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Adventures in robotics

Olaf BaeyensOlaf Baeyens wrote 10/18/2016 at 21:20 • 1 min read • Like

My adventures in building the Thor robot.

https://hackaday.io/project/12989-thor

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 08/15/2019 at 15:36 point

The smoke came from a fuse 24V/0.9A and a resistor that drives a error led. So the fuse blew and for some reason the resistor to drive the LED also.

Normally if the fuse is working then error led should not light up, but when the fuse blows then the error led should light up.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 08/14/2019 at 23:24 point

Black smoke coming out of my Grlb controller board and I have no idea why.  Tried to replace the DRV8255 with a TMV2208, but nothing happens, I put back the DRV8255 and I see black smoke. when I power on the machine. The only explanation I can give why I got black smoke is because the DRV8255 was not inserted deep enough and a bad contact could smoke something.


This came out of the blue.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 08/10/2019 at 22:35 point

Still having issues cutting through the plywood with the settings I had success with last time. And increasing the number of passes does not seem to solve it. It just fails in the last 0.5 mm.

Small objects seems to do it but big cuts seems to fail.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 08/08/2019 at 21:15 point

Using LightBurn to cut 3 mm plywood made me almost go insane, in some cases it just cuts through and in other cases it refuses. Chancing intensity, slower speeds, number of times ...sometimes the plywood was cut other times it was just the surface.

Apparently the beam never got into focus correctly, I did set the plywood thickness in the global screen but but this seems not to have any effect..

By accident I set it in the layer and suddenly I only need 5 repeats with 5 mm/s to cut through  3 mm with 0.6 mm Z axes moves per repeat.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 08/08/2019 at 21:08 point

Upgraded the indoor tent with a active carbon filter and tested out how fast the pollution can be filtered out.  It seems to filter out HCHO which surprises me, my portable air filter does not do that well.  This setup is an indoor filtering only, and seems to filter the fine dust particles slowly.

The indoor tent works great, no fumes escape into my apartment.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 08/03/2019 at 19:18 point

The indoor tent clearly contains the pollution. Just did a test print to see how my laser  responds to gray levels. Big was my surprise that either I have dark squares and none burned spots. But when I touched these spots I felt that the high laser level burned deeper spots compared to the lower levels. 

To have gray levels you need dithering, but the test print showed me how powerful the laser must be set to burn a reliable spot, too low and the energy is not enough to start a burn and light gets reflected.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 07/31/2019 at 20:30 point

More tests with triplex, it drives me nuts to cut through the material.  I don't seem to get a predictable setting that will cut through it. I m wondering if it is not the glue in between or the fact that it enters a second layer that somehow blocks the laser cutting.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 07/30/2019 at 20:07 point

The indoor tent works great to contain the  air pollution of the laser cutter. I tried to vent the air outside through the window but funny enough the air gets blown back inside Something I did not expect

The fine dust can get easily filtered by a normal potable filter, the HCHO can't that needs to get vented outside For the winter period we probably have to clean the air indoor and at the end of the laser cutting vent the resting air outside The HCHO does not leak outside the tent as far as I can

HCHO seems to occur when I cut through triplex, as long as I just engrave I get more small particles but I seem not to have HCHO incerase

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 07/28/2019 at 21:40 point

I still do not understand how it is possible that the exact same laser cutting settings that cuts through on some plywood does not cut through another plywood that is part of the same batch.

I know that the reflective nature of the material plays a big role, but here it seems that it does not get penetrated in the last 0.5 mm like there is some barrier.

One possibility is that the speed on the cnc machine is different when I cut a bigger part. Maybe the real physical speed is not as fast as I think it is.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 07/28/2019 at 21:36 point

The indoor tent is a big success. the smoke stays confined into the tent while before the smoke was getting everywhere in my apartment. An air filter inside the tent is good enough to remove the dust particles, but the HCHO pollution stayed high so I hat to connect the tent to an air pump and vent it outside.

The air pump is too noisy so I have to figure out how to make it more silent.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 07/27/2019 at 22:10 point

No test yet of the indoor tent to control the pollution of the laser cutter because it is too warm to open the window to ventilate.  Meanwhile the lighting an additional USB hub and webcam has been added.

Waiting for the perfect day. Maybe a quick small test tomorrow.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 07/23/2019 at 21:54 point

The indoor tent put in my apartment has an interesting optical illusion. It look like it is bigger on the inside. Your brain tries to make sense of  peering into an opening that is used to have one space.

