Jtech offers a spindle mount laser up to 7W now. It will fit in a .25" collet. It was designed with coordination of Probotix and JTech. There are a couple of guys that I know of that have the retrofit laser kits on their Probotix machines.
I think the biggest challenge at this point is finding a post processor that works like a typical laser working in a bidirectional scanning mode from top to bottom (or vice versus) for fill patterns. Vectric's software toolpaths don't have that capability, yet. Lightburn is a very good laser software, but I think it only works with USB controllers. I use it on my GRBL laser and it works great. You could check it out as they do have a trial period.
chiming into this late but some things to think about when converting a CNC machine to laser. One really should take a methodical approach.
- What is the controller interface? i.e. is it open GCode or some captive interface. This makes all the difference. Unless you can run open GCode, you are at the mercy of your vendor's laser support. FWIW, the Laguna site says nothing about software interfaces so I can only assume it's captive.
- What are you trying to do? engrave? cut? What materials? Answering these questions will help you understand what power of laser you need to get.
- What working area size do you need? And the corollary, flat or 3D if you are engraving? This affects things like size, clearance and the need for a 4th axis.
- A low power laser, <10 Watts, will allow you a fairly simple spindle replacement approach to retrofit a CNC machine.
- A high power laser uses a tube and really wants a purpose built machine. The good news is it doesn't need to be all that strong/rigid as you aren't moving a heavy spindle around and there are minimal opposing forces (no bit dragging through protesting material).
And by the way, those Laguna machines look pretty nice but are way outside the hobbyist envelope. If you look at their site, they have several laser machines. Compared to the cost of a Smartshop II, they are amazingly cheap!
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