[hackerspaces] Choosing a laser cutter

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[hackerspaces] Choosing a laser cutter

opit-2
Hello all,
here at Technarium we're considering buying a laser cutter (water jet
would be even better, but probably is outside of our financial
abilities). Maybe any of you have a piece of advice of what to look for
and what to avoid? What do you use at your space and what didn't work
out? What's your experience with Lasersaur or with generic machines from
Alibaba?

Last week there a similar request was posted here, but what we're
looking for is a larger machine that could also be used by freelancers
at the space and for custom manufacturing orders. We plan to have up to
7500 Euros for it.
Thanks!
#o

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Re: [hackerspaces] Choosing a laser cutter

Joshua Pritt
We've been using the Full Spectrum laser at Makers Local 256 and Melbourne Makerspace with lots of success (with bouts of downtime while replacing the tube or power supply) but it works great for the most part.

On Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 1:53 PM, opit <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hello all,
here at Technarium we're considering buying a laser cutter (water jet
would be even better, but probably is outside of our financial
abilities). Maybe any of you have a piece of advice of what to look for
and what to avoid? What do you use at your space and what didn't work
out? What's your experience with Lasersaur or with generic machines from
Alibaba?

Last week there a similar request was posted here, but what we're
looking for is a larger machine that could also be used by freelancers
at the space and for custom manufacturing orders. We plan to have up to
7500 Euros for it.
Thanks!
#o

--
http://technariumas.lt
http://blog.technariumas.lt
http://wemakethings.net
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Re: [hackerspaces] Choosing a laser cutter

justin corwin
I have some bad experience with generic machines from alibaba amongst my friends. The most problematic thing is that they tend to advertise their power as what they can measure directly at the laser tube, whereas more reputable companies like Epilog measure power delivered at the tool head, so the cheapness of high power machines has to be balanced with the fact that they may not actually be that capable. 

I like the Lasersaur design, and some places have had good results, just make sure you either buy better parts/kits or have someone who knows about this kind of thing in charge of building it. A crappy power supply or misaligned x-y table can cause endless heartache later. 

On Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 10:56 AM, Joshua Pritt <[hidden email]> wrote:
We've been using the Full Spectrum laser at Makers Local 256 and Melbourne Makerspace with lots of success (with bouts of downtime while replacing the tube or power supply) but it works great for the most part.

On Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 1:53 PM, opit <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hello all,
here at Technarium we're considering buying a laser cutter (water jet
would be even better, but probably is outside of our financial
abilities). Maybe any of you have a piece of advice of what to look for
and what to avoid? What do you use at your space and what didn't work
out? What's your experience with Lasersaur or with generic machines from
Alibaba?

Last week there a similar request was posted here, but what we're
looking for is a larger machine that could also be used by freelancers
at the space and for custom manufacturing orders. We plan to have up to
7500 Euros for it.
Thanks!
#o

--
http://technariumas.lt
http://blog.technariumas.lt
http://wemakethings.net
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Re: [hackerspaces] Choosing a laser cutter

Dominic Canare
In reply to this post by Joshua Pritt
MakeICT just purchased the Rabbit Laser QX1290 after much, much shopping and asking around. We found this to be a good balance of price and features, and it came highly recommended from several different sources.

We've been happy so far, but it's only been installed for a couple of weeks.

Dominic Canare
President, MakeICT

On Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 12:56 PM, Joshua Pritt <[hidden email]> wrote:
We've been using the Full Spectrum laser at Makers Local 256 and Melbourne Makerspace with lots of success (with bouts of downtime while replacing the tube or power supply) but it works great for the most part.

On Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 1:53 PM, opit <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hello all,
here at Technarium we're considering buying a laser cutter (water jet
would be even better, but probably is outside of our financial
abilities). Maybe any of you have a piece of advice of what to look for
and what to avoid? What do you use at your space and what didn't work
out? What's your experience with Lasersaur or with generic machines from
Alibaba?

Last week there a similar request was posted here, but what we're
looking for is a larger machine that could also be used by freelancers
at the space and for custom manufacturing orders. We plan to have up to
7500 Euros for it.
Thanks!
#o

--
http://technariumas.lt
http://blog.technariumas.lt
http://wemakethings.net
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Re: [hackerspaces] Choosing a laser cutter

Ben Brown-2
In reply to this post by opit-2
We have a G.Weike (Chinese) LG900N 60W laser cutter at Kwartzlab, as
does a number of other spaces. We've had it since 2011 and despite
constant use, it's held up really well for us. Other spaces have
reportedly had more issues.

http://www.kwartzlab.ca/wiki/Laser_Cutter

Aside from some minor upgrades to beef up the power circuitry, we really
haven't had any major hardware issues. We're about to replace our 2nd
tube (decreased lifespan due to sitting around for a few years, though).
Once in a while the mirrors need to be adjusted. Our auto-Z calibrator
tore off when one user crashed the bed some years ago, but works
perfectly fine with manual calibration.

Our largest gripe is that the proprietary software (LaserCut for
Windows) is potato quality, but it does have import capabilities so most
people just design on other programs like Inkscape, Illustrator or 3D
CAD and import from there.

It was about 6,000 CAD with shipping, customs and other accessories
(water cooler, etc). It's probably our most used big tool in the space.

