(Topic ID: 327433)

Laser engraving & cutting for pinball

By 8bitrobo

1 year ago


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  • 26 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 months ago by 8bitrobo
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    There are 110 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 3.
    #51 1 year ago

    I thought that acrylic plastic was never a good choice for pinball use due to its low resistance to impact. Isn't polycarbonate a better choice for use in areas where the plastic is subject to impact?

    #52 1 year ago
    Quoted from 8bitrobo:

    I was always under the impression that casted acrylic was stronger and more scratch resistant. Extruded was good for price and forming because it easier to heat up.

    Theoretically, all of this is true. But harder/more rigid is not always better (i.e. an airplane wing). I've done a lot of testing personally with pinballs and the extruded acrylic both with edge impacts and face impacts, and find the extruded acrylic to be extremely durable. For me, it has proven to be far more impact and scratch resistant than PETG (what OEM plastics are made from). The only thing you have to be careful of is cranking down on fasteners (e.g. screws and nuts) as you will then crack/brake it when that same force on PETG plastics would potentially crack/break it or sometimes just deform around the areas since it is so soft.

    Quoted from John_C:

    I thought that acrylic plastic was never a good choice for pinball use due to its low resistance to impact. Isn't polycarbonate a better choice for use in areas where the plastic is subject to impact?

    Have you never seen or heard of a cracked/broken plastics on a pinball game, even a new one (of course, happens all the time)? What about warping and yellowing? Did you know that just about all of the plastic protectors on the market are made from 1/8" acrylic?

    Maybe back in the day the available acrylics were more brittle, but not today. I've sold dozens of sets all in extruded acrylic without a single crack, chip, or break reported. Also, acrylic is much clearer and refracts the light better so edges appear to glow a little with the light and will not yellow over time.

    In general, extruded acrylic is slightly softer than cast acrylic and easier to cut and polishes better (actually, the laser when cutting creates a perfect polish). It is also a little more flexible, but will always maintain its shape unlike PETG plastics. For pinball plastics either would likely work but why go to the added expense for a similar product.
    pasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).png

    I've used acrylic for plastics on EM's as well as DMD era games with much faster ball speeds and impacts.
    pasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).png

    #53 1 year ago
    Quoted from Mr_Tantrum:

    Have you never seen or heard of a cracked/broken plastics on a pinball game, even a new one (of course, happens all the time)? What about warping and yellowing? Did you know that just about all of the plastic protectors on the market are made from 1/8" acrylic.

    Ease back, Ripley. I wasn't accusing your acrylic protectors as being inferior. I was simply posing the question of acrylics versus polycarbonate, specifically to pieces that might be subject to repeated or direct impacts.

    If you look at the Halloween machine from Spooky Pinball, it has a thin 1/8" polycarbonate shield over a bank of drop targets (to prevent air ball ricochets into the glass). Why do you suppose polycarbonate was used and not acrylic?

    Now, granted, due to the poor design of this particular deflector shield, it breaks quite often. So a thicker shield is really needed.

    I designed a new shield and had one cut from 3/16" acrylic and installed it in my machine. Although I was pretty confident that it would never break, I found that within a short period of time (app. 20 hours of playtime) the acrylic shield showed more and more impacts, scratches, and other blemishes versus a same-sized piece of polycarbonate, especially along the edges. The acrylic showed clear indents while the poly did not.

    So which is better? Acrylic? Polycarbonate? I suppose it depends on the application.

    Shield_1 (resized).jpgShield_1 (resized).jpgUntitled-2 (resized).jpgUntitled-2 (resized).jpg
    #54 1 year ago
    Quoted from John_C:

    Ease back, Ripley.

    I think you may have misinterpreted the mood of my statement. I wasn't being defensive, whatsoever. Simply providing matter-of-fact details along with my experience for everyone to consider regarding the materials. There is certainly more than one way to create pinball plastics and multiple materials that serve the purpose, and everyone needs to determine what works best for them.

