At some point, everybody who builds a personal laser begins a search for the best and cheapest cutting table they can find, buy, build, borrow, or invent. And like everyone else, I have been on that quest for some time now. But maybe - just maybe - I may have found it.
When I bought my first cheap Chinese laser, I set the laser power level with a variable resistor and a mA meter. It worked, but it seemed just a little too iffy to me. If I moved my angle of view of the meter, I would see different readings. I couldn't help longing for a way to be more exact, more repeatable from job to job. Then I heard about the magical PWM. I didn't know what it was, exactly, or how it worked, but I was hearing that it was the modern digital approach to managing power levels in your laser. I'm a modern kind of guy. I'm a digital kind of guy. Sounds like just what I was looking for - or was it?
My son talks about a "Klout" score, a measurement of how well connected you are or how much influence you wield on the internet. I wish there were a way to measure how well connected the various parts of our laser systems are. Let me tell you why.
Yesterday, I heard a friend make a comment regarding setting up the start position on his DSP Commercial Laser Controller. I've heard others make similar comments, but was a little surprised when it came from him. So I asked him about it. The comment went something like this:
On laser-related forums there is often talk about engraving quality. Engraving quality depends on a lot of variables, your mechanical setup, the controller you are using, the material you are engraving on, and the time of graphic you are engraving onto that material. Most of the talk I hear is focused on the mythical DPI (dots per inch). Unfortunately, some of what is discussed is misleading, impossible to use, or just plain wrong. So today, I am taking a look at the relationship between DPI and the graphics you are engraving. And, we touch