Go to Post If everyone else in the world is an idiot, you may need to recalibrate your idiotness scale. - GaryVoshol [more]
Home
Go Back   Chief Delphi > Technical > Robotics Education and Curriculum
CD-Media   CD-Spy  
portal register members calendar search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read FAQ rules

 
Reply
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
  #1   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 06-17-2017, 10:00 AM
James3245 James3245 is offline
Mentor
FRC #3245 (Ravens)
Team Role: Mentor
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Rookie Year: 2010
Location: Sandy, Utah
Posts: 47
James3245 is on a distinguished road
Laser cutter - should we get one?

A new STEM teacher is coming on board and has a lot of experience with a laser cutter. I'm considering getting one to complement our CNC.

We currently have a shop-bot 24in desktop CNC.

Have about 10K to spend. A bit more if necessary for venting upgrades in room.

Do we buy a laser cutter?

Pros known:
-our new faculty member knows laser cutter tool well
-introduces our students to another tool that is commonly used in industry

Cons known:
-fume management
-additional tool to maintain
-additional software to learn for students

Questions:
A. what are other pros and cons from FRC perspective for laser cutter?
B. what are other pros and cons from a general middle school/high school STEM curriculum perspective for laser cutter?
C. How much functional overlap is there with the two tools?
Reply With Quote
  #2   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 06-17-2017, 10:23 AM
nuclearnerd's Avatar
nuclearnerd nuclearnerd is offline
Speaking for myself, not my team
AKA: Brendan Simons
FRC #5406 (Celt-X)
Team Role: Engineer
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Rookie Year: 2014
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 526
nuclearnerd has a reputation beyond reputenuclearnerd has a reputation beyond reputenuclearnerd has a reputation beyond reputenuclearnerd has a reputation beyond reputenuclearnerd has a reputation beyond reputenuclearnerd has a reputation beyond reputenuclearnerd has a reputation beyond reputenuclearnerd has a reputation beyond reputenuclearnerd has a reputation beyond reputenuclearnerd has a reputation beyond reputenuclearnerd has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Laser cutter - should we get one?

We're going through the same process right now (with about the same budget). Some good answers in this recent thread: https://www.chiefdelphi.com/forums/s...ighlight=laser
Reply With Quote
  #3   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 06-17-2017, 11:36 AM
Oblarg Oblarg is offline
Registered User
AKA: Eli Barnett
FRC #0449 (The Blair Robot Project)
Team Role: Mentor
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Rookie Year: 2008
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 1,467
Oblarg has a reputation beyond reputeOblarg has a reputation beyond reputeOblarg has a reputation beyond reputeOblarg has a reputation beyond reputeOblarg has a reputation beyond reputeOblarg has a reputation beyond reputeOblarg has a reputation beyond reputeOblarg has a reputation beyond reputeOblarg has a reputation beyond reputeOblarg has a reputation beyond reputeOblarg has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Laser cutter - should we get one?

Having worked in a lab with a 60W laser, it's definitely a fantastic tool that can do all sorts of useful things for FRC. It has by far the easiest CAD->part workflow of any CNC tool I've used - the lack of cutting forces means you rarely have to pay any attention to work holding, and parts are made quickly and to reasonably good tolerances. Delrin is a versatile material that can replace aluminum in more places than you'd expect on an FRC robot.

You do have issues with kerf angle, which can make designing things for press-fitting slightly annoying and cause smaller holes to not be totally circular on the far side of the part (away from the laser), but you can always undersize your holes and then drill them out to get around this.
__________________
"Mmmmm, chain grease and aluminum shavings..."
"The breakfast of champions!"

Member, FRC Team 449: 2007-2010
Drive Mechanics Lead, FRC Team 449: 2009-2010
Alumnus/Technical Mentor, FRC Team 449: 2010-Present
Lead Technical Mentor, FRC Team 4464: 2012-2015
Technical Mentor, FRC Team 5830: 2015-2016
Reply With Quote
  #4   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 06-17-2017, 11:48 AM
Joe G.'s Avatar
Joe G. Joe G. is online now
Taking a few years (mostly) off
AKA: Josepher
FRC #1100 (Formerly 1687, 5400)
Team Role: Mentor
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Rookie Year: 2007
Location: Worcester, MA
Posts: 1,498
Joe G. has a reputation beyond reputeJoe G. has a reputation beyond reputeJoe G. has a reputation beyond reputeJoe G. has a reputation beyond reputeJoe G. has a reputation beyond reputeJoe G. has a reputation beyond reputeJoe G. has a reputation beyond reputeJoe G. has a reputation beyond reputeJoe G. has a reputation beyond reputeJoe G. has a reputation beyond reputeJoe G. has a reputation beyond repute
Send a message via AIM to Joe G.
Re: Laser cutter - should we get one?

