There are a couple of things I would love to have for the glowforge, and im sure other will once they start using theirs: (in order of level of feasibility)
Additional bed types. Pin beds are almost a necessity for cutting acrylic. Blade beds are a great middle ground. I can make those, but if you sell an official one, id prefer to have that as a quick swap option.
A smaller/lighter head with reduced functionality to allow for faster engraves and less unusable space on the sides of the bed. There are a lot of engraves that wont require an onboard camera etc. A simple mirror would be great.
This is a long shot, but a 45 deg or somewhere in that range angled beam head + rotary device. I know you cant fit stuff under the head, but you can fit it out in front of it!
A ‘home square’. An L shaped device with 3 markers on each corner which will allow the glowforge to treat that as 0,0 and will allow you to manually input location based on that for more accurate cuts.
won’t you still need to move a giant laser tube and thus not gain any appreciable speed benefits?
i was thinking about this recently; i was wondering whether the head setup would support some sort of attachment that used moving mirrors to direct the laser in ways that the current setup doesn’t support, like directing it to a rotating platform, etc.
I think it is easy enough to make your own pin bed as shown by SarbarMulimedia.
I don’t think the weight of the head limits the engraving speed. Dan said speed reduces quality, so from that I think the PSU modulation bandwidth is the limiting factor. I am more concerned about the vector speed being slow due to the much heavier Y axis. Dan said it had two motors to but it looks a lot more than twice the mass of the head.
I suggested a front firing head for rotary engraving and IIRC Dan put it in the hopper.
The issue is with speed on the X-axis, as its doing engrave passes. It has to do a full pass before moving only 1 step on the y axis, so no, its not really an issue with moving the gantry. Just the mirror head. And from what I know right now, it only has speed issues because of its weight. So hopefully they can make a skeletal version that can handle some more speed without issue. Its pretty easy to swap em out.
I posited this maybe over a year ago, about attaching a mirror to the bottom of the head to use for rotary cuts, and if they went that far, to maybe make a motorized one to allow for angled cutting etc. Thats a massive undertaking (the motorized one). Ill have to see if I can find that old thread.
The tube is being moved by two steppers on the Y axis. The engravings happen on the X (the head assem.) So lighter would mean less aggressive accelerations / deceleration values. Which would also equal increased engraving space and faster speeds.
The vector speed is about as fast as my k40 before running into accuracy issues. I havent had any prob with cut speed. Its the engrave speed that is limiting. I dont mind a reduction in quality either, for the ability to actually engrave paper and lighter materials. Its not as if I even care to try to 3d engrave those. A constant power level would be just great. You dont need high res for that. Just turn off here, turn on here. The k40 can do it. I dont think itd be a problem for the GF if they can get the speed up that high.
Since the head is only going backwards and forwards the extra mass should only affect the acceleration at the ends of the travel. As long as it is a reasonably wide engrave it should be able to go as fast a lighter head but with a little more over travel. That wouldn’t impact the speed that much.
Not sure what the true limiting factor is and we will probably never be told.
One thing that does happen when you drive steppers fast is their position lags behind the phase pattern. With an open loop system that might be hard to compensate for to get alternate lines precisely aligned. 2D printers tend to use encoders to align the dots vertically.
We saw this issue in some of the early engraves there were showing on the forums…
They also attach the head with magnets. They hold well, but I really feel like the speed they are moving at right now is a lot slower than it can be. Not sure why that is, but hoping to see some speed improvements in the future
The ability to program angled cuts would make me so happy! I’m already planning to build jigs to hold materials at an angle, with hopes of accomplishing some angled cuts. That hope may end up being addressed by laser-cutting a jig for a separate (likely a dremel tool) cutting device.
Since we would like to be able to cut and score paper, I have been thinking about this one a bit. I wonder if there is a way to make an optically flat “attenuator” that would reduce the laser power without distorting the beam. Maybe @dan can provide that as a snap on accessory that just goes over (or replaces) the magnetically attached output window.