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91
General Discussion / Milestone: 1,000+ sign ups
« on: September 05, 2016, 09:48:43 AM »
Today we reached a milestone: we now have over 1,000 sign ups!!!

However, with 821 actual members, this tells you have much spam there is. Almost 1 in 5 new account requests are either not approved by me or terminated after spamming.

Hopefully most of you never see it. @Ross and @Zax help me find the spam and they report it to me as soon as they see it. Thanks for the help guys.

Anyway, I am very happy that this forum has grown the way it has. I can still remember the day I received my 2.5 watt laser machine. No assembly instructions and that Benbox software...what I didn't know then and what I've learned since those early days. We see that pattern repeating a lot around here, but now there is this forum with folks who can help newbies.

I get emails every week from users telling me how thankful they are that this site exists and I am glad to hear that because that is why I created it. When I was trying to assemble my laser kit and trying to figure out how to use the Benbox software (a lot of fun, right?), I was like someone who fell overboard into the ocean...but I didn't have a life boat to climb into and prevent me from drowning. But, while in the water, somehow, I built a lifeboat (benboxlaser.us) and was able to climb in and save myself...!!!

We've had 821 folks climb into this boat and I've thrown out 179 sharks!

92
BenCutLaser / Virtual Laser Machine Video Tutorials Uploaded
« on: September 02, 2016, 08:13:42 PM »
Just an update on the VLM progress. It's taking longer to do but its getting there.

From the emails I've been getting on this new item, not everyone realizes that what this 'thing' is that I keep calling a Virtual Laser Machine is also known as a Gcode Visualizer!

The VLM will show you the drawing objects in the color of the laser tool assigned to each drawing object. So the laser work area view (the VLM) will look pretty much like the main drawing canvas. The big difference is in how the VLM drawing objects are made on their VLM canvas: the actual gcode is being sent to the VLM canvas which is very different in how the main canvas drawings are done. This **guarantees** that what you see is what you'll get on your material. So, you'll be used to your laser tool colors and therefore you'll be able to identify the correct drawing objects are being done with the correct laser tools.

To add some realism to the VLM canvas, there will be another visual mode to choose from: this will be a shades of gray coloring, showing by shades of gray and line thickness, the line burn results from the laser head feed rate and laser power setting. I kind of think of this visual view as a kind of simulated view of the final results of your laser job. Like taking a picture of your finished work, but in black and white.

93
BenCutLaser / Test Wood Box Cutting
« on: August 31, 2016, 08:21:17 AM »
These photos show my first tabbed box cutting test project...using my new 1.6 watt laser diode.

After this successful test, cutting out box tabs, I then moved on making the complete wooden box (the 4x3x2 inches) shown in the post immediately below this one.

I want to add this important point: if you've taken your time setting up your laser tools and have tested them well to do their task, you'll get excellent results. The cuts on this test piece came out absolutely perfect...my 1.6 watt cutting laser tool was setup and shape tested to make perfect cuts of all the test shapes...and that's exactly the results I got...perfect cuts...!!!

94
BenCutLaser / Wooden Box Project
« on: August 30, 2016, 10:01:46 PM »
I'm attaching a .dxf file that I created from an .svg file that I downloaded from http://www.makercase.com.

It's a 4x3x2 tabbed box in inches.

I plan to make a video to show how I modified it into Polylines as it had a lot, and I mean a lot, of Line objects. I'll show you how to trace over the Lines with a single Polyline. In the mean time, I'm attaching the finished .dxf file for anyone to use as is.

I lightly engraved the panels so I would know which panel was which. I wasn't going for perfection with the Text, so its very light, but serves the purpose.

The drawing is in Inches and I cut the panels using my 1.6 watt laser diode which worked perfectly with BCL. I created a set of laser tools, in Inches, and for 1.6 watts.

Tabbed box panels are a bit complex to design from scratch and try to get all of them to fit on the first cut, so I decided to download one from the makercase website. The files are in .svg so I had to open it up in QCAD and then save it as a .dxf file so I could load it into BCL to send to the laser machine.

Once in the .dxf format, there is a bit of work that has to be done to make it ready for production and that's what I want to cover in the upcoming video.

Now that I've done my first box from this website, I can now add personal Text to what ever panel I want and *know* its the right panel. I plan to wood glue the 5 panels together and leave the top as a pressure fit panel but I want to put a ball-type knob on the top lid to make it easier to pull the lid off.

The tabs pressure fit absolutely perfectly and I did not have to make any adjustments to the original design for that...the tabbed fit just came out perfect.

95
BenCutLaser / BenCutLaser Flashing Instructions
« on: August 26, 2016, 10:42:31 AM »
It was suggested that I post the BCL flashing instructions here as well as them being inside BCL itself in the Setup tab.

