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

Little less stressed now after a few weeks being overworked.

Right as one on my side projects is now done for another month. i can get back to doing enjoyable bits and get to finally clean up my workspace. get everything up and running and ready to work.

So last nights and tonight project is a freebie for my son’s nursery sports day for the toddler group some medals. with the heatwave starting to rush in not sure how much i can do over the next day or so but going to crack on and get the last 28 medals run tonight water temps allowing.

Designed a 2D trophy to give to the toddler and baby rooms of son’s nursery 28 per sheet.

I taped up some 3mm plywood after i had sanded both sides with 400 grit sanding disc. placed it on my honeycomb bed top left. hit play and away the 50-watt laser went. i decided to crudely wire up my water temp gauge the water temp had started out at around 22c when i started to engrave

around 1hr later after the hole sheet had engraved the water temp was up a 29.9c

My temp wired water gauge in side ambient room temp gauge

This is my first attempt at mass production of a product and was an approx 2 hr of engraving and cutting of the medals with the worry of water temp raising 33.2c.

getting hot need a chiller.

this fun little project had given me some worries about water temperatures in the man cave.

I had found an original CW-5000 for £399 they had 11 in stock yesterday went to order today and they have sold out argh so going to bag some ice tonight and add to my distilled water.

Day 2 of opperation sports day medals and getting the mancave to opperatnal .

27 medals to go do love my 50watt laser so reliable fired up laser loaded lightburn put the new sheet of taped plywood and away we go.

final 4 engraving before the cut out pass.

All done and now to take all the tape off them 1 down 37 to go

taken off the tape off yash medal. going to also wipe with wihite viniger.

been a busy night on the tidying the cave now have a clean work bench getting a lot or the draws labeled up as need some organisation in the cave. starting to come together.

That’s me done for the night next operation is sorting the large form printer and my Prusa Mk3 both back online thinking about making some wall mounted spool holders as my enclosed one seem to be jamming up on me. Need to get the CR-10 up and working as well have to calibrate the machine.

Next project on the laser I have a stack of placemats to engrave for our holiday let but going to have to watch the weather and clean out the water tank and replace the dirty water. so will be doing that over the next week will cover the process and the tidying up of the cave at the same time.

Let’s start a fun project for a change. Part 3 (At last)

Sorry for the delays in getting part 3 out i have had some teething issues with the lightburn but i have got a new way of tackling the issue.

The plan

going to break the cost up into a matrix grid of 8 squares and then cut the outline this will then be glued on to a bigger ply board that has been washed in blue to give sea effect.

after that, i will then cut each individual counties for wales. and then apply them to the large scale map.

Ok so that is the map sorted its now road names and places that i have to figure out how to apply. one mode of thinking is that just engrave them over the top of the counties another one is cut them out and glue them on top of the map. this will be my next thing to play with will post images of progress and testing as i so please bear with me.

now to find a some one to cut me a 1001 mm x 909 mm 6mm bit of plywood to act as backing board wilts i play with ideas on adding roads names and places of interest.

the joys of developing Technics for this fun project. next part to follow soon.

Let’s start a fun project for a change. Part 2

Managed to run the shading matrix now it’s not given me as many usable shades as i would have hoped but have a good 14 shades. think i need i have run the cutting matrix 2 times and will probably run it one more time to see if i can extract more shades in the future but for the time being i will run a total test. on 1 sheet of A3 wood but make it look as if 2 sheets. let’s begin part 2.

there was a error in my programming as 175mms line ran 2 times.

First run off the test matrix. can see the bottom scan line is way too burnt as predicted in last post.

tape removed form matrix

I removed the bottom line and made text bigger i also messed with speed of scan of text to make it clearer. Link here for SVG and here for LB files has been requested

modified file got at least 8 shades for counties

Still not happy with the overall test but i have identified the following shades for the map. i have named them so i can adjust accordingly going to run first a map just showing outline and counties.

  • 65% Power 400 mm/s Anglesey
  • 65% Power 350 mm/s Spare
  • 65% Power 300 mm/s Flintshire
  • 65% Power 275 mm/s Spare
  • 65% Power 250 mm/s Carmarthenshire
  • 65% Power 225 mm/s Ceredigion
  • 65% Power 200 mm/s Denbigshire
  • 65% Power 175 mm/s Powys
  • 65% Power 150 mm/s Gwynedd
  • 30% Power 300 mm/s South Wales
  • 30% Power 275 mm/s Conwy
  • 30% Power 250 mm/s Pembrokeshire
  • 30% Power 225 mm/s Spare
  • 30% Power 200 mm/s Wrexham
  • 30% Power 175 mm/s Monmouth

Now to assign the shades to the map. as i have divided the map into multiple layers this will not be too hard to do just a little time-consuming.

shading assigned to the map

now to save it for a scaled test run to 300 x 500 bit of plywood I will probably have to run it slightly smaller as layout as constraints of scale as the final map will be run on 2 x 300 x 500 sheets.

