Adding more abilities to your CNC / 3D printer.

I am sure, most of you have heard about lasers.

Right now lasers became a very affordable and useful tool that can convert your 3D printer or CNC frame into a laser engraver or laser cutter.

There are different types of lasers. Dye lasers, for instance, are mostly good for research, Co2 lasers with their potent 1000 watt power are able to cut metal, a big variety of fiber lasers can be used for almost any types of laser cutting and laser engraving. Fiber lasers include impulse and continuous wave (CW) types. In this article we will tell you more about diode and diode-pumped solid-state laser attachments.

The good thing about diode and DPSS laser heads is that they are portable and can be installed on any 3D printer / CNC frame, unlike Co2 tubes that can not be easily installed on an existing router or 3D printer.

Introduction to CNC for a Total Novice.

All you need to know about the Basic GCode for Grbl, Spindle speed and Laser Power, Setting up a Laser, Tuning GRBL Settings

Some interesting things about Co2 tubes

Key abilities of diode lasers. What diode lasers can do and what they cannot do.

First of all, diode laser can cut and engrave all soft materials including wood / plywood / leather / cardboard /hardboard, etc.

Most diode lasers with 5W+ optical power can cut wood and plywood up to 3-4 mm (3/8’’) thick if the density is less than 0.5 g/ cm^3. It is very important to know that if the materials are denser then you will need more power for cutting. For example, to cut 3.2 mm (1/8’’) of MDF you will need at least 15 watt optical power to cut it without charring.

However, the laser with 5-8 watt CW power cuts up to ¼’’ of wood and plywood and dark acrylic.

It’s a pity that diode lasers cannot cut transparent materials. The problem is the coefficient of the absorption level of acrylic. The acrylic absorbs  the laser radiation if the wavelength is more than 5000 nm, Co2 lasers with 10600 nm wavelength cut acrylic easily, while diodes lasers can only engrave.

Another limitation of the diode laser is its inability to cut metal.

For metal cutting you need impulse power or more CW power. Some 150 watt CO2 lasers can cut thin metal with an oxygen assist and a special short focal lens forming a very small laser beam spot.

Learn more about the laser wavelength >>>

Actually, a 10 watt DPSS can cut 0.2-0.3 mm of brass, copper, aluminum and steel.

However, diode lasers can engrave (etching actually) on steel, stainless steel, titanium without any chemicals (engraving paste).

To do in-depth engraving you need a DPSSL. A 4 watt DPSSL will be enough to do 0.1  mm in-depth metal engraving (marking).

What you can do with a 10 watt PLUS PRO laser >>>

So, let’s summarize:

The diode laser can cut up to 3-8 mm of wood / plywood with low density and color acrylic of the same thickness as well as leather, fabric, fiber cloth, cardboard, hardboard, MDF, etc.

The diode laser can etch on stainless steel, steel, titanium without any additional adjustment.

The diode laser can etch on brass and copper with a marking paste such as Cermark, Dry Lube Moly or thermal CPU paste.

Real more 15 watt power abilities

Engraving on glass and acrylic

Metal engraving using a 15 watt diode laser

The DPSSL laser with 4-10 watt power output (impulse) can engrave all types of metals and even do in-depth marking. It can even cut very thin metal, under 0.3 mm thick.

Metal in-depth engraving

Engraving on sapphire glass. Color engraving

Metal marking with 4 watt DPSSL

How easy it is to wire and hook a laser to an existing CNC frame or 3D printer.

To wire a diode laser or a DPSS laser to almost any CNC frame or 3D printer is an easy process taking some 5-15 minutes.

But you need to know what to do.

Most CNC machines and 3D printers have a PWM pin that allows to change the speed of the extruder fan or of the spindle. You may use that pin for wiring the laser.

A PWM signal of 3.5V-24V is enough to start and run most of diode lasers.

The Endurance PRO version supports 0-10V analog input as well.

You just need to find a PWM pin, which is usually FAN1 on most 3D printers,  and a PWM pin on a CNC that is usually used for controlling the spindle speed.

After that you are all set and ready to go.

Installing laser on AnyCubic 3D printer

Adding Endurance lasers on WanHao

Why cheap and non-branded lasers are not a good choice.

Well, most Chinese suppliers do not make enough of testing their products. That is why a lot of people complain about the laser quality and a short life span of their lasers, which is limited to a few months or even weeks. Some unlucky users enjoy their lasers for a few hours only.

There is one more unacceptable thing. Most Chinese suppliers lie about the real power output of their lasers.

Even now, while I’m writing this article someone is telling me in Livechat that he saw a Neje laser with 40 watt power output. In fact, it is 40 watt power input and the output for that laser might be something like 3-4 watt only 5 watt max if you are lucky enough.

Another bad thing  is that most Chinese suppliers do not provide support at all, it is always a pain to get any help or assistance and almost impossible to get a replacement once the laser stopped working in a few month or in a year or something.

Ortur laser vs. Endurance laser

Interesting projects Endurance customers accomplished

The Endurance Laser company supports makers, hobbyist and enthusiasts. We run giveaways from time to time and we have a very strong and supportive Facebook community.

Here is a list of projects that our customers made and shared.

During the last 5.5 years we have sold more than 4000 units worldwide.

During the last 2 years we ship via DHL express. That means that our customers get their lasers within 3-5 days.

A few words about Endurance Lasers LLC.

Endurance Lasers LLC is a US based company registered in Fort Myers, Florida with an office in Naples.

Learn more about Endurance lasers on our official web site

We have a lot of interesting information.

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All questions are welcome.

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Thank you Elon Musk for inspiring me to make lasers. You will need them a million in Space and on Mars >>>