Ben

On 2015-08-28 1:53 PM, opit wrote:

> Hello all,
> here at Technarium we're considering buying a laser cutter (water jet
> would be even better, but probably is outside of our financial
> abilities). Maybe any of you have a piece of advice of what to look for
> and what to avoid? What do you use at your space and what didn't work
> out? What's your experience with Lasersaur or with generic machines from
> Alibaba?
>
> Last week there a similar request was posted here, but what we're
> looking for is a larger machine that could also be used by freelancers
> at the space and for custom manufacturing orders. We plan to have up to
> 7500 Euros for it.
> Thanks!
> #o
>

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Re: [hackerspaces] Choosing a laser cutter

Adam Mayer
Epilog is expensive but they're generally trouble-free and well supported. We're on our second unit now. The first one was able to pay for itself via per-minute and training fees, but it took about four years to hit break even.

I'd say it comes down to how much you plan on charging for commercial usage, and how much time and energy you can devote to keeping the machine in good shape. If you're committed to tinkering with the machine and can handle occasional downtime, you may want the cheaper option. We're happy with our epilog tank.


On Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 2:14 PM, Ben Brown <[hidden email]> wrote:
We have a G.Weike (Chinese) LG900N 60W laser cutter at Kwartzlab, as does a number of other spaces. We've had it since 2011 and despite constant use, it's held up really well for us. Other spaces have reportedly had more issues.

http://www.kwartzlab.ca/wiki/Laser_Cutter

Aside from some minor upgrades to beef up the power circuitry, we really haven't had any major hardware issues. We're about to replace our 2nd tube (decreased lifespan due to sitting around for a few years, though). Once in a while the mirrors need to be adjusted. Our auto-Z calibrator tore off when one user crashed the bed some years ago, but works perfectly fine with manual calibration.

Our largest gripe is that the proprietary software (LaserCut for Windows) is potato quality, but it does have import capabilities so most people just design on other programs like Inkscape, Illustrator or 3D CAD and import from there.

It was about 6,000 CAD with shipping, customs and other accessories (water cooler, etc). It's probably our most used big tool in the space.

Ben


On 2015-08-28 1:53 PM, opit wrote:
Hello all,
here at Technarium we're considering buying a laser cutter (water jet
would be even better, but probably is outside of our financial
abilities). Maybe any of you have a piece of advice of what to look for
and what to avoid? What do you use at your space and what didn't work
out? What's your experience with Lasersaur or with generic machines from
Alibaba?

Last week there a similar request was posted here, but what we're
looking for is a larger machine that could also be used by freelancers
at the space and for custom manufacturing orders. We plan to have up to
7500 Euros for it.
Thanks!
#o


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Re: [hackerspaces] Choosing a laser cutter

justin corwin

We have an epilog 45 just like that, and it is similarly solid. A couple services and a new tube, but dependable as all get out.

On Aug 28, 2015 12:03 PM, "Adam Mayer" <[hidden email]> wrote:
Epilog is expensive but they're generally trouble-free and well supported. We're on our second unit now. The first one was able to pay for itself via per-minute and training fees, but it took about four years to hit break even.

I'd say it comes down to how much you plan on charging for commercial usage, and how much time and energy you can devote to keeping the machine in good shape. If you're committed to tinkering with the machine and can handle occasional downtime, you may want the cheaper option. We're happy with our epilog tank.


On Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 2:14 PM, Ben Brown <[hidden email]> wrote:
We have a G.Weike (Chinese) LG900N 60W laser cutter at Kwartzlab, as does a number of other spaces. We've had it since 2011 and despite constant use, it's held up really well for us. Other spaces have reportedly had more issues.

http://www.kwartzlab.ca/wiki/Laser_Cutter

Aside from some minor upgrades to beef up the power circuitry, we really haven't had any major hardware issues. We're about to replace our 2nd tube (decreased lifespan due to sitting around for a few years, though). Once in a while the mirrors need to be adjusted. Our auto-Z calibrator tore off when one user crashed the bed some years ago, but works perfectly fine with manual calibration.

Our largest gripe is that the proprietary software (LaserCut for Windows) is potato quality, but it does have import capabilities so most people just design on other programs like Inkscape, Illustrator or 3D CAD and import from there.

It was about 6,000 CAD with shipping, customs and other accessories (water cooler, etc). It's probably our most used big tool in the space.

Ben


On 2015-08-28 1:53 PM, opit wrote:
Hello all,
here at Technarium we're considering buying a laser cutter (water jet
would be even better, but probably is outside of our financial
abilities). Maybe any of you have a piece of advice of what to look for
and what to avoid? What do you use at your space and what didn't work
out? What's your experience with Lasersaur or with generic machines from
Alibaba?