Scaled for 1 sheet of plywood current size 350 mm wide and 380 mm in height

finished test run i will now add roads in different passes but before i do that i need to do a line test later on as i want the lines to be slightly different. but for the time being, going to test with the updated current setting. I also have issues with road names not showing right. as the images below the spaghetti junction so going to limit the map to show main roads in the area i really want to highlight in this map. also going to limit the name of places.

Roads added don’t look quite right.

Next Part: Coming soon

  • Adding Points of interest
  • Scaling and spiting the map over 2 sheets of 500 x 300 plywood
  • Making the map 3D by layering up the counties sea and mainland with roads and rivers i think but this is subject to change.
  • mounting it all in a frame ready to be taken to wales at the end of may.

Let’s start a fun project for a change. Part 1

Think I have been doing too many mods to machines instead of using them for some fun projects as so I have decided to show you the working of a bit of artwork I am putting together for our holiday home in Wales. this will be multiple layered pieces of art.

I will only cover the basics of the project as if you are used to using Illustrator and light burn you will know what I am talking about if you want more in-depth instructions please feel free to comment on the post. this will probably be over a few parts as going to be some trial an error as never done anything this scale.

part of the map i purchased

So after buying a layered map off I then stripped assets from it using the layer selection in Adobe Illustrator. for example, I took counties outlines, place names, roads, road names, coastline rivers and lakes allowing me to take it across to lightburn giving me multiple layers this took a few hours and then to some vector path editing to pull off. I also noticed some issues with some of the vectors not being closed correctly so I had to address them as well.

Carmarthenshire outline selected before export.

I then named layers in ligtburn broke it down into the following layers this point I have not configured powers or speeds. as each county will be shaded differently. and some assets will be lines only were as other assets will be filled or outlined within the program. So cuts are just for reference at this moment in time I will post final speed and powers once I have run the test matrix i have made below

The map looks like currently, it’s oversized as will be cut in sections as will be using multiple sheets of ply to generate different layering to build up the A2 frame it’s going to be housed in. I will be cutting different layers then layering them ie. sea, land, then counties etc will be a bit of experiment.

Map in current form in lightburn

now that is all complete I will be looking at power and shading for different elements. so to start I have taken someone’s design and remixed to show greater ranges and speeds so I can see what different power/speeds achieve. Have named it shading matrix pallet. if you ask I will upload it for testing pleasure.

This is taped so I will not have to clean smoke off the wood think the lower speeds might be charcoal but will see later on tonight. upload my findings in part 2

As last week went to pot

Not setting any goals this week as its a busy weekday job and some RNR. I have got to go pick up some screws today so i can mount my baffle board to window for more tools and space for parts. then got to re assemble gun rack for my air soft weapons and hang some other bit. on new baffle board.

Then depending on time, it’s on to the Prusa Mk2s MMU as I am on a roll of fixing stuff the last couple of week. If I can/cannot fix it will be starting the mammoth print of bits for the Haribo edition as again its bits taking up space that can be used other projects.

Will also be my first time running PETG as a material. hopefully will be easy learning curve.

On other current projects:

Wist, I wait for the EZout probe to clear customs. I am going to run some more calibration prints probably tonight. as did try doing bigger print but had some issues with print sticking to the bed. probably just a tweek to the z hight offset.

over the weekend I have built octopi set up that I am currently getting up to speed via TeamViewer for plugins and adding stream feed to the studio might give it a quick test later see things are running right. once I have finalised that will clone the card and do it for the Prusa Mk3 using the pins off the controller board.

What next up in the cave:

Getting limit switches wired into the CNC machine. then I need to learn how to use it so will probably do this via stream so hopefully will get some help with getting all going.

Acrylic wow never knew how easy it was to cut

Just a quick update as I didn’t do as much as I hoped last night the joys of life.

As I have decided to go with a predesign from one of the forum members for the light burn camera

I decided to give acrylic a go positioned the design in some 3mm acrylic I had in my stash of laser materials

Fist run did not go so well as stupidly I had forgotten to focus the laser doh second run was perfect.

the 50 watts DSP in action

All cut out find apart from me forgetting to flip the text but having to wait on some screws so will re cut that with a bit of blank I have spare.

have used some 3d printed spacers to hold the work off the bed.

