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Convert an older ('03) "industrial" laser cutter to opensource...

Discussion in 'General Talk' started by attleboroarts, Apr 22, 2020.

  1. attleboroarts

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    Hi all, NOOB to laser cutters/engravers. We have a 2003 SEI Eureka (italian) industrial 60W laser cutter engraver that we acquired from a commercial user who was replacing it - it had a broken y-axis motor. Once I'd taken it in and examined it in greater detail, the owner had removed the bad motor altogether, and it was clear that the motor interface board had shorted and fried. Add to that the machine requires their proprietary software (SEI Icaro), a PCI controller board to be installed in the computer it's running (none of which came with the machine), and several other "modifications" or workarounds that they had done over the years. I've contacted the company to inquire about parts and service, and they don't seem eager to help out in fixing this thing, and are doing bare minimum to provide information and pricing, which seems exorbitant to me. There is precious little about this company and its machines online, as far as I can find.

    I'm wondering if it is possible, instead, to rework this machine and upgrade it to opensource software and controllers, and any other updating a 20-ish year old machine could use, with some guidance from the helpful folk here. I've located some new replacement parts, but not all, but the larger question is how to operate it without their proprietary stuff.

    Would anyone have the knowledge, and interest to try and help me figure out how to get the proper inputs to the motors and laser using new tech, if and how this can be done? I have tons of photos, and can get more photos/video or do live video meetings - whatever is needed.


    I should add: if there is a better thread in which this should be posted, please offer your recommendations, Thanks!!
     

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    #1 attleboroarts, Apr 22, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2020
  2. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    If its been standing for a long time the laser tube will likely be dead too (they have a 6-12month shelf life, CO2 dissipates through the glass)
    So probably going to need a tube, as well. The mirrors might not be good either anymore (but thats cheap to replace if they arent, get Molybdenum mirrors, its worth the 50% price increase over the K9 mirror, for better power delivery)

    LightObject Laser Cutters and Engravers stocks all the spares you could hope for

    Controller wise a BlackBox and Grbl's Laser Mode gnea/grbl will run a CO2 laser just fine.

    Mechanics is pretty easy to fix up, if Lightobject doesn't have something you need, you can either re-eingineer it with modular OpenBuilds parts from openbuildspartstore.com, or find replacements from the far east (Ebay/Ali)

    Other projects of interest:

    UK40OB (Converted K40 laser with openBuilds Linear stage)
    https://openbuilds.com/builds/openbuilds-freeburn-1-v-slot-co2-laser-60-100w.5638/ (My laser build from a couple years back, used Lightobjects mirror mounts, laser head, etc)
     
  3. attleboroarts

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    Thanks Peter, the prior owner just took it offline, and report that it worked when decommissioned. Are there any resources you'd recommend to determine how to interface the controllers to the existing electronics (eg. a primer on inputs and outputs that the machine needs as input, and the controller outputs?) I may be tracing lines across the manufacturer's boards, unless I can bypass the whole thing and interface directly with the motors/encoders and the laser inputs. Thanks
     
  4. Rob Taylor

    Rob Taylor Master
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    Forget the existing electronics. As long as you can physically replace the motors and electronically interface with the laser supply and limit switches, it should be trivial to convert it to whatever control system you want. grbl and a laser-specific sender (there are 2-3 popular ones, I think) will work just fine.

    Rip out everything that electrons go through except the laser PSU and limit switches (and maybe those too, depending). New tube, new (stepper) motors, new drivers, new control board. The latter two can be bought combined as the BlackBox, or you can get an Arduino Uno and separate DM542-type drivers.

    It might help if you start by looking into basic CNC machine design, block diagrams of major components, that kind of thing. This conversion should be simpler than you're anticipating (except for the physical access aspects, perhaps!).

    Think of it as a metal scaffold with some belts on it, and you'll be halfway there.
     
