LowRider-inspired Foam Ripper

New Home Forum Things You Have Made LowRider-inspired Foam Ripper

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    For completeness sake… when I last left off with FoamRipper, I was starting to wander off into an area I have less interest in, and practically no use for, given that I’m no longer really cutting, building, decorating, and flying planes. So, I weenied out again, and chose to concentrate on the machine itself… specifically, the FoamRipper’s carriage, Z-axis, and needle-cutter.


    If interested, the development of this carriage and cutter is detailed in two RC forum threads… refer to either of these for more information regarding the carriage and needle cutter construction and design.



    I suppose to make this particular activity more appropriate for this site, I can share video and photos of the obligatory MPCNC crown… turn down the sound!

    This is DTFB… the Adams papered-foamboard available at most dollar-stores. The paper is what causes the most grief when cutting it… the fuzziness on the cut edges is the paper but the foam is cut clean. Unpapered foams cut very cleanly. Here, the crown stayed on the spoilboard when the waste was lifted…


    Gently working the piece loose… everything loosened, with paper intact….


    Top and bottom sides…




    A more “normal” job for the FoamRipper and needle cutter is cutting plane parts…

    The carriage, Z-axis, and needle cutter are now up on Thingiverse


    So I think this brings FoamRipper to a reasonably complete state and I’ll let it be. Thanks to all who’ve shown interest and suffered through!

    — David

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    That is amazing that it holds all that detail in the crown and you can just slide the pieces apart. Slick!

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    A bit of digression, some exploration, a dose of boredom, 3dprinter sitting idle, parts on hand, a whim of fancy, and a bit of folly… it’s PLAYTIME! Can’t nap all the time 😉

    Poor FoamRipper. Built originally with Marlin/Mega/RAMPS, I recently took a nostalgic trip back in time to convert it over to LinuxCNC, the control software I started with, way back in my initial forays into CNC. I had used it, along with SketchUp and the Phlatboyz CAM extensions, to create gcode for all the little bluecore fan-fold foam aircraft my late flying/fishing buddy and I flew in my pasture… as well as all the parts for a second CNC machine for him. I really do like LinuxCNC and thoroughly enjoyed developing the inexpensive LinuxCNC interface documented in this thread… but, by today’s standards (Marlin/Grbl), it is a bit big and clunky. And since there seems little interest, beyond my own, and my curiosity is now satisfied, it’s time to move on to something new…

    I’ve built more than a dozen CNC machines over the past several years and virtually all of them started with Marlin/Mega/RAMPS. Since I had a number of the little board sets that I knew worked, I kept using them. One of the machines still in use, an MPCNC laser engraver, sports a miniRambo board now…. having been used to help debug the laser raster-engraving issue in newer versions of Marlin.

    Somewhere along the way, however, I picked up a couple of MKS Gen L v1.0 controllers. I don’t remember exactly why… other than they were supposedly 100% compatible with the Mega/RAMPS combo I’d been using and was so familiar with.

    The digression and exploration… I reverted to the Marlin/Mega/RAMPS scheme from before. However, I used the MKS Gen L v1.0 board this time. I flashed it with the Marlin/RAMPS firmware from this site and applied the RAMPS “pin44 remap” mod (isolated white wire) and set it up for the full-graphics LCD display.


    The isolated white and gray wires are the RAMPS “remapped Fan1 to pin 44” mod for TTL laser modulation, using M107 and M106 Sxxx gcodes for control…



    Boredom and fancy… I had thought I might play with putting a laser on the FoamRipper. Pretty useless, really — diode lasers won’t cut foam-board — but I thought it could be fun to play with as an engraver. So, my compact carriage and Z-lift got a new appendage and became a bit the monstrosity… sporting one of the Eleksmaker 2.5 watt laser modules I had on hand. Pen/marker, needle-cutter, and now laser… all mounted on the same carriage together.






