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Thread: Problem with Epilog Helix laser table when auto focusing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
    Posts
    103

    Problem with Epilog Helix laser table when auto focusing

    Hi
    Not sure if anyone has had this problem on their Epilog but I am hoping someone maybe able to offer an easy suggestion to fix it? About a day after I received my Epilog Helix 2 weeks ago, the table jammed while it was auto focusing. It happend just shortly after the material touched the auto focus plunger. The machine emitted a whistling noise almost as if the motor were still trying to move the table up but it was being jammed. I spoke to Epilog when it happened and they suggested I use a little WD40 on a Q-Tip and rub it around the shaft of the plunger. I did this and it seemed to work fine-after I took the front off and had to manually pull the belt to lower the table. They did ship me a new plunger but because the machine was working I did not see the need to change it. This afternoon the problem started happening again so I lubricated the plunger again and after that never worked changed the plunger - it is still doing the same thing. I spoke to Epilog support again and now they are sending me a new sensor board which is located on the top of the I-Beam and a new main control board as well - just in case....
    It seems strange that this is now happening again even though it was fixed 2 weeks ago by lubricating the plunger as was suggetsed. Being in Canada it will take until at least Friday or maybe even early next week before I receive these parts. Until then does anyone have any suggestions as to other things I can try?
    Thanks.

    PAT
    Pat
    JOMA Engraving, Epilog Helix 35 Watt, Corel X3

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Vancouver, Washington
    Posts
    397
    From what I've heard, WD40 is more of a freeing agent, not necessarily an oil or grease. I'd suggest using it to clean, then follow up with an oil like 3in1. And use it sparingly. Depending on what you're cutting, leaving an oil excess might cause dust and particulate to build up increasing your problem. Hopefully it's the parts that you are replacing, and will make the problem better. Shaddy

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
    Posts
    103

    Problem with Epilog Helix

    Thanks Shaddy, I was thinking the same thing about WD40 but I figured they would know. I will try the 3 in 1 though and let you know.
    Pat
    JOMA Engraving, Epilog Helix 35 Watt, Corel X3

  4. #4

    No Auto Focus

    Best thing I did was remove the plunger assembly complety and leave it off. You will find items that have a lip ( like a plate) hit the plunger when it returns to home. I just manual focus everything.
    I also smartened up and now try to make jigs, of items that seem to go together such as cake pan lids and pan bottoms, such that they both sit at the same height and I do not need to refocus.

  5. #5
    Pat,
    You may have bent the plunger slightly, so it is sticking easily.
    WD40 is great for rusty stuff, but does not fix a bent shaft. It only might have lubed it enough to compensate for awhile. Also, I don't think lubrication should be necessary.
    Replacing it will probably so it, but in the meanwhile, like Pete said, just manual focus.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
    Posts
    103

    Update

    Thanks Jerry. I have tried some 3 in 1 oil and to no avail. As for the point about a bent shaft that could be possible. The new plunger they sent me had a shaft on it that was about a 1/2" too long so as per the suggestion of the technicial support person I changed the shafts from the older to the old to new one. He asked me did the old one look bent and it didn't so we took the chance - still never worked. So I guess manual focus it is and that's fine with me - however I do hope the problem is fixed soon. When you spend $20+K on something you hope everything will work fine for more than a couple of weeks. I'll keep you guys posted and thanks again for the support - this truly is a great forum and a great group of people.
    Pat
    JOMA Engraving, Epilog Helix 35 Watt, Corel X3

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Hayes, Virginia
    Posts
    12,361
    Pat,

    Pete Simmons is right, autofocus is nothing but trouble. I had a problem with mine long ago and stopped using it.

    If your table jammed maybe the spring on the left side bearing needs to be reset. I expect this is a protective feature that keeps the main bar from bending when there is a jam. This happened to me once using my rotary attachment with autofocus which my owners manual did not warn me not to do, since then I stopped using autofocus.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Kearney
    Until then does anyone have any suggestions as to other things I can try?
    Pat,
    You and tech support may be well ahead of me, but did you "feel test" the auto focus? If not try this. Lower the table all the way down (to give yourself plenty of time for this) then send a job over with AF turned on. With lid open, with one finger on the stop button , use another finger to compress the AF plunger. Did it stop? Did you feel resistance,like it is binding? Compress at slightly different angles on alternative tests and see if you can feel what the problem might be. If it doesn't react to your compressing it at all then most likely you'll have to wait for the electronic components that are on the way to you. If you did feel binding that kept the plunger from approaching the magnetic sensor, disassemble again and see if you can isolate problem.

