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DIY Laser Cutter Raises Capital, Concerns

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the not-as-dangerous-as-my-toaster-oven dept.

Hardware Hacking 184

An anonymous reader sends this quote from Wired: "Affordable 3-D printers and CNC mills are popping up everywhere, opening up new worlds of production to wide ranges of designers. However, one major tool still hasn’t received a DIY overhaul: the laser cutter. Maybe people are sensitive because Goldfinger tried to cut James Bond in half with one, but all that changes now with Patrick Hood-Daniel’s new Kickstarter, 'Build Your Own Laser Cutter.' ... A 40-watt laser tube and power supply means it can cut a variety of materials: wood, plastic, fabric, and paper. ... There is one major red flag, however. The machine’s frame is built from of Medium Density Overlay (MDO) — a type of plywood. Hood-Daniels says this is a feature, making the blackTooth less sensitive to thermal distortion and inaccuracy than a metal frame, but it also creates a serious, fire-breathing concern. ... When asked for comment, Hood-Daniel says 'Initially, I had the same thoughts as to the precarious use of wood for the structure, but even with long burns to the structure which were made on accident when starting a run, there was no ignition.'"

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So... (4, Insightful)

RobinH (124750) | about 2 years ago | (#41733345)

So that means there's not really any story then?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41733409)

The story is the DIY laser cutter. The title is clickbait.

Re:So... (5, Funny)

Java Pimp (98454) | about 2 years ago | (#41733641)

The "Concern" in the title is that it is made of wood... and therefore may be a witch.

Re:So... (5, Insightful)

Spottywot (1910658) | about 2 years ago | (#41733719)

The "Concern" in the title is that it is made of wood... and therefore may be a witch.

Only if it weighs the same as a duck.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41734515)

More than just "there's no story", there's not going to be a product. Hardly anyone is interested in funding a kickstarter with 25 bucks for essentially nothing in return but your name on a vanity list. Next step up from there is 1500 bucks. So if I'm interested in supporting the project with anything between 50 and 1400 bucks, they're basically telling me to go take a hike. Instant fail.

Posting anonymous because I'm not a karma whore.

This is bad news (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41733367)

This will destroy Rock, Scissors and Paper.

Nothing beats Laser Cutter. The game is ruined.

Re:This is bad news (4, Funny)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 2 years ago | (#41733433)

This will destroy Rock, Scissors and Paper.

Nothing beats Laser Cutter. The game is ruined.

Rods from God [wikipedia.org] beats 40 watt laser cutter.

Re:This is bad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41733795)

My rod is from God. And that's whose name all the girls scream...

Re:This is bad news (5, Funny)

mr1911 (1942298) | about 2 years ago | (#41733851)

"all the girls" = AC's nickname for his left hand

Re:This is bad news (4, Funny)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 2 years ago | (#41733751)

I don’t know. In every game of laser chess I played mirror beats laser. Now we just need to figure in lizards and Spocks.

Re:This is bad news (1)

SScorpio (595836) | about 2 years ago | (#41734087)

I don't know what version you're playing. But 2.0 only has Anubis as having a special rule.

http://www.khet.com/ [khet.com]

New game: rock, laser cutter, mirror ... (4, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | about 2 years ago | (#41733777)

This will destroy Rock, Scissors and Paper.

Nothing beats Laser Cutter. The game is ruined.

Or replaced by a newer variation: rock, laser cutter, mirror.

Re:This is bad news (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41734219)

This will destroy Rock, Scissors and Paper. Nothing beats Laser Cutter. The game is ruined.

RPS is doing just fine with laser and 100 other weapons. [umop.com]

Just cover it in Durashine! (2)

eddy (18759) | about 2 years ago | (#41733377)

Am I 'rite? [youtube.com]

or how about a different material... (2)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#41733769)

...like asbestos and lead?

Somewhat dangerous? (2)

captaindomon (870655) | about 2 years ago | (#41733387)

Maybe they haven't received as much attention because it's difficult to permanently blind yourself with a 3D printer?

Re:Somewhat dangerous? (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41733563)

The power supply for a 40 watt gas laser will give you a bit of a tickle, as well, if you fuck up... Fire is the least of your problems here.

