Laser Rebuild – Part 3 (Panel)

The old panel had an LCD display and a few controls specific to the original electronics.  It went away with the rest of the antiques.

I made a new panel from a chunk of 1/8″ steel cut to the same dimensions as the original.  I consider this a temporary job to get the machine up and running.  It has a bare minimum of control since most of the user interaction will be done through EMC2 on the PC.

Ultimately, I’d like to incorporate some controls to jog the X and Y, touch off, and monitor the water temperature, but that can all wait.  This panel will have the following:

The all-important Emergency Stop button.  (E-Stop).  A good E-stop is is big and red so it’s easy to hit.  It also locks into the emergency condition position.  There’s a lot of different styles available and they can be very expensive.  This one isn’t expensive.   It’s also cheap.  It has two sets of terminals so the switch can be wired normal-open or normal-closed.  Playing around with it, I found the normal-closed was reliable but the normal-open was flaky in the closed position.  I certainly wouldn’t trust my life to this switch in that configuration.  The way I’m using it, any flakiness will shut the machine down.

The toggle switch/button toggles the controller between taking it’s pwm control signal from either the potentiometer on the panel, or from one of the pins incoming from the computer.  For normal operation, the computer will control the output power of the laser but manually controlling and firing it is desirable for alignment.

The pot (black knob) sets the pwm manually as described above.

The square momentary switch manually fires the laser.  Useful for alignment and other ‘experiments’ (ie screwing around 🙂 )

I drilled and countersunk holes to mount the panel.  Then mounted it on the machine.  Then overlayed it with a sheet of paper and played around with where I wanted the controls before drilling and mounting them.



After drilling, painting, and installing:


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