    I'm not being defensive, but I can't imagine not having my auto focus. I recommend to you to do what it takes to get it running and run it *all* the time. I'd probably agree with others if they have Legend or earlier lasers, but I strongly recommend that anyone with a Legend EX, TT or newer, keep the AF plunger clean (clean it daily if necessary) and use it on every job unless your job requires it to be out of focus.
    Roy Brewer
    Epilog/Control Laser/Roland engravers/Xenetech

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Sammamish, WA
    Posts
    7,537

    Problem with Epilog Helix laser table when auto focusing

    I agree with Roy, love the auto focus and find it saves a lot of time. Unfortunate that there is no protection against a jam if you forget
    to lower the table before running a thicker material. On my 24TT
    I had a problem on warranty, the plunger fell off. The set screw had worked loose. Epilog sent me a new one as the spring in the old one
    had stretched, got it the next day but learned how inconvenient it
    is to manually focus every time that day.



    Sammamish, WA

    Epilog Legend 24TT 45W, had a sign business for 17 years, now just doing laser work on the side.

    "One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop." G. Weilacher

    "The handyman's secret weapon - Duct Tape" R. Green

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
    Posts
    103

    Fixed at last-the table was not level

    Hi everyone
    I am hoping I have the problem solved. In speaking with Epilog technical support we determined that the table was not level - it was higher on the right side by almost 1/2". Not sure why this was but it was obviously causing the unit to move up too high on that side and jam. I removed the side panel and and after loosening the belt which moves the table up and down I rotated the right side shaft enough to bring the table up the approx the 1/2" required. I then used the manual focus tool to ensure the table was level at all four corners. After replacing the belt I ran a test run and it seems to be working fine now.
    As for using auto-focus vs manual focus I am thinking a combination of both for myself would work but my wife, who will be using the laser most of the time, is insistent she wants the the auto-focus and since she is "the boss" I am fine with that.

    Thanks to everyone for all of your help.

    PAT
    Pat
    JOMA Engraving, Epilog Helix 35 Watt, Corel X3

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Sammamish, WA
    Posts
    7,537

    Fixed at last-the table was not level

    Congrats on the fix, you have to be handy to fix these when the techs are in Colorado.



    Sammamish, WA

    Epilog Legend 24TT 45W, had a sign business for 17 years, now just doing laser work on the side.

    "One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop." G. Weilacher

    "The handyman's secret weapon - Duct Tape" R. Green

  12. #12

    Auto Focus is fine - but

    It is fine to use it but -

    If you switch between thickness of items much I bet you will not go one week before you jam the auto focus probe into the table. Nice idea by Epilog but very poorly carried out.

    I would prefer to have a table height readout so I could set it to prior known positions.

    A table height sensor to prevent probe jams sounds good but then you would just drive it into your work that is sitting at some unknown height on the table.

    I'll stick to manual focus.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Sammamish, WA
    Posts
    7,537

    Auto Focus is fine - but

    Pete,

    For the reason you mention I always have the vector grid in, it's a lot softer if there's a jam than the table itself. Also, it's not too bad to replace, mine was worn on the left side from a lot of vector cutting so that nothing thin like Rowmark 1/16 would lie flat, only $40 for a new honeycomb and got it the next day. Of course those new ones with the vaccum table don't have a vector grid.



    Sammamish, WA

    Epilog Legend 24TT 45W, had a sign business for 17 years, now just doing laser work on the side.

    "One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop." G. Weilacher

    "The handyman's secret weapon - Duct Tape" R. Green

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
    Posts
    103

    I agree

    Pete you are right in that you have to be handy and be prepared to fix whatever comes up. Living on an Island as far North as Newfoundland is we are used to having to do things ourselves until things or people arrive. However last night when after two nights of working with technical support and still not finding a fix I can honestly say that I was "sweating bullets". All I could think was I just paid $20K+ for this thing 2 weeks ago and now what am I going to do if it has major problems with the frame or something and has to be shipped back. Luckily we worked it out and things now seem fine again - but it was tense for a while. My thanks again to Koy, the technical support person at Epilog who worked with me on this.

    Pat
    Pat
    JOMA Engraving, Epilog Helix 35 Watt, Corel X3

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    20
    Pat, I know your post was five years ago, but I have had this problem since I received my Mini 40. The screw adjustments do not work for me as the left side of the table is almost 1" lower than the right. I had a guy from Engravers Express come out and he had to take apart something. Can you tell me how I can loosen the belt as you described. Epilog tells me the only instructions they have for this issue is the adjustments screws. Thanks for your help if you can.

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