Re:Somewhat dangerous? (4, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 2 years ago | (#41733683)

I suspect the idea here is for this to be the enthusiast's enthusiast toy. One of the single largest cost factors in building a 3d printer is the cost of the laser cut gears, I suspect this is a plan to cut that cost considerably. If you've got one guy out of 20 who can cut new gears for all his friends, suddenly the cost of making and maintaining a 3d printer plummets, and interest sky rockets. I sincerely hope they don't plan on having a DIY 40 watt laser enclosure in every house, I suspect this is more of a bootstrap effort.

Re:Somewhat dangerous? (5, Funny)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#41733809)

I sincerely hope they don't plan on having a DIY 40 watt laser enclosure in every house

Next thing you know lunatics will be demanding kilowatt level radio frequency magnetrons in every kitchen.

And powering lawn trimming machines using refined ultra low flashpoint hydrocarbons

Oh the humanity think of the children

Re:Somewhat dangerous? (2)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 2 years ago | (#41734537)

I did specify DIY. I wouldn't feel terribly comfortable standing in front of a microwave that one of my friends banged up in his garage either.

Local hardware store would work fine ... (3, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | about 2 years ago | (#41733831)

I suspect the idea here is for this to be the enthusiast's enthusiast toy.

Or maybe just put one in the local hardware store. Take your pattern in, they cut up a piece of metal for you.

In principal its a little like the key duplication machine.

Obvious Solution (4, Interesting)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | about 2 years ago | (#41733407)

Dope and paint the wood with flame retardant if it's such a concern.

Problem solved.

Re:Obvious Solution (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41733767)

Dont even do that. Paint it white.

we stopped a 100 watt laser from damaging the cutting sled by painting it gloss white. if you reflect 98% of the energy it's no longer strong enough to cut or burn. Granted you cant be a moron and work around these things without safety goggles, but keeping it from burning is really easy.

Re:Obvious Solution (2)

Rakishi (759894) | about 2 years ago | (#41734103)

The bigger issues with this may be that it causes the laser to bounce back into the lens which asfaik can cause damage to the lens. A decent tabletop laser cutter should be opaque to the laser itself so even a reflection shouldn't requires safety glasses.

Re:Obvious Solution (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41734229)

There was no worry about it bouncing back into the laser with white paint, we used common light scattering paint instead of perfectly reflective front surface paint.

Re:Obvious Solution (1)

wjsteele (255130) | about 2 years ago | (#41734523)

The bigger issues with this may be that it causes the laser to bounce back into the lens which asfaik can cause damage to the lens.

Why would a bouncing infrared laser hurt the lens that the laser beam just passed through??? The other end of the laser tube is another IR mirror. There is no ill effect of having the beam bounce back directly down the path.

Bill

Re:Obvious Solution (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 years ago | (#41734293)

But... but... the song tells me to paint it black...

Re:Obvious Solution (1)

wjsteele (255130) | about 2 years ago | (#41734493)

Dont even do that. Paint it white.

White paint would have no effect unless of course it was "titanium white" in which the titanium would be a relfector. The rest of it would simply vaporize away. This isn't a little laser pointer we're talking about... it's a 40 watt CO2 laser... that has a wavelength of 10600 nm. That's a far longer wavelength than the ~800 you can see in the near infrared and will be absorbed in quite a few materials you think are good optical reflectors. Using a rough metal shield would be the best thing to have. (Smooth metal shields tend to be infrared mirrors... which wouldn't exactly help the issue.)

Bill

What's the point? (2)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about 2 years ago | (#41733413)

If I can't cut nosy Brits in half?

Cover the wood with aluminum foil. (2)

quax (19371) | about 2 years ago | (#41733459)

That should do the trick.

Re:Cover the wood with aluminum foil. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41733657)

I coated the wooded frame of mine with convex lenses because glass scatters light without absorbing the heat from it.

Hey, wait a minute -- why the fuck did I buy a laser?

-- Mitt Romney

Re:Cover the wood with aluminum foil. (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#41734531)

To open the windows?

