@pierre, I’d go with yes on that. Thanks for setting up this up.
Do you know if they have a budget for materials? The amount of “crazy” that would could go would be directly proportional to the materials available.
@pierre, perfect! In my mind what you have suggested is still consistent with a “physical switch” (in that you are physically switching a cable to another controller), even if I am taking advantage of English’s lack of precision.
This sounds awesome!
@pierre, or even statically with some test cuts. We should grab a depth gauge and see how far we actually cut at a pass of say 25 mm/s at “full” power (i.e. 16 mA or w/e).
If we did a few quicker passes and adjusted the laser focus in between, we may be able to get a cleaner cut without adding on much time, and help punch out the back. 3/4" is much wider than the plane of focus of the laser, so what we are losing in cutting efficiency, we are making up for in brute force by slowing the laser down, so it may not even necessarily take longer in the long run. Without automation for this in the software, we would have to make some adjusted focusing jigs based on the depth actually cut with a standard speed and power pass (would need different jigs for different materials).
It would be cool to play around if you have something that could measure the depth of cut accurately.
Calling all Makers!
Pierre has mentioned to me a couple of times that if we decide to get another controller for the laser, then we would be able to do a lot of things with open source software that are not possible in RDworks. While developing the capabilities of the second controller we could make it as easy as throwing a switch to flip between the current system, and the development system.
As fond as I am for the Adobe CC workflow for digital content, there are a lot of challenges presented in trying to teach vectors with this and other paid platforms. Inkscape seems to be the best solution for teaching because it is free, and the philosophical roots of the open source community fit best with the mission statement of our organization.
If we hack the controller on our laser, we would be able to basically hit print on the lasercutter directly from inkscape (with some other plugins/software configured), and avoid RDworks altogether.
That alone would be great, but picture if we connected a webcam mounted inside the laser canbinet that scanned your material, keyed in on the weights placed on the surface, and made the software avoid them.
Or what if it could scan a partially cut sheet, and repack your parts to fit onto the workpiece with minimal waste?
Or even just take bits of wast, scan them, and draw a vector path to cut as many palago tiles or snowflakes as possible?
All of these things should be technically possible, but are outside of my current skillset. I think it would make a really great project longterm, and would love to help. If we did some planning and documentation as we do the modifications it could make some great promotional/educational content as well.
I have a working consumer version of this “laser tape-measure” that I picked up at costco for $10. I grabbed it with the idea of hacking it and the LCD screen on it with an arduino, but it is kinda cool and actually works pretty well so I haven’t been overcome by the urge to take it apart yet lol