Getting initial LASER focus correct
I was part of the initial Kickstarter group and have had my BoXZY for about 6 months but have only just unboxed it as I was in the throes of rebuilding my workspace for precision stuff.
I have never used a CNC device before but have managed to get the software installed and following the guides have gotten the LASER engraver working. (It seemed to me the simplest device to get going first.) The problem is, I am not sure how to measure the proper distance from LASER to work to properly focus the beam. As a result the spot is greatly elongated in the Y-axis. This means vertical strokes (movement along Y) burn well but horizontal strokes (movement along the X-axis) do not. Edges are not sharp either.
- When BoXZY is homed (X=0, Y=0, Z=0) what is the distance from LASER aperture to the work surface for the purpose of accommodating material thickness?
- I have tried several different distances from LASER aperture to work surface and I can't seem to get the spot small and round. Is it possible there is a problem in the LASER optics? If so, how to be sure and how to correct?
Thank you in advance for your help.
So, if I understand you correctly, if I move the work surface to Z=50.7mm then the LASER should be focused in the surface of the leveling plate? (Confirm: the leveling plate is the three-point magnetic plate that attaches to the three leveling screws magnetically?) In that case, if I put some 10mm-thick material on the leveling plate, set Z=60.7, the LASER should be focused on the surface of the material and if it is not, the focus collar on the LASER aperture should be adjusted to bring the beam into sharp focus?
Apparently there is some other software I am apparently not using because I don't see any "Alignment ON" button in Repetier-Host Mac. So this brings up three new questions:
- Besides Repetier-Host Mac, Inkscape, and thlaser-inkscape-plugin-boxzy, what other software do I need to load?
- Different materials are going to require different amounts of energy to properly etch. I have tried wood and black-anodized Aluminum. It etches the wood but not the anodized Al. I suspect that the feed-rate/step-rate needs to be a lot slower for the anodized-Al to etch so that more energy is delivered to the surface. Where do I set that?
- Is all this information written down in one place? I tried to follow the guides but must have missed something.
(Oh, so many questions now, like whether I should be running this on a BBB or RPi under Linux instead of the Mac Server that runs most of my network.)
Thank you again.
Is this a good question?