Re:Cover the wood with aluminum foil. (3, Informative)

quax (19371) | about 2 years ago | (#41733835)

As a word of caution I should add that if you do this please always wear protective goggles. (Not that you shouldn't always do this when around a powerful laser anyhow).

don't look at laser cutter with,oh, never mind... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41734257)

I'm sure a 40W lasercutter is powerful enough to cut through safety goggles.

various materials (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41733473)

A 40-watt laser tube and power supply means it can cut a variety of materials: wood, plastic, fabric, and paper. ... your remaining retina...
kids, high power lasers are not playthings, everyone can get their hands on high power laser, barely anyone has any idea about how dangerous these things can be in the hands of an idiot, most people would probably answer "i shouldnt look into a beam of that 100W laser for too long, right?" when asked what safety precautions to take

Re:various materials (4, Insightful)

Pentium100 (1240090) | about 2 years ago | (#41733635)

It depends. A laser that can cut metal is obviously dangerous and you should not place any part of your body that you want to remain attached in the path of the beam. So, a very high power laser is like a disc saw - everyone can see that it's dangerous (it can cut a piece of wood or metal, obviously it can cut off a finger).

The lower power lasers are different. They do not burn, do not cut and are powered by a couple of batteries, like a flash light. To understand that it is still dangerous, you need to understand that the beam is highly concentrated and can still burn the retina, even tough it does not burn a piece of paper and you do not feel it if you place your hand in the path of the beam.

Similar stuff with guns. Most people understand that a real gun is really dangerous and you can kill someone with it (they may not understand all the safety precautions, but will tell you that you should not load the gun, aim it at somebody and pull the trigger if you do not want to kill that somebody). On the other hand, BB guns are not seen as that dangerous, kids shoot each other all the time with them and if nobody manages to hit an eye, it will be OK.

Re:various materials (4, Informative)

Rhywden (1940872) | about 2 years ago | (#41733693)

Well, theres the small problem that the reflection of the beam may still be dangerous. That's something most people don't think of when speaking about the dangers of high-powered lasers:
It's not only the direct beam you want to be wary of, but indirect sources as well. A friend of mine once got 3rd degree burns from the reflection of a high-power UV laser.

Re:various materials (3, Interesting)

Rhywden (1940872) | about 2 years ago | (#41733739)

What I forgot, just to be clear: I'm not speaking of reflections in a polished mirror. I'm talking about reflections from an ordinary wall.

Re:various materials (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#41733723)

So, a very high power laser is like a disc saw

It's much worse than a disc saw. A disk saw doesn't detach from the table and fly around randomly at the speed of light while bouncing around among reflecting surfaces.

Re:various materials (3, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41733785)

yours doesn't do that? I must have built my disc saw improperly....

Re:various materials (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about 2 years ago | (#41734375)

Obviously, you haven't played enough Tribes.

Re:various materials (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41734093)

At 40W, an incidental reflection off of a shiny bit of metal being cut can be blinding. Wear apprpriate protective goggles around this Class IV laser.

Send a few to Gitmo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41733493)

This is going to revolutionize the art of torture.

When did this happen? (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41733517)

When did the notion start to circulate that anything remotely related to wood is some kind of incendiary deathtrap? Is it when people stopped having to start fires with nothing more than minimal tools and careful arrangement of sticks?

Christ, you've got something designed to cut through plastics with a laser, plastics which are basically just waiting for some added heat to turn into sticky, flaming, hydrocarbon death, and nobody says a thing. Suddenly, terrifying wood,. notorious for perfunctory smoldering in response to heat, bursts onto the scene and everybody is freaking out about ignition. Kids these days.

Somehow, people have been practicing pyrography for millenia without bursting into flames.

Re:When did this happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41733619)

When did the notion start to circulate that anything remotely related to wood is some kind of incendiary deathtrap?

My guess is that it originated with the incediary deathtraps made of wood. Of course, those were only the first successful incendiary deathtraps, the old ones made of beasthide over a bone or branch frame lost structural binding long before they could serve as viable incendiary deathtraps.

However, thanks to SCIENCE!! we have a large variety of viable incendiary deathtraps, my favorite being the adobe structured incendiary deathtrap for the whole environmentally friendly aspect.

Re:When did this happen? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#41733761)

Christ, you've got something designed to cut through plastics with a laser, plastics which are basically just waiting for some added heat to turn into sticky, flaming, hydrocarbon death, and nobody says a thing. Suddenly, terrifying wood,. notorious for perfunctory smoldering in response to heat, bursts onto the scene and everybody is freaking out about ignition. Kids these days.