Last week there a similar request was posted here, but what we're
looking for is a larger machine that could also be used by freelancers
at the space and for custom manufacturing orders. We plan to have up to
7500 Euros for it.
Thanks!
#o


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Re: [hackerspaces] Choosing a laser cutter

charlie wallace
In reply to this post by opit-2
the wife and i bought a cheap 100/90W laser from china a few years ago
to install at nsl, it's been fine. 900mm x600mm with Z table from
gweike, push them on price they'll negotiate (the wife won't since it
was from our wedding fund!). we were around $5K usd if memory serves.

pics n stuff.
https://charliex2.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/nsl-gets-a-laser-cutter/

On Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 10:53 AM, opit <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hello all,
> here at Technarium we're considering buying a laser cutter (water jet
> would be even better, but probably is outside of our financial
> abilities). Maybe any of you have a piece of advice of what to look for
> and what to avoid? What do you use at your space and what didn't work
> out? What's your experience with Lasersaur or with generic machines from
> Alibaba?
>
> Last week there a similar request was posted here, but what we're
> looking for is a larger machine that could also be used by freelancers
> at the space and for custom manufacturing orders. We plan to have up to
> 7500 Euros for it.
> Thanks!
> #o
>
> --
> http://technariumas.lt
> http://blog.technariumas.lt
> http://wemakethings.net
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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Re: [hackerspaces] Choosing a laser cutter

Nathaniel Bezanson
In reply to this post by opit-2
i3Detroit got a Weike 150W and we've had to repair it about a million times. It's a viable option if you have lots of people with both skills *and* inclination to continually keep after such a beast, and we never would've been able to afford anything approaching the same power from a better name. But, seriously, downtime posts may be the single biggest topic on our internal mailing list. You truly get what you pay for.

There's a good bit of braindump on our public list, here: https://groups.google.com/d/msg/i3detroit-public/V2wlRDYeVKA/AipAKnirkM4J

The autofocus mechanism has gone back and forth between busted and repaired several times, we finally gave up and justuse manual focus. The red-dot pointer similarly, but I think it's working again now. 

The door lift-cylinders failed, and when we replaced them with a slightly-stiffer model, the pot-metal door hinges shredded soon after. Lots of metal drilling and beefier hardware later, the door is solid again. 

The laser-inhibit switch on the door failed and has been replaced. The wiring between the laser and the chiller is embarrassingly bad but hasn't actually failed yet so it hasn't gone under the knife. 

The power supply has failed at least twice. Once was the inrush current limiters, which despite the PSU saying it's the 120v model, were clearly sized for the lower current associated with 240v operation. The manufacturer suggested bypassing them, but we elected to replace them with the right parts. Second, the fuseholder itself inside the PSU melted and blew the fuse at the same time (still not sure how that works), but that was a fairly easy repair. I feel like there was another failure I'm forgetting...

The emergency-stop and key switches have both failed, again being rated for 10 or 13A max, but in a 120v country the machine draws 15A continuously for long stretches and things tend to melt. As referenced in the above-linked post, the power wiring inside the machine is all commensurately undersized, and should be overhauled as soon as you're able. Proper new switches are expensive, yo.

The first tube failed "within warranty", but we had to pay shipping on the replacement tube, which made it all but moot. See if you can find a way to write shipping into your purchase agreement. A cheap laser power meter would be great to have for diagnostics but everything I see is megabucks. Knowing when the machine sucks because the 150W tube is putting out 20W of light, versus when it sucks because something's misaligned or dirty, would be awesome.

There were lights installed on the underside of the gantry, which illuminate the piece being cut. They started going out in places and then failed completely. The machine's internals are 24v so we ran two 12v light strips and put them in series... 

The vent fan that came with the machine would've been barely-adequate if it were positioned directly against the wall with a 3-foot duct to the outdoors, but as our location is ~60 feet from the outside wall, it was woefully undersized. We blew a bunch of money on a Serious Industrial Blower and a bunch of smoothwall spiral duct, and it's much better. Building a remote-switch rig to allow the blower to be located near the outside but controlled from the operating position was really helpful. 

The Leetro controller (and LaserCut software) are notoriously rough around the edges, crashing on weird files, too braindead to import SVG so you have to use DXF or something, and sometimes failing to recognize the cutter until you unplug and replug all the USB everythings 4 or 5 times. A high-quality active USB extension cable helped but only a little; the USB on the controller is suspect. 

The air-assist pump hasn't actually failed, but we finally realized it's barely adequate to blow the smoke away from the head, and not contributing meaningfully to actually removing material from the cut. We plumbed the machine into (dry, filtered) shop-air and *it was like doubling the power overnight* -- we can do much thicker cuts in fewer passes, and if the conditions are precisely right, we've been cutting thin sheets of steel. Set aside the included pump as a backup, but put some proper air into the thing, it's amazing. 

Also, possibly the weirdest thing: We got two identical machines from Weike at the same time, one purchased by the space, one purchased by an individual member. They were supposed to be identical in all but paint color, but inexplicably the pulleys in one are a different size, requiring the machine settings (steps per millimeter or something) to change if you're going back and forth between the two machines, say because one is down for repair. We still haven't figured out the reason for the build difference. 

-Nate B-

opit wrote:
Hello all,
here at Technarium we're considering buying a laser cutter (water jet
would be even better, but probably is outside of our financial
abilities). Maybe any of you have a piece of advice of what to look for
and what to avoid? What do you use at your space and what didn't work
out? What's your experience with Lasersaur or with generic machines from
Alibaba?

