01 – Welcome To A NEW Learning Adventure

The Tangerine Tiger Series with Russ Sadler

In this Series, Russ has purchased a new 500 x 300mm, 50W Chinese laser cutter from eBay with a view to modifying and upgrading it. In fact, he rips out the glass laser tube and high voltage power supply and replaces them with an RF laser source and PSU from Cloudray. Find out how the expensive RF laser source compares to a glass CO2 laser tube and prepare to get your hands dirty!

If you are considering purchasing a CO2 laser machine with an RF laser source from one of the big boy suppliers, I would suggest you check out this series before making a decision!

Chinese laser cutter - rf and glass laser sources
Chinese Laser Cutter – RF and Glass Laser Sources


Looked at from my point of view, I am a very lucky guy because Cloudray have VERY generously sent me some rather expensive equipment to upgrade one of my machines. Hmmm. If I succeed, it could spawn a whole new generation of low cost, high speed, engraving machines. You must admire Cloudray for taking that gamble. HOWEVER, I am expecting either a bribe, or a visit from men in black suits, demanding I desist from showing you how to make cheap fast engraving machines!!!!

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Transcript For A New Learning Adventure: Chinese Laser Cutter

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0:00 welcome to another,

0:03 another what my wife already thinks I’ve

0:08 got another woman out in this workshop

0:10 because I spend so much time here

0:14 I’m going to add another to my harem

0:22 um

0:26 I name the tangerine tiger

0:31 [Applause]

0:32 that’s a waste of a good packet of

0:34 crisps isn’t it yes

0:37 I was stupid enough to buy another one

0:41 I’ve just about got enough room to turn

0:42 around in this workshop now

0:45 with one two three four

0:48 laser machines in here how much trouble

0:50 does a man need

0:52 four laser machines and a wife

0:55 well I suppose I better explain myself

0:57 first of all this is not going to be an

0:59 RDWorks learning lab session

1:02 I’m going to rename this series

1:04 tangerine tiger

1:06 you can see why yeah it’s a vile colour

1:09 but hey I paid less for this

1:14 than i did for my blue my china blue

1:17 machine when i bought that nearly

1:19 five or six years ago I’m losing track

1:21 of time now

1:22 I have to say this is more or less

1:25 exactly the same

1:26 as my previous one things have not

1:29 changed very much at all

1:31 in some ways there are little bits of

1:33 this where the quality is better

1:35 it looks nice and clean everything’s

1:38 black as opposed to gold as it was

1:40 but look at this table

1:44 I mean it’s made of paper aluminium

1:46 paper

1:49 yeah there isn’t much flatness in that

1:52 table

1:52 I’m planning to upgrade this machine

1:55 with all the sort of goodies that i’ve

1:57 put onto the china blue machine

1:59 and take it into another universe

Transcript For A New Learning Adventure: Chinese Laser Cutter (Cont…)

2:04 this adventure is probably going to be a

2:06 lot shorter because i haven’t got to

2:07 learn

2:08 quite so much about the laser technology

2:11 there are parts of it that i have got to

2:13 learn about so don’t get worried there’s

2:14 going to be quite a few in this series

2:17 but again a bit like the fiber laser

2:20 this is going to be

2:21 a little bit niche although this machine

2:24 at about a thousand pounds

2:26 is cheap what I’m going to add to it is

2:29 not cheap seems silly to waste these

2:31 doesn’t it

2:32 oh my goodness me they’re not chips

2:34 they’re crumbs

2:37 [Applause]

2:38 i mean you can’t eat these one at a time

2:42 any longer

2:48 you really need a shovel

2:51 so what’s the plan

2:58 well apart from fixing that door because

3:00 [Applause]