Did you miss the part where you pressurize the wooden working area with nitrogen from a wooden pressure tank before you start cutting?

Re:When did this happen? (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#41733801)

When did the notion start to circulate that anything remotely related to wood is some kind of incendiary deathtrap? Is it when people stopped having to start fires with nothing more than minimal tools and careful arrangement of sticks?

Christ, you've got something designed to cut through plastics with a laser, plastics which are basically just waiting for some added heat to turn into sticky, flaming, hydrocarbon death, and nobody says a thing. Suddenly, terrifying wood,. notorious for perfunctory smoldering in response to heat, bursts onto the scene and everybody is freaking out about ignition. Kids these days.

Somehow, people have been practicing pyrography for millenia without bursting into flames.

Or no one can make a Makerbot Replicator. After all, its case is made of laser-cut wood (eek!), complete with the signature burnt edging. But then again, if the wood didn't burn up during the piece cutting stage, it could burn up while you're printing, after all, it's wood, there's a heated build platform, and a hot nozzle...

Oh yeah, laser-cut wood. If only we could figure out how to do that without igniting the wood.

Re:When did this happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41734121)

Google "laser cutter fire" and you will discover that plastics often do ignite in laser cutters. In fact, the only common cause of laser cutter failure I am aware of are fires since they are otherwise quite reliable.

A fire in a metal box means you replace some optics and the belts. A fire in a wood box (that has air blowing through it for fume ventilation) will burn down your house.

Re:When did this happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41734269)

A fire in a metal box means you replace some optics and the belts. A fire in a wood box (that has air blowing through it for fume ventilation) will burn down your house

I think you mean your parent's house. This is Slashdot after all.

When did WHAT happen? (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41734249)

I think wood or plastic would be a concern.

I just don' get where your outrage is coming from, I don't see anyt "anything remotely related to wood is some kind of incendiary deathtrap". Nobody's saying wood isn't a safe material. (I'm lying on a wooden couch with a cotton futon as I write this.) But it's kind of the wrong material for a device that tends to run hot. Maytbe it's "safe enough" for this particular application — but you don't need to leap down the throat of anybody suggesting that it's not.

Especially when they haven't even mentioned Obamacare!

Re:When did this happen? (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#41734533)

Over 3500 people die each year from fires. And yet, in thousands of stores across the country, you can buy tools useful for starting fires. Some bars even give them away for free! And Congress does nothing about it.

Now, some of you will claim that most municipalities have teams of people who are specially trained to ensure that fires don't get out of control, but if we really want to be safe, we need to ban all use of fire in homes. Also, because electrical problems can cause fires too, we should ban all use of home wiring immediately. Anything else is an obvious deriliction of duty.

This message brought to you by the National Raw Food Association and Sweater Manufacturers of America.

...really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41733551)

Maybe people are sensitive because Goldfinger tried to cut James Bond in half with one

Oh no, a fictional character used a real item to attempt to cause harm, everyone be afraid of said item!

Re:...really? (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#41734573)

Top hats.

Re:...really? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41734605)

It was a bowler.

To be banned and paranoided on U$A. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41733583)

To pave progress elsewhere. Not a single f. give...

Don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41733589)

Dont worry... it's a feature!

40W Laser (2)

Art Challenor (2621733) | about 2 years ago | (#41733623)

Wait, so we have a DIY device with a 40W laser and people are worried that the plywood might be a fire hazard?

Re:40W Laser (1)

Romwell (873455) | about 2 years ago | (#41733667)

What should they be worried about? A crazy hobbyist running around with a dangerous laser in his garage? A chainsaw is more dangerous in terms of power, speed and portability, and good old gasoline canister is a greater fire hazard.

Re:40W Laser (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | about 2 years ago | (#41733891)

Looks like with a 40W Laser you can basically blind everyone in sight. Much more dangerous than a chainsaw.

Re:40W Laser (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#41734043)

Looks like with a 40W Laser you can basically blind everyone in sight

yeah, well, only once.

so, over time, the risk is nil!

Re:40W Laser (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41734167)

A 40W laser will be no more dangerous than accidentally leave a 40W soldering iron leaning against the surface of the same piece of wood.