    Also, ball deflectors are a different application than plastics and plastic protectors. I don't doubt your findings when comparing materials for this purpose. The more we all share are methods the better it is for others wanting to pursue similar projects.

    BTW, prior to using laser cut acrylic my preferred material and process with CNC cut Lexan (polycarbonate resin thermoplastic). It worked well, but the issue I had with the process is having to make multiple passes with my CNC machine (often resulting in errors), the incredible mess it made, and having to flame polish the edges. It just became too much of an effort for me. When I began making more than the occasional one-off piece a couple of years ago, I decided to start outsourcing to an affordable laser cutter. Since then, my CNC machine has basically become wall art in my garage.

    #55 1 year ago

    I like Acrylic and have used them on my Game of Thrones and TWD over 5-6 years with no issues.
    Plus 10 other game in the pass five years.
    Just made some for my Godzilla Pro, then purchased a premium to make a set for them.

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/godzilla-pro-plastic-protectors-#post-7527371

    2 weeks later
    #56 1 year ago

    Cut my first plastics yesterday. Was really fun and came out perfect. Also, I ended up ordering the external controller and red dot sight for my new Omtech Polar after seeing a few videos of both in action.

    #57 1 year ago
    Quoted from Mr_Tantrum:

    Cut my first plastics yesterday. Was really fun and came out perfect. Also, I ended up ordering the external controller and red dot sight for my new Omtech Polar after seeing a few videos of both in action.

    Pics! Let's see them!

    I'm so happy to see fellow makers around the pin community. I'm really surprised there's not a lot of crossover it seems.

    I'm fairly new to pinball ownership, but I really want to start making my own repro plastics for my machines and maybe print/vinyl cut some art blades (but that's for a different thread)

    #58 1 year ago
    Quoted from BMGfan:

    Pics! Let's see them!
    I'm so happy to see fellow makers around the pin community. I'm really surprised there's not a lot of crossover it seems.
    I'm fairly new to pinball ownership, but I really want to start making my own repro plastics for my machines and maybe print/vinyl cut some art blades (but that's for a different thread)

    Attached a photo of some of the cuts and finished pieces.

    Ruida RDC6442S Controller | https://www.cloudraylaser.com/products/cloudray-ruida-controller-rdc6442g-6442s?_pos=2&_sid=5f2d87c06&_ss=r&variant=12906003857459

    Omtech Polar Red Dot Pointer | https://shop.mas-effects.com/products/red-dot-pointer-for-omtech-polar?_pos=1&_sid=4dcdb6fbc&_ss=r
    IMG_9242 (resized).JPGIMG_9242 (resized).JPG

    Pinside_forum_7592737_3404079 (resized).jpgPinside_forum_7592737_3404079 (resized).jpg
    #59 1 year ago

    Those look great!

    How did you apply the art to the backs?

    #60 1 year ago
    Quoted from BMGfan:

    Those look great!
    How did you apply the art to the backs?

    They are reverse decals applied to the underside of the plastic. Over the last couple of years I have refined my process and materials.

    #61 1 year ago
    Quoted from Mr_Tantrum:

    They are reverse decals applied to the underside of the plastic. Over the last couple of years I have refined my process and materials.

    Oh that's awesome! That's what I was thinking of trying as well. I was thinking of starting with clear vinyl decals printed in reverse.

    #62 1 year ago
    Quoted from BMGfan:

    Oh that's awesome! That's what I was thinking of trying as well. I was thinking of starting with clear vinyl decals printed in reverse.

    Not really open to sharing all of the details regarding my process and materials, but I will say that printing on a clear adhesive medium in reverse and then backing it with white material is a great solution. Also, another tip is that when I do the artwork I do it fully, even where the holes will be. After I apply the decal, I then cut away the decal areas covering the holes. This way you don't have to worry about any art alignment issues.

