DSP Laser Controller - Memories (Shouldn't) Last Forever

One of the main reasons I starting keeping this (b)log was to have a centralized place where I can find the tidbits of information that I don't want to forget about. Sometimes, however, forgetting is the goal, and you just can't. So it was the other day...


Mac Control of DSP Controller

People often complain that the LightObject Commercial DSP Controllers are "Windows Only". While that is a true statement, it should not stop you from buying and using one of the best laser controllers on the market.


This issue was a real drag!

During my weekend of upgrades a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that my engraving results had become totally unacceptable. I was sure it had to do with the upgrades I had made; I just couldn't find what it was. But yesterday, I started looking in a whole new direction and found the answer in an unexpected location.


New Laser Tube Installation

On my recent "Laser Upgrade Weekend", I installed a new laser tube. It was pretty uneventful, but there were a couple of challenges to overcome.


You say Z but I say U

One of the projects on my recent weekend of laser upgrades and modifications was to get my z axis automation fully functional. I did it, but discovered some interesting things along the way, like why you may prefer to NOT use the DSP's built in Z axis functionality.


Quiet - But NOT Idle

I haven't updated the blog this past week, but that does not mean I have not been busy. We are awaiting the birth of our 9th grandchild. In preparation, it has been requested (decreed?) that I build a double deck combination baby crib and youth bed to hold the newborn and his 2 year old brother. Another brother and sister already laid claim to the other two bed rooms. When I get it done, I'll post a few pics.

The laser shop has not been idle either. I have not been doing production, but had a whole list of maintenance items to work on. I'll be posting on each of them as well. Until then, here is a sneak peak at what all was covered.
  • Install new laser tube
  • Upgrade the y axis mechanics
  • Install a combined drive card for the x, y, and z axes
  • Replace the 400 step motors on x, y with 200 step motors
  • Get the z axis automated and functional
  • General cleaning, etc.
Most of these got done over the weekend; some more than once so check back for all the gory details when I get the posts and pics up. I still need to button everything up and get it off the workbench and back to its usual workstation. Then I can turn my attention back to the bed for a few days and write blog entries while the finish is drying.


Searching for the Perfect Laser Cutting Table

At some point, everybody who builds a personal laser begins a search for the best and cheapest cutting table they can find, buy, build, borrow, or invent. And like everyone else, I have been on that quest for some time now. But maybe - just maybe - I may have found it.


Laser Power Settings Via PWM Can Fool You

When I bought my first cheap Chinese laser, I set the laser power level with a variable resistor and a mA meter. It worked, but it seemed just a little too iffy to me. If I moved my angle of view of the meter, I would see different readings. I couldn't help longing for a way to be more exact, more repeatable from job to job. Then I heard about the magical PWM. I didn't know what it was, exactly, or how it worked, but I was hearing that it was the modern digital approach to managing power levels in your laser. I'm a modern kind of guy. I'm a digital kind of guy. Sounds like just what I was looking for - or was it?


Are you well connected?

My son talks about a "Klout" score, a measurement of how well connected you are or how much influence you wield on the internet. I wish there were a way to measure how well connected the various parts of our laser systems are. Let me tell you why.


Getting to the Origin

Yesterday, I heard a friend make a comment regarding setting up the start position on his DSP Commercial Laser Controller. I've heard others make similar comments, but was a little surprised when it came from him. So I asked him about it. The comment went something like this:


Laser Engraving and DPI Scan Gap

On laser-related forums there is often talk about engraving quality. Engraving quality depends on a lot of variables, your mechanical setup, the controller you are using, the material you are engraving on, and the time of graphic you are engraving onto that material. Most of the talk I hear is focused on the mythical DPI (dots per inch). Unfortunately, some of what is discussed is misleading, impossible to use, or just plain wrong. So today, I am taking a look at the relationship between DPI and the graphics you are engraving. And, we touch


Material Madness

Due to my curiosity and love of searching out and testing new materials to work with on my laser, my laser center has shelves full of untested or tested-but-not-perfected items waiting for my attention. Occasionally, I need to focus on just one material and make a decision of whether it should be kept and promoted in future products or should it go to my bin of dashed dreams (big gray trash barrel).


Shear(ly) Delighted

One way to remain happy is to lower your threshold for what makes you happy. In other words, take joy from the little things. Last night I found that a decision I made a couple of weeks ago is going the be the source of a lot of happiness in the future.

I do a limited amount of engraving on metal-based products, like anodized aluminum and the various flavors of laserable coated metals. I like the results I get from the lasering, but have always been frustrated by the mechanical issues involved. In particular, cutting the metal sheets has been troublesome.


A laser build is never done

One of the fun things about building your own laser is that you get to keep improving it. Whether it is something totally functional or purely cosmetic or some combination of the two, there is always one more piece to add, one more adjustment to make, one more way to try, one more...


Setting the DSP Laser Controller Advance Applications for Rotational Adapter

The DSP Commercial Laser Controller is a great way to run your laser projects. Unfortunately, the documentation is pretty weak, or even non-existent, for some features. Previously, I did a review of the BuildLog.net Laser 2.x open source rotational adapter, but that was focused more on the adapter itself, and did not discuss the software to any extent. Since that time, the software has been updated and setting up the software to run the adapter are slightly different. So, today I decided to figure out the new settings and to make a short Over-The-Shoulder video that demonstrates exactly how to set it up.