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Laser Probe

New low-cost, high-speed laser probe digitizing with automatic height control sensing for increased scanning range and speed.

Automatically probe a user-defined area of a part with a laser analog feedback device to create a 3D point cloud file to be used by a variety of CAD/CAM systems to create a solid modeled or surfaced CAD file and tool path to reproduce the part.

A special feature of this laser scanning routine is the ability to gather 3D point positions on the fly while the machine is traveling. There is no need to come to a stop, move down and up or make any secondary slower physical probe motions since the laser does not come in contact with the material. A steady user-defined travel speed and interval is entered and the laser gathers these points while traveling. The motion is non-stop and non-contact resulting in extremely high digitizing speeds when compared to a touch probe.

The other unique feature of this routine allows the laser itself, which is generally mounted to the Z axis, to move up and down in accordance to the Z-axis height of the part. The benefit here is increased laser scanning range. For example, if the laser displacement beam reads the most accurate positions between 2 and 10 inches of distance from the laser device, this routine moves the physical laser connected to the Z axis up and down if the surface of the part is higher or lower in the Z axis. The end result is an almost infinite laser scanning range for the tallest or shortest of parts without regard to the laser manufacturer’s specification for distance and accuracy.

How it works:

Macro files are used containing a series of user-definable questions. (A sampling of these questions is shown below.) Your answers will be stored into another file that will be automatically read and written to by the macro files.

ABOUT TO SET Z0 REFERENCE POSITION OF PROBE. ARE YOU READY? (0=NO 1=YES)
ENTER X WIDTH OF THE PART.
ENTER Y LENGTH OF THE PART.
STARTING IN LOWER LEFT CORNER, ENTER X STARTING POSITION FOR PROBE.
STARTING IN LOWER LEFT CORNER, ENTER Y STARTING POSITION FOR PROBE.
ENTER Z STARTING POSITION FOR PROBE.
ENTER POINT CLOUD FILENAME.
ENABLE AUTOMATIC Z HEIGHT CONTROL (0=NO 1=YES)?
ENTER STEPOVER AMOUNT.
ENTER FEEDRATE FOR X AND Y AXES.
ENTER SCAN TIME INTERVAL IN MILLISECONDS.
ENTER Z UPPER LIMIT BUFFER ZONE THRESHOLD IN PERCENTAGE OF PROBES TOTAL DISPLACEMENT TRAVEL (0-100).
ENTER Z LOWER LIMIT BUFFER ZONE THRESHOLD IN PERCENTAGE OF PROBES TOTAL DISPLACEMENT TRAVEL (0-100).
ENTER Z FEEDRATE TO ADJUST OFFSET IF BUFFER ZONE THRESHOLD EXCEEDED.
ENTER Z-AXIS SAFE PART CLEARANCE POSITION.
ENTER Z-AXIS MINIMUM TRAVEL LIMIT.
ENTER Z-AXIS MAXIMUM TRAVEL LIMIT.
ENTER DISPLACEMENT TRAVEL DISTANCE RANGE IN INCHES THAT YOUR PROBE REPORTS BETWEEN 0 VOLTS AND 10 VOLTS.
ENTER PROBE TOLERANCE.

How to use it

When the scanning macro is called, there will be a series of questions with default answers. All the parameters you initially set will stay in effect until changed. Either accept the default answers or enter new answers. That’s it.

Compare Laser to Touch probe speed

While CamSoft does offer free touch probe scanning in CNC Professional the scanning speeds with a laser are incredibly fast. With a physical touch probe you average 1 position a second, but with a laser you average about between 30-60 positions a second.

Prices

Prices vary widely and generally depends on the need for Laser quality, accuracy and scanning range or distance.

Lower accuracy lasers (+/-.010) start at $2,150

Higher accuracy lasers (+/-.0025) start at $4,850 and go up to $8,500

Complete systems require a CNC Professional PC Based controller retrofit and Laser driver (macro). The prices vary here on average from $6,500 to $15,000 depending on machine type, number of axis, spindle, tool changer and perhaps the need for new motors, amps and installation services.



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