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how to center the laser

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  • how to center the laser

    Anyone have a trick for centering the laser? The housing is so large I cant center it reliably. Sometimes I make multiple cuts, and I assume 0,0,0 is accurate. Typically, I center it using a router bit, but that means I'm going back and forth with a router bit and the laser connected to the Piranha. This doesnt seem efficient. Any ideas?

  • #2
    When mixing laser with carve, to the extent possible I try to do the laser before the carve. I include a "witness mark" in my laser toolpath - a cross-hairs. If the witness mark is not at (0, 0), then I usually include the coordinates of the witness mark in my laser vector path. I also try to place the witness mark in an area that will get cut off (like the perimeter) or someplace that I will do a surface carve (like a 3-D carve). (See the example pictures.) Once I burn the laser portion, then I use my thinnest Tapered Ball Nose to zero X and Y to the witness mark. Then do the carve. This method usually requires I sand the wood blank before any CNC work - I don't get good results sanding over burned laser lines.

    I have had limited success doing the laser after the carve. That requires a mark on the laser shank (Sharpie pen should work). This is my process:
    1. Burn a witness mark on scrap. Note the orientation of the mark on the laser shank and the orientation of the laser body - what direction the wire coming out of the laser is pointed relative to the CNC table.
    2. Using a fine-tip metal bit, zero the X and Y. Make note of the exact changes. (For example, mine is usually (-0.059, +0.059) - minus 1.5mm on the X, and plus 1.5 mm on the Y.)
    3. Carve your workpiece.
    4. Install the laser with the shank and laser body in exactly the same orientation as before.
    5. Reverse the X,Y zero changes you had to make going from laser to metal bit.

    I hope this helps.


    • #3
      I put a piece of acrylic under my laser and did 2 test fires to mark the material, Then I traced the outside edge of the laser with a sharpie while it was still on the material. I plan on cutting out a notch this week to make it even more accurate but it has worked well for me as is so far.