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Messages - HaniC

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Cutting / Incomplete fine detail cuts
« on: Today at 06:26:24 AM »
I'm having a slight issue with cutting thin material like mylar and cardstock for a particular application. Note: I'm trying to get fine detail cut-outs (e.g. 1mm x 1mm squares).

For the most part I'm getting good clean vector cuts but for any given design, I always end up with several rectangles/squares that don't quite detach - i.e. there's always a tiny undesired connection that stays there.

What's strange is that it is repeatable. As in every time I cut the same design, features in a given position will do it over and over again even though there are identical features (size and shape) elsewhere in the same design that dont do it. So, I think it's got to do with what is cut before or after that particular shape.

I believe what's happening is that the last segment of the shape is not meeting the node/first segment. 

For the shapes in question, I've confirmed that the generated gcode starts and stops at exactly the same point. I've tried experimenting with various parameters (below) to no avail:
- G1 feedrates
- laser power
- no. of passes
- machine acceleration
- G0 travels feedrates
- M3 vs M4

Nothing seems to really help - It might stop doing it on one particular shape but start to do it on another. What else could I try to vary to get what I want?

Benbox / Re: Firmware problem please help me.
« on: January 22, 2017, 06:21:38 AM »
Without taking anything away from T2 or BCL, there are lots of free/open source options to drive these lasers. These softwares perform a hell of a lot better than benbox and depending on what your doing surpass the paid options offered here. However, you will need to do some research and can't expect good support. There will also be a slight learning curve but it's well worth it as the development on these projects is pretty fast.

If you need your hand held, then just buy the software, if for nothing else but the support these guys give here.

Assembly Help / Re: Wiring home switches
« on: January 21, 2017, 07:42:20 PM »
Zax, I'm curious why do you keep recommending running X and Y in parallel, when is probaby just as easy (or easier) to wire up to individual pins?

Trouble Shooting / Re: X-axis sticking on first run
« on: January 20, 2017, 07:54:53 AM »
It's ok Zax, I'm an electronics engineer and I have pre-approved this method under the guidance of the EE council  :D

This how I always fiddle with these steppers and after a while, with experience, you'll usually know if something is wrong with the setup (eg mechanical) or the hardware pretty quick before you kill anything.

Glad to hear you got everything going msm.

Trouble Shooting / Re: X-axis sticking on first run
« on: January 19, 2017, 06:43:54 AM »
If you haven't adjusted the motor current before then 99℅ of the time this is the cause of no or difficult movement.

It's pretty easy to check - no need for multimeters etc. Just turn the driver pot (screw) clockwise an 1/8th of a turn at a time and then try jogging the motor at a low speed 500mm/min with accelerations set to something reasonable like 500. If you get slightly improved movement then keep going. Increase speed and re-adjust current. As long as you are getting improved movement it's usually ok.jyst keep going untill it moves fairly well and then give it another turn.

Only caveat is that you need to keep an eye on both motor temp and driver chip temp. I do it just by touching when stationary. Warm is ok. Scolding is not.

During initial tuning it's pretty safe to fiddle, within reason, because grbl turns off drivers almost immediately after a movement, so if there is something else wrong g you can pick it up before any lasting damage is done. Just go slow and watch that temperature.

General Discussion / Re: Rails ?
« on: January 18, 2017, 04:25:53 AM »
Also go by the name of aluminium extrusion or aluminium profile depending where in the world you are searching.

General Discussion / Re: Elekscam software
« on: January 17, 2017, 04:06:27 PM »
Most of the work with Laserweb is actually done within the browser that is accessing it. So if you install it on the Pi and run it from the browser on the Pi, you will have problems. But if you install it on the Pi and then access it from the browser of a modern PC with decent hardware resources, it seems do well.

Alternatively, you can install and drive it from a good PC and that would work fine too.

General Discussion / Re: Elekscam software
« on: January 17, 2017, 03:57:15 PM »

Would you describe this setup a bit further.  Does this mean that you're generating the code with T2L and  then cross-loading it to the Lw3?


I'm not using T2L at all. Laserweb3 is a complete software that runs on any machine (Win, Linux, RPi etc). Laserweb3 can control the machine and generate gcode from SVG, DXF, BMP, JPG, etc etc (basically most vector and raster formats) AND also serves a web interface. So it's not accessed like normal software that is run locally on a machine but it's accessed via a browser.

You connect the USB from the laser to the raspberry pi and run the Laserweb server software on the RPi. Because the RPi is serving the interface, you can access it from a browser on either the machine it was installed on (eg localhost) OR any other machine that can access that server location over any LAN or WAN network.

So in for my setup, the RPi is connected to the laser and running the Laserweb3 server. Then on my PC I open Chrome and connect to it over my LAN network (eg. and then just drive the software and the laser from that PC. Both my RPi and the PC are connected to my home router via WiFi.

