Glowforge as SLS platform (selective laser sintering)


#1

If you want to make good on that “3d laser printer” line… :grin:

Open source project to make a laser sintering printer from a commercial laser cutter.
http://news.rice.edu/2016/02/22/modified-laser-cutter-prints-3-d-objects-from-powder


About that "3D Laser Printer" line
#2

Thats a pretty cool application for a laser. If I had a chinese laser I might try this. I wonder how many watts theyre running.


#3

From the wiki:

“Both an 80 Watt and 40 Watt tube were tested for use with the OpenSLS powder module. Both tubes only emitted above a threshold current level, creating a firm lower bound to the power levels that could be explored. The lowest attainable power was 2.4 Watts on the 80 Watt tube and approximately 100 milliWatts on the 40 Watt tube. As can be seen below in the plots of laser power versus PWM control signal value, linearity varies depending on power range. Both tubes exhibit higher variability at higher output powers, though the 80W tube distinguishes itself by a power surge between 14 and 40 Watts, during which it reaches powers measured over 150 Watts before returning to a more predictable linear regime. The lower end of the 40W tube’s power range allowed for the finest graduation of power levels for exploring relatively low laser power carbohydrates and polymers.”


#4

We probably do not have enough Z to make this practical.
Need to think about a way to spread a layer of powder without significant engineering and construction


#5

I am assuming this is a post warranty experiment…
At that point all bets are off, and the Z-height issue might be solvable with a saw and an exoskeleton.


#6

I don’t think so. The laser doesn’t necessarily need to move up and down so much as the piece you’re sintering does; you could have an adjustable platform sitting inside the laser such that the laser’s focal point is always within the realm of possibility for the GF.

Also imo the harder thing to overcome would be preventing the air system from blowing your sintering medium all over the place.


#7

No commercial operational considerations from my application, so It wouldn’t surprise me if by the time I need the next tube, (+/- 2 years) the exterior structure of my forge will have evolved - if it’s not missing entirely… with several sets of glasses hanging on the shop door and a copy of a sign I saw here; “Do not look at laser with remaining good eye”.

The only thing that approximates the joy I derive from manifesting an idea into three dimensional reality, is innovating existing designs - which inevitably comes wrapped in an education.
I feed on them equally.


#8

A teeny tiny cork? :wink:


#9

Well, this is a relevant article. http://gizmodo.com/intrepid-scientists-turn-a-laser-cutter-into-a-super-ch-1760580087


#10

Yup, that’s the same project.