Lasers are now scary? (2)

Romwell (873455) | about 2 years ago | (#41733649)

I thought lasers stopped being scary after everyone played with a laser pointer. Or a CD/DVD drive. Or a laser mouse. Or a laser barcode scanner in a store. Or after the Star Wars style laser weapons didn't exactly materialize after all the years of research and investment. As for CNC machines, waterjet systems are more powerful (try cutting stone with a laser), and turret/punch systems are, IMO, more dangerous (things are actually slamming around). I always thought that you'd use laser when you need the extra precision that laser CNC gives you, not the "dangerous" power. As for the fire hazard - try setting a block of wood on fire with a magnifying glass. In general, you would use a laser CNC to cut wood, not to set it on fire (and it cuts nicely indeed). It seems like all the issues the summary talks about are not the real reason why DIY laser cutters aren't abundant. The real reason - talked about in the article - is that commercial cutters are already available for less money [fslaser.com] than even this kickstarter is asking for (you get a smaller, but metal-framed and fully assembled device).

Re:Lasers are now scary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41733781)

I'd buy one. There's a really irritating air model making club nearby, that's really irritating.

Re:Lasers are now scary? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41734027)

Actually, the work area of the commercial cutter is MUCH smaller at 9.5" x 14.5" vs 20.5" x 24.5" of the kickstarter unit. The kickstarter unit is also $1,500 vs $1,850 for the commercial unit (the $1900 version contains a computer, which the commercial unit does not have). The DIY version is also much easier to self-service if needed, lighter and much more compact that any other unit with similar engraving area. Cons: wood construction, unproven warranty, after-purchase support. As for myself, I'm keeping an eye on this project and will probably buy in if it looks favorable in the next week or so.

As to the wood's potential flammability: 1) never run this item unattended, 2) paint the wood with some flame retardant, 3) smoke alarms and fire extinguishers near this device. Simple prudence.

Re:Lasers are now scary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41734283)

As for the fire hazard - try setting a block of wood on fire with a magnifying glass.

40 watt laser = sunlight hitting a half-meter diameter magnifying glass

It's easy to ignite a chunk of wood with that.

How much experience does poster have? (4, Insightful)

dbc (135354) | about 2 years ago | (#41733659)

So I wonder how much experience the poster has with either MDO or laser cutters. I have a laser cutter, and have used MDO, but have never tried cutting MDO. Go try it. I cut plywood and MDF -- I'm less worried about a fire than the laser cutting through the MDO given enough dwell time. But basically, this artcle seems like a "I'm clueless and scared, so let's post unsubstiated speculation to SlashDot."

BTW -- there is another open source laser cutter out there: http://labs.nortd.com/lasersaur/ [nortd.com] I'll probably replace mine with a Lasersaur when my machine dies (it's acting poorly :(

Re:How much experience does poster have? (1)

EdZ (755139) | about 2 years ago | (#41734449)

Plus there are TONS of DIY and open source laser cutters. They were around before the RepRap/Makerbot/Fab@Home/etc DIY FDM scene arrived. Hardly something that's in need of a 'DIY overhaul'.

Needs to cut sheet metal (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | about 2 years ago | (#41733735)

Something like 0.3mm would be great. Then you can cut motor laminations. This would be much closer to replicating its own part than the other guys.

Re:Needs to cut sheet metal (1)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#41733999)

Laser cutters for sheet metal are widely used industrially, but need more power than this little one. 150W to 6000W CO2 lasers are used for metal.

Metal cutting is more difficult than cutting wood or plastic. Getting a clean cut is harder. On plastics or wood you can burn your way through slowly, but on metals, you need enough power for fast cutting or you get slag on the edges.

You need fire protection (1)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#41733747)

I was just cutting medium density fiberboard on a laser cutter last night. The problem is not the laser beam igniting the cabinet. That's hard to do. The problem is igniting the workpiece, which is easy for many materials, and the cabinet not being able to contain the resulting fire. The cutting process should take place in a nonflammable box with an exhaust to the outside.

Sheet steel is cheap. Spot welding is cheap. This is not rocket science.

Re:You need fire protection (1)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#41733823)

Given how mundane the actual manufacture and assembly of rockets is, rocket science is quite a bit less advanced actually...

DIY Laser Cutter Raises Capital, Concerns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41733755)

I initially read that as:

DIY Laser Cutter Razes Capitol, Concerns

Monster lizard ravages east coast! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 2 years ago | (#41734305)

I initially read that as:
DIY Laser Cutter Razes Capitol, Concerns

Les, the "B" is out on the printer!