  5. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    Best way, except if they are dc motors+encoders, replace motors with steppers, really aren't any cheap CNC controllers that support encoders (or at least not cheap and easy, you can use LinuxCNC but thats a massive effort)

    Laser input: get pictures of LPSU (laser power supply) terminals. Hoping to see labels like WP, TH, TL, G, 5V, IN
     
  6. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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  7. Rob Taylor

    Rob Taylor Master
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    Them's the ones! :D

    LinuxCNC is a fair bit of effort, for sure, but servo drivers that accept step+dir input aren't enormously uncommon. The issue is trying to match unknown servos with drivers. I happened to be idly wondering about this just a couple days ago because of all the ex-industrial eBay specials, but the list of variables to worry about is by all accounts pretty crazy, well beyond just "encoder type" and "coil inductance". So much for grabbing a random Yaskawa motor and trying to plug it into a Mitsubishi driver...
     
  8. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    Still pricier than a Blackbox and 2-3 new motors (; even if your time was free
     
  9. attleboroarts

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    I'm liking the rip out everything electrons go through approach, which I'm sure was cutting edge 2 decades ago....
    The existing motors are DC brushless servo motors (Faulhaber Micromoto 2444S024BK312 + HEDL5540 Optical Encoder....as far as I can tell, for x and y axis). Z motor is different - I think just a stepper, haven't looked to hard at that one. I have a google album link I can share that has dozens of photos of things on this machine, probably some might be useful (the servo controllers, the x motor...not the main board, but I can get that one tomorrow), is it safe to share a google album here?
     
  10. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    Nothing out of the ordinary here specifically, just set the privacy such that the world has only read-only access (so we cant upload/delete to/from it) and make sure the link points to only the album and it only contains pictures you want the world to have access to
     
  11. Rob Taylor

    Rob Taylor Master
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    If they're in good condition, I'd possibly look into the feasibility of maybe keeping them. The existing drivers may not take step/dir inputs, however, so that's the part you'd need to look into. Brushless/3PH AC servos will obliterate steppers on speed every time, and that makes a difference on cycle time with a project like this where you have laser power to spare. (Not to mention being much quieter, torquier, quicker, etc etc etc)

    If the manufacturer/distributor websites aren't much help though, I wouldn't get too bogged down in it. Not the end of the world to switch entirely to steppers, they're plenty quick.

    The Z may well just be a stepper because it's only being used to focus, or maybe do some minor profiling on non-flat surfaces if the original controller has that option. Shouldn't need a whole lot of performance.
     
  12. attleboroarts

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  13. attleboroarts

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    Photos Volume 2:
    Images include the laser power with the input output (USER I/O). they're not individually connected so not sure if that helps.
    I added comments in each photo to describe:

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/QvPmX6iSdvrnS3Sx9
     
  14. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    Ahh ok, RF laser, not CO2!
    Afraid with that you are on your own :) I know a lot about CO2 lasers, never had a RF laser.
     
  15. Walter Glover

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    for a bit of encouragement, I recently managed a refurbish of a 2002 vintage New Hermes Gravograph LS200 to GRBL Arduino control.
    The Synrad laser module worked great with GRBL 1.1h and to increase capability I built a motor mount to allow a 400w router motor for a cnc router. That is now working great as well. Luckily for this refurbish it already worked with stepper motors not servos.
    Good luck on your build!
    Walter
     
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  16. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    Awesome, Do you have some more info on the wiring for him?

    IMG_20200423_114447.jpg
     
  17. Walter Glover

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    Wiring?
    Completely stripped the old electronics to use Arduino and TB6560 motor drivers
    Synrad helped me out with a manual download for the laser. Made up the ‘test plug’ connections and fed it PWM from Arduino
    Used existing power supplies and added a 24 volt supply for steppers 9053E218-DA3D-4B7B-9683-787756C584F7.jpeg
     
  18. Peter Van Der Walt

    Peter Van Der Walt OpenBuilds Team
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    I think thats the one we are interested in (;

    BlackBox instead of TB6560s etc will be much easier, its the pinout for the Synrad (if yours looks like picture above) that would be golden
     
  19. Walter Glover

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    The laser wiring is very model specific
    My laser is a Synrad Firestar v40
    I can supply info for that for sure
     

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