When you enter the tent you suddenly feel that your are inside some different room. Peering out of the tent into your living room gives you the impression that  you are in a different dimension.

It is an optical illusion, because your rain tries to make sense of something that no one witrh a right mind would set such a thing up in a living room.

This one is a TRAFIKA 150, the tent material seems very sturdy and the test costs only 129 euro's for 150x150x200.

The laser cutting testing will happen only next weeks because of a heat wave I don't want to open my windows this week.

It still makes sense to encapsulate a working area that you use for 3D printing and laser cutting off from the living room and yet close buy.

The first test will be a portable filter inside the tent. If this fails to bring down the air pollution then I will go to plan B and have a tubing outside the window.

A web cam will be added so I can see the inside and not need to open the tent until the air is filtered enough.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 07/22/2019 at 20:26 point

The indoor tent came one day earlier, it is an 150x150x200 tent.  It is bigger than expected but I can put in my tables and actually push the tent if I need space or if I want to work in it. First step will be my laser cutter to contain the fumes inside my apartment.

In a second phase it may also contain my 3D printer.

The side panels can be unzipped for 3 of the 4 walls and I have a small window to look inside the tent, but in the end I will put a web cam up to follow the laser cutting.

I also have 6 meters of USB cable so I can control the laser cutter fro am distance.

Now the big question will be: can I clean the air inside the tent enough (I do not have an outside exit wall). Will the CO not become a problem (I am burning things)? I have a CO alarm meter.

I do have a plan B to have an air pump and 10 meters of tubing to vent out the air.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 07/21/2019 at 20:12 point

Fynny I noticed that all CNC 3018 Pro printers sellers pictures of the printer are wrongly assembled!  The drill holder is assembled to the back of the lower frame an this means that you can only use half of the bed. Physically the bed cannot move more to the back in that picture.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 07/21/2019 at 20:07 point

The indoor grow tent is also big enough to contain the 3D printer so the fumes too get contained. I live in an apartment.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 07/21/2019 at 20:05 point

I am getting the gang out lasering materials, but the fumes are still a big issue even when I have a air filter right next to it.

Cutting through 3 mm plywood is still a mystery, it worked the day before with 50 passes and 60 mm/s movement, Today I tried with 50 mm/s and it did not cut through. the exact same material setup and condition.

Still waiting for my indoor grow tent to contain the lasered fumes. The end goal is to have a box for it but the tent makes it easy for me to test the printer and air filter system first before designing the box.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 07/18/2019 at 21:44 point

CNC 3018 Pro has has issues with the connector screws attached to the stepper motors.  They tend to come lose, so I will need to figure this out how to solve this.

A bigger issue when using the laser is the smoke it creates.  Even with an air-filter next to it the fine dust becomes 140 ppm.  It is summer so I can open the appartment windows, but in the winter I won't

I have a potential solution by containing the smoke into a indoor growing tent :-)

It is designed to add air filters inside it, it is designed to deal with  raising heat and it is light tight so a perfect place for a laser room.

In the end I will make a box for it but the tent would make it easy to experiment with the air filters and it is big enough to move inside. It is not a permanent setup.

It is also big enough to not create CO, wee are burning materials inside a closed room so I don't want to get an CO intoxication.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 07/14/2019 at 21:10 point

The 7W laser I purchased is intended to cut parts for my projects. The cutting is faster than the 3D printing.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 07/14/2019 at 21:09 point

All weekend busy setting up the CNC 3018 Pro and the 7W laser. 

I found this simple program called LaserBurn. Very easy to use for laser machines. But I did have to set up some configuration so I can modulate the laser power.

The CNC 3018 Pro assumes that it has a drill not a laser.

LightBurn can control the laser and CNC machine but it's 0.0 coordinates is what the CNC machine stored. The only way to get the 0,0 changed is by using this remote control andd then power off the machine (pull the USB cable too)

Make sure you have a bucket with water and a wet sponge nearby.  LightBurn did not stop the laser and it was set to 20% even though I changed it by hand to 1%. This is clearly a bug but it made my carton that was under it burn and I had to take the sponge.

The biggest issue is that you can only cut when you literally vaporizes the material under it. This makes it release smoke in your home and you need a way to vent it out to filter it.

I may want to get a second CNC 3018 Pro for the drill only. Swapping the laser means some slight configuration changes.

To cut carton I used about 3.5 W power output and 3 passes.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 07/10/2019 at 19:52 point

Just received my  CNC 3018 Pro  (€188) from TopDirect and very surprising quality in boxing and material. 

The 7W blue laser I want to use on this machine I already received yesterday.

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