After almost two years of effort, we are unfortunately ending the fiber laser project.
We have the motion, cooling, air, and computer control all working. The problem is that the fiber laser source that this is all built around is not functioning.
It’s possible that we’re doing something wrong with how we’re interfacing with it, but the deadline given to us to fix the laser source and complete the project has unfortunately lapsed.
We looked into repairing a different laser source that we have on hand, but we couldn’t find someone with the fiber optic splicing equipment necessary to complete the repair.
The best option would be to buy a new laser source for $7.5k. We had tried to fundraise it privately, but we couldn’t raise enough. Then we were going to open the funding publicly through the forum, but Asmbly asked us not to. We also tried to finance the purchase by having the class fee go towards the laser source, but that idea was shot down. Finally, we offered to donate the machine if Asmbly purchases the laser source, but sadly there was no interest.
It hurts to see something fail after you’ve invested so substantially in it, but it was still an edifying experience for me. This project improved my CNC, CAD, and welding skills. I also learned a lot about industrial machinery and got experience in the design->manufacture->test pipeline for hardware.
We’re going to move the machine to another location and continue working on it there. There is also a fully running fiber laser at the shop of @JoeN, so if you need work done you can reach out to him.
Thanks to everyone who helped with the laser, I’m sorry we couldn’t get this project to the finish line.