    #63 1 year ago
    Quoted from Mr_Tantrum:

    Not really open to sharing all of the details regarding my process and materials, but I will say that printing on a clear adhesive medium in reverse and then backing it with white material is a great solution. Also, another tip is that when I do the artwork I do it fully, even where the holes will be. After I apply the decal, I then cut away the decal areas covering the holes. This way you don't have to worry about any art alignment issues.

    Thanks for the info, I didn't mean to pry. I'm not interested in stepping on anyone's business/hustle.

    I'm sorry!

    #64 1 year ago
    Quoted from BMGfan:

    Thanks for the info, I didn't mean to pry. I'm not interested in stepping on anyone's business/hustle.
    I'm sorry!

    No apologies necessary. I'm not really doing anything that someone else couldn't do, but it has taken a lot of time, money, and experimentation to get to a point where I'm happy with the reproduction plastics I'm able to produce for people when they just can't find them anywhere else. The vast majority of the pieces/sets I make is for EM games where reproduction sets are just not available and I also do a fair amount of custom art sets for personalized design and/or rethemes.

    I will say that making pinball plastics not very lucrative and where I spend most of my time is redoing all of the art for every set I produce (scan quality of originals is never good enough, especially on these old games with discolored, warped, and missing pieces). However, it is something I have the skill and toolds to do so I offer plastics on a limited basis.

    #65 1 year ago

    Any problems with the decals peeling from the heat of the lamps?

    #66 1 year ago
    Quoted from Cmartin1235:

    Any problems with the decals peeling from the heat of the lamps?

    I've done dozens of sets over the last few years and have never had a single report of any issues whatsoever (I know that some/many of my EM customers use standard bulbs). I have some of my custom plastics in my own pins but I have LED bulbs, so can't speak firsthand to incandescent.

    The materials I use are all rated for use outdoors for signs, window stickers, etc., so I assume of they can standup to the sun, heat, and other elements then they are durable enough to handle pinball lamps.

    Another benefit is that the decals are significantly more resistant to scratching. Drives me nuts whenever I'm working on a pin and scrape the bottom of a plastic across a bolt sticking up somewhere.

    I know there are purists out there that require screen/digital print directly on PETG, and quite frankly I've had to turn away a handful of such people over the last few years. I take no offense, but ultimately sometimes the choice comes down to staying with their current sub-par plastics, purchasing something like I make, or going without for these types of owners/restorers.

    #67 1 year ago
    Quoted from Mr_Tantrum:

    I've done dozens of sets over the last few years and have never had a single report of any issues whatsoever (I know that some/many of my EM customers use standard bulbs). I have some of my custom plastics in my own pins but I have LED bulbs, so can't speak firsthand to incandescent.
    The materials I use are all rated for use outdoors for signs, window stickers, etc., so I assume of they can standup to the sun, heat, and other elements then they are durable enough to handle pinball lamps.
    Another benefit is that the decals are significantly more resistant to scratching. Drives me nuts whenever I'm working on a pin and scrape the bottom of a plastic across a bolt sticking up somewhere.
    I know there are purists out there that require screen/digital print directly on PETG, and quite frankly I've had to turn away a handful of such people over the last few years. I take no offense, but ultimately sometimes the choice comes down to staying with their current sub-par plastics, purchasing something like I make, or going without for these types of owners/restorers.

    Do you print your decals on a printer you own or do you have a print shop do them for you? I'm jut curious because I've been asked by multiple people to redo apron art for a various array of games but have had to turn most of them down because I don't have a set procedure for guaranteeing a quality product at this point.

    #68 1 year ago
    Quoted from Miguel351:

    Do you print your decals on a printer you own or do you have a print shop do them for you? I'm jut curious because I've been asked by multiple people to redo apron art for a various array of games but have had to turn most of them down because I don't have a set procedure for guaranteeing a quality product at this point.

    I mostly do my own printing but on occasion when I have larger plastics than what I can produce decals for and the customer does not want a seam, then I have a professional printer that I outsource to (costs the customer more, obviously).

