fusion 360 all the way
There are a couple of ways how you can design a machine. My preferred way is to design the complete machine in CAD software. My previous 80W machine was designed in Sketchup, but this was about 4 years ago. In 2016, better alternatives are available and I am switching to Autodesk Fusion 360 now.
Fusion 360 is a parametric modeler with a huge amount of possibilities and very nice features like photorealistic rendering and motion study. The complete machine will be designed in Fusion360, starting with the first part of today, the laser head.
For the head, I am choosing the K40 air assisted laser head designed/sold by lightobject.com
This lightweight head accepts a 18mm lens and 20mm mirror and features an air assist nozzle. It is a very good laser head praised by a lot of people who bought the rather crappy K40 cutter and soon discovered that this machines are capable of nice things after a few modifications. The first modification most people do is adding air assist and the mostly bought laser head is… this one from lightobject.com . Depending on the exchange rate of the USD, you can find this head between $16.50 and $18.50
Air assist is a very handy option. read more about it in this article.
The infrared beam enters the laser head horizontally on the left, bounces on the mirror (45°) and then goes straight down through the focus lens. Exactly 2″ (50.4mm) below the center of the lens, the optimal focus point is reached and that is where all the magic is going to happen.
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