Last week there a similar request was posted here, but what we're
looking for is a larger machine that could also be used by freelancers
at the space and for custom manufacturing orders. We plan to have up to
7500 Euros for it.
Thanks!
#o

--
http://technariumas.lt
http://blog.technariumas.lt
http://wemakethings.net
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Re: [hackerspaces] Choosing a laser cutter

charlie wallace
cheap laser power meter, n cheerful.

http://www.amazon.com/Engraving--International-Available-Copyright-Laser_Power/dp/B00ICZRZW6/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1440871558&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=co2+laser+power+meter+150w

we also had a member buy one at the same as us, neither of them has
anywhere near the issues you guys had, the old friday afternoon build
maybe ? i know a couple of others who've picked them up too, and
they're often imported as different brands.

didn't buy autofocus, since its not really worth it imho
the big squirrel it came with was fine for the length  of tubing it
came with though we did seal off some areas, used our own air source a
basic diaphragm pump is woefully inadequate.

tube is still going after many hours.

we did upgrade the mirrors and lens, that helps tonnes.

i also don't think you don't get what you pay for, i've seen the same
lasers for sale in the usa for 2-4x for the exact same one. but if you
buy from the bottom shelf at low prices you have to accept what can be
done on a budget, having realistic expectations shopping at harbor
freight changes the feedback comments on their stuff a lot i've
noticed.

lasercut is definitely meh, but i found a newer version and hacked it
about to work with our laser, its still iffy but once you know the in
and outs it works, but them i'm also happy with my moshi 40W for $500.
i have not looked for a new version in the last couple of years, but
someone else may have.

maybe the 150w is a different build platform?

the stop was changed out since the key was misplaced recently,
definitely a bargain basement one.

for sure, the frame is cheap and held together with spit

it is no epilog.

On Sat, Aug 29, 2015 at 10:55 AM, Nathaniel Bezanson
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> i3Detroit got a Weike 150W and we've had to repair it about a million times.
> It's a viable option if you have lots of people with both skills *and*
> inclination to continually keep after such a beast, and we never would've
> been able to afford anything approaching the same power from a better name.
> But, seriously, downtime posts may be the single biggest topic on our
> internal mailing list. You truly get what you pay for.
>
> There's a good bit of braindump on our public list, here:
> https://groups.google.com/d/msg/i3detroit-public/V2wlRDYeVKA/AipAKnirkM4J
>
> The autofocus mechanism has gone back and forth between busted and repaired
> several times, we finally gave up and justuse manual focus. The red-dot
> pointer similarly, but I think it's working again now.
>
> The door lift-cylinders failed, and when we replaced them with a
> slightly-stiffer model, the pot-metal door hinges shredded soon after. Lots
> of metal drilling and beefier hardware later, the door is solid again.
>
> The laser-inhibit switch on the door failed and has been replaced. The
> wiring between the laser and the chiller is embarrassingly bad but hasn't
> actually failed yet so it hasn't gone under the knife.
>
> The power supply has failed at least twice. Once was the inrush current
> limiters, which despite the PSU saying it's the 120v model, were clearly
> sized for the lower current associated with 240v operation. The manufacturer
> suggested bypassing them, but we elected to replace them with the right
> parts. Second, the fuseholder itself inside the PSU melted and blew the fuse
> at the same time (still not sure how that works), but that was a fairly easy
> repair. I feel like there was another failure I'm forgetting...
>
> The emergency-stop and key switches have both failed, again being rated for
> 10 or 13A max, but in a 120v country the machine draws 15A continuously for
> long stretches and things tend to melt. As referenced in the above-linked
> post, the power wiring inside the machine is all commensurately undersized,
> and should be overhauled as soon as you're able. Proper new switches are
> expensive, yo.
>
> The first tube failed "within warranty", but we had to pay shipping on the
> replacement tube, which made it all but moot. See if you can find a way to
> write shipping into your purchase agreement. A cheap laser power meter would
> be great to have for diagnostics but everything I see is megabucks. Knowing
> when the machine sucks because the 150W tube is putting out 20W of light,
> versus when it sucks because something's misaligned or dirty, would be
> awesome.
>
> There were lights installed on the underside of the gantry, which illuminate
> the piece being cut. They started going out in places and then failed
> completely. The machine's internals are 24v so we ran two 12v light strips
> and put them in series...
>
> The vent fan that came with the machine would've been barely-adequate if it
> were positioned directly against the wall with a 3-foot duct to the
> outdoors, but as our location is ~60 feet from the outside wall, it was
> woefully undersized. We blew a bunch of money on a Serious Industrial Blower
> and a bunch of smoothwall spiral duct, and it's much better. Building a
> remote-switch rig to allow the blower to be located near the outside but
> controlled from the operating position was really helpful.
>
> The Leetro controller (and LaserCut software) are notoriously rough around
> the edges, crashing on weird files, too braindead to import SVG so you have
> to use DXF or something, and sometimes failing to recognize the cutter until
> you unplug and replug all the USB everythings 4 or 5 times. A high-quality
> active USB extension cable helped but only a little; the USB on the
> controller is suspect.
>
> The air-assist pump hasn't actually failed, but we finally realized it's
> barely adequate to blow the smoke away from the head, and not contributing
> meaningfully to actually removing material from the cut. We plumbed the
> machine into (dry, filtered) shop-air and *it was like doubling the power
> overnight* -- we can do much thicker cuts in fewer passes, and if the
> conditions are precisely right, we've been cutting thin sheets of steel. Set
> aside the included pump as a backup, but put some proper air into the thing,
> it's amazing.
>
> Also, possibly the weirdest thing: We got two identical machines from Weike
> at the same time, one purchased by the space, one purchased by an individual
> member. They were supposed to be identical in all but paint color, but
> inexplicably the pulleys in one are a different size, requiring the machine
> settings (steps per millimeter or something) to change if you're going back
> and forth between the two machines, say because one is down for repair. We
> still haven't figured out the reason for the build difference.
>
> -Nate B-
>
> opit wrote:
>
> Hello all,
> here at Technarium we're considering buying a laser cutter (water jet
> would be even better, but probably is outside of our financial
> abilities). Maybe any of you have a piece of advice of what to look for
> and what to avoid? What do you use at your space and what didn't work
> out? What's your experience with Lasersaur or with generic machines from
> Alibaba?
>
> Last week there a similar request was posted here, but what we're
> looking for is a larger machine that could also be used by freelancers
> at the space and for custom manufacturing orders. We plan to have up to
> 7500 Euros for it.
> Thanks!
> #o
>
> --
> http://technariumas.lt
> http://blog.technariumas.lt
> http://wemakethings.net
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
>
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[hackerspaces] Working with youth from outside a makerspace