    And, in action…

    So, it works… but is of dubious value. But it keeps me off the streets and gives me something to do between naps

    — David

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    Adventures in air-assist…

    Still a fan of “pawpawpaw85″‘s air-assist shroud I’ve used several times, I’ve discovered one I think I like a bit more… “danwar”‘s “Laser Air Assist Shroud” (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2626593). I’ve replaced the radial fan, however, with a small printed adapter that allows connection of some vinyl tubing (3/8″ ID x 1/2″ OD) from the big box store. At the other end, I’ve connected a fairly nice, relatively quiet, air pump… powered by an inexpensive router speed control, for adjusting the flow of air from nozzle.

    A crude test over the range of the speed control, showing the air flow from MIN to MAX…

    Here’s the air pump, router speed control, and vinyl tubing connected through another printed adapter…


    Shroud with printed adapter and vinyl tubing…



    Mounted on the FoamRipper’s laser housing…




    and “shades of gray” test run.



    — David










    What is that pump from, is it a mini vacuum in reverse? That seems like a great idea, some can’t handle any sort of back pressure but that seems to be doing great.



    That’s actually an OzarkTrail air-mattress pump my kids left behind when they moved. I found a couple of Coleman air pumps as well… but they are considerably louder.





    Neat!  I have a couple of those inflator thingies around here somewhere.



    I have the loud ones. The NiCd version died, so I soldered a lipo connector to it. It’s still loud, but much lighter (and dangerous!).



    Further adventures with a 2.5 watt Eleksmaker laser, cutting/engraving, and air-assist…

    After noting a stronger, higher-pressure blast with the Loc-line flexible coolant hose and nozzle, I decided to try printing a nozzle extender for the stock nozzle for Danowar’s most-excellent air-assist shroud…





    All these pieces (no, he doesn’t need ALL of them but I needed a test subject…) were cut and engraved with the same 2.5 watt laser…. starting with the cereal-box cardboard (chipboard?) on the far left and — going clock-wise — 3mm birch plywood, stencil board, and the last two, 5mm luan plywood from the big-box store…


    For cleanest, crispest detail, I’ve found that the nozzle-extender cone is best used for cutting and the stock nozzle for engraving… thankfully it’s simple to put on and take off. Engraving — with the extender — I got a “smudged”/”smokey”/”charred” look… without the extender, I got the lighter, crisper, cleaner engraving. Below, the same file, same material, and exact same laser settings… but with the extender (left) and without (right)…



    These two 5mm luan plywood pieces were engraved with the same file and laser settings…. the darker engraving (background) was with the extender cone, the lighter one without…


    More to come. This is fun stuff…

    — David



    With the extender cone, and MAX air-blast from the OzarkTrail air pump, I was able to cut materials I haven’t been able to cut previously… all the way up to 5mm luan construction plywood/paneling from the big-box store…




    This is not fast, mind you… but it is possible, with patience. I’m not sure exactly how many passes it actually took to cut completely through on the outline cut… but I was sure it was cut through after 11 passes at full-power, full-air, and 100 mm/min feed rate. It could have been 8, 9, 10… or 11. I use a rather crude way to not lose count… placing another item in the string when starting each 6 minute outline run…


    With patience — and ABSOLUTE BEST FOCUS and STRONG AIR-ASSIST — it is possible to work your way through material a lot of folks say is not possible to cut with such a low-power laser. I really think it is the smaller spot size. I was a bit surprised, several years ago, to find that my first 3.5 watt lasers didn’t seem any more “powerful” than the 2 and 2.7 watt laser I’d played with previously… so I’m pretty sure its a “power density” thing; i.e. 2.5 watts concentrated in a “unit area” is more “powerful” than 3.5 watts spread over 4X that “unit area”.

    I’m going to stop here for now. Having a “blast”… with air-assist 😉

    — David

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    If you cut any thicker material, you’ll need to make more rulers to count 🙂

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    Start making “Happy 71st” and next year you can unload all your failed tests (or successful tests for that matter).

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