"PCB" Substrates and Laz0rs...

__red____red__ Posts: 468
edited 2018-11-26 - 20:12:17 in Propeller 1


So I've been doing this with acrylic which I assume is (probably) bad from a static perspective. (and wire-wrapping underneath).

Anyone have any thoughts as to a material that is laz0rable that I could continue this approach with that may not be so dangerous in that regard?

What about "anti-static acrylic" - is that 'anti-static' enough to be safe? Are there things I can do to make regular acrylic safe?


2016 x 1512 - 532K


  • I think acetal copolymer (similar to Delrin, an acetal homopolymer, and more expensive) is less staticky, and it lasers very cleanly.

    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • ESD acrylics are readily available, but expensive. McMaster carries a few options. Also, Techspray Licron spray can be used to create a static dissipative coating on plastics as well, although not cheap, it does go a long way. As Phil mentioned, Delrin lasers very nice, it is my favorite laserable material.

    Nice work with your invisible PCB. I have made a few the same way using ESD acrylic and one using kapton film. I have one ready to cut that is a design where 36AWG wire becomes the traces on the board so it will truly look like an invisible PCB. Been on the back burner for a while....
  • As if the universe was trying to tell me something, while las0ring the console case for my P2 mini-computer I managed to set my laser on fire and (it looks like) fully destroy it.

    I managed to contain and extinguish the fire so my house didn't burn down. I'll consider that a win.

    Tomorrow I'll strip it down and evaluate the damage - the optics are fully toast for sure.

    So - thanks for the advice guys - may be a few months before I can try those new materials out :/

  • Wow, sad to hear that. Was hoping to see some progress on your ideas since I haven't been able to do much with my own.
  • So I've done some initial recon as to the damage and it may not be as bad as I originally thought.

    It looks like the motion control is still good, the laser & electronics are still fine.

    The air-assist is dead (a molten puddle on the floor).
    The optics are degraded badly. I expect they'll crack in a few minutes of use as the coating looks permanently damaged.

    The main loss is the top of the case as the plastic "window" that you can see inside with got so much heat that the surface has bubbled and has sunk down. I'm not risking my eyes with that so until I get that replaced - I'm not working on anything else.

    I guess I could look at it as an excuse to upgrade the optics to include a beam combiner and a head that has a movable lens.

    If I have to replace all the mirrors and lenses, I may as well go for the better quality / larger optics - not to get the extra ~2% performance but for ease of keeping collimated.

    (Plus - I just ordered a 950GPH air pump - this isn't going to happen again...)

    As for the P2 Console project - it doesn't *stop* me, it just won't be so pretty :-/

    I'll put it on proto-board and worry about lasering a front-panel for it again later.
  • Wow, bummer about the laser! What kind is it? How did it happen? Did it stall with the beam on?

    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • W9GFOW9GFO Posts: 3,880
    edited 2018-11-28 - 00:06:48
    Try acetone on the optics, you can even use a q-tip to "scrub" them. If it works you can use them while you wait for replacements, then keep them as spares.

    Literally any pair of glasses will stop the beam from a CO2 laser. No need to get special "laser" glasses. Note that for other types of lasers it is important to get the right safety glasses - just not for CO2 lasers. I probably run my machine with the lid open about half the time - and I can still see pretty good with one eye. :smiley:

    Size of mirrors has nothing to do with ease of, or maintaining alignment. The quality of the mount and the method of adjustment may though.

    The number one reason for laser fires is leaving the machine unattended. I never leave the machine while running. Treat them like they are going to burn your house down the moment you turn your back on them.
  • IMG_20181127_223448325.jpg

    I guess I'm doing it old-sk00l :-)
    4160 x 3120 - 4M
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