Shirley Hicks
Good afternoon everyone,

Our makerspace in Birmingham, AL is going to be working with local high school students over the next six weeks as they prepare their entry in the local BEST robotics competition. I’m meeting with the teacher leading the program this afternoon.

This is our first “giving back” to our greater community. Our space is located in a "high-needs" neighborhood. We’re also starting to detail what our best practices need to be with regards to adults working with teens. The one that I need more information about/examples of are ground rules for adults who are working with youth as to what is acceptable and and unacceptable behavior, and how to handle any required background checks?

I’m also still learning the US accepted practices in this area (am a transplanted Canadian).
What have different groups put in place and do you have links to what you’ve done?

I know that this came up earlier in the year.

Thanks!

Shirley Hicks
Secretary/Business Admin/Programmer/Maker
Red Mountain Makers
http://www.redmountainmakers.org
Twitter: @redmountainmake
Facebook: Red Mountain Makers
Meetup: meetup.com/redmountainmakers
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Re: [hackerspaces] Working with youth from outside a makerspace

Arclight
When we do youth stuff, one or more parents are always there looking
after them and helping out. I think the general requirements are
different if people are dropping their kids off and leaving like a
school.
Arclight

On Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 11:53 AM, Shirley Hicks
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Good afternoon everyone,
>
> Our makerspace in Birmingham, AL is going to be working with local high school students over the next six weeks as they prepare their entry in the local BEST robotics competition. I’m meeting with the teacher leading the program this afternoon.
>
> This is our first “giving back” to our greater community. Our space is located in a "high-needs" neighborhood. We’re also starting to detail what our best practices need to be with regards to adults working with teens. The one that I need more information about/examples of are ground rules for adults who are working with youth as to what is acceptable and and unacceptable behavior, and how to handle any required background checks?
>
> I’m also still learning the US accepted practices in this area (am a transplanted Canadian).
> What have different groups put in place and do you have links to what you’ve done?
>
> I know that this came up earlier in the year.
>
> Thanks!
>
> Shirley Hicks
> Secretary/Business Admin/Programmer/Maker
> Red Mountain Makers
> http://www.redmountainmakers.org
> Twitter: @redmountainmake
> Facebook: Red Mountain Makers
> Meetup: meetup.com/redmountainmakers
> -----------------------------------------------------------
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> [hidden email]
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Re: [hackerspaces] Working with youth from outside a makerspace

Chris Weiss
FIRST has started using verifiedvolunteers.com for background checks. they also have some resources that may be helpful http://verifiedvolunteers.com/Resources/Free-Downloads.aspx

I don't think there are any US laws requiring background checks, so consult any insurance or partner agreements for requirements.  some even specify a service you have to use, such as FIRST does.


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Re: [hackerspaces] Choosing a laser cutter

John Harrison
In reply to this post by charlie wallace
FWIW Wichita State University bought an Epilog under my advice and it hasn't done well. The main board died after 14 months and that was more than $2K to replace. The warranty was 12 months and Epilog would not hear of replacing the board for free. Since then it has had issues with the head skipping and slipping occasionally and overall isn't something I have a ton of trust in. I don't get the "built-like-a-tank" impression that others talk about.

As Dom mentioned earlier on this thread MakeICT just got a Rabbit laser. To me it seems more solid than the Epilog in build construction and I currently have a lot more faith in it. As Dom also mentioned, it's new to us so I can't say how it will do over time.

I'll take the Epilog print driver over the Rabbit 1998-look-and-feel software any day, but other than that I'm not convinced about Epilog myself.