    I've done apron art decals for a multitude of games. Sometimes it is as simple as printing on vinyl and cutting to shape for direct application, but sometimes the work is more detailed and requires the use of transfer tape. Regardless, I typically coat my printed vinyl with clear gloss vinyl for protection/durability. If doing apron art there is also the alternative of clearing over the decals.

    #69 1 year ago
    Quoted from Mr_Tantrum:

    I mostly do my own printing but on occasion when I have larger plastics than what I can produce decals for and the customer does not want a seam, then I have a professional printer that I outsource to (costs the customer more, obviously).
    I've done apron art decals for a multitude of games. Sometimes it is as simple as printing on vinyl and cutting to shape for direct application, but sometimes the work is more detailed and requires the use of transfer tape. Regardless, I typically coat my printed vinyl with clear gloss vinyl for protection/durability. If doing apron art there is also the alternative of clearing over the decals.

    Is it safe to assume you have a Cricut machine, too?

    I just got one on clearance from Costco and used it for cutting stencils for repainting some playfield bits and was quite happy with the accuracy and results of both the stencils and the finished product.

    #70 1 year ago

    Your assumption is incorrect, I have a Sillhouette Cameo 4 - hah! I chose the Sillouette over the Cricut for a few reasons, but the biggest factors were not having to subscribe/use the Cricut cloud and the Sillouette has a larger cuttable area (i.e. The minimum inset on the Cameo is .394" and I believe it is .5" on Cricut - not much, but every mm counts when doing larger graphics) when doing die cutting (i.e. printing a shape and then having it cut around it). I believe that Cricut has finally dissolved their subscription use model, but at the time I made my purchase that was not an option.

    Also, there is a technique to doing this well where you have to overlap a smaller cut outline file with an art file that bleeds over the lines so that you never have any white areas around the edges. I generate all of my art primarily in Photoshop, but sometimes in Illustrator (where I always do my line racing for the plastics with the pen tool).

    #71 1 year ago
    Quoted from Miguel351:

    Is it safe to assume you have a Cricut machine, too?

    Sorry it's a pet peeve of mine that I have to say although I'm really happy that you're happy with the machine:

    Friends don't let friends buy Cricuts.

    Seriously literally any other brand is better.

    Cricut is incredibly anti-consumer leveraging things like subscription models and drm'd cartridges to cut what you want. They actively work to lock consumers into an ecosystem where they don't have any other option.

    They have a series of heat presses and mug presses (glorified irons) that MUST be activated online before use. It's an iron!

    They've sued third party software providers for providing options to use your Cricut to cut things not on their cartridges (Cricut Expression and Sir Cuts a Lot).

    I literally have a Cricut Expression I bought for $10 USD at a garage sale because the Cricut changed their software and made it obsolete so it was a paperweight to them. (Although it's not to me because I hacked it).

    The point is: Don't reward anti-consumer behavior. Buy any other brand.

    #72 1 year ago

    To put it in terms of this laser topic, Cricut is sort of like the Glowforge of cutting machines. No offense to any owners of these products as I'm sure countless people own and like them, but I just prefer not to be limited creatively or financially to a specific manufacturer for the ongoing use of an expensive tool that I purchased outright.

    #73 1 year ago
    Quoted from Mr_Tantrum:

    To put it in terms of this laser topic, Cricut is sort of like the Glowforge of cutting machines.

    That's an excellent point! Glowforge is just as bad.

    #74 1 year ago

    That's too bad about Glowforge, their marketing is good, I've always wanted one to tinker with.

    #75 1 year ago
    Quoted from roar:

    That's too bad about Glowforge, their marketing is good, I've always wanted one to tinker with.

    There are some great alternatives to the glowforge.

    Gweike Cloud
    OMTECH Polar
    XTool P2 (just came on the market).

    There are also some lower end commercial machines for about the same price or slightly more than a Glowforge Pro.

    #76 1 year ago
    Quoted from La4s:

    There are some great alternatives to the glowforge.
    Gweike Cloud
    OMTECH Polar
    XTool P2 (just came on the market).
    There are also some lower end commercial machines for about the same price or slightly more than a Glowforge Pro.

