New Dimensions in Woodworking

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I've been lurking for several years on and off, and finally have time to be more active with my hobbies. Retired a year ago, and I've spent most of my time building my shop up with tooling to build small boxes and such. The last thing I bought was an Epilog Mini Helix laser engraver for personalizing the stuff I make. My main purpose was to create inlays and scrimshaw. Now I don't know how I ever got along without it! I have even been able to create a complete box, using nothing but the laser, and a few hand tools, like a screwdriver and clamps. These things are just plain fun to work with, once you get the hang of using the software. It will do all types of operations with a bit of practice and some careful thought. I can even drill extremely accurate holes and irregular openings, or reproduce a photo on my boxes, glass panes or cabinets if someone wanted such a thing. The best part though, is it's ability to produce extremely accurate and complex tempplates for routing, sawing or carving using wood or plexiglass. This brings me to my reason for posting on the newsgroup. Let me start by saying this . . . I AM RETIRED, AND FULLY INTEND TO STAY THAT WAY! This offer is for helping other woodworkers that happen to live close to me in the DelMarVa area. This is a fairly expensive piece of equipment, so most hobbyists would never buy one, or have the opportunity to use one for just a few items. If any of you have need to do a limited amount of laser work, get in touch. I'd be happy to discuss your application, and if I can be off help, I'd be glad to do so for you. For anyone who wants to do more extensive work, I may be able to accomadate you to some extent, provided you are willing to bring your stuff here and do the work yourself, albeit with a bit of help in the setup and operational procedures. Like I said, I'm not looking for a new job. This work is time intensive, as the machine must be watched over while it operates. If anyone is interested, feel free to email me at snipped-for-privacy@aol.com
--
Offered in the spirit of friendship and respect :)
Kevin Aylward
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Great offer, wish you lived closer! Rich
--
"You can lead them to LINUX
but you can't make them THINK"
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Lots of nice properties in that area ... :)
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote in
I'm curious. I looked at their web site, and didn't see a model that exactly fit the description "Epilog Mini Helix". Roughly how much did this thing set you back?
Doug White
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It is part of the "Mini" series, and the price is wildy variable, depending on the options you choose. The Mini Helix has a 24"x18" cutting table, and about 9" height capability. From there you have the options . . . Laser power (Mine is 40 watts).... Cylindrical device for glasses, vases etc.... Vector table.... Air assist compressor . . . Ventilation system . . . and so on. My total package was about $20k. But that is a well equiped system. Most people start off with a "Zing" model, and grow from there. Unfortunately, they were not big enough for the type of work I plan to do. Spend a bit of time on the Epilog web site, and you will learn a LOT. I studied this unit for five years before I made the plunge.
--
Offered in the spirit of friendship and respect :)

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On Jun 11, 11:19am, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I saw Epilog's laser demo at the Saratoga Springs, NY show in March. The level of detail they can achieve is phenomenal.
R
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They cost too much for a casual user, but the software curve is the real obstacle. Plan to spend a few years mastering that one
--
Offered in the spirit of friendship and respect :)

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But - you don't have to BUY one. Laser engraving services are popping up all over the place - similar to Copy Centers of 20 years ago. And the price of laser engravings keeps coming down.
Yes, you have to learn a few basics of CorelDraw, which is Epilog's preferred user interface for their laser printer driver, and learning to use their printer driver takes some trial and error experimenting, but in a couple of hours you can find what works best for what you want to do.
(see my previous post in this thread for a link to the Laser Engraving Primer)
Questions. comments and suggestions regarding the Primer welcomed.
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What kind of file does your laser work from?
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Hi, Sorry it took a while to get back on here. The laser works with both Raster (pixel based) and Vector (object based). The program I use is Corel X5, which will accomadate most common file extensions. The main thing is to determine what type of work you want to do. Rastor is best for images, lettering and the like, while Vector is used almost exclusively for cutting operations. Hope this helps. Kevin
--
Offered in the spirit of friendship and respect :)

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rough, bastard, smooth, half round, flat, round, single cut, double cut, square,...
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On Sat, 11 Jun 2011 09:52:23 -0700, Kerry Montgomery wrote:

slim, slim taper, double taper ...
--
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw

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On Sat, 11 Jun 2011 23:43:33 +0000 (UTC), Larry Blanchard

NAIL!
-- The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools. --Herbert Spencer
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wrote:

Now all you need is a guy on warshboard ...
--
"I'm the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo ..."


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On Mon, 13 Jun 2011 02:07:02 -0700, "Lobby Dosser"

Are you saying that you'll play the handsaur? We gots us a band!
-- The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools. --Herbert Spencer
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wrote:

No, but taint bad with the spoons!
--
"I'm the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo ..."


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Anything supported by corel draw x5, which is substantial in it's abilities
--
Offered in the spirit of friendship and respect :)

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The epilog's 3D mode will let you feed a "gray scale image" to the laser and it will interpret WHITE as Don't Burn At All, BLACK as Burn Deepest and shades of gray as percent of max power. So you can do "low relief carving" - on both flat and curved surfaces.
The low relief carved surfaces get scortched. Harbor Freight sells an "air eraser" - basically an airbrush that shoots aluminum oxide abrassive instead of ink or paint. 200 or 400 grit al oxide is just abrassive enough to remove the scortching with little change to the "carving". At about $30 for it and another $6 for about a quart of abrassive - if you have a compressor - the scortching thing is taken care of.
The Epilog MiniHelix opens up a lot of possibilities with its Print, Cut and Carve capabilities. BUT - the learning curve is moderately steep. I put together a primer on laser engraving that I hopes flatten the learning curve a bit.
http://web.hypersurf.com/~charlie2/Turning/LaserEngraving/LaserEngravingTOC.html
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wrote:

Great!
So the process is burn and sandblast, huh? I guess you lose detail and definition that way?

Missing link at bottom to curved carving. It goes through from the flat carving page, though.
Price of admission? <cringe>
-- In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. -- Albert Camus
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The "low relief carving" is burn - and remove scortching - if you're working on a light wood where the scortching is distracting. On dark woods, like the black walnut in the first example done on a two intersecting arcs multi-centers piece, scortching isn't all that noticable.
The sand blasting to remove scortching on a light colored piece does cause a loss of definition - but that can be minimized by using finer grits, lower air pressure and careful control of the where you're sand blasting. But you can also bleach away the scortching. That can raise the grain - but a little burnishing - say - with a dental tool - takes care of that problem.
The link to laser low relief carving on a curved surface has been fixed. It now points to this page
http://web.hypersurf.com/~charlie2/Turning/LaserEngraving/Lasering_RadiusToWidth.html
As for the price of admission - The Saw Dust Shop here in Silly Cone Valley has an Epilog MiniHelix one can rent - for $20 and hour. If you go through the Primer I did, you need about an hour on the Epilog to apply what's described in the Primer. Then, another hour to find the best set up for a test sample. After that initial cost, you can do several low relief laser carvings in an hour.
Now compare the time (3 hours) and the cost ($60) to the price of a half dozen carving tools and the 100+ hours of learning how to use them reasonably well, and then make the "cost" comparison.
Now add up the price of your lathe, turning gouges and chisels, sharpening tool)s), chucks, drive centers, tail centers, etc. and thencmpare te prices of admission.
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