-John

On Sat, Aug 29, 2015 at 1:16 PM, charlie wallace <[hidden email]> wrote:
cheap laser power meter, n cheerful.

http://www.amazon.com/Engraving--International-Available-Copyright-Laser_Power/dp/B00ICZRZW6/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1440871558&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=co2+laser+power+meter+150w

we also had a member buy one at the same as us, neither of them has
anywhere near the issues you guys had, the old friday afternoon build
maybe ? i know a couple of others who've picked them up too, and
they're often imported as different brands.

didn't buy autofocus, since its not really worth it imho
the big squirrel it came with was fine for the length  of tubing it
came with though we did seal off some areas, used our own air source a
basic diaphragm pump is woefully inadequate.

tube is still going after many hours.

we did upgrade the mirrors and lens, that helps tonnes.

i also don't think you don't get what you pay for, i've seen the same
lasers for sale in the usa for 2-4x for the exact same one. but if you
buy from the bottom shelf at low prices you have to accept what can be
done on a budget, having realistic expectations shopping at harbor
freight changes the feedback comments on their stuff a lot i've
noticed.

lasercut is definitely meh, but i found a newer version and hacked it
about to work with our laser, its still iffy but once you know the in
and outs it works, but them i'm also happy with my moshi 40W for $500.
i have not looked for a new version in the last couple of years, but
someone else may have.

maybe the 150w is a different build platform?

the stop was changed out since the key was misplaced recently,
definitely a bargain basement one.

for sure, the frame is cheap and held together with spit

it is no epilog.

On Sat, Aug 29, 2015 at 10:55 AM, Nathaniel Bezanson
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> i3Detroit got a Weike 150W and we've had to repair it about a million times.
> It's a viable option if you have lots of people with both skills *and*
> inclination to continually keep after such a beast, and we never would've
> been able to afford anything approaching the same power from a better name.
> But, seriously, downtime posts may be the single biggest topic on our
> internal mailing list. You truly get what you pay for.
>
> There's a good bit of braindump on our public list, here:
> https://groups.google.com/d/msg/i3detroit-public/V2wlRDYeVKA/AipAKnirkM4J
>
> The autofocus mechanism has gone back and forth between busted and repaired
> several times, we finally gave up and justuse manual focus. The red-dot
> pointer similarly, but I think it's working again now.
>
> The door lift-cylinders failed, and when we replaced them with a
> slightly-stiffer model, the pot-metal door hinges shredded soon after. Lots
> of metal drilling and beefier hardware later, the door is solid again.
>
> The laser-inhibit switch on the door failed and has been replaced. The
> wiring between the laser and the chiller is embarrassingly bad but hasn't
> actually failed yet so it hasn't gone under the knife.
>
> The power supply has failed at least twice. Once was the inrush current
> limiters, which despite the PSU saying it's the 120v model, were clearly
> sized for the lower current associated with 240v operation. The manufacturer
> suggested bypassing them, but we elected to replace them with the right
> parts. Second, the fuseholder itself inside the PSU melted and blew the fuse
> at the same time (still not sure how that works), but that was a fairly easy
> repair. I feel like there was another failure I'm forgetting...
>
> The emergency-stop and key switches have both failed, again being rated for
> 10 or 13A max, but in a 120v country the machine draws 15A continuously for
> long stretches and things tend to melt. As referenced in the above-linked
> post, the power wiring inside the machine is all commensurately undersized,
> and should be overhauled as soon as you're able. Proper new switches are
> expensive, yo.
>
> The first tube failed "within warranty", but we had to pay shipping on the
> replacement tube, which made it all but moot. See if you can find a way to
> write shipping into your purchase agreement. A cheap laser power meter would
> be great to have for diagnostics but everything I see is megabucks. Knowing
> when the machine sucks because the 150W tube is putting out 20W of light,
> versus when it sucks because something's misaligned or dirty, would be
> awesome.
>
> There were lights installed on the underside of the gantry, which illuminate
> the piece being cut. They started going out in places and then failed
> completely. The machine's internals are 24v so we ran two 12v light strips
> and put them in series...
>
> The vent fan that came with the machine would've been barely-adequate if it
> were positioned directly against the wall with a 3-foot duct to the
> outdoors, but as our location is ~60 feet from the outside wall, it was
> woefully undersized. We blew a bunch of money on a Serious Industrial Blower
> and a bunch of smoothwall spiral duct, and it's much better. Building a
> remote-switch rig to allow the blower to be located near the outside but
> controlled from the operating position was really helpful.
>
> The Leetro controller (and LaserCut software) are notoriously rough around
> the edges, crashing on weird files, too braindead to import SVG so you have
> to use DXF or something, and sometimes failing to recognize the cutter until
> you unplug and replug all the USB everythings 4 or 5 times. A high-quality
> active USB extension cable helped but only a little; the USB on the
> controller is suspect.
>
> The air-assist pump hasn't actually failed, but we finally realized it's
> barely adequate to blow the smoke away from the head, and not contributing
> meaningfully to actually removing material from the cut. We plumbed the
> machine into (dry, filtered) shop-air and *it was like doubling the power
> overnight* -- we can do much thicker cuts in fewer passes, and if the
> conditions are precisely right, we've been cutting thin sheets of steel. Set
> aside the included pump as a backup, but put some proper air into the thing,
> it's amazing.
>
> Also, possibly the weirdest thing: We got two identical machines from Weike
> at the same time, one purchased by the space, one purchased by an individual
> member. They were supposed to be identical in all but paint color, but
> inexplicably the pulleys in one are a different size, requiring the machine
> settings (steps per millimeter or something) to change if you're going back
> and forth between the two machines, say because one is down for repair. We
> still haven't figured out the reason for the build difference.
>
> -Nate B-
>
> opit wrote:
>
> Hello all,
> here at Technarium we're considering buying a laser cutter (water jet
> would be even better, but probably is outside of our financial
> abilities). Maybe any of you have a piece of advice of what to look for
> and what to avoid? What do you use at your space and what didn't work
> out? What's your experience with Lasersaur or with generic machines from
> Alibaba?
>
> Last week there a similar request was posted here, but what we're
> looking for is a larger machine that could also be used by freelancers
> at the space and for custom manufacturing orders. We plan to have up to
> 7500 Euros for it.
> Thanks!
> #o
>
> --
> http://technariumas.lt
> http://blog.technariumas.lt
> http://wemakethings.net
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Re: [hackerspaces] Choosing a laser cutter

