The 40W laser is as powerful as advertised, and, in a way, is easier to set up and use than the 10W, but there are some very real problems. Some of these can be solved with software,
some I’m not so sure.
— Laser Height —
Setting the laser height is a simple process with confusing results. To be clear, setting the laser height is really just setting the z plane at which the 40W laser is focused. This is critically different than the 10W module because the focal length is fixed, meaning cuts start 7mm below the tip no matter what.
The big gotcha here is that the workholders are thicker than 7mm tall, so there’s no way to secure your object to the base in a way that the laser module won’t hit it.
When you start a job and run a boundary, your laser will hit your workholder every time. Technically, advanced mode lets you control the z of the toolhead, but if you save it it overwrites the origin.
— Visible Flames Detected —
Both on the sample piece and my test cut, the project went for a little while and then the machine abruptly shut down, giving me a “Visible Flames Detected” warning. It’s essentially an emergency stop, so not recoverable. Here’s a video of what it was doing until a manual off/on.
I did not see flames but there’s definitely floating ash and it gets very smoky. This may be related to the z height problem, as I had to raise my laser head 5mm as to not hit my workholders.
— Wrong Time Estimate —
On every job I’ve run with the 40W, the “% Complete” and “Remaining Time” estimates on the machine show as nearly finished in the middle of the cut. I’m not sure what happened but the lastest firmware update has taken this from unreliable to essentially non-functioning.
— Air Assist Plug-In —
Be forewarned, the Air Assist (which is all but required for the 40W module) doesn’t plug into 1 of the open accessory slots on the controller, it plugs into the Heated Bed slot from the 3DP module. I’m sure this is a power requirement problem, but nonetheless, quick swap just got slower and more cumbersome.