Wood CNC & laser

  • Hi there!!
    i was wonderring that if we could use a duet for running a cnc that runs on belts(for faster movements) and combine it with a laser engraver, we could mill a relief of someone´s picture on the wood AND after that, engrave just some parts with the laser, for example just mark the eyes ,the hair and a little more
    Keeping in mind that it will be a 3d object, the z axis will need to be adjusted while engraving with the laser.
    How sounds all that? do you guys think this is possible to be done?

  • It can be done (with the Duet supporting both a Laser and CNC mode). You will just have to write both configurations (with the new firmware in Beta, it is possible to easily load different configurations). Also have a way to accurately position the laser/cnc bit is a must.

    For a setup like this, I would recommend using a laser module (not the Co2 laser tubes), the ones that can more easily be attached to a head. I have actually looked at them and found that some places have them in 15W modules (greater than that was no where to be found when I looked). These modules simply laser out their bottom, and have a cooling fan at the top (so no mirrors to arrange) - attach them to your machine head and you are mostly good to go.

    As with any dangerous operation (like both CNC and Lasers), care should be taken as it can easily become deadly. It is a good idea to make sure that the laser can't accidentally turn on (there is a module that one will need to make that will correct this - details are on the Duet Wiki). The reflection of a laser is very dangerous to eyes, ensure you either have a safety cover or filtering glasses (for the exact frequency of the laser).

    Note that CNC creates dust and chips, lasers want a very clean environment (with gas extraction to get rid of the vaporized material - you should not breath in that vaporized material).

    Typically Laser machines need less strong motors, while a CNC needs strong motors - if the motors are not strong enough it can get dangerous (cutting too slow can cause the dust to start catching fire - I have personal experience on this, it only started to create embers when I stopped it). Lasers don't mind strong motors.


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