So I finally got around to machining the parts to allow me to bolt a small CO2 laser to my Shizuoka bedmill head.
Here is the unit:I wanted it to be relatively easy to take on/off the mill, because it is somewhat in the way when trying to use the mill as a mill :-) The laser is a 10 watt Synrad doing 17 watts.
Here is a closeup of the lens holder I machined on the mill:I used a 3" F.L. znse lens, an indium wire seal, and dry shop air at about 20psi when cutting stuff.
Here is a little gear I whipped out in under 18 seconds at a 60IPM feedrate in1/16" basswood: Oh, and to make you really jealous...I scrounged the laser for free from the dump (a semiconductor marking machine that had been obsoleted) and got the znse lens on ebay for $25. Not a bad addition to my $200 Shizuoka B-3V mill! :-)
Oh, and the question. I need a way to hold down small wood and cardboard parts while cutting them without having much on the backside. The parts get really charred on the backside if they are just resting on a piece of annodized aluminum plate. The best thing would be a vacuum honeycomb table, but I am not sure how I could machine something like that. Any ideas on how to make an aluminum honeycomb table about 12" by 20" by 1/2" thick with as thin a webbing as possible and having vacuum holddown? The best I can come up with is drilling a bunch of closely space holes in the plate, or perhaps making a bed of nails (but then how to do the vacuum holddown?).