K40 Laser - Entry 14: Mystery Solved!

This may be the culprit. The Water-Break Protection system indeed was the issue. This wire plugs into the motherboard and the black box on the left is some sort of magnet. I'm not sure if this is the problem, or the baffle in the water line unit. It was suggested that I create jumper for the plug involved, but I opted to purchase one at a local electronics store. I decide to stop by Vetco Electronics on Northup Way in Bellevue. Back in my RC hydroplane racing days I would periodically stop by for parts. It is refreshing to see them still in business, not swallowed by the big box stores or internet. They were quite pleasant and helpful. Highly recommended. Anyway, this workaround was s

K40 Laser - Entry 13: Mystery Issue

So I've been feverishly working on the new exhaust system (post coming soon!) and set out yesterday to give it a test. The only problem is that the laser will not fire on command. Some deduction and testing shows that the CO2 tube is sound, and the power supply seems to be working as well, so that is the good news, two of the most expensive components seem to be functioning properly. But still it will not fired the tube through the controller. There are some great K40 users groups online (Thanks K40 Google Community). Hopefully this is the culprit, it is the Water-Break Detector. The laser tube must be cooled or it get hot in a hurry and fail, and this is a device that shuts off the laser

K40 - Entry 12: Z Axis

I was lucky enough to do most of my previous laser work on a Universal system that included a precise and motorized z-axis. Here is my K40 solution: A Stainless Steel Lab Jack Scissor Stand. I found it on Amazon for $17.99. It is simply a miniature scissor lift. Since the K40 laser I believe comes with a 2" focal point lens, you need to adjust the depth for varying thicknesses. So for example. A 1" thick piece will need to be 1/2" deeper in the unit than a 1/2" piece. I'll need to make a precisely 2" measuring block (if the focus is indeed exactly 2", I'll need to test) to sit on top of the work piece, and be able to adjust it from there. I have of course removed the goofy spring-loaded cl

Artwalk December: Davidson Galleries

By far the best show this December in Seattle is the International Wood Block Print Invitational at Davidson Galleries. This exhibition features over forty both contemporary and historical wood engravers from around the world. The work is outstanding! I really enjoyed myself and plan to make a return trip with the idea of purchasing something. Many of the works are significantly under $100 matted. Quite a deal for this quality of work. Otter was the first image to greet me and catch my eye. Colin See-Paynton is the artist. Another work by Colin See-Paynton, Unkindness of Ravens. Birds seemed to be a prevalent theme, this is Great Blue, by Neil Peck Perhaps one of the "cover" images for thi

K40 Laser - Entry 11: Exhaust Modification 2

The K40 laser is shipped with a wimpy underpowered exhaust system. It is one of the first upgrades one needs to address if this unit is going to be anywhere near any living space. Laser cutting does stink! I went to Rockler Woodworking in Tukwila and browsed their fittings and plumbing for woodworking equipment like jointers and planers. The K40 ships with a fan housing that accepts a 4" diameter hose. After checking other blogs and such I decided to stay with the 4" standard as much as possible. I found the above 4" dust extraction fitting. The outside dimensions are 8" x 8". Next, I measured out the fittings on the back of the laser and created an "adapter" to connect the the hose fi

December Art - Rozvar Galley

I don't typically get to Patricia Rozvar Gallery too often as they are uptown from Pioneer Square. I was downtown a week or so ago and they were open as I walked by, so I decided to drop in. I happened upon their 25th anniversary exhibition. The gallery has moved around a bit as it was located across the street from the Seattle Art Museum at one time. They are currently at 1111 1st Avenue, more or less right in between Pioneer Square and The Seattle Art. Museum. It was probably only a 10 minute walk, if that from Pioneet square to the door. A couple of nice cityscapes by Katie Metz. Tyson Grumm's work caught my eye. the frames of these pieces seem to be constructed from old wooden foun

K40 - Entry 10: Exhaust Modification 1

Since I seem to be able to get the K40 to cut and engrave satisfactorily, it is time to start improving it. The exhaust system for the K40 has some quirks to contend with. Somewhere I read that an owner thought that the K40 unit was designed for engraving primarily rubber stamps due to its small working area. One of those quirks about the machine is that the exhaust funnel extends about 1/2" into the cutting area effectively reducing the work area the same. This is a picture of the exhaust funnel from the inside of the machine. the masking tape show where I will trim it. It will need to be shortened about 3/4". It is fortunately a relatively easy solution. I originally thought that the funn

Darlene Campbell at Prographica Seattle

I was pleasantly surprised to find these wonderful paintings by Darlene Campbell at the Prographica Gallery in Pioneer Square last night. I received my MFA along with Darlene from The Claremont Graduate University way back in 1986. Darlene's work tends to be of somewhat stark Southern California architecture (homes) and landscapes. I hadn't seen the gold leaf details incorporated before. Like her earlier work, he style is meticulously done. I didn't even need to read the name tag, I was pretty sure that these were her's from the first glance. This is apparently a piece for a themed show and a bit out of the norm for Darlene I think. The image is I believe Patrick Henry wearing a pink puss

K40 Laser - Entry 9: Successful Test of Art from Illustrator

Success! I found one of my existing Illustrator files to use as a test subject - what else but a salmon. The file is first exported from Illustrator as a .dxf format. Next, I placed it onto a thumbdrive to import it to the "laser" computer, the one I have decided to keep offline. From there the .dxf file is loaded into Inkscape, an open source vector graphics program to convert it to Laserdrw file. The file(s) is/are next loaded into Laserdraw, the software provided with the laser. There are two files: one for a vector engraving of the details, like the fin rays and gills, and a second that is the vector cutting. I exported these as two separate files as I do not believe that Laserdrw su

Support Your Local Potters - Seward Park Holiday Sale 2017

I made it to the Seward Park Clay Studio Holiday Show and Sale on Saturday. As usual a great event. Quite the variety. I enjoyed these pieces with the lathe turned lids. A few more with wooden lids. Like a said, plenty of variety. The sale runs until the 24th from 10-6, with late nights on the 6th and 14th until 10 PM. A great place to go gift shopping.

K40 Laser - Entry 8: Cooling Overview

Cooling the laser's tube. Prior to purchasing and operating the K40 I received most of my laser experience with a Universal 30 Watt system that I had access to. I did not know how lucky I was, and how hassle free Universal's products are. The Universals have what I believe are metal laser tubes which are air cooled, or at least some sort of tube that does not require a chiller to cool. It was an interesting discovery when investigating the K40, that the tube needed to be cooled with a water supply, and one reason I hesitated to purchase one. Here is a shot of the tube. You can see the intake and outtake tubing at the bottom of the picture. If you look careful you can also see where it atta

K40 Laser - Entry 7: First real Burn!

It is alive! Here is the first somewhat serious burn or engraving on the K40 that I attempted after some basic pushing buttons to see it the unit would respond to the computer. The result is an outstanding yes. I was actually impressed with the depth of this cut and the speed at which it was done. This was executed onto a piece of 3mm birch plywood. Of course in my initial excitement I neglected to write down the power and speed settings. Anyway, I'm at least savvy enough not to push it at a high power right away. Always want to be conservative and save tube life! I followed up the engrave with a circular cut around the artwork. The "It is Alive" artwork was created in Photoshop and im

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