Forums

benchtop CO2 laser

Started by John Larkin December 10, 2019
We make a lot of electro-optical things that are packaged in little
extruded boxes. We do the artwork for, and order, polycarb stickers to
go on the top of the box. That works but has some overhead.

My mechanical guy has a 50 watt CO2 laser at home and did this:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/94hadhmjzxzt9ec/J734_Blue_Box.JPG?raw=1

Basically the laser blasted off the blue anodize to make the
lettering. This took 5 minutes or so. It looks very nice in person.

So it might make sense for us to get a laser here and label the boxes
ourselves.

Amazon has cheap 50 watt CO2 lasers, like this one:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01AJIMCKS?aaxitk=RKMMHyHKeOel8KLqlqsyLg&pd_rd_i=B01AJIMCKS&pf_rd_p=44fc3e0f-4b9e-4ed8-b33b-363a7257163d&hsa_cr_id=3671900520801&sb-ci-n=asinImage&sb-ci-v=https%3A%2F%2Fm.media-amazon.com%2Fimages%2FI%2F81bUqcYWpaL.jpg&sb-ci-a=B01AJIMCKS

Does anyone have anything like this? Any advice?

Given the cost, I guess we could go for more power, although 50 watts
seems common.

I guess we could consider inkjet printing too, with some UV cure ink
or something.

We are now buying some laser-cut rackmount boxes too. 

-- 

John Larkin         Highland Technology, Inc
picosecond timing   precision measurement 

jlarkin att highlandtechnology dott com
http://www.highlandtechnology.com

John Larkin wrote...
> > >We make a lot of electro-optical things that are packaged in little >extruded boxes. We do the artwork for, and order, polycarb stickers to >go on the top of the box. That works but has some overhead. > >My mechanical guy has a 50 watt CO2 laser at home ...
Standard laser cutters are super useful to have in your lab, making all kinds of plastic thingies, glue together, etc. But they also do a fine job at making panels. We have a 35-watt Epilog. At one time or another virtually everyone in the Institute has come by to use it. If your panel is black plastic (with a white inner layer, to show lettering), the laser can make the connector holes, etc. -- Thanks, - Win
John Larkin <jlarkin@highland_atwork_technology.com> wrote in 
news:qnnvue9ih6o2578a388v2m5jcbdqevm9p5@4ax.com:

> So it might make sense for us to get a laser here and label the
boxes
> ourselves. > > Amazon has cheap 50 watt CO2 lasers, like this one: >
Cheapest way is to place a recess in your cases and cut laser labels to affix within the cavity. That way, you can burn an entire array of the labels at once, instead of having to mount the enclosure of each unit individually. The labels come with a tan or grey matte finish on Aluminum and the laser burns that to a dark brown or black matte lettering. You can also burn your logo into it. Data matrix mil spec application compliance is easy at that point as well. There are also label stock of plastic media that have a black top layer to burn off yielding an underlying white base. Also mil spec acceptable. We had a 30W and a 40W benchtop unit. You will also need an air handler to remove the burn dust and it needs to filter it out before it spews the air back into the room or elsewhere. Our bench base was the air handler/filter device. What I saw on Amazon, you could get 50W real cheap. The better brands are more though because they give you more control over the feed rates and power levels, etc. And there is also the resolution of the gantry head. If too rough everything looks bad, especially if you add a data matrix or your logo. So watch out picking the cheaper knock-offs of the real stuff. <https://all3dp.com/2/the-5-best-co2-laser-engraver-machines-you-can- buy/>
On Tue, 10 Dec 2019 19:41:18 +0000 (UTC),
DecadentLinuxUserNumeroUno@decadence.org wrote:

>John Larkin <jlarkin@highland_atwork_technology.com> wrote in >news:qnnvue9ih6o2578a388v2m5jcbdqevm9p5@4ax.com: > >> So it might make sense for us to get a laser here and label the >boxes >> ourselves. >> >> Amazon has cheap 50 watt CO2 lasers, like this one: >> > > Cheapest way is to place a recess in your cases and cut laser >labels to affix within the cavity. > > That way, you can burn an entire array of the labels at once, >instead of having to mount the enclosure of each unit individually.
I think we could load an array of the anodized boxes into the laser and start it up. Come back in an hour or two and they are done. We can buy that box blue anodized from Hammond. Paulo did a red one too, which some people like, but I think it's a little showy.
> > The labels come with a tan or grey matte finish on Aluminum and the >laser burns that to a dark brown or black matte lettering. You can >also burn your logo into it. Data matrix mil spec application >compliance is easy at that point as well. > > There are also label stock of plastic media that have a black top >layer to burn off yielding an underlying white base. Also mil spec >acceptable. > > We had a 30W and a 40W benchtop unit. You will also need an air >handler to remove the burn dust and it needs to filter it out before >it spews the air back into the room or elsewhere. Our bench base was >the air handler/filter device.
We have a solder smoke extraction system, with filtering, for our production benches. We could vent into that.
> > What I saw on Amazon, you could get 50W real cheap. > > The better brands are more though because they give you more >control over the feed rates and power levels, etc. And there is also >the resolution of the gantry head. If too rough everything looks >bad, especially if you add a data matrix or your logo. So watch out >picking the cheaper knock-offs of the real stuff. > ><https://all3dp.com/2/the-5-best-co2-laser-engraver-machines-you-can- >buy/>
Thanks. -- John Larkin Highland Technology, Inc picosecond timing precision measurement jlarkin att highlandtechnology dott com http://www.highlandtechnology.com
John Larkin <jlarkin@highland_atwork_technology.com> wrote in 
news:nmuvuehufn7a0malf51tnbg4k08iebujkg@4ax.com:

