I'd like to introduce myself to the crew - Name's Caleb and I'm a student with passion for Photography and building DIY projects, so naturally I like to combine these.
I had an idea to optically print digital photo's (normally done in a wet darkroom with film and an enlarger) with lasers, line by line. Initially the plan was to have a scanhead plotter like system with Galvos to shoot lasers onto a silver-gelatine paper substrate. The project proved much to complex and expensive to go ahead with - I needed a simpler solution
This is when I found Jeff&co's Shapeoko mod and PicEngrave software which is fantastic and essentially, exactly what I want to do with some small additions and modifications.
That being the addition of an RGB laser module in order to print onto colour RA-4 chemical process paper. I have theorised how such a system would work implementing the Shapeoko mod and software to split a colour image into individual RGB channels (resulting B&W images), combine each of their resultant gcodes (keeping XY values the same) and output them through extra axiis and DACs to their respective laser.
Here are some pictures of Wagner to demonstrate the channel/colour separation process:
Jeff has so kindly already outputted these three images to a single gcode file utilising the Z, A, and B axiis synchronised so it is very much possible.
All thats left to do it figure out the electronics, source, built and test it! I have started this thread to show my progress on the project as well as allow others to contribute or if I need any kind of help.
There is one small problem with the project - I cannot program
I am currently stuck on a way to use DACs in the setup to convert the gcode/stepper values to analogue for Flexmod. It is a big ask but ideally I would greatly benefit from some kind of step-by-step tutorial on installing and coding a DAC for this system as I really have no idea.
For the other electronics I plan on using TinyG to run the CNC and extra axis as it had 6-axis support. I am not sure if I still need to go through PC software such as Mach3 though once I have the final gcode - it is quite expensive.
There are also some other minor problems such as a light-proof enclosure of the CNC and the issues with ventilation.
I would love to hear your feedback and help if possible, it will be very much appreciated especially with the programming!