to cut a hole in my laser to permanently mount mA meter later on. the – side will go back to the PSU.

Wire to remove from laser psu
removed wire joined with temp connector will take the blue covers off tonight and add some proper bullet crimps to join the wires properly as happy it works.
Now you would never know it been done bar the box on top of the machine.
Working like a champ. in my soon to be old housing.

All wiring done ready for the new housing

Enclosure Design:

As i have designed control panels in the past for my k40 laser going to use these elements as a template for mA and panel mount gauges i am going to use them in this design.

Now that i have proven my existing elements fit i am going create a box to house them both so where to start with this Inkscape has a plugin that will do this or there are many online tools that you can create a box. i have decided to go with as i could add a sloped face to the front of the box as shown below. i then save dxf file and imported into lightburn.

my sloped fronted box design

I then added the elements for the gauge and dial to the box and added a rear cutout for the 2 sensors and power plug. mA gage as shown in the picture. below.

re arranged and added my elements and wiring outlet for wires.

After doing initial design i decided to make some changes as once the housing will be glued together there would be no way to remove wiring so i added a brake out panel.

V2 of my design the square on the back is brake away if any wires come loose

going to make a mockup in wood first and make sure it all fits before i go out and by some acrylic for the job,

Note to self make sure laser is in focus as had it set for something else doh still came out ok
Well it fits together temp cutout is fine but the mA meter is to small
Wiring hatch is upside down so have now flipped it in the design will run again tonight.

Have redone file now the rear door emergency access doors are now better only 4 tabs to knock them out if any issues once glued. I have also changed dimensions on the mA meter as they were way off. I will test cut it again later and see if can get it to fit.

2nd attempt all fitting perfectly now to cut it acrylic

Now that I have proved it all fits together and works I am going order some acrylic to cut. I will be using 3mm acrylic in black so will look nice. I will also be using an infill process to make text stand out.

Acrylics arrived A3 sheet so now it is all fitting i can cut the final sheet

cutting time the smell of acrylic thankfully no complainants from the surrounding houses

time to pull out my trusty airbrush and some white paint. time to do some infill before removing the protective layer.

all sprayed up now to remove the protective layer
still got to polish and pick middles of some of the letters but you get the idea.

Now time to assemble using some PETG adhesive to hold everything thing in place.

glued and clamped on 2 sides
5 of 6 sides glued. going to leave the top panel lose as the original plan did not work.

now to test all components fit.

fits perfectly on the machine now to bolt let the glue all dry and then wire it up.

right now all wired up without having to cut any holes now to hold it in place now for the 3M tape. time to test power on making sure temp gauge lights up. it does and mA is working fine.

Ready to stick new housing
All installed and working
Rear wiring coming out of enclosure

all project files are available in Lightburn format and SVG, as i know not everyone, uses lightburn. link for lightburn software file and the SVG file

Thanks for reading next project think will be upgrading lighting in my 50w so i can get the lightburn camera working better thank it currently is for the camera. that will be once i find the roll off