Someone needs a lesson in material science (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 years ago | (#41733763)

On what planet is wood less susceptible to thermal distortion than ... well any metal, or resin or well most other materials I can come up with that would be suitable?

How about ambient moisture changes? Wood warps over time, even various plywood types depending on which side gets more airflow/heat/whatever.

Sigh, I wouldn't worry too much about him burning the place down if he doesn't even grasp the basic materials he's working with I'm not too concerned with him creating a functioning system.

And as for fire ... you guys do realize that laser CNC machines cut wood all the time without fire ... right? It puts its own fires out as the steam coming out of the wood destroys any hope of an active fire. Have you ever started a fire with a magnifying glass on a 2 by 4? No, no you haven't. You might ignite other more flammable materials and use those to light the 2x4, but the energy isnt' there otherwise.

Re:Someone needs a lesson in material science (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 years ago | (#41733907)

Yeah, I think these people are a bunch of liars, trying to justify the use of an ultra-cheap material (plywood) over aluminum or steel by making up bogus claims about metal distortion.

There's other low-cost CNC systems out there that also use such materials (usually MDF), but they don't do it because it's a better material, they use MDF because it's dirt cheap and for hobbyists just doing some engraving or woodcarving, it's usually good enough. But don't pretend it's actually better than aluminum because it's not. It doesn't have anywhere near the rigidity an aluminum or steel-frame CNC machine has, and if you're cutting harder materials (like metals), at any kind of speed, than you absolutely need a highly rigid frame.

Re:Someone needs a lesson in material science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41734235)

Laser CNC machines cut all the time without fires, until there is a fire. Lots of fabric, paper, plastics and coatings go through a laser cutter.

If you google "Laser cutter fire" you will see that they are actually quite frequent and are the most common cause of laser-cutter death (since not much else goes wrong).

Generally you will see less than one fire per year in a heavily used laser cutter, but it only takes one.

Cutting in a burn risk environment (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#41733783)

Just put the 3D printer and the material in an oxygen-depleted environment. It's not like a canister of Nitrogen is expensive, or even dangerous (the gas, not the risk of explosive decompression if you go full retard). It's pretty easy to build a glass enclosure to seal everything in. That way, you could work with wood that would ordinarily burst into flames and it won't. You'll need to setup a infrared thermometer to rake the workbench after and only unlock once the material has cooled, obviously... and air-cooling something that's several hundred degrees takes a few hours... but I see no problem here.

It's simple to design safety features for a design like this. As a backup, you could put a water pressure sprayer in the containment area as well, in case the seals break while the material is in a super-heated state.

This isn't the first DIY lasercutter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41733791)

There are a lot of DIY laser cutter plans around. It's basically the same frame and mechansim as a CNC machine, just without the need to have a Z axis and with a laser and a couple of mirrors mounted instead.

$300K for a kickstarter is pretty high for a project like this.

Fuck off, Souksill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41733815)

Maybe people are sensitive because Goldfinger tried to cut James Bond in half with one

No, maybe people are sensitive because they don't want their fucking eyes burned out, retard.
I mean really, you apparently don't know what you are talking about. Why don't you go back to watching TV. Maybe before Mommy comes home, you can catch an explanation about lasar safety on the Discovery Channel.

Dear Slashdot Management,
please fire this idiot. High power lasers are no joking matter -- they are a serious safety hazard.

Humidty level, how tightly specified is MDO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41733849)

So, if his test was in low humidity environment 0-20% then ok.
Is all MDO really the same?

Hyrdrojet Cutter (1)

Marksolo (970704) | about 2 years ago | (#41733875)

I would rather have a DIY hydrojet cutter. The consumables are cheaper and it is much easier to get one powerful enough to cut metal. To cut metal with a CO2 laser requires over 1000w of power which is a very large and expensive laser.

Horse of a Different Medium (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41733939)

I love how all these "new" cutters and shapers and printers are nothing more than your standard 2D CNC mills with the "mill" part swapped out in favor of a laser, or water jet, or extrusion nozzle... I guess if it ain't borked, don't fix it, right?

What'll we think of next?

