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Initial thoughts from another newbie

I bought an A4 cutter with a 4w laser unit about a month ago. I'm going to try and avoid repeating anything from the last similarly named thread :).

Order:
1) Really easy. I was also expecting a month for delivery to the UK based on expectation set by the website. Delivered in just over a week - I love it when my expectations are exceeded :)

Construction:
1) Although build was straightforward an enjoyable, be warned that the latest assembly guide (v1.5) do contain a couple of potential gotcha's (Main one being what I swear are conflicting images on page 6 - easy enough to work out by skipping ahead and looking at the pulley installation though)
2) The front chassis bracket just doesn't work for me. It interfered with the belts.
Side panels didn't all fit together neatly with the corner braces. I noted that some of the printed components had a lot glossier and rougher finish than others, guess they came out of different types of printer?
3) Be careful when fitting the guide rails. I had to push hard enough into the 3d printed gantry carriage that I thought I was going to break them. This was after trying a more gentle insert that didn't allow me to secure the gantry to the top panel
4) Belt tensioning: I had to pull tighter than I was comfortable with given the printed parts but it works like a charm - everything is dead straight & clean when cutting.

First use(s):
1) Read the emails that come through properly! I had to wait an extra day to play because I didn't realise that the cut2d registration process
2) Repeatedly followed the laser focus guide to the letter. Got great tunes and lines out of / on the height guide. However.... cuts were crap with full power on 4W laser, worse than what others were recording with 3 watts on identical material (3mm ply from a uk supplier called hobbycraft). By playing around I discovered that if I added about another mm to the separation height before tuning then this made all the difference. I'm still yet to tune it properly but its now at least equivalent to others 3w performance (I'm currently using for hobby & christmas presents so have slightly odd priorities!)
3) Occasionally have this weird behaviour post homing where the head violently judders out to the left. No idea what causes it, power cycle seems to fix
4) Cut2d is fantastically easy to use. As a complete newbie I was expecting to spend a week learning the ropes. I was cutting useful stuff within a day (& I'm not currently the brightest spark).
4) Have had two occasions where it randomly froze and made a nice hole in my suicide support. Definitely need to keep a close eye on it!
5) building a more rigid replacement base is high on the todo list. Slight sag in the middle can cause headaches - maybe more noticeable because I haven't properly tuned laser height. Slightly concerned about how to securely mount to the corner uprights so I don't damage them.

Other comments:
1) A4 unit is a lot easier to hide from the other half but will quickly lead to regret of not getting an A3 one when you get caught out.
2) I think the map cut outs that seem popular are a great way to learn the basics of inkscape & cut2d if you are a newbie. Also help undo the damage if you have been trying to hide your new toy from the other half but got caught red handed.

Cheers for the new toy, I'm loving it!

Andy

Comments

  • Andy, it's great to hear success stories such as yours, even with the caveats. I'm troubleshooting a horizontal wiggle burn problem with support, but mostly all is good with my A3 Emblaser. Support is extremely responsive, at least via email, which works with my relaxed timeline.

    I had read that a flexible base is a concern and checked mine. More distance between feet means greater deflection, too. My answer was a honeycomb sandwich. I purchased some 0.090 aluminum plate (aluminium?) which was probably twice as thick as it needed to be. I have a machinist surface plate (granite, flat to 0.001" across the entire surface) and weighted the new plate with aluminum honeycomb and epoxy. Seriously rigid now. Because the plate is on the underside of the original, it does not interfere with the corner braces, although I purchased longer screws to secure both plates to the corner brace. A bit heavier, but the A3 is a big machine already.

    I'm looking forward to getting the wiggle out so I can start using mine for useful and fun project.
  • Hi Andrew,

    Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences and thoughts.
  • Good shout on the honeycomb Fred, I'd come across it as well due to other comments on this forum (Possibly yours!). Now you've done it, do you think the full sandwich was necessary? - Reason is that I was contemplating getting the honeycomb and just placing it on the current base, thought it might be rigid and straight enough with just that (Working on 10 or 15mm depth of comb & an A4 unit)

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