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      Two(+) Years in the Making

      I bought my ACRO 510 in September 2017. At the time, I ordered it with stepper motors and a xPro V3 control board. It wasn't until it arrived that I realized it didn't actually come with the laser module. But, I eagerly assembled the frame, motors and belts and then set it aside. After researching a bit, I ordered a laser module from OptLasers while the frame began gathering dust in the corner of the living room.

      The laser module arrived in a couple of weeks, but I had gotten busy with other things. The laser module was put on a shelf in the garage. When it was time to put up the Christmas tree, the frame got moved from the living room to the garage, and the layers of dust just kept building.

      Fast forward to June 2019, and I get an OpenBuilds Part Store email featuring the BlackBox motion control system. I think the BlackBox sounds great, and I order one thinking I will finally complete my ACRO system.

      But then, with a 3-week Italy vacation starting mid-July I get occupied prepping for and traveling through Italy. I return home, and August and September are spent getting my kids' rooms swapped/repainted, new furniture assembled/installed, refinishing a desk, and designing/building a custom platform bed with bookshelf nightstands and upholstered headboard for my son.

      Finally, in mid-October I get back to my ACRO system. I mount the frame on a piece of 3/4" plywood and assemble/mount the BlackBox motion controller. At that point I decide to order a 24V Meanwell PSU from OpenBuilds rather than using an old no-name 24V supply or wiring two HP server power supplies into a 24V supply like I did for one of my 3D printers. By the time the PSU arrives, I had prepared a Raspberry Pi running the OpenBuilds CONTROL software to be my main GCODE sender. Then, I wire/test the steppers, 3D print some custom limit switch mounts, install/configure/test the limit switches, install a 24V-12V step-down converter, and mount/wire the 2W OptLasers module.

      When I first tried a laser test, I did NOT see the light. The laser module was not activating, and troubleshooting quickly showed that when the laser module was turned on the 12V supply was dropping to 2V. Not a good sign. Fortunately, the guys at Opt Lasers have great customer service, but return/replacement shipping would take a while; so, I turned to Amazon and found a 4W laser engraver module with Prime shipping so I could get back on track with my build.

      The new laser module arrived. I mounted/tested it/got it focused and was happy to start burning things. I quickly realized that I did not want to manually adjust the laser height each time my material thickness changed. So, I decided to make a custom Z axis rig which I have detailed in the forums: ACRO Z-Axis Mod

      I made some tests on various pieces of scrap wood learning how different laser percentages and feed rates affect things. Then I cut up an old belt and do a test on leather.

      The engraved leather looked great, but the smell it made convinced me to take a break from testing and complete the enclosing box I had intended to build. I knew I wanted to build the box to protect people's eyes from the laser, but after the leather test I decided building an airflow/filtration system would be important, too.

      I build the frame/box from miscellaneous leftovers from other projects (1-by framing, 5/16" plywood, random hinges, 120mm PC fans, etc.). The one new purchased piece for the box was a 12"x24" plexi laser shield from J Tech Photonics. I also 3D printed the fan/filter box and the plexi window clamps.

      Anyway, that was the saga of my build.

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      Mark Carew and Rick 2.0 like this.
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