I don’t know if this is a first ever, but it is a first for me.
I have combined 3d FDM plastic printing with LASER engraving. Combining two of my current interests.
I realized after studying LASER engraving and cutting, that plastic is a popular medium to cut and engrave, But I haven’t seen or heard it suggested for use with 3D printed plastic.
So I set about seeing what works and what doesn’t when combining LASER power with printed plastics.
I am very early in the process and on the learning curve. But I have discovered (as I suspected) it is entirely possible with specific printed plastic types and colors. It doesn’t work with every type or color material.
Gray and Brown PLA (PolyLactic Acid) are working well for me in my initial attempts. Some plastics just melt and other will catch fire and burn. There is a lot of testing and experimentation required on materials.
The LASER I am using is the XTOOL 2 watt Infrared (IR) LASER. It was being promoted as being a good choice for plastic engraving. Actually etching or marking.
I have a 20 watt ultraviolet (UV) LASER as well, but it is mostly suitable for cutting and deep engraving combustible materials like wood and some plastics.
Back to the IR LASER, it is also suitable for marking metals such as precious metal jewelry, stainless steel, and also aluminum if a coating is applied.
This article is about working with 3D printed plastics. The results are completely acceptable within the power of the 2 watt IR LASER. As can be seen, there is a HUGE more detail than can be obtained with multi-filamant extrusion. Spot diameter of the IR LASER is 0.03mm and I am using (for now experimenting) 850 LPI resolution, matching the spot size.. This and all other configuration settings are subject to change and will not be published.
I will show more finished results as I dream up projects and applications where I can combine these two skills. I am not planning a how-to, as I am not yet an expert on the process. But this is a Show and Tell that demonstrates the two systems can be combined into a common project.
|Brown PLA||Example 1||Example 2|
|Example 3||Examole 4||
Case for coasters