3:02 if you push it over that way it doesn’t

3:05 close

3:06 but if you pull it over this way it

3:09 works fine

3:12 now i’ve got exactly what i was

3:14 expecting when i opened this lid

3:18 let’s take the lid off so that we can

3:21 see what’s going on

3:23 now there are a couple of things I’d

3:24 like you to make a note of first of all

3:27 this tube it’s exactly what i expected

3:29 to find in here

3:31 a piece of junk the company here

3:35 kh laser look as though they make this

3:38 tube

3:40 they put their label on it but it wasn’t

3:42 made by kh laser because kh

3:45 does not exist as a laser manufacturer

3:47 laser tube

3:48 producer it says on here manufactured by

3:51 shangdong ke hui laser equipment company

3:54 limited

3:55 wrong it really ought to say

3:58 labelled by and tested by

Transcript For A New Learning Adventure: Chinese Laser Cutter (Cont…)

4:03 poorly tested by um because

4:08 first of all this claims to be a 50 watt

4:11 tube

4:12 now that’s absolute rubbish because it’s

4:14 50 millimetres diameter oh it’s actually

4:16 not

4:18 oh it’s 54

4:21 normally if you’d get this at 50 mil

4:24 diameter

4:25 and 800 millimetres long which is what

4:27 this is 800 millimetres long

4:29 this would be an absolute certain 40

4:32 watt tube

4:33 the fact that is slightly bigger than 50

4:37 but still the same length still makes it

4:39 a 40 watt tube

4:42 now it says 50 watts peak power on here

4:47 and agreement power 40 watt 49 watts

4:51 why would it be 49 watts peak power is

4:54 normally at least

4:55 10 more than the

4:58 agreement power they don’t tell you what

5:01 the current is

5:02 to run this at this tube will be a

5:05 reject

5:06 a b grade reject that has not made the

5:08 quality grade

5:09 at the normal manufacturer k we have

5:12 come along

5:13 tested these tubes make sure they work

5:16 enough to fool you but not me

5:19 um into thinking that it’s a good tube

5:22 it might be nearly okay

5:24 or it might be nearly junk who can say

5:27 the fact that it hasn’t got metal ends

5:29 on it

5:31 is a good indication that this is

5:32 already a cheap tube before you start

5:34 when you open one of these machines up

5:37 don’t expect to get a good quality tube

5:39 this was bought for peanuts and sold to

5:42 you for a profit

5:43 so when you buy one of these machines it

5:46 will sort of work

5:47 but to get performance out of this

5:49 machine you’ll need to replace this with

5:51 a proper

5:52 a grade tube but the power supply may

5:55 also be a b

5:56 grade power supply it may well be that

5:59 it has got a poor

Transcript For A New Learning Adventure: Chinese Laser Cutter (Cont…)

6:00 response time and that failed the

6:03 response time

6:04 performance which should be ninety

6:07 percent of the demand power

6:08 in less than one millisecond well it’s

6:10 only got to be one and a half

6:11 milliseconds

6:13 and it fails and these codes come along

6:15 and scoop them up for next to nothing

6:16 and fit them into these machines

6:18 but if you go into that with your eyes

6:20 open as i did

6:22 then you’re not going to be disappointed

6:25 if you buy the machine cheap enough you

6:26 can afford to spend another 200

6:28 or 300 pounds on getting a decent tube

6:31 and then you finish up with a half

6:32 decent machine

6:35 now the first thing that I’m going to do

6:38 is to take this tube out of here oh my

6:41 goodness me i’ve just spotted

6:42 look we’ve got we’ve got a 12 volt cable

6:45 here which it might even be six volt

6:47 that goes up to the led strip along the

6:49 back there

6:50 um it’s taped in with the earth wire

6:53 that comes back from the cathode

6:55 and all of these wires run down beside

6:58 the hv cable we’ve got

7:02 a fantastic induction coil i mean it’s

7:05 just

7:06 unbelievable some of the things that

7:07 they get up to

7:11 now we’ve got these tubes here which

7:15 if you leave them as is look this has

7:18 got a great big kink in it

7:19 absolutely diabolical thing is look

7:23 they’ve put the outlet here at

7:26 nine o’clock three o’clock horizontal

7:29 air

7:30 does not find the median point

7:33 that outlet should be sitting at 12

7:36 o’clock

7:37 and so the air in this tube will

7:39 automatically flow up and go

7:40 out and be purged out the air will not

7:43 be purged

7:44 out of here it looks as though they put

7:45 lime juice in here

7:47 um i don’t know what this is but good

7:50 job

7:50 I’m actually not going to be using this

7:52 to you it looks as though they may well

7:54 have nicked

7:55 one of my ideas from a long time ago

7:58 because

7:59 they have this tube and this mirror

Transcript For A New Learning Adventure: Chinese Laser Cutter (Cont…)