    Beat me too it!

    Gweike Cloud seems to be getting good reviews and has a lot of the features of glowforge without the requirement to be online.

    Another option is to find a local makerspace. My makerspace charges $55/mo CAD and I have access to everything from a Trotech Speedy 600 ($60k laser) to a Tormach 1100 (CNC Mill)

    #77 1 year ago
    Quoted from BMGfan:

    Beat me too it!
    Gweike Cloud seems to be getting good reviews and has a lot of the features of glowforge without the requirement to be online.
    Another option is to find a local makerspace. My makerspace charges $55/mo CAD and I have access to everything from a Trotech Speedy 600 ($60k laser) to a Tormach 1100 (CNC Mill)

    I don't know how those places stay in business, all that capital tied up in expensive machinery, takes a whole to of $55 a month users to pay of $60K pieces of equipment. We've had at least one open in Hamilton and subsequently close. Would be nice to have access to nicer toys though, thanks for the reco's La4s and BMGfan

    #78 1 year ago
    Quoted from roar:

    I don't know how those places stay in business, all that capital tied up in expensive machinery

    Yep, basically its a whole lot of volunteer hours and intentionally running at pretty close to break even.

    We also have a fair bit of patience for jank and nothing happens fast.

    #79 1 year ago
    Quoted from BMGfan:

    Beat me too it!
    Gweike Cloud seems to be getting good reviews and has a lot of the features of glowforge without the requirement to be online.

    Gweike has a couple of weird behaviors compared to the Omtech Polar (especially the focus function), which is why I chose the latter. The are the same machine, but the software and support of the Omtech are different/better IMO. BTW, my Omtech even has the Gweike safety button on front instead of a key (something I was very happy about).

    #80 1 year ago
    Quoted from BMGfan:

    Sorry it's a pet peeve of mine that I have to say although I'm really happy that you're happy with the machine:
    Friends don't let friends buy Cricuts.
    Seriously literally any other brand is better.
    Cricut is incredibly anti-consumer leveraging things like subscription models and drm'd cartridges to cut what you want. They actively work to lock consumers into an ecosystem where they don't have any other option.
    They have a series of heat presses and mug presses (glorified irons) that MUST be activated online before use. It's an iron!
    They've sued third party software providers for providing options to use your Cricut to cut things not on their cartridges (Cricut Expression and Sir Cuts a Lot).
    I literally have a Cricut Expression I bought for $10 USD at a garage sale because the Cricut changed their software and made it obsolete so it was a paperweight to them. (Although it's not to me because I hacked it).
    The point is: Don't reward anti-consumer behavior. Buy any other brand.

    I understand where you're coming from. At the time, I hadn't really researched into the whole world of plotters/cutters. All I knew was that the Cricut could import Illustrator files and could cut many different types of materials, including Frisket and decal material. I was never going to spend the crazy $300 on one just for the limited use I was going to get out of it. But, when I saw it on clearance at Costco for $99.97, I jumped on it(also because I had a pinball project that was waiting desperately for stenciled painting). Now that I've used it a few times for said purpose, and things came out really well, if I never use it again, I'm fine with it. Also, with spending so little to get into this new realm of devices, I'm in a better place for stepping up to a better, more expensive, more capable product without the guilt of having spent too much on my first foray into these devices.

    So far, because I'm using all my own homemade images/patterns to cut, I haven't run into any kind of subscription issues or things behind pay walls that I'd want or need. I'm a graphic designer by trade, so I can't foresee any need whatsoever on my end for any of Cricut's offerings, be it fonts, images, or whatever. My unit came with two cutting tips or different sizes, so I should be good for most of the things I need to cut for now. The more serious I get into this, the more I'll research into other, better products. But for now, for under $100, it's hard to beat.

