Benbox Laser Machines/CO2 Lasers/3D Printers

Software => BenCutLaser => Topic started by: PhilMC on May 12, 2019, 11:21:45 AM

Title: Laserbot Marlin (CLOSED)
Post by: PhilMC on May 12, 2019, 11:21:45 AM
Hi there
In have a question about the Laserbot and the Marlin firmware you provide.
I am using windows 10 and BCL 3.2a and have them working OK.
Here is the intro to the firmware:

Code: [Select]
( BenCutLaser (c) 2016-2018 All Rights Reserved )
( Developed by Ralph Freshour and Paul Henty )
( )
( Connected to COM6 @ 115200 baud )
echo:Marlin 1.1.0-RC8 FA BL
echo: Last Updated: 2016-12-06 12:00 | Author: BenCutLaser 1.8.4
Compiled: Mar 27 2017

I want to cut out some thin plywood so I am experimenting with paper first of all.
My laserbot is missing bits of lines and small objects when cutting. It looks to me like the laser is missing beginnings of lines, so I guess there is some delay in bringing the laser up to full power.

Comments on other forums show this is a common problem which was originally was blamed on Makeblock software but since it also happens with the BCL kit I guess that it is down to electronics!.

I tried put a delay (dwell) into the gcode BCL produced as in the snippet below
Code: [Select]
( Body )
G01 X0027.4732 Y0207.4615 F1000
M04 P191 ( [color:DarkGray] )
G04 P300
G01 X0101.7079 Y0207.4615 F500
G01 X0064.5906 Y0170.3442 F500
G01 X0027.4732 Y0207.4615 F500
M4 P0
( end Polyline 0039 )  ( UserComment )  ( polyline 0039 )

G01 X0155.3798 Y0170.3538 F1000
M04 P191 ( [color:DarkGray] )
G04 P300
G01 X0192.4875 Y0207.4615 F500
G01 X0118.2721 Y0207.4615 F500
G01 X0155.3798 Y0170.3538 F500
M4 P0
( end Polyline 0036 )  ( UserComment )  ( polyline 0036 )

But to no effect.
I guess that facility was not part of Marlin at that time.

Do you have any advice....
 Could I perhaps upgrade the Marlin from your version and compile a new firmware file, though if so I need a few pointers as to what was in your .h file etc and some suggestions as to the best way to go about it.

It might be that it would be better to replace the electronics!!

Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin
Post by: Administrator on May 13, 2019, 06:34:09 AM
I'm a bit confused here Phil. If you really want to cut on thin plywood then why are you burning on paper? Don't waste time burning on paper because it won't be the same (the settings that work on paper won't work on  plywood). So, I'm not sure why you would want to troubleshoot burning on paper, even re-compiling new firmware, etc. when you're real target is thin plywood?

I burned on paper myself and found that really light power settings produced an uneven burn line. This is due to the paper surface finish. Light burn lines are difficult to do on any material. At this point I don't think there is anything wrong with your system, but some photos would help me to see excatly what you are talking about.

Unless you really want to burn on paper, move on to your thin plywood and please report on your progress.
Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: PhilMC on May 14, 2019, 07:53:39 AM
Thanks for the comments Ralph.
Sorry to confuse you....
I built this laserbot a couple of years ago because I like building things and configuring them, and only used it for minor tasks. Recently I wanted to upgrade the heatbed on my 3D Printer I built back a while and I saw a suitably modified adapter on Thingiverse. I thought my laserbot might be just the tool I needed but found the software with it a pain for precision work. So this is my first attempt at using bencutlaser!
With that is mind and not being certain of the quality of the the dfx file from thingiverse I aimed first of all for a paper template to match against the 3D Printer.
This is where my problems started with missing parts of objects.
At the moment I'm also working in a box room indoors and I'd rather not cut wood until I get the kit in my shed.
So if you could bear with me I'll first of all try to cut out a paper template.
So as to remove any chance of problems with dfx files I'll use your Main Test55.dxf as a first step and try to cut it out of paper. I'll set up a new paper cutting tool, my settings are nearly there anyway as some of the burns are going straight through!
When I have something worth a photo I'll post it together with the settings I use.

Hope this is OK with you
Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: Administrator on May 14, 2019, 10:18:04 AM
Hi Phil,

Now I understand. Thanks for explaining.

In the mean time, if you don't mind attaching your dxf file, I'll have a look at it and see what the quality of it is. You can do this as well using BCL but since you're still new to BCL, I don't mind checking the dxf file for you.

Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: PhilMC on May 14, 2019, 11:32:43 AM
OK, Thanks Ralph
Here is the dxf file I downloaded from Thingiverse converted to Autocad2000 by A9Converter. They called it 'printbed_upper_base_heatedped_mk2_reworke.DXF'
I noticed that the reworker has missed one polyline combination on the RHS, 4 steps down the diagonal from the top. It is still a set of lines and arcs!
I shall be interested to see how the paper template matches up with the top plate of the moving heatbed dolly.

Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: Administrator on May 14, 2019, 12:46:31 PM
The dxf file is 98% OK. No duplicate drawing objects. All drawing objects that are in the file are valid for BCL.

As you pointed out, there is one Polyline that wasn't created correctly. See attachment 2.png below. However, this polyline drawing object can be burned if you create a toolpath with all of the individual objects sequenced together correctly:

Polyline 60 (this object also needs it's direction to be reversed. Assign your tool and press the R key to reverse direction. See 1.png)

tp.png shows that I assigned my laser tool to each of the polyline drawing objects (as listed immediately above) and then I typed in a toolpath name and pressed Return and then clicked the TPSave link to save it. This toolpath file.

Here is a Youtube video I made to show you how to do this:

Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: ggallant571 on May 14, 2019, 04:00:42 PM
Would not bother me one iota if DFX just faded away. The quicker the better.
Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: PhilMC on May 15, 2019, 11:46:17 AM
Thanks Ralph for the explanation and video description. I'll get back to you when I have had a chance to follow it through....

Much appreciated
Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: PhilMC on May 17, 2019, 04:05:53 AM
Hi Ralph
I completed that exercise successfully....
But I am unable to open the toolpaths I saved after creating them for each of the object types.

They show up in the source directory for my DXF :
Code: [Select]
Mode                LastWriteTime         Length Name                                                                 
----                -------------         ------ ----                                                                 
-a----       16/05/2019     19:35           1660             
-a----       16/05/2019     19:35          44475 printbed_upper_base_heatedped_mk2_reworke.Circles.004.ray             
-a----       10/05/2019     18:56          47545 printbed_upper_base_heatedped_mk2_reworke.DXF                         
-a----       16/05/2019     19:45             87 printbed_upper_base_heatedped_mk2_reworke.mft                         
-a----       16/05/2019     19:26              0               
-a----       16/05/2019     19:32           1204             
-a----       16/05/2019     19:32          44343 printbed_upper_base_heatedped_mk2_reworke.Rhombus.003.ray             
-a----       16/05/2019     19:45           1356         
-a----       16/05/2019     19:45          44691 printbed_upper_base_heatedped_mk2_reworke.RoundedRect.005.ray         
-a----       16/05/2019     19:30           1318           
-a----       16/05/2019     19:30          44303 printbed_upper_base_heatedped_mk2_reworke.Triangle.002.ray           
I have opened the DFX in BCL but the Toolpaths do not appear when I LoadTPN/A.

Any suggestions?

Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: Administrator on May 17, 2019, 05:41:31 AM
What timezone are you located in? We need to do a screen share so I can see how you saved the toolpaths, etc. We can use Let me know what times work best for you today.
Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: PhilMC on May 17, 2019, 11:20:39 AM
Thanks Ralph...
In the meantime I have looked at the mft file, experimented, seen the structure and rebuilt the list of Toolpaths. I have now loaded the Toolpaths I was unable to find before.
I must have used some incorrect sequence of key presses.

It seems to be working OK now.
I'll give it another run through just to be sure...

By the way you mentioned shortcuts to functions. Is there a list of them somewhere?

Lets postpone the join for the moment. I'll get back to you....

Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: Administrator on May 17, 2019, 08:23:27 PM
There are not many:

Spacebar to assign a laser tool to a drawing object.
'r' to reverse a drawing object's direction.
Mouse wheel: zoom in and out on drawing.

Check right mouse click for popup menus when working with your drawing and assigning laser tools.
Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: PhilMC on May 20, 2019, 10:50:59 AM
Hi Ralph
Thanks for the shortcut details.
I must also say thanks again for the tutorial material you posted regarding the heatbed adapter.

I had a go with Main Test55 and cut it out of paper. A photo is attached.
As you can see there are bits missing!

I have also attached a photo of some tests I did adjusting the power setting. The rounded square is also incomplete.

I wonder if this is due to laser power-on delay? I saw this mentioned in a discussion you were having with 'svogl' on another forum about the laserbot.
I think it looks as though most if not all the missing portions are at the beginning of a cut?
Did you get this with the laserbot you built?

Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: Administrator on May 20, 2019, 01:28:46 PM
Obviously you should not see any gaps in your burns. This is a laserbot problem. I don't normally use a laserbot and therefore I don't see this problem. Do you have another laser system available to test with?
Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: PhilMC on May 29, 2019, 11:30:39 AM
Hi Ralph
I think I have cracked the problem...
Attached below is the result of engraving on 160 gsm card, 300 mm/min @90%.