opit-2
Thank you all -- much appreciated!
We're tentatively considering making a 100W Lasersaur, using ordinary
aluminium profiles instead of 2080s and an alternative controller
(probably Smoothieware (http://smoothieware.org/)). We'll document the
process and share the schematics.
Have a nice Friday!
#o
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Re: [hackerspaces] Choosing a laser cutter

Brett Dikeman
In reply to this post by justin corwin
From speaking with people who worked on a Lasersaur in our area - the web UI was pretty terrible, they tried to contribute patches to fix various problems, and the author refused to integrate them. That may be outdated information. Have things improved?

-B

On Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 2:02 PM, justin corwin <[hidden email]> wrote:
I have some bad experience with generic machines from alibaba amongst my friends. The most problematic thing is that they tend to advertise their power as what they can measure directly at the laser tube, whereas more reputable companies like Epilog measure power delivered at the tool head, so the cheapness of high power machines has to be balanced with the fact that they may not actually be that capable. 

I like the Lasersaur design, and some places have had good results, just make sure you either buy better parts/kits or have someone who knows about this kind of thing in charge of building it. A crappy power supply or misaligned x-y table can cause endless heartache later. 

On Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 10:56 AM, Joshua Pritt <[hidden email]> wrote:
We've been using the Full Spectrum laser at Makers Local 256 and Melbourne Makerspace with lots of success (with bouts of downtime while replacing the tube or power supply) but it works great for the most part.

On Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 1:53 PM, opit <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hello all,
here at Technarium we're considering buying a laser cutter (water jet
would be even better, but probably is outside of our financial
abilities). Maybe any of you have a piece of advice of what to look for
and what to avoid? What do you use at your space and what didn't work
out? What's your experience with Lasersaur or with generic machines from
Alibaba?

Last week there a similar request was posted here, but what we're
looking for is a larger machine that could also be used by freelancers
at the space and for custom manufacturing orders. We plan to have up to
7500 Euros for it.
Thanks!
#o

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Re: [hackerspaces] Choosing a laser cutter

Robert Davidson
This might be helpful for those on the Lasersaur.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrlaIzfpaQM

We also have a Lasersaur at Dallas Makerspace.

I have CC'd Luke who could probably answer any questions more than I could.

Robert Davidson 


On Tue, Sep 8, 2015 at 12:19 PM, Brett Dikeman <[hidden email]> wrote:
From speaking with people who worked on a Lasersaur in our area - the web UI was pretty terrible, they tried to contribute patches to fix various problems, and the author refused to integrate them. That may be outdated information. Have things improved?

-B

On Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 2:02 PM, justin corwin <[hidden email]> wrote:
I have some bad experience with generic machines from alibaba amongst my friends. The most problematic thing is that they tend to advertise their power as what they can measure directly at the laser tube, whereas more reputable companies like Epilog measure power delivered at the tool head, so the cheapness of high power machines has to be balanced with the fact that they may not actually be that capable. 

I like the Lasersaur design, and some places have had good results, just make sure you either buy better parts/kits or have someone who knows about this kind of thing in charge of building it. A crappy power supply or misaligned x-y table can cause endless heartache later. 

On Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 10:56 AM, Joshua Pritt <[hidden email]> wrote:
We've been using the Full Spectrum laser at Makers Local 256 and Melbourne Makerspace with lots of success (with bouts of downtime while replacing the tube or power supply) but it works great for the most part.

On Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 1:53 PM, opit <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hello all,
here at Technarium we're considering buying a laser cutter (water jet
would be even better, but probably is outside of our financial
abilities). Maybe any of you have a piece of advice of what to look for
and what to avoid? What do you use at your space and what didn't work
out? What's your experience with Lasersaur or with generic machines from
Alibaba?

Last week there a similar request was posted here, but what we're
looking for is a larger machine that could also be used by freelancers
at the space and for custom manufacturing orders. We plan to have up to
7500 Euros for it.
Thanks!
#o

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http://blog.technariumas.lt
http://wemakethings.net
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Re: [hackerspaces] Choosing a laser cutter

Robert Davidson
From Luke 

"I lead the build of a Lasersaur at the Dallas Makerspace earlier this year. It was a significant undertaking in every sense of the word. It was expensive, time consuming, complex, and is still growing as a project. It's in it's adolescence which is better than infancy but it's not a finished design.