Guess Im confused. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41733977)

If you have a dangerous laser capable of burning or cutting something why does it matter what its housed in? If you operate it properly it wont be coming in contact with the lasers wood structure anyway and wont be starting a fire, its not like a laser actually puts out a flame or heat that could catch the wood on fire that is near it yet not actually touching the laser beam.

If a person uses the laser, catches the housing on fire then its their fault because they werent doing it properly. Thats like blaming a car manufacturer because a retard got behind the wheel and crashed into something by no fault save their own. By that logic glock should have a watchful eye glanced at it for using plastics in its gun because the subsequent fire produced by the gun could catch it on fire. Or companies that make matches should be watched because the cardboard/paper packages matches come in could catch on fire.

This is silly (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41733989)

The problem with laser cutters is that they cause plastics to give off toxic gasses when cut. You're literally burning plastic. These systems can start fires, I've seen it. There's a reason you aren't supposed to leave them unattended. This is really not an issue because you should always have a fire extinguisher close at hand when using ANY machinery. However, I'm far more concerned with the toxic gas issue here. You can't just set one of these systems up in your house without a ventilation system and run it. You have to have exhaust fans and ducting to the outside.

Needs proper warning labels (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41734011)

Just slap a "Do Not Look Into Laser With Remaining Eye" label on it and she's good to go.

Comments from a Laser Jock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41734035)

From the pictures it looks like he's using a carbon dioxide laser - great devices, very simple to build and align and they provide great beam quality - not to mention they're delightfully old-school in today's diode laser world.

That being said, the laser is a DC excited CO2 laser - that means the terminals (which don't look too well protected) are at 10 to 15 kV (yes, kilovolts). If you're not used to dealing with that type of setup the burning wood could be your least concern. Also, 40 watts of 10 micron light can be fairly dangerous to the eye (the plexiglass case will stop 10 microns dead, so that is a fine choice), but just about everything is shiny at 10 microns, thus that needs to be watched.

Fortunately 10 microns doesn't go through water, so there is no interest from the shark community.

Re:Comments from a Laser Jock (2)

ballpoint (192660) | about 2 years ago | (#41734325)

...but just about everything is shiny at 10 microns, thus that needs to be watched

Or rather not.

Stop giving this kickstarter publicity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41734095)

Everyone remotely knowledgeable about diy/open source laser cutter designs knows this project is a flop. There are several substantial design issues which will make it perform very poorly (such as the gantry-mounted tube).

Fires are a huge problem for laser cutters and are likely the most common cause of failure for a laser cutter. Normally you just burn the lens and melt the belts. With this guy you get to set your house on fire as well.

It pains me to watch people spend 1500$ without spending 5 seconds on google to verify a projects legitimacy. Fools and their money...

Ultimate 'do nothing' machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41734135)

Ultimate 'do nothing' machine not only shuts self off, but self-immolates.

Bad Idea (2)

cachimaster (127194) | about 2 years ago | (#41734137)

I used to work programming laser cutters. Let's summarize the ways these machines can kill/maim you:

1) Fire: You can build your entire machine on metal, that won't prevent the thing you are cutting from catching fire.
2) Smoke: There's a reason most laser cutters have huge ventilation tubes. The laser will produce smoke, if you cut anything but wood it will be toxic smoke. Not good.
3) Laser: 40 watts is 100 times the power needed to instantly blind you. Lasers of that power are dangerous even bouncing on non-reflective surfaces. The laser is probable IR so invisible too.
4) And IMHO the worst: The high-current high-voltage power source (10 KV or more) can instantly kill you.

The company I worked for had huge problems with the certification of the power source alone.

DIY 40W Laser = terrible idea. CNCs are much cheaper and safer.

Re:Bad Idea (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#41734285)

I see what you're saying, but look how easily you can maim yourself with any power-tool - just touch the blade while it's running. Or a car: just turn the wheel 15 degrees in either direction into oncoming traffic.

That said, most of us aren't old enough to remember, but it took about a hundred years during the industrial revolution to make common machines (from farm equipment to sewing machines to water heaters) safe enough that people weren't killed or maimed on a pretty steady basis. Invent a new machine, and you're back on that learning curve (ouch!)

Re:Bad Idea (1)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | about 2 years ago | (#41734495)

I see what you're saying, but look how easily you can maim yourself with any power-tool - just touch the blade while it's running.