I thought the power module supplied with it looked a little weak, so I attached a much higher spec one with plenty of spare capacity. After all, stepper motors with likely induction effects could easily disrupt the stability of sensitive electronics!

Now I can go on to explore your software and work towards cutting out the heat bed adapter.

Thanks for your help
Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: ggallant571 on May 29, 2019, 12:04:42 PM
I like Ralph's calibration and test suite. What power is your laser? I typically etch colored cardstock at greater than 1800 mm/min at 100% power on a 2.5W module..
Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: Administrator on May 29, 2019, 02:07:11 PM
Yes Phil, your test burns look like they should now. Good work.
Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: PhilMC on May 30, 2019, 07:24:32 AM
Hi ggallant571
I have a laserbot with 1.6W blue diode laser.
I was concentrating on getting complete lines without breaks as you can see from the dialogue. I have yet to experiment with speed though that will be soon! What do you use your etched colourstock for....?
Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: PhilMC on May 30, 2019, 07:31:39 AM
Hi Ralph
Thanks for the comment.

Can you point me in the direction of which of your tutorials would be useful to me in order to get the 3 mm plywood cutting? I have seen that you describe how to cope with the grain direction... Do you have any suggestions as to a typical tool setting? Did you try this with the laserbot?

Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: ggallant571 on May 30, 2019, 08:11:39 AM
I have a 1.6W which I use for detail work. It has a great focal point and makes cleanest line etchings. I also use it for cutting veneers and stencils.

Cutting 3mm wood is going to be a slow process and the glues used in typical home supply or hobby stores plywood will make it almost impossible. In my attempts to cut plywood, the laser seems to melt the glue and it remixes with the ash to form a solid brick like layer in the cut trough. I suspect Ralph has a better explanation and/or procedure

There supposedly is "laser" friendly plywood and it would be nice to have a reliable source.

Do you have a "Air Blower" to remove the ash and an adjustable Z axis to control the focus?
Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: PhilMC on May 30, 2019, 11:07:15 AM
Hi ggallant571
Thanks for the info...
The plywood I purchased from Amazon:
'Creative Deco 10 x A3 Plywood Sheets 3mm | 420 x 300 x 3 mm | Baltic Birch Wood Ply | Perfect for Pyrography, Laser Cutting, CNC Router, Modelling, Fretwork, Scroll Saw'

I am hoping that it lives up to its reviews!

I don't have an adjustable z or an air blower. The latter I might be able to rig up or make something with my 3D printer, or purchase from A. I guess I might need something with a nozzle and a pump, perhaps an aquarium air kit or a miniature paint spray. Any ideas?

Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: ggallant571 on May 30, 2019, 11:14:07 AM
I look forward to your writeup!! User Don Watson seems to be having success with cutting 33 ply. Either of the two air pumps should do the job. You want to keep the ash out of the cut trough.
Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: Administrator on May 30, 2019, 12:48:42 PM
The videos you should look at are the ones where you create a laser tool for a specific job. In your case to cut 3mm wood. Name your tool accordingly.

Then calibrate if by seeing what settings you need to cut 3mm wood. You'll want 100% power. Test burns/cuts will determine the best speeds per grain direction. Use the square test patterns to test your cuts. You'll need about 5 to 6 or so passes to cut 3mm.

Remember once you get your laser tool setup, that's your tool to cut 3mm wood. Don't change your settings and don't use that tool to cut any other type of wood. Each laser tool your create should be for one specific job only: cuts, surface burns light or dark, etc.

I did test burns using the test shapes when I had my laserbot but I don't have it up and running any more.

A z axis won't help much with a 1.6 w laser. I have a z axis with my 1.6 and it's not worth the effort in my opinion.

A blower is a highly desirable option to have. I recommend installing one to blow the ash away for cutting.
Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: PhilMC on May 31, 2019, 11:25:46 AM
Hi Ralph
Thanks for your advice regarding cutting plywood. I will work my way through....

Here I have attached a picture of my template for the heat bed adapter which I have just cut from card. I shall now try it up against the parts of the 3D printer.

Thanks again for your help with the toolpaths

Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: ggallant571 on May 31, 2019, 12:12:50 PM
Are you missing a hole on the right side?
Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: Administrator on May 31, 2019, 04:30:31 PM

When I read your last post I did not see any attachments. But now I do. The laser cuts look great on the cardboard. It should turn out fine when you finally move to 3mm wood. Remember that you cannot use the same laser tool you used to cut your cardboard. You'll need to create a 3mm Wood laser tool, calibrate it and you'll be good to cut.
Title: Re: Laserbot Marlin (OPEN)
Post by: PhilMC on June 01, 2019, 12:13:26 AM
Hi ggallant571

Yes thanks for picking that up. Its the old story of checking your own work... you see what you want to see!