8:03 mounted on this back plate this single

8:06 plane

8:07 but one thing that you will notice it’s

8:09 adjustable

8:11 back and forward so that you can get the

8:14 mirror number one lined up with

8:17 mirror number two so perhaps somebody

8:20 has been watching my videos in china

8:23 and they’ve decided that yeah fixing

8:25 mirror one relative to the tube

8:27 is a good idea although i’ve been able

8:29 to get china blue

8:30 running nice and fast the problem is

8:34 i can’t exploit it really to its fullest

8:36 extent

8:37 because i’ve also understood that i

8:40 cannot get

8:41 high speed photo engraving from it

8:44 because

8:44 the response time from the power supply

8:46 itself to produce single dots

8:48 is just not capable hence the reason why

8:52 I bought this machine as another

8:54 development machine

8:56 and what we’re planning to do we’re

8:58 going into the Trotec

9:00 epilogue and universal orchard to pinch

9:04 some of their apples this is a 30 watt

9:06 rf laser

9:08 and I’m going to strap that into into

9:10 here

9:11 and turn this into a rocket of some sort

9:14 so you’re going to follow me into a new

9:15 adventure

9:16 on laser machines i haven’t got a clue

9:19 how these things work

9:20 or how how they actually perform

9:24 now we shall find out and we should find

9:26 out not via menus

9:28 which is the way that the big companies

9:31 operate

9:31 they don’t allow you to see what’s

9:33 really going on

9:35 they don’t explain what’s really going

9:37 on they just tell you to press various

9:39 buttons and choose various menus to suit

9:41 various applications and materials

9:43 no no you know that’s not my style i

9:45 want to know how this thing works i want

9:47 to know how it performs with different

9:48 materials and why

9:50 so i hope you’ll join me in this new

9:53 adventure with

9:54 my beloved tangerine tiger

9:57 so welcome to the new woman in my life

Transcript For A New Learning Adventure: Chinese Laser Cutter (Cont…)

10:01and i hope you’re going to come along

10:02 with me and watch how we transform this

10:05 from ordinary to extraordinary

10:09 well i think while we’ve got the back

10:11 off the machine we might as well make a

10:12 pretty radical start and take the tube

10:16 out

10:18 let’s not bother to unwrap that should

10:20 be let’s just

10:23 slip that

10:29 we’ll snip this as we’re not going to be

10:30 using this tube

10:33 snip that off there a good quality long

10:37 life tube

10:38 will have a nice pink looking hue

10:42 to what they call the ionization tube in

10:44 the centre

10:46 yeah there’s no pink in there so this is

10:48 definitely a cheap

10:49 short life tube

11:04 and there we go now we can see the wood

11:08 for the trees there we go we can open up

11:10 the lid and

11:11 see what’s inside there the good news is

11:15 that it’s got a half decent solid

11:18 coupling on here

11:19 not one of these silly flexible wind-up

11:21 couplings

11:24 it’s quite a stiff mounting bracket on

11:26 the back here

11:28 that’s good pulleys are not stupidly

11:31 small they’re not large but they’re okay

11:34 so we’re not going to get any curtains

11:37 from

11:37 these but we certainly might get

11:38 curtains from pulleys that small

11:41 on the x drive but we’re going to sort

11:42 that out now this is really poor

11:44 practice this

11:45 look they’re using this sensor as

11:48 a means of stopping when it gets to

11:51 within a certain distance

11:53 but if you drive this y-axis fast enough

11:56 it will smack straight into here before

11:59 it has a chance to stop the inertia of

Transcript For A New Learning Adventure: Chinese Laser Cutter (Cont…)