But there is a limitation in range. Unless you actively go to your neighboor who is in front of his home and actively touch him with the tool, it is very difficult for you to harm him. But with a laser that potent you can easily harm him without moving.

Or a car: just turn the wheel 15 degrees in either direction into oncoming traffic.

I don't know about USA laws but I think that you need a licence to operate such a dangerous machinery. And DIY vehicles are not allowed in the road unless they pass a complete inspection and get registered.

Not to forget that cars serve an useful function for a great part of the population, while the utility of 40W lasers for the common user seems marginal, at best (and no, saying than "in ten years it will be different" is not a reasoning).

Could you pick some better analogies, please?

Re:Bad Idea (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#41734313)

1) Fire: You can build your entire machine on metal, that won't prevent the thing you are cutting from catching fire.

Nitrogen canister, regulator, pump to measure gas volume... enclosed container. Fire needs oxygen to burn.

2) Smoke: There's a reason most laser cutters have huge ventilation tubes. The laser will produce smoke, if you cut anything but wood it will be toxic smoke. Not good.

Seal the equipment in an air-tight chamber, vent it to atmosphere when safe or pass exhaust through activated-carbon.

3) Laser: 40 watts is 100 times the power needed to instantly blind you. Lasers of that power are dangerous even bouncing on non-reflective surfaces. The laser is probable IR so invisible too.

Safety interlocks to prevent chamber from being opened while laser is active; Viewing ports made of laser-safe safety glass to absorb specific wavelength of laser beam (same as the safety goggles you should know to wear...).

And IMHO the worst: The high-current high-voltage power source (10 KV or more) can instantly kill you.

Isolation transformer, sealed unit, zero-delay ground return fault interrupt from mains, capacitor buffered to smooth initial load during firing (which would otherwise trip the aforementioned). Proper grounding. Oh, and proper grounding. And proper. Fucking. Grounding.

Now you're right, these things are all dangerous and can kill you... but so can climbing into a hot tub if you're drunk. You can't make something perfectly safe, but you can make it reasonably safe. Your microwave also contains a power supply rated for similar voltages... and similar risks for body damage if the safeties are compromised.

Specular surfaces (1)

dirtaddshp (1188189) | about 2 years ago | (#41734185)

And what about the beam refraction? Specular surfaces anyone? 2w beams are dangerous if they hit you in the eye (instant blindness), what could a 40w do?

Cue Billy Joel in 3..2..1... (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 2 years ago | (#41734205)

We didn't start the ... oh wait.

For those too young to remember [wikipedia.org] .

What? It's not UL Listed? (2)

rickb928 (945187) | about 2 years ago | (#41734339)

Darn, now my insurance company will be asking if I have any laser cutters, 3D printers, etc. And it will probably cost me more than a pit bull, fireplace, or inground pool.

Thieves. Next thing you know, they will also tell me what I can or cannot make with it. Oh, wait [nydailynews.com] ...

It's not the only home-use LC out there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41734421)

Just as an example, here's one that's a bit more expensive and you can print to as a normal printer:

https://www.inventables.com/technologies/desktop-laser-cutter [inventables.com]

DIY laser cutters are nothing new. (1)

John Pfeiffer (454131) | about 2 years ago | (#41734437)

People have been making DIY laser cutters for a few years now. But sometimes it ends up being cheaper to just buy the whole damn thing instead of wasting months fine-tuning all the fiddly bits and still getting less than stellar results.

It's TRUE that there's no real 'definitive resource' for the A-to-Z on how to get it done, but then the same is true for CNC conversions, even though hundreds of people have done them.

I'm in the process of converting my mini-mill and mini-lathe to CNC, after that I've definitely got my eye on making a laser cutter! :3

New song (1)

Billy the Mountain (225541) | about 2 years ago | (#41734551)

by David Byrn: Lasing down the house!

Not a trivial safety concern. (2)

blind biker (1066130) | about 2 years ago | (#41734593)

I've worked with three different laser ablation systems last year. For that, I had to go through a one-day training session, to prepare me for all the safety issues involved. Most notable is protection of your eyes. Any of the lasers at the research institute where I was working, was capable of permanently blinding. Most of them had a continuous power of "only" a few tens of W, while one was a 300 W IR laser which melted a computer's case placed 7 m away - only with the reflected light.

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