After purchasing and installing my laser cutter I investigated things that:
- Provided useful information about the laser cutter performance
- Facilitated better laser performance and management
As a result the Laser Cutter Monitor project combines 3 things that were missing as follows:
- Hour Counter to measure the number of hours tube life used
- Water temperature control to measure the temperature of the coolant
- A Flow Meter to measure the flow rate of the coolant
Knowing the tube life is useful so as to know when it needs to be replaced.The tube temperature needs to be kept below 22-25C degrees to prolong its life. And it is an important factor to ensure the coolant is flowing through the tube as lack of flow will greatly increase the temperature leading to deterioration of tube life. The laser cutter is also more efficient operating at lower temperatures.
This project provides all these features in a box which has been designed to be mounted above the control panel section of my Laser cutter.
- Height 115 mm (4 1/2″)
- Width: 160 mm (6 1/4″)
- Depth: 110 mm (4 1/4″)
In final development stages.
All hardware and electronics are complete.
Software is almost complete with only minor adjustments needed for correct recording of tube hours left to be done.
Documentation & downloads are currently a work in progress .. but coming soon!
All hardware & software development work is carried out under the GNU General Public License. Any products developed from these projects are covered by Creative Commons Licensing – Attribution – Non-Commercial. All drawings of product designs are covered by UK Copyright Law unless stated otherwise.
Shortlist of components used for this project include:
- 4mm MDF Laser cut box/housing (the laser cut pieces tightly fit together with no fixings)
- Uses Arduino Uno Board (from the pictures you will see I am using an original older board which I hope to replace with a Mini in the final version)
- PID Temperature controller (REX-C100)
- 1602 LCD Display with board
- Opto Isolator & 1K resistor to switch high voltage, isolated to connect to power supply
- Dishwasher Flow Sensor
- Servo wire for switch leads (only 2 used), Power (5V) & signal (0V)
How it works
- Opto isolator The Opto isolator isolates the power of the laser cutter tube power supply from the monitor. This is achieved by a LED being switched on whenever the power to the laser tube is turned on. The light from the LED is detected by a phototransistor which switches on providing an isolated connection to the Arduino board.
- Flow sensor This has a reed relay that is triggered by magnets on the blades of the flow sensor. Everytime the magnet passes the reed relay the reed closes and opens when it has past.
- Temperature controller The PID detects the temperature changes intelligently to home in on the target temperature thus keeping it within temperature within a tight band of the target temperature. The PID controller displays the target temperature and the actual temperature.
- The tube hours and flow rate are displayed on the 1602 LCD display. The tube hours are stored in the UNO EEPROM
Coming soon to this section …
- MDF box drawings
- Build instructions
- Open source software downloads