    #81 1 year ago

    Got my red dot laser and controller installed today on my Omtech Polar and I must say they are great additions. I used the controller to do a ramp focus test, determined my optimal lens height, and 3D printed a block the exact height so alignment will be perfect every time now with no need to do math to set focal points in LightBurn. Red dot is great for tracking and exact alignment of object and material.

    I also did my first etching test and I found 20% power, 300 mm/s, and 600dpi to be perfect for extruded acrylic in case anyone else was interested. I also did etching on the x-axis, but I'm curios to try the y-axis (or maybe even both over the top of each other to see the results). When etching remember to reverse your image and etch on the backside of the material (the top should be the flat side).

    #82 1 year ago

    Here are photos of the controller and red dot.

    IMG_9263 (resized).JPGIMG_9263 (resized).JPGIMG_9264 (resized).JPGIMG_9264 (resized).JPGIMG_9265 (resized).JPGIMG_9265 (resized).JPG
    #83 1 year ago
    Quoted from Mr_Tantrum:

    Here are photos of the controller and red dot.
    [quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

    Pretty.....

    #84 1 year ago

    There was a lot of criticism in the video about the lack of a control panel and the ill conceived Wi-Fi set up. Does your control panel solve the first problem? Did you ever try something other than a USB cable for communication?

    #85 1 year ago
    Quoted from Cmartin1235:

    There was a lot of criticism in the video about the lack of a control panel and the ill conceived Wi-Fi set up. Does your control panel solve the first problem? Did you ever try something other than a USB cable for communication?

    The control panel makes things so much easier IMO. I use it for manually setting the focal distance (z height) of the laser instead of doing math in LightBurn (having to measure the material, subtract from 17, enter the offset, remember to home the z-axis every time, etc.) I performed the ramp test for optimal focal distance then 3D printed a block the precise size for perfect focal distance every time. I also use the controller for moving the laser around for cut positioning (handing when using scrap material), and it also shows the cuts on screen as they are occurring. Not to mention knowing exact errors and easily clearing them from the control panel. Also, I removed the ethernet connector on the back of the machine and ran the cable through that hole so I did not have to cut another hole in the metal housing.

    I only use the USB cable which is easy enough for connectivity. I also have the camera via USB, but rarely connecty it as I there is not really a need for the type of work I'm doing. While I certainly could use WiFi, is just as simple (and certainly 100% reliable) to plug the laptop into the units since my laser is out in the garage.

    #86 1 year ago

    One thing that has been bugging me a little bit about the Omtech Polar is the lens cover. Because I focus manually with the controller before each job instead of doing a calculated z-axis offset in LightBurn, this means I have to run the job with the cover off since when the lens is lowered the cover design prevents you from being able to put it back in place.

    Fortunately, a few minutes in Tinkercad and an hour or so on the Bambu Carbon 3D printer to the rescue. I was able to mimic the box cover but design it so that the slot on bottom allowed for installation/removal regardless of the lens position. I happened to have some 5mm diameter x 3mm thick magets which turned out to be perfect for this application.

    Unfortunately, I pulled boneheaded move and installed the magnets upside down so the case repels from laser assembly when trying to put on. However, alignment and print is perfect, so I'm printing my second attempt as I type and hopefully have the magnets marked correctly this time. FYI, I actually pause the printed to insert the magnets and when print is resumed it overlaps the magnet holes some so they are fully secured and will never fall out.

    You can download the 3D models here:
    3D Lens Cover Model | https://www.printables.com/model/493600-omtech-polar-replacement-lens-cover
    3D Focus Block Model | https://www.printables.com/model/493605-omtech-polar-manual-focus-block

    If you don't have the ability to print, then please PM me. I will print both pieces and ship to US destinations for $40

    Here is a photo of my 3D printed cover (left) vs. the original (right) as well as my focus spacer tower that I 3D printed.
    IMG_9274 (resized).JPGIMG_9274 (resized).JPG

    Here is how the 3D printed cover fits after putting into place with the lens actually lowered
    IMG_9276 (resized).JPGIMG_9276 (resized).JPG

