This Laser Engraver mod on the Athena II printer will allow you to engrave various designs on cardboard and/or wooden surfaces (acrylic material yet to be tested). You could also use the same setup for cutting sheets accurately enough upto 4mm. There are different steps involved to successfully install the DIY Laser Engraver on the Athena II. Detailed procedure and steps are listed below.
Printing[edit | edit source]
- Download this stl file  for the modified end effector that will be used to mount the laser.
- Print the end effector
Print Settings[edit | edit source]
- Material used = PETG
- Layer Height = 0.2mm
- no. of top/bottom layers = 4
- Infill = 100% (you could give around 60-70 % to minimize the material)
- Printing Temperature = 210 C
- Speed = 80 mm/s
- No supports needed
Bill of Materials[edit | edit source]
Follow the link in the 'where you could find column' to see pictures.
|Description||Count||Where you could find||Estimate Cost|
|3D-Printed end effector||1||Modified End Effector||$0.73|
|Neodymium Ring Magnets (3/8" od x 1/8" thick with countersunk hole)||6||KJ magnetics||$23|
|Laser Module 450nm Blue 1W 12V DC Focus Adjustable for 3D Printer (DIY Engraving)||1||Amazon Link||$68|
|Buck Converter Step Down Module||1||Amazon Link||$7|
|Left over epoxy from the time you built Athena II||1||if you need new one||$5|
Tools needed[edit | edit source]
|S.No||Description||Where you could find|
|1||MOST Delta RepRap or similar RepRap 3-D printer|
|2||Precision Knife||Local Hardware store or Walmart|
|3||Allen key 5/64" or 2mm|
|4||Soldering Kit||Probably from a friend's lab or Maker's Space!|
|5||Card board and a small piece of wire (to mix and coat epoxy)||anywhere|
Skills and Knowledge Necessary[edit | edit source]
- Freecad or CAD experience to modify or re-design the end effector.
- Knowledge of settings in Inkscape and settings in Franklin will help tweak few things.
- 3D Printing.
Assembly, Calibration and Inkscape Instructions[edit | edit source]
Assembly[edit | edit source]
- Finish Printing the modified end effector from the above Printing step.
- Steps 3 to 11 will be familiar to you if you built your Athena II yourself. If you bought an already built Athena II, follow the steps below carefully.The end effector depicted in the images is the original one. It is NOT our modified end effector. But the steps that involve cleaning magnet holes and inserting magnets work exactly the same.
- The magnets come in pairs with pairs being identified as those attracted to each others' same face, that is the sides with the larger diameter recesses should attract each other. Magnets should be placed in the end effector such that nearest-neighbors attract rather than repel. Magnets may be placed in the carriages without regard for polarity.
- Magnets are placed in their pockets with the larger diameter opening facing outward. This is the surface that mates with the ball bearing on the end of a tie rod.
Calibration[edit | edit source]
- The actual end-effector is required for this procedure. If your printer is giving out successful prints, you can skip the calibration, but if you wanna re-calibrate, then start with the next step.
- If you own an Athena II, you would already be aware of the basic calibration process, irrespective of whether you built it yourself or not.
- But if you are new, please use this link. Go to section 2.3 on this page
- Your printer is now calibrated for the Hot End.
- Now that you know the hot end effector calibration process, let's move on to calibrating the laser module end effector.
- After attaching the laser end-effector, home the printer. The base of the laser module used was 63 mm below the end effector. So, enter 120 in the Z position box. This should bring the laser base to around 50 mm above the bed.
- Now, change the fan power to 0 from the Controls tab. This is an important step to switch OFF the laser.
- Then, go to the Setup tab and find the Temps section. Change temp0 value to 0. It should be set to 50 by default. This is to use the laser as intended.
- Now, place a thick (around 4-5mm) cardboard or a plywood sheet on the bed.
- Next step is to Switch ON the laser. Remain alert for this step, fumes may start coming up due to laser cutting through the material. Enter 5 in Fan power under the Controls tab. Watch for any fumes and change back to 0 if anything starts burning. If not, change the focus of the laser so that a dot appears on the sheet instead of a dispersed patch of light.
- Change Fan power to 0 again and now you're ready for engraving.
Laser Engraving Plugin Download[edit | edit source]
- Download Inkscape Gcode Generator Extension from Github here .
- Copy the files to the desired path and launch Inkscape.
Inkscape Instructions[edit | edit source]
- Change document settings in Inkscape to Width=70mm and Height=70mm. This is the maximum area we could engrave at once. This is because the Inkscape generates Gcodes only for what's on the workspace and nothing off the bed. But, a delta printer like AthenaII works on polar co-ordinates and has its 0,0 position at the center of the bed instead of the left lower corner for Cartesian printers.
- Import any image and resize according to the space avaiable. Then, "trace the bitmap" which can be found under Path menu. Press OK and then delete the image file that you imported.
- Next, go to the Extensions menu and find the 305 Engineering plugin and choose the option that comes up under it. In the dialog box that appears, you can provide the directory for the file. Also, change the resolution, engraving speed as required and press Apply and Close the dialog.
- Navigate to the directory where you just saved the file or else look for Quick Access in Windows Explorer. You will find a text file. Open this file and save it as a.gcode file. Now you're ready to Engrave!
Before starting to Engrave-
- Turning Fan Power to 0 on Franklin is your Kill Switch.
- Adjust fan power as needed for better etching. For 2-3mm cardboards, 20% power was enough for a good engraving.
Future Work[edit | edit source]
- A table of materials and thickness with settings for laser power to achieve the best results.
- A way to avoid the manual powering ON and OFF of the laser module via Franklin.