Laser Module Attachment: Coming Soon

Hey everyone, Ikenna here. I just wanted to share an update about the new Sienci Labs Laser Module Attachment we will be launching this summer. Over the past 2-3  months I have been researching and playing with different designs, parts and laser diodes. Although there is still a lot of work to be done, we are now confident in our ability to provide the community with a great laser attachment. 

Over the last year and a half we’ve been building and shipping LongMills, we’ve seen a lot of users add lasers to their machines and so far it has been a very popular modification. However, we’ve also seen a lot of issues arise with the integration of aftermarket lasers such as:

  • A lack of documentation for installing the laser
  • Poor service and communication with sellers
  • Incompatibility between the laser and controller board
  • Poor quality and faulty lasers
  • The need for complicated wiring and splicing
  • Lack of software support in CAM
  • Questionable safety and protection for the user

We aim to solve all of these problems and have a simple, plug and play, Canadian designed and made laser for your CNC!

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These are the general specifications we are aiming for: 

  • Will be priced around $400-500CAD
  • 5A constant current laser driver with safety features
  • 5-7W optical power laser diode: 440nm – 460nm
  • 40mm x 40mm x 28mm turbo fan for diode heat dissipation 
  • Safety goggles with a protection scope: 200 – 540nm O.D 6+

The Sienci Labs Laser is designed to be: 

  • An entry-level to intermediate laser engraving/cutting attachment
  • High quality
  • Easy to repair or swap parts 
  • Replace the need for our customers to purchase lower quality lasers from sites like Ebay, Aliexpress, Banggood or Amazon.
  • Replace the need for our customers to purchase expensive lasers from companies like JTech Photonics, Endurance Lasers & Opt Lasers

What is a Laser Module Attachment?

The laser module attachment consists of a laser diode, focusing lens, heatsink, cooling fan and a laser diode driver. It allows you to engrave and cut thin material with accuracy and quality. The laser diode is a semiconductor device similar to a light-emitting diode in which a diode pumped directly with electrical current can create lasing conditions at the diode’s junction. Laser diodes can directly convert electrical energy into light.  Laser diodes require a special set of specifically designed electronic control elements. This set of control elements are combined to produce what is commonly called a laser diode driver or laser diode current source. Essentially, these elements determine how the laser is turned on and driven to produce a specific wavelength and output power. A good driver accomplishes this without damaging the laser diode and offering the user multiple safety features to keep everyone protected.

What’s Next?

  1. January: Market research/technical research
  2. February: Order prototype parts/create production plan
  3. March: Testing components
  4. April: Test working prototype & finalizing production parts 
  5. May: Pre-orders launch (Limited 20-25% discount) 
    • Order production parts based on customer interest
  6. June: Quality assurance & product resources
    • Create laser tutorials, troubleshooting guide & documentation 
  7. July: Product launch,  assembly & shipping

Working Prototype V1

How do I use it?

Using your laser module attachment can actually be a little easier than using your router because designs are only 2D. This is a rough guide for those who see laser operation as a daunting task. Hopefully you can see the huge similarities between operating your Longmill CNC Router and operating your Longmill CNC Laser Module Attachment 

  1. The Laser attachment mounts to the side or front of your Longmill Router Mount with M5 hardware 
  2. You can then run the wires through your drag chains for proper wire management
  3. Connect  your laser and fan to the proper connectors, connect the other ends to your driver 
  4. Turn your driver on
  5. Connect your driver to the spindle/ground inputs on your Longboard
  6. Put your machine interface software in laser mode/confirm all EEPROM settings are properly set
  7. Fire your laser with 5% power and focus the lens of your laser until the spot is as small as it can be
  8. Use software to generate your laser Gcode file (Lightburn is recommended)
  9. Put on your laser safety goggles 
  10. Load Gcode file into your machine interface software
  11. Fire your laser with 5% power, move your laser to your project start point, reset your zero and begin your job

Community Laser Projects

Safety

When you think of a laser, safety may not be the first thing on your mind but I want to emphasize that this is not a toy and can seriously hurt the operator or damage property.  Just like running your Longmill comes with risks, as long as proper safety precautions are taken you have nothing to worry about. 

  • Proper Ventilation 
    • The laser module will produce smoke & other particulates 
    • Use a smoke/fume filtering system or open window or garage door for sufficient airflow
  • Fire Safety
    • Have a fire suppression plan 
    • Have a fire extinguisher nearby
  • Eye Safety 
    • These laser are very high powered, without proper laser eye protection you can damage your eyesight for life
    • Each laser module will include Safety Goggles with a Protection Scope: 200 – 540nm O.D 6+
    • This range corresponds to the range of optical density and what wavelengths you are protected from
      • The higher the optical density the less light passes through the material
      • 10^-OD x laser wattage = optical power let through 
        • 10^-6 x 7W = 0.000007W or 0.007mw
        • FDA recommends no more than 5mw to avoid eye damage
        • We will be exposed to significantly less power than the FDA recommendation
  • General Safety 
    • DO NOT CUT/ENGRAVE: PVC, ABS, Fibreglass, and any other materials that emit toxic fumes when cut
    • Never leave your laser running unattended and always make sure your driver electronics are turned off when not in use

FAQ

When can I purchase one?

We plan on opening pre-orders to the public May 1st with a discount  

When will it ship?

We plan to begin shipping July 1st 

How much will it cost?

We plan to sell the laser module for $400-500CAD (pre-orders will get a 20-25% Discount) 

What Software do I need?

The laser will be compatible with any GRBL based machine interface software that has a laser/spindle pwm control mode like gSender/UGS/CNCjs

Will there be any Addons?

We plan on having an air assist attachment available at the time of launch. Other addons we’re looking into are; magnetic mounting options, and a Pro version of the laser (more optical power)

Do I need a Longmill to use it?

Short answer no, there is a lot of complexity that goes into making laser drivers universal but that is our goal. Compatibility with other Grbl based CNC machines and 3D printers. 

Can I cancel my Pre order?

You can cancel your order with no penalty any time before your order ships. Please contact us through our website or email us with your order number and a request to make a cancellation. A refund will be processed through your original method of payment.