    Here is where I store the original cover
    IMG_9271 (resized).JPGIMG_9271 (resized).JPG

    Here is how I use the focus tower I 3D printed to set the perfect distance every time
    IMG_9273 (resized).JPGIMG_9273 (resized).JPG

    Here is where I store the tower
    IMG_9272 (resized).JPGIMG_9272 (resized).JPG

    #87 1 year ago

    I really appreciate you watching me through your thinking. I knew that you could trap objects inside a 3-D print by pausing but I never thought to do that for neodymium magnets. That gives me some really great ideas. I made a dust shoe for my CNC router that connects and disconnects with a M3 screws. Your solution is so much more elegant. I'm giving that omtech a close look.

    #88 1 year ago
    Quoted from Cmartin1235:

    I really appreciate you watching me through your thinking. I knew that you could trap objects inside a 3-D print by pausing but I never thought to do that for neodymium magnets. That gives me some really great ideas. I made a dust shoe for my CNC router that connects and disconnects with a M3 screws. Your solution is so much more elegant. I'm giving that omtech a close look.

    It's a handy technique I've used for a variety of things: magnets, nuts, weights, embedding PCBs (usually with surface mounted SMD/LEDs), etc.

    #89 1 year ago

    I have Vagabond with colorful plastics, but warped due to the too hot incandescent bulbs they used over the years.

    Trying to decide whether to have copies made and cut or to try to reduce the warping of the plastics.

    If someone is good at this, I am not a compulsive perfectionist. If the copies turned out badly, I could just put the old warped ones back on. It is a fun game that shows its age, but the more I play it, the more fun it becomes.

    #90 1 year ago
    Quoted from OldHockeyGuy:

    I have Vagabond with colorful plastics, but warped due to the too hot incandescent bulbs they used over the years.
    Trying to decide whether to have copies made and cut or to try to reduce the warping of the plastics.
    If someone is good at this, I am not a compulsive perfectionist. If the copies turned out badly, I could just put the old warped ones back on. It is a fun game that shows its age, but the more I play it, the more fun it becomes.

    Please PM me if you want to explore a replacement set, and I'll even share my technique for flattening warped plastics if you want to give that a go.

    #91 1 year ago
    Quoted from OldHockeyGuy:

    I have Vagabond with colorful plastics, but warped due to the too hot incandescent bulbs they used over the years.
    Trying to decide whether to have copies made and cut or to try to reduce the warping of the plastics.
    If someone is good at this, I am not a compulsive perfectionist. If the copies turned out badly, I could just put the old warped ones back on. It is a fun game that shows its age, but the more I play it, the more fun it becomes.

    One simple approach is to use a heat gun and get the plastics where they feel almost hot. Don’t overheat.

    Then place between two pieces of glass with some weight to press them flat. I use the glass off the playfield. Simple solution and it works.

    I’ve been in the industrial laser business as a welder for almost 20 years. Amazing to see the laser tech grow and the prices dropping over this time.

    I use solid state lasers that are delivered through a fiber optic cable. We have lasers from a few watts up to 100kW.
    IMG_8628 (resized).jpegIMG_8628 (resized).jpegIMG_8650 (resized).jpegIMG_8650 (resized).jpegIMG_8679 (resized).jpegIMG_8679 (resized).jpeg

    #92 1 year ago
    Quoted from Garrett:

    One simple approach is to use a heat gun and get the plastics where they feel almost hot. Don’t overheat.
    Then place between two pieces of glass with some weight to press them flat. I use the glass off the playfield.

    Pretty much exactly how I do it except I use MDF boards since that's what I have (sometimes clamp them together for a few minutes until the plastic cools or if I have a heavy weight around I'll use that). You will need to not overhead as some old plastics will certainly bleed off color. Just use the heat gun on low, make circle patterns covering entire area, and once you visually see the piece to shine a little then you are ready. Wouldn't hurt if you had a trash extra plastic laying around to practice on.

    #93 1 year ago

    Made my first LED lit sign today for the Donut table at church.