12:00 this and we take it past

12:02 so this really ought to be mounted the

12:05 other way

12:06 so that it’s detecting underneath here

12:09 somewhere so we’re gonna have to fix

12:10 that at some stage before we actually

12:12 use this machine properly

12:14 generally speaking i have to say apart

12:17 from these little criticisms

12:19 it’s not bad the quality of the work on

12:22 here

12:23 it’s it’s pretty good one thing that is

12:25 a bit of a disaster

12:27are these two screws here which are the

12:29 belt tensioning screws

12:32 for the x-axis

12:35 there is nowhere first of all these are

12:38 these are cap head screws with an allen

12:40 key you cannot physically get

12:42 in there anywhere to adjust the tension

12:46 on the belt

12:47 at some point I’m going to have to put a

12:48 hole in the side wall here

12:50 so that i can get access with an allen

12:52 key to tension this belt up but on the

12:55 other hand it does show you that this

12:56 whole assembly here has been

12:58 pre-assembled before it’s been dropped

12:59 into the machine

13:00 the height of this mirror here which is

13:02 mirror number two

13:03 the centre of that mirror has actually

13:05 got to be the defining point

13:08 where I’m going to have to set the head

13:10 the centre of mirror

13:11 number one right what we’re going to

13:14 have to measure

13:16 we’re going to have to use this rail

13:18 here as a reference

13:20 because we can we can measure from here

13:22 to

13:23 somewhere here anywhere it doesn’t

13:25 matter where we measure to but once we

13:26 determine where the centre of that

13:28 mirror

13:28 is relative to this rail we’ve got the

13:31 problem solved

13:32 well the height of that platform to the

13:34 rail

13:38 40.7 so the mirror is 46

13:42 square but it’s off the deck 49

13:46 that’s about right so it’s about three

13:47 millimetre gap under there

13:52 so half of 46 is 23 plus the three is 26

13:56 is plus the 41 so centre height is about

13:59 67 above the rail

Transcript For A New Learning Adventure: Chinese Laser Cutter (Cont…)

14:01 and what i can do now just make sure

14:03 i’ve got my zero set properly

14:05 so the top of that bracket is 16 above

14:07 the rail

14:14okay so there’s our scenario now

14:18 we’ve got the centre of the mirror 67

14:19 above the rail

14:21and we’ve got the top surface of that

14:22 bracket 16 millimetres

14:25 above the rail so therefore the

14:28 centre of the mirror has got to be 51

14:31 above that bracket

14:32 but give or take a little bit roughly

14:36 that’s 28 mil 22 which is 7

14:408 okay so we’ve got to mount this unit

14:46 22 millimetres above the base

14:49 [Music]

14:51 and that’s it

14:54 that’s going to fit in there wonderfully

14:55 well isn’t it if I put the stiffness

14:58 underneath this tray I can put some

15:01 pillars up

15:02 onto these fixings here and

15:06 this whole thing will sit up in the air

15:07 and I should get plenty of air around it

15:10 and we’ll have lots of air holes in the

15:12 cover so the other thing that we’ve got

15:14 to fit in here is a 48 volt power supply

15:17 and look at that this is absolutely

15:20 perfect isn’t it but before we try and

15:23 fit all this lot in

15:25 I’m going to cut away the side of the

15:26 machine so that i can get access to the

15:29 stepper motor

15:30 well that’s a quick overview of the

15:31 adventure

15:33 next time we’ll start cutting holes in

15:35 the end panel

15:37 turning the belt over making a mirror

15:40 too

15:41 and then we start looking at the head we

15:43can fairly quickly

15:45 bash this machine into mechanical shape

15:47 much the same

15:49 as my china blue machine and then we can

15:52 start playing with the

15:53 actual lace unit itself so all exciting

15:56 times

15:57 I hope you kind of come along and join

15:58 me in this adventure because I’m getting

Transcript For A New Learning Adventure: Chinese Laser Cutter (Cont…)

16:00 quite excited about it but

16:01 I’m not forgetting the fact that a i’ve

16:04 still got lots more fiber laser stuff to

16:06 do and b

16:07 i’ve still got quite a bit to do with

16:09 the

16:10 laser technology itself especially long

16:12 focus

16:13 compound lenses so

16:16 until one of the sessions

16:19 thanks for your time and I’ll see you

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