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Converting CR-10 to Laser Cutter

Converting CR-10 to Laser Cutter

Changes needed

I love my 10W Endurance Laser that I mounted to my CR-10. However, there are some things that I didn’t keep in mind when I first built the enclosure and air assist for it. This is why I decided to rebuild my setup to improve the usability and reliability of the laser.

Converting CR-10 to Laser Cutter

The preparations

To start, I disassembled the laser almost entirely. I removed the enclosure, the electronics, and all the 3d printing related components. Originally I had intended for this machine to be dual purpose 3d printing and laser cutting, but it turned out that I never actually used the 3d printing functionality of it anymore, as I do have other printers as well. That’s why I decided to convert it to a laser only and make it a bit smaller. Because a laser doesn’t need 400mm of Z travel, I cut off 250mm of the Z-axis to shorten the overall height. This allowed me to move the electronics to the top and still make the enclosure a bit less tall.

Converting CR-10 to Laser Cutter

Assembly

The next step was reassembling everything. This time, I chose to assemble the enclosure rigidly, not isolating it from the vibrations of the printer. The way I had it before caused the whole construction to be quite flimsy and didn’t do much in terms of noise reduction. After the frame and enclosure were assembled, I moved on to mounting all the electronics. They are now all conveniently accessible from the top, which will make testing with different options much more straightforward.

Converting CR-10 to Laser Cutter

Air-Assist

In my original design, I 3d printed an air assist nozzle that fits over the laser itself and directed the air right in the cut. This is great in theory, the problem was though, that I needed a hole in the top to fit the laser through and this is where most of the air escaped. This time I ditched this approach and instead borrowed the design that is included with the 10W+ Endurance laser, where you have an air hose on the side with a .2mm 3d printer nozzle focusing the air to get a directable high-pressure output. This also allowed me to use an almost silent airbrushing compressor, which makes it much more enjoyable to use, as the old compressor was extremely loud.

Converting CR-10 to Laser Cutter

Conclusion

Overall these small changes make the laser much more pleasant to use. The noise improvements with the air-assist will mean that I will actually use it instead of leaving it off because it is too loud. Moving the electronics to the top will make it super easy to install the 10W+ Endurance Laser that I have in the studio to test. Another neat side effect of moving the electronics is that the cable for the laser is no longer in the way of the Y-axis which makes the printer saver and more reliable. So I would say this upgrade was well worth it.

 

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