Once it's set up, it's really easy to use and it frees up my PC from having to be tethered to the Laser. Hell, I have even sent a job to it from my phone using it's browser. You don't need any other software to drive it - just over the browser. The project is a work in progress and has some quirks but is quite capable already. If you wanted to, you can also just load Gcode from other software and just use Laserweb to control the machine and run gcode. It's up to you what you do but it is supposed to be a one stop shop type software.


Trouble Shooting / Re: Elekmaker-"mana se" 3 pin mystery
« on: January 16, 2017, 06:56:35 PM »
There is also an inductor and a 1500uf cap rated at 6.3V. Wonder if they are generating Vin for the Nano. The Nano also is different. It has 12 & 16 MHz crystals on the back side.Strange behavior for Eleks adding anything. Did they double the price?

Yes, they generate +5V on board using a DC to DC converter to supply power to Nano +5V pin (disabled by default - there is a solder jumper near inductor). I wrote more about this here:,1418.msg17260.html#msg17260

My guess is that they will use this board for more than just laser engraver. They probably have more designs in the works for a mill or drill table etc so they are supporting these design with same board. In the scheme of things, the cost increase will be negligible but the flexibility it offers returns value for them.

Trouble Shooting / Re: Elekmaker-"mana se" 3 pin mystery
« on: January 16, 2017, 06:38:35 PM »
Is there a low power button? Is there a power button?

The single power button on the MANA SE board just connects and disconnects the 12V from the power adapter to the control board. So it's just a power button.

There is no weak laser button on the MANA SE board itself. However, with the new kits that are shipping, the TTL board on the laser itself has a weak laser button built in.

Trouble Shooting / Re: Elekmaker-"mana se" 3 pin mystery
« on: January 16, 2017, 06:24:38 PM »
I've traced these connections on my controller. Here is the definitive guide:

Laser connector used for Laser with on board TTL control (eg. 3 pin laser).
Motor connector used for Laser without on board TTL control (eg. 2 pin laser).
Servo connector used for, you guesed it, servo control.

So if you have a 3 pin laser just connected to 3 pin laser connector, 2 pin laser to 2 pin motor connector and server to servo connector. The control of all three connectors is from D11.

T2 Engraving / Re: 2.5W ELEKS Module Replacement?
« on: January 16, 2017, 02:44:47 PM »
Zax, when you say you tested with a power meter, are you using a conventional electrical power meter measuring input electrical power to the laser or are you measuring optical power from the output of the laser using a dedicated laser optical power meter?

General Discussion / Re: hi all newbie here
« on: January 16, 2017, 06:11:27 AM »
You should of went to bed  :P

Sorry to hear that. Anyhow, control board and it's constituents are relatively cheap so you should be able to replace what went kaput for not a lot of money - Could possibly find local supplier for the stepper drivers OR arduino so you won't be out of action for too long.

While waiting, go read something about these machines before tyring again. It's obvious you don't know what your doing and these Chinese laser kits aren't really made for novices as there's zero instruction on getting things going and nothing is really calibrated or set from factory. Plus, you built the thing yourself.

T2 Engraving / Re: Creating a vector fie for T2Laser
« on: January 16, 2017, 06:04:35 AM »
I've read AutoCAD should be able to do this nicely but I also don't use it so can't instruct.

I'm using solidworks to export DXF but I had a couple of issues with the generated toolpaths when using it directly in any laser program. What happens is that for a closed shape, all the segments are there but they're not actually connected in one continuous path so the resultant gcode was jumping around between segments (i.e. the direction of each segment/arc etc was all over the place) rather than just cutting out the shape in one continus toolpath. 

I was able to fix this in inkscape, so let me know if you run into this issue and I can help. However, from what I read about this issue, people have said that in AutoCAD you can define the toolpaths somehow so you have better control over the output DXF file.

Engraving / Finishing greyscale engaved wood
« on: January 16, 2017, 05:49:06 AM »
I've just started playing with engraving in greyscale on some medium density and light to medium coloured timber (not certain of the type). At first I thought the result was pretty crap as it appeared to be just black and white with not much grey or much detail. Then as I picked up the piece I noticed some soot fall off, so I got a lightly damp cloth and wiped it. I could then see the detail which looked really nice. I also saw some nice "3d"  effect where the blacks engraved a touch deeper than the whites.

However, the contrast isn't really strong and the picture doesn't really "pop" off the wood.

So, what's the best way to get the image come out nicer?
How do I get the blacks to stay black? When I try to enhance contrast in software, it just engraves deeper but not necessarily darker, if you know what I mean.
Should I not be wiping at all?
Do I need to laquer it or adjust the settings?
Is this just bad timber to use?
Even so, how do you guys generally finish your pieces?

I have a 2.5W with full TTL and I had it set to 1-50% power at 1200mm/min. I had a small fan directed at it to blow the smoke away but not much of the soot.

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