If you follow these steps EXACTLY as they are written, you WILL be successful in flashing your Grbl hex file!

1. Start up BenCutLaser.
2. Click Setup tab.
3. Un-plug USB cable from PC and plug in again -- or -- just plug it in if it's not connected (key step here).
4. DO NOT click the Connect button.
5. Select correct COM Port.
6. Select correct CPU. Note correct Grbl file will auto-load in textbox.
7. Browse for the Grbl Hex file if needed (inside the BenCutLaser folder)
8. Click the Flash Controller Board button to start the process.
9. A command line window will open and display the progress.
10. WAIT FOR THE PROCESS TO FINISH, then close the cmd window.

Connect to your laser machine and verify the new Grbl version is installed. This is done by looking for the Grbl welcome message that is returned upon a successful connection. The Grbl version will display as part of the welcome message.

UPDATE: If you do this modification, you can also unleash the full power potential of your laser diode. As shown in the attachment, on the Setup tab of BCL, set the "Max laser power value" to 1000. Normally, the maximum laser power value is 255 but if you are using Grbl 0.9i or 0.9j and have done this PWM modification, you set the laser power to 1000.

96
Supporting The Forum / How to support this forum
« on: August 24, 2016, 10:28:41 AM »
As most of you know, this morning the forum went down because we reached the bandwidth limit on the website. I had no choice but to call the data center and have them bump my hosting package up to the next level in order to gain more bandwidth. While the disk space usage was under control, that too was growing as we add posts and attachments. We should now be OK until we hit the next limit  :)

If you'd like to help support this forum, I have created a special Paypal email address so that you can make a donation to help keep this forum alive and online.

The email address is: benboxforum at primemail.com
Just go to Paypal and use that address to make your donation payment.

You can make a one time donation if you wish.

You can also create a recurring monthly donation. If you decide to make a recurring monthly donation, I think $1.50 per month would be more than enough from an individual. While I don't know how many of you will do this, I don't want this website to turn into a $$$ burden to anyone. I would like it to remain as a free resource to everyone. However, I do have to pay for it and now I have just bumped up my cost to maintain it as it grows and consumes more resources.

Thank you for your support!

97
Convert2DXF / Welcome @Agastar
« on: August 20, 2016, 06:37:43 PM »
I'd like to welcome @agastar to this software board: Convert2DXF

He has stepped up and has decided to try his development hand at creating a piece of software that we can all use: it will convert .pdf and .svg files into .dxf files.

I created this board specifically for his project. @Zax and myself will be working with @Agastar as he develops this application. Those of you who might have an interest in following this project now have an opportunity to follow it and to contribute to it by asking questions and, in general, helping to shape its functionality and usability.

This thread was originally started in the BenCutLaser board and I have moved it into this board to continue on.

As you can see, it has grabbed a lot of attention with its high number of views. So, clearly, there is a lot of interest in his idea!

98
BenCutLaser / MOVED: RC Modelers
« on: August 20, 2016, 06:32:20 PM »

99
BenCutLaser / Laserable Aluminum from HorizonISG
« on: August 19, 2016, 08:30:06 PM »
I received some sheets of laserable aluminum from a company called Horizons Inc. located at www.HorizonsISG.com.

They call this material 'AlumaMark'.

This material is laserable by my 2.5 watt laser -- but -- the material is harder than the material from JohnsonPlastics I tried the other day and posted about here.

See attachment.

I needed to go to 100% power and speed down to 50 in order to engrave good looking text. So it works, but its slow.

So now we have two materials to choose from to do this type of work.

100
BenCutLaser / BenCutLaser Latest Download 1.8.4 a
« on: August 19, 2016, 07:18:46 AM »
Download the latest BCL version here:

1.8.4 a http://www.BenCutLaser.us/BenCutLaserSetup1.8.4a.exe.zip

Release 1.8.4 a

1. The LaserBot laser machine from MakeBlock is now supported.

2. There is a new Controller Board selection in Setup. Please see the attachment photo "controller_boards". Please check and set per your machine after installing this version.

3. A new checkbox has been added to allow focusing lines to be burned vertically (user request).

4. Misc code clean up and small bug fixes.

Release 1.8.3 a

Critical Arc toolpath bug fix.

Release 1.8.2 d

Three Text objects in a .dxf file bug fix.

Release 1.8.2 c

Text objects Save link bug fix.

Release 1.8.2 b

This update adds three important parameters to the Grbl settings for Grbl version 1.1e. Those three parameters are: $30, $31 and $32. These are now inlcuded in the SetFactoryGrblSettings link on the COM Port tab.

Release 1.8.2 a

1. My co-developer Paul has finished coding the Arc Assistant, or what we are now calling the G-Code Visual Editor! This feature is available in the Virtual Laser Machine (VLM) tab and you can now write g-code on the left side in the