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Topics - Agastar

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General Discussion / Alternative to adding a Z axis
« on: December 14, 2016, 11:17:19 AM »
If you're on a budget but still want to raise and lower your parts for engraving or cutting, a lab jack might be a solution. Here is a link to one I found on Amazon that is not too expensive.

Projects / My Enclosure Project
« on: December 12, 2016, 09:57:01 AM »
I made some progress on my enclosure this weekend but there is still more to do like adding the wood trim around the edge of the acrylic, adding hinges, adding vent holes and fan, a handle for opening the lid, and a LED strip or two.

The red acrylic was purchased from Amazon and the plywood was purchased from Lowes but can also be found at Home Depot for around $5 for a 24" x 48" sheet.

I have a 90mm fan that I plan on using with an activated carbon filter and a hose going to my window to vent the exhaust outside.

I'll post more pictures as this progresses.

Projects / Laserable Paints
« on: December 07, 2016, 10:02:34 AM »
This has been a side project for some time now and recently I started messing around with it again. The process involves a ball mill for mixing the paints so it doesn't progress very fast but it does allow for doing several projects at once.

The goal for this project has been to make paints that can be set or cured with the laser. Some of the recipes are meant to be conductive paints while others are meant for making PCBs. The paint I've been working with lately has been the etch resist paint and since I got some decent results, I thought I'd share some pictures with you all. The others I would like to do are the solder mask and hopefully the paint for text and graphics over the solder mask paint.

This recipe was attempt number 2 and while the consistency was spot on for what I was trying to achieve, it had poor adhesion. The batch I have in the ball mill now, I'm hoping will adhere better.

Manuals and Documentation / Benbox Software Manual.
« on: November 10, 2016, 07:45:30 AM »
If you are looking for a manual for the Benbox software, you can find it as a sticky over in the benbox section of this forum.

Here is a link to that sticky post.,1067.msg13164.html#msg13164

Benbox / Benbox Software Manual
« on: November 10, 2016, 03:34:40 AM »
Someone gave this to me and I thought it would be worth posting. This document covers all the buttons and settings for Benbox.

Other Software / Rasterizer - Image to GCODE Tool
« on: November 08, 2016, 12:12:52 PM »
For those of you who like to use GCODE senders like the popular "Universal GCODE Sender" (UGS) java app, and need a way to generate GCODE for raster images, here is a tool that might help you out.

The developer is also planning on integrating this into Laserweb3 as well so look for it there too in the near future.

T2 Engraving / Variable Black speed vs White speed
« on: November 07, 2016, 11:51:04 AM »
Hi Zax,

I was pointed to this article as the reason why the variable speeds were added as a feature of laserweb3 and I thought I'd share it with you and see what you thought about this approach.

I tried to find the post where you talked about the variable speed thing that you added to T2, to see if this was similar but I couldn't find that post.

What are your thoughts on his approach?

Kits / Ultimaker 2 Clone
« on: October 29, 2016, 04:22:56 AM »
I Started working on making one of these over a year ago and haven't finished it yet but I thought I'd post the link for anyone else who might be interested.

General Discussion / New Dynamic Laser Power feature in GRBL 1.1
« on: October 27, 2016, 08:46:05 AM »
Hey guys, I just wanted to pass along some new info that was just given to me over the laserweb github repository.

@iceman1979 : Ok. I pushed Grbl's new dynamic laser power feature to the v1.1 repo. You'll need to uncomment the #define at the bottom of the config.h file to enable it. It's called LASER_CONSTANT_POWER_PER_RATE.

It's experimental, meaning that how it should behave hasn't been fully established or defined. So things may change, based on user feedback. One thing to look out for. The laser will remain off when the machine is not in motion, even though you enabled the laser with something like M3S1000. It'll only turn on, if it's in motion. I may change this to turn on to the minimum PWM output whenever enabled to help indicate that its on.

Feed rate overrides(FRO) do not alter the laser power/rate. Laser power will scale with FRO to keep it consistent. Useful if Grbl starts to stutter. You can slow down the job and the laser should keep burning the same. (There might be some slight variation due to nonlinearity in the laser output).

Spindle speed overrides(SSO) directly alter the laser power/rate. So it'll increase or decrease laser power and account for the power change, if the machine slows down.

With both FRO and SSO behavior set like this, you should be able to tune your job dynamically and in real-time, even if the laser power is nonlinear.

This was a feature that smoothieware had that the GRBL developers decided to add as well. The smoothie fan base seems to like this feature a lot and they say it helps with edge burn marks due to acceleration settings. Now, you can set your acceleration  to a nice comfortable level that won't shake your machine apart and not have to worry about edge burn marks.

I commented about us using low S values for focusing the laser so we'll see what they come up with.

Projects / House Elves On Strike
« on: October 22, 2016, 01:01:39 PM »
Well, I think I finally got it dialed in to something acceptable. Now, to go replace all the wood that ended up being test pieces lol.

Feed Rate: 1800
Resolution: .1
Width: 149mm
Height: 115mm
Power: 0-255

Image Processing: I removed the white background from the text and cut out the house elf leaving a transparent background. The house elf's contrast was adjusted to -20 to bring out some of the lighter tones and the image was saved as a png file.

Wood processing: I forgot to sand the wood before engraving but I will do that on the rest of the pieces. A light sanding will bring out a little more detail.

Hardware: The laser module was custom built with an M140 laser diode that is currently set to 2000mW and is being driven by the PWM/TTL laser driver I designed.

Other Notes: The house elf was engraved separately from the text but the machine and T2L settings were the same for both.

T2 Engraving / Can T2L do this?
« on: October 17, 2016, 12:52:23 PM »
Over on the Laserweb google plus group there was a post showing this image with a blurb about what can be done with Smoothieware as apposed to GRBL.

I took that as a challenge lol but before I open my mouth and insert my foot I wanted to see if this could be done in GRBL with T2L.

General Discussion / Laser Beam Shaping
« on: October 10, 2016, 08:47:12 AM »
Here is a good article that talks about laser diode beam shaping with cylindrical lenses. The type of lens that is found in our machines is an Aspheric lens which is why we don't get much control over the shape of the beam with these units.

General Discussion / Wireless Communication Using HC-06 Bluetooth Module
« on: September 28, 2016, 05:22:59 AM »
While digging around for some parts for another project I ran across my HC-06 Bluetooth to Serial module. I hooked it up to my spare arduino running GRBL 1.0c and connected to it with BCL.

This was really easy since I happen to have the bluetooth adapter already setup with the same communication parameters that we use for the arduino on the laser engraver. Since that step was already done, all I had to do was connect the HC-06 module to the 5v, ground, RX0, & TX1 pins on the arduino and then connect to the com port on my computer for the HC-06.

And Here are the results.

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