The good stuff. We learned a lot in the process about lasers and automation design, the design is constantly improving and Lasersaur machines in the wild can upgrade and follow along, we can customize the design easier than other laser cutters (handy if we build another), the community is active and helpful, it's not the most expensive laser cutter out there.

The bad stuff. There are some interference issues with the motherboard which causes the motherboard to reset sometimes (not a show stopper but not good either), it's not the cheapest laser cutter out there, it doesn't do raster cutting (yet).

I would consider building one if there are a lot of very motivated members with expertise because one person will likely either get burned out or get stuck with a problem they can't figure out on their own. If it's a small group of people who may or may not have time to help then I'd buy something already assembled and ready to go.

The other laser cutters I have experience with is Full Spectrum Laser. They are in a weird place. They are significantly more expensive than the imported lasers but they are very similar in almost every other way. As far as I can tell the only thing Full Spectrum Laser does is swap the control board and panel, provide their own software, and paint it a different color. So it has many of the same problems as the cheap import lasers like crappy power supplies, flimsy mirror mounts, random cheap crap components throughout (weak door hinges, threads that strip, locks that break, lots of that kind of stuff). I don't see them as being a good value but they are probably better than imported lasers from Alibaba since there's someone you can call for support.

If you're seriously considering a Lasersaur build and have questions I'd be happy to do a phone conference or something to answer any questions. Cheers!"

On Tue, Sep 8, 2015 at 5:16 PM, Luke Olson <[hidden email]> wrote:
I lead the build of a Lasersaur at the Dallas Makerspace earlier this year. It was a significant undertaking in every sense of the word. It was expensive, time consuming, complex, and is still growing as a project. It's in it's adolescence which is better than infancy but it's not a finished design.


The good stuff. We learned a lot in the process about lasers and automation design, the design is constantly improving and Lasersaur machines in the wild can upgrade and follow along, we can customize the design easier than other laser cutters (handy if we build another), the community is active and helpful, it's not the most expensive laser cutter out there.

The bad stuff. There are some interference issues with the motherboard which causes the motherboard to reset sometimes (not a show stopper but not good either), it's not the cheapest laser cutter out there, it doesn't do raster cutting (yet).

I would consider building one if there are a lot of very motivated members with expertise because one person will likely either get burned out or get stuck with a problem they can't figure out on their own. If it's a small group of people who may or may not have time to help then I'd buy something already assembled and ready to go.

The other laser cutters I have experience with is Full Spectrum Laser. They are in a weird place. They are significantly more expensive than the imported lasers but they are very similar in almost every other way. As far as I can tell the only thing Full Spectrum Laser does is swap the control board and panel, provide their own software, and paint it a different color. So it has many of the same problems as the cheap import lasers like crappy power supplies, flimsy mirror mounts, random cheap crap components throughout (weak door hinges, threads that strip, locks that break, lots of that kind of stuff). I don't see them as being a good value but they are probably better than imported lasers from Alibaba since there's someone you can call for support.

If you're seriously considering a Lasersaur build and have questions I'd be happy to do a phone conference or something to answer any questions. Cheers!

Luke


On Tue, Sep 8, 2015 at 4:46 PM, Robert Davidson <[hidden email]> wrote:
This might be helpful for those on the Lasersaur.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrlaIzfpaQM

We also have a Lasersaur at Dallas Makerspace.

I have CC'd Luke who could probably answer any questions more than I could.

Robert Davidson 


On Tue, Sep 8, 2015 at 12:19 PM, Brett Dikeman <[hidden email]> wrote:
From speaking with people who worked on a Lasersaur in our area - the web UI was pretty terrible, they tried to contribute patches to fix various problems, and the author refused to integrate them. That may be outdated information. Have things improved?

-B

On Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 2:02 PM, justin corwin <[hidden email]> wrote:
I have some bad experience with generic machines from alibaba amongst my friends. The most problematic thing is that they tend to advertise their power as what they can measure directly at the laser tube, whereas more reputable companies like Epilog measure power delivered at the tool head, so the cheapness of high power machines has to be balanced with the fact that they may not actually be that capable. 

I like the Lasersaur design, and some places have had good results, just make sure you either buy better parts/kits or have someone who knows about this kind of thing in charge of building it. A crappy power supply or misaligned x-y table can cause endless heartache later. 

On Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 10:56 AM, Joshua Pritt <[hidden email]> wrote:
We've been using the Full Spectrum laser at Makers Local 256 and Melbourne Makerspace with lots of success (with bouts of downtime while replacing the tube or power supply) but it works great for the most part.

On Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 1:53 PM, opit <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hello all,
here at Technarium we're considering buying a laser cutter (water jet
would be even better, but probably is outside of our financial
abilities). Maybe any of you have a piece of advice of what to look for
and what to avoid? What do you use at your space and what didn't work
out? What's your experience with Lasersaur or with generic machines from
Alibaba?

Last week there a similar request was posted here, but what we're
looking for is a larger machine that could also be used by freelancers
at the space and for custom manufacturing orders. We plan to have up to
7500 Euros for it.
Thanks!
#o

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http://blog.technariumas.lt
http://wemakethings.net
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