I am also going to modify the design slightly for cable support that will be done with a drill as don’t want to have to bend wiring on jst connectors.

Will do that after I return from a long week end down in wales.

Think I will be doing more in acrylic think next up will be some acrylic signs as got some led bases I brought a while back and never got around to playing with the joys of so many good ideas but not always find time to do them all.

Happy New Year to all my supporters out there in cyberspace.

Well back from Christmas brake well for a few week now but day job has been keeping me busy. I have have been playing with wiring and relays and arduino uno and other little ideas. I am currently sell off some stuff it make some money to buy my new laser for workshop. I am going to start to play with my cnc machine time allowing as got some great ideas for some future projects.

keep watching this space for some fun projects that are coming up soon.

will make 2019 great year. had a little bit of a tidy up before leaving for Christmas.

Did manage to do some Christmas gifts. next year i will do them directly on their boxes as the new laser will have a bigger bed.

Christmas eve boxes for family will do direct engraving on the boxes next year this was just a mock up.
Gift tags i put together for some pressens
Beer holder for brother inlaw (Not my design)
Voucher for Nice’s day out using someone else artwork traced and modified for a gift.

New Laser coming soon bit of Prep work

I have decided that i need a bigger laser now before I bite the bullet press the buy it now button on eBay. I have been doing my homework as a 50watt laser may look the same but are definitely not equal.

I have been looking at about 5 or 6 they are all around the £1200 pound mark they all look like a Chinese laser blue and cream paintwork. But when you look closely they are very different machines. things I have noticed.

DSP early Ruda  controller / newer Ruda controllers there are  the early monochrome display model or the newer colour display  look identical on the panel.

Ethernet connection or not this is dependent on DSP from what i understand might be a earlier model or it could be different variation of DSP

Manual bed compared to the manual electric bed. I am going for manual electric bed as looking at the model I want there is a Z-axis that I might be able to tap in to make allow it to adjust bed hight automatically.

Now this is a beast of a machine size wise it 1020 x 650 x 630 mm and 102 kg apparently so going to have to call a mate to help transport it to the cave. 

I have just knocked together in fusion 360 a workbench that will be 710 high time I have added castors to the bottom of it as want to be able to move the machine around,  as this makes the ajustment of lenses easier to perform. 

 As I hate doing woodwork I am going to get someone to cut all the lengths of wood for me so I can put it together.

I have made a shopping list of wood to make my life easy

50×47 timber Qty
50x47x650 8
50x47x550 2
50x47x920 4
MDF Sheet  
12x1020x650 1
12x1020x650 ( 100 mm Sq notched out of each corner) 1
90 Degree corner Bracket 8
50 x 50 Casters 2
50 x 50 Casters with brakes 2
A lot of screws.  

I wont be buying this till the new year as I need to get some money together the joys of not being a YouTube celebrity. I have to fund it my self so will be selling off my games collection for arcade machines to fund this new adventure.

New Safety Panel for K40 Co2 Laser part 3

Been a couple of days I know since I posted last part. been fitting in bits between doing other stuff as having a nearly 14-month-old who is just about starting to walk keeping me busy as ever.  I also do not want to disable the laser for long periods of time. as got some gifts to get run up before I head off to Wales for holiday period.

I Started off by cutting wooden panel as will cut perspex one after the system is up and running as easy to swap over. also a learning curve as not cut perspex using the C3D mini board. so will need to runs some testing.

temporary panel for the control panel.
fitted all components bar one of the temperature gauges as was waiting on it to be delivered

after mock assembling the panel. I decided to put cutting disc to metal, so armed with Marker pen I marked holes and inner cutout box. I then centre punched holes before drilling.

ready for drilling and cutting.

I then drilled the 4 x 3.5mm holes and started the cutting process it took 3 discs to cut the cut out.

nearly cut out.

 I then realised As had made it to small as the standoffs for the main control panel and the bolts for the new one were not away enough so going to have to notch the other control panel to fit the nuts but trimmed down the bolts with Dremel so it fits.

now to mount back to the machine.

I fitted the other control panel to make sure it looks right in the machine. i started on the wiring last night by joining the positives and negatives for temperature gauges and running them both off 5v pin off the original power supply. as I have separate power supplies for controller board 24v  and 5v one for my machine lighting, my factory one is not overloaded. I will post a picture of them in action later on this evening as forgot to take camera down the man cave with me last night.  Tonight I will wire the LED’s and the flow switch in. and if i get time i will wire up the emergency stop button as well. will cover all this in a later post. 

Its alive! only issue is the 12v LED’s are too much power drain i might have to swap them out for 5v ones just he E-Stop to wire up now.

need to figure out what to do with LEDs