There isn't a tremendous amount that you can do with a laser that you absolutely unequivocally could not do with a small CNC. However, there is a ton of stuff that a laser will do much, much better and faster. A laser does not require any appreciable CAM work, and is unmatched in the speed at which you can go from a CAD drawing to finished parts. The software learning curve is much lower than for any other similar tool. It will not be as general-purpose as your CNC, but if you adapt your robot designs to match the laser's capabilities, there is an absolute ton that it can do for you. You can make complex structures from thin plywood and delrin sheet using interlocking tab construction and T-slots. It can hold solid enough accuracy to do gearbox plates and other precision components from solid Delrin. You can pattern out a bunch of 1/8" delrin hex spacers, hit "go," and get a lifetime supply of these infinitely useful parts in an hour. Pretty much everything can be prototyped for test-fit super quickly from plywood. The ability to do nice looking raster engravings and inlays for aesthetic appeal is a nice bonus as well.

If the choice is between spending 10K on a laser, versus 10K on another tool, we would need to know about the other option. If it is between spending 10K on a laser, vs. not spending 10K on a laser, it seems like a no brainer.
__________________
FIRST is not about doing what you can with what you know. It is about doing what you thought impossible, with what you were inspired to become.

2007-2010: Student, FRC 1687, Highlander Robotics
2012-2014: Technical Mentor, FRC 1687, Highlander Robotics
2015-2016: Lead Mentor, FRC 5400, Team WARP
2017-???: Technical Mentor, FRC 1100, The T-Hawks
Reply With Quote
  #5   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 06-17-2017, 01:36 PM
James3245 James3245 is offline
Mentor
FRC #3245 (Ravens)
Team Role: Mentor
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Rookie Year: 2010
Location: Sandy, Utah
Posts: 47
James3245 is on a distinguished road
Re: Laser cutter - should we get one?

Great answers. Just the info I needed.

Next question:

What are the considerations in quality and capability in the 5-12K range?

Bed size and power of laser I'm sure are two factors for capability. What else?

Any suggestions of particular make/model?
Reply With Quote
  #6   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 06-17-2017, 02:38 PM
Kaorin's Avatar
Kaorin Kaorin is offline
Registered User
AKA: Steven Kao
FRC #4904 (Bot-Provoking)
Team Role: Leadership
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Rookie Year: 2017
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 51
Kaorin is on a distinguished road
Re: Laser cutter - should we get one?

Laser cutters are AMAZING for prototyping. Instead of having to cut cardboard with knives and mount janky components to it, you can grab some cheap material and laser it into the shapes you want easily, quickly, and efficiently.
Reply With Quote
  #7   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 06-17-2017, 03:48 PM
marcusbernstein's Avatar
marcusbernstein marcusbernstein is offline
Pool Noodle Thrower
AKA: Marcus Bernstein
FRC #1836 (The Milkenknights)
Team Role: Mascot
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Rookie Year: 2013
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 167
marcusbernstein is a splendid one to beholdmarcusbernstein is a splendid one to beholdmarcusbernstein is a splendid one to beholdmarcusbernstein is a splendid one to beholdmarcusbernstein is a splendid one to beholdmarcusbernstein is a splendid one to beholdmarcusbernstein is a splendid one to behold
Re: Laser cutter - should we get one?

1836 started using a laser cutter this past season and we love it! I don't know much about the specs of the cutter itself, but it made our manufacturing (we love using wood) of prototypes and competition parts much much faster. It really all depends on your design style, but with a good understanding of when to use something like delrin or wood over aluminum a laser cutter can drastically improve your manufacturing and iteration speeds.

Definetly reccomend getting a lasercutter, and spend some good time in the offseason dialing in material settings. That time and effort in the offseason will be super beneficial come season
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Me
Aesthetics are great, but not at the expense of functionality
Quote:
Originally Posted by Me
An entire team rallied around a potentially wrong decision is better than half a team rallied around the right one. And if that potentially wrong decision ends up being the right one, that team will be successful
Reply With Quote
  #8   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 06-17-2017, 03:53 PM
augustt198's Avatar
augustt198 augustt198 is offline
Registered User
AKA: August T
FRC #0334 (TechKnights)
Team Role: Programmer
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Rookie Year: 2015
Location: NYC
Posts: 18
augustt198 has a spectacular aura aboutaugustt198 has a spectacular aura aboutaugustt198 has a spectacular aura about
Re: Laser cutter - should we get one?

We have a Boss LS-2436. It's a bit under 10K and it works great - good cutting area and software is easy to use.
Reply With Quote
  #9   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 06-17-2017, 10:23 PM
FrisbeeFunTime FrisbeeFunTime is offline
Registered User
FRC #1768
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Rookie Year: 2015
Location: United Stes
Posts: 106
FrisbeeFunTime is on a distinguished road
Re: Laser cutter - should we get one?

What are your current manufacturing capabilities? If you already have something like a Bridgeport mill and or a larger lathe then a laser would be a great addition to your shop. If all you have for machining is the CNC you mentioned then you may want to look into a lathe or knee mill. In addition to having accurate parts the students will be able to see really in depth what goes in to doing each action to a part that they have designed. It's a huge opportunity to learn the proper way to design stuff within limitations.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:41 AM.

The Chief Delphi Forums are sponsored by Innovation First International, Inc.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright © Chief Delphi