Having built a second CNC machine, my 500mm X-Carve has been sitting on a shelf waiting to become a dedicated laser cutter.
Right now I am in the reading phase. Trying to get educated as much as possible before making decisions. From hardware setup to software choices. From workflow to safety.
At some point I need to make up my mind about whether to use a Z axis or not. Again, this machine will not be doing any milling. It will be carrying a laser head only.
Advantages of having a Z:
- fine focus ability
- focus once and forget (focus on machine bed and then lift Z to match material width)
Advantages of not having a Z:
- lighter, less inertia (can increase acceleration)
- one less motor (less power, fewer cables, cleaner setup)
On one hand I am thinking if I bought a commercial laser machine, it would have no Z. Once I get used to focusing, it will take next to nothing. And speed is something serious to consider. On the other hand, I already have a Z.
Opinions, experiences, comments are welcome.