    Here are the stands I used: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BRCBF8HX

    Donuts.gifDonuts.gifIMG_9336.JPGIMG_9336.JPG
    #94 1 year ago

    Very pretty. I can barely see the rastering.

    #95 1 year ago
    Quoted from Mr_Tantrum:

    Made my first LED lit sign today for the Donut table at church.

    Nice work!

    #96 1 year ago

    My only issue is how long it took to etch. While I didn't time it, it was well over an hour at 300mm/sec and 20% power. I need to do some testing to see if a higher speed/power combination achieves similar results.

    #97 1 year ago

    My next project was figuring out ventilation. My Polar is in the garage and since I have brick house with no exterior windows/doors in the garage apart from the main door, this was the best I could come up with while keeping the duct out of the way. I mounted the fan on the back wall, ran the exhaust tubing up to the ceiling, across the ceiling to the front of the garage, and then down at the top of the garage door opening.
    Seems to work like a charm, so I'm happy with it.

    Along with a lot of zip ties and sheetrock anchor screws, here is the ventilation hose I used: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0791V19H7

    IMG_9337 (resized).JPGIMG_9337 (resized).JPGIMG_9338 (resized).JPGIMG_9338 (resized).JPGIMG_9339 (resized).JPGIMG_9339 (resized).JPG

    #98 1 year ago

    Designed these OMTech Polar leg standoffs to maximize the diameter of objects when using the rotary tools.

    https://www.printables.com/model/471227-omtech-polar-fixed-riser

    img_9184 copy (resized).jpgimg_9184 copy (resized).jpg

    As a side benefit, lifting the Polar makes room for storage underneath.

    img_9366 copy (resized).jpgimg_9366 copy (resized).jpg
    #99 1 year ago

    I'm looking at getting into laser cutting, and of course looking for a safe and reasonable entry-level option. Would like to cut wood and acrylic, and do some engraving.

    I see this one, which in some places only mentions engraving but also sometimes mentions cutting:
    https://omtechlaser.com/collections/omtech-laser-engraving-cutting-and-marking-machines/products/40w-co2-laser-engraver-cutter-usb-032b-us?variant=40436868546625

    Would this be reasonable to cut acrylic (if slowly)?

    Are there any other entry-level machines worth recommending out there? (Or, do I need to basically expect to spend over $2k? https://omtechlaser.com/collections/pre-owned-machines/products/polar-50w-desktop-laser-cutter-engraver?variant=40384911212609)

    Thanks!

    #100 1 year ago
    Quoted from prentice:

    I'm looking at getting into laser cutting, and of course looking for a safe and reasonable entry-level option. Would like to cut wood and acrylic, and do some engraving.
    I see this one, which in some places only mentions engraving but also sometimes mentions cutting:
    https://omtechlaser.com/collections/omtech-laser-engraving-cutting-and-marking-machines/products/40w-co2-laser-engraver-cutter-usb-032b-us?variant=40436868546625
    Would this be reasonable to cut acrylic (if slowly)?
    Are there any other entry-level machines worth recommending out there? (Or, do I need to basically expect to spend over $2k? https://omtechlaser.com/collections/pre-owned-machines/products/polar-50w-desktop-laser-cutter-engraver?variant=40384911212609)
    Thanks!

    I own a K40.

    The K40 is the ender3 of laser cutting.

    You can get great results with it if you're willing to treat it as a kit and trade your time for short term cost. It was a better option several years ago when low cost CO2 lasers didn't really exist.

    Out of the box it needs:
    -Air assist (immediate)
    -Better water cooling loop (fine for short cuts in the short term)
    -Better evacuation fan (fine for short cuts in the short term)
    -A height adjustable bed to get focus length right. (fine for short cuts in the short term)

    Bottom line if you're looking for a turn key tool the K40 isn't it, but it's not without value. I'd spend more time with mine if I didn't have access to a Trotec at my maker space.

    DON'T waste your money on an open frame unsafe diode laser.

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