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How to increase the size of a Neje Master 2s

and how to improve the quality of cutting with a well ventilated enclosure

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The Neje Master 2 is a great desktop laser: I got it several years ago, upgraded the board to the 2s and got a 40W laser module able to easily cut through 8mm plywood.

However, I became limited by the size as the working area is around 170mmx170mm. Neje sells the Master 2s Plus version which has a greater working area as well as a Max version which is massive. Upon enquiry, they told me they only sell the entire device and not just the axis which makes it fairly expensive given that I don't need another laser module.

I decided to try to increase the size on my own as well as making a proper ventilated enclosure.

I wanted to keep the same T-shape design and therefore will not exceed the maximum width of the 2s plus version. I will however increase the length as there are no limitations in term of stability. I ordered two 6mm belt for the 2s plus version and will cut open one for the X axis.

The new working area will be 255mmx670mm

Axis modifications

The first step was to take pictures, disassemble the device and refit the new axis together.

From my measurement, and using the two belts initially purposed for the 2s plus version, I determined that the X axis should be 420mm and the Y axis will be 800mm long.

For the axis, I will use V-Slots from OpenBuild in 20x20 and 20x40 sizes. I've tried using regular I-type aluminum profile but they really don't fit.

It was fairly easy to install those back together and the next step was to lengthen the cables.

Neje originally uses a knitted sleeve to hold those together and it's great for the small version but then the cable are raising quite high in folded position when the Y axis is fairly long.

To avoid that and in order to build a low profile enclosure, I decided to use 15x20mm drag chain. It fits perfectly around the device. The only caveat with this drag chain, is that I can no longer slide materials fully underneath the device but that's mitigated by the large Y axis.

For stability purpose, it's important to secure the device to the board on the 4 sides. I've later change those above to the smaller aluminium brackets from Openbuild.

To extend the cables, I used a bunch of 4 wires mic cable: it's very flexible and meant to be bent. I've used an extra single cable for the connection to the laser underneath as this plug has 5 wires. The cable to the laser module is just long enough provided that the cable holder is adjusted.

The re-wiring is a rather tedious process, especially that the original cables are all black: I labelled the original cables, cut them in half, took note of which color matches which letter, and re-soldered everything back, making sure to work on one connector at a time.

Software Setup

Afterwards, it was time to test it. It's important to note that the Neje software will still work as per the regular 2s version which means the working area will remain 170x170mm and there's no way to change that. However this can be changed when using Lightburn.

There are 4 paramaters to be changed: 

1. In GRBL settings: X max travel distance=665mm and Y max travel distance=250mm

2.In Lightburn device settings : X and Y working area (665x250)

It took me some time to figure it out but the X and Y axis are not in the direction I thought they would be and I ended up with a "heightwise" setup. Here's how it looks like as well as a screenshot of the parameters.

I'm pretty sure I could go 5mm further in each axis however I kept some security margin

Here's a first test

New Enclosure

The enclosure includes a 12V 100mm air extractor

I did a quick modelling in Sketchup

And here's the real thing

The air extractor works fantastic !

  • Going Further

    vincentmakes08/12/2021 at 14:33 0 comments

    With this new size and enclosure, this laser has really a lot of potential. Here's a few things I made:

    Two wall lights for the kids. I don't have a picture of the raw cuts but this is 4mm plywood poplar glued together. The back has some spacers to install a LED strip. I cut the plywood in two passes at 270mm/min@100 %

    The dimensions of both lights are 400mmx400mm so I had to slice the base in two pieces so that it looks like one piece in the finish product.

    And here's another project in progress: a RC mustang P51 made of 5mm foamboard from Flitetest


    The cuts are made at 350mm/min@70% in two passes and the score at 500mm/min@50% in one pass. The foamboard is a bit more sensitive to heat and therefore the power has to be decreased. I tried at lower speed at 100% and the top looked good but the bottom was charred in some spot. 

    Here's the cockpit, cut in thick white paper (0.4mm) at 400mm/min@45% one pass. No burn mark and very precise cut.

    I also made other tests with other types of plywood and the thicker I could process was beech plywood with poplar core at 8mm. I tried 10mm birch plywood but I couldn't go through it after 16 passes so I'm not going to insist.

  • Focus and Air Assist

    vincentmakes08/12/2021 at 07:29 0 comments

    I wanted to try air assist with a product from expocncondemand.com . The claim is that the new lens helps with the focus and it provides a direct connection for a air hose.

    I think this product has some potential but I encountered a couple of issues related to my setup. The first one is after adjusting the focus, the nozzle is extremely close to the material. It's not a problem when everything is perfectly flat but when cutting thin sheets of plywood they always have a bend. Also, because of the "T" design of my setup and the heavy weight of the laser module, there's 2mm difference in height between the back position and the front position. With the original lens, it's not a big deal because the operating window is bigger then that but with the G8 lens I had some trouble.

    The other issue is that my enclosure is very low profile and I need to elevate the laser module 40mm above the surface compared to around 25mm with the original lens. And the module can't do a homing without hitting the frame of the enclosure. 

    With the original lens, I can even cut 8mm plywood without changing the height while with the new lens, I have to adjust it for every new material height.

    I also tried with the air assist by connecting a aquarium air pump but I think my flow was not high enough because it didn't improve much.

    Anyhow, I put everything back to the original setup and adjusted the focus again. I must say that even without any focused air assist, the combination of the fan from the laser module and the strong vacuum created by the air extractor is enough to make a nice cut.

    Here's some examples

    8 mm pine : 270mm/min @100% - 6 passes

    The front has hardly any burnt mark

    The sides are not charred - but that's only true when using raw pine

    The back is quite burnt. I probably need one less pass or get a better grid support.

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rossp wrote 09/29/2021 at 21:09 point

Great project and write up. I've just copied the same mod. 

What did you do about the home switch?  I'm currently putting the laser all the way to the left and manually pressing home. If not the laser starts too far over

  Are you sure? yes | no

vincentmakes wrote 10/03/2021 at 17:39 point

Thanks ! yes I do the same for the home switch otherwise it takes a really long time as you said

  Are you sure? yes | no

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