> I think we could load an array of the anodized boxes into the laser > and start it up. Come back in an hour or two and they are done. >
Depends on your enclosure size and the array size of the laser gantry bed. They are usually not all that large. But I do not know what your chassis size is. Also, if you do burn a dat-matrix for say a mil job, then if it fails, and many do, you are suck with a failed burned box. If you indent or mill a spot for it and apply the label, you can always reburn a failed label cheaply. Also sometimes there is a typo, so even sans items like data matrix, ther can easily still be failures that would be far more costly.
John Larkin <jlarkin@highland_atwork_technology.com> wrote in 
news:nmuvuehufn7a0malf51tnbg4k08iebujkg@4ax.com:

> We can buy that box blue anodized from Hammond. Paulo did a red one > too, which some people like, but I think it's a little showy. >
You have self claimed high end products, but you are so cheap that you cannot even design and implement your own enclosures?! Wow. Stupid and cheap. There has to be a hundred custom Al extruders in your area. Your stuff could look so good, and have better connector mount points and conduction cooling capacity for your designs. Truly sad that you are so cheap over a few dollars difference, when your image would be bettered by an order of magnitude. Or why would you even need to switch from cheap polymer labeling to laser based? Permeability? Better reason for the recessed mount pocket and hard label. Good thing you do not need to be TEMPEST level shielded. I have doubts you could ever get there if you were required to do so. I cannot believe that you get to mention your products and FANUC together. Hammond... sheesh. Toy lab.
John Larkin <jlarkin@highland_atwork_technology.com> wrote in 
news:nmuvuehufn7a0malf51tnbg4k08iebujkg@4ax.com:

> We have a solder smoke extraction system, with filtering, for our > production benches. We could vent into that. >
You still need an extractor of high cfm at the laser, and it needs a filter, and THEN you can port the exhaust over to the other ductwork. They sell bases just for this purpose and it is not optional, unless you want to increase your chances of getting cancer or a pulmonary disease.
On Tue, 10 Dec 2019 20:20:30 +0000 (UTC),
DecadentLinuxUserNumeroUno@decadence.org wrote:

>John Larkin <jlarkin@highland_atwork_technology.com> wrote in >news:nmuvuehufn7a0malf51tnbg4k08iebujkg@4ax.com: > >> I think we could load an array of the anodized boxes into the laser >> and start it up. Come back in an hour or two and they are done. >> > > Depends on your enclosure size and the array size of the laser >gantry bed. They are usually not all that large. > > But I do not know what your chassis size is.
That blue box in my pic is about 2x3 inches. We do a lot of those. The next one up is about 5x4.
> > Also, if you do burn a dat-matrix for say a mil job, then if it >fails, and many do, you are suck with a failed burned box. > > If you indent or mill a spot for it and apply the label, you can >always reburn a failed label cheaply.
Removing a label would be a nuisance. The boxes aren't expensive, and we rarely have to re-label them. -- John Larkin Highland Technology, Inc picosecond timing precision measurement jlarkin att highlandtechnology dott com http://www.highlandtechnology.com
On Tue, 10 Dec 2019 20:28:24 +0000 (UTC),
DecadentLinuxUserNumeroUno@decadence.org wrote:

>John Larkin <jlarkin@highland_atwork_technology.com> wrote in >news:nmuvuehufn7a0malf51tnbg4k08iebujkg@4ax.com: > >> We can buy that box blue anodized from Hammond. Paulo did a red one >> too, which some people like, but I think it's a little showy. >> > > You have self claimed high end products, but you are so cheap that >you cannot even design and implement your own enclosures?! Wow.
We buy a commercial extrusion cut to length. Is something wrong with that?
> > Stupid and cheap. There has to be a hundred custom Al extruders in >your area. Your stuff could look so good, and have better connector >mount points and conduction cooling capacity for your designs. > > Truly sad that you are so cheap over a few dollars difference, when >your image would be bettered by an order of magnitude.
We've sold over 12,000 of the small box products so far. People seem to like them. One product has sold 3612 so far. The design took a weekend. I did another two over the long Thanksgiving weekend. The alternative to knowing how to market is to design a lot of stuff so that some of it might sell.
> > Or why would you even need to switch from cheap polymer labeling to >laser based? Permeability? Better reason for the recessed mount >pocket and hard label. > > Good thing you do not need to be TEMPEST level shielded. I have >doubts you could ever get there if you were required to do so. > > I cannot believe that you get to mention your products and FANUC >together.
FANUC just got sold. GE wrecks most everything it touches. -- John Larkin Highland Technology, Inc picosecond timing precision measurement jlarkin att highlandtechnology dott com http://www.highlandtechnology.com
John Larkin <jlarkin@highland_atwork_technology.com> wrote in 
news:fb20vedtb5n9r3uihk50ls9gupesmsqfop@4ax.com:

> We buy a commercial extrusion cut to length. Is something wrong with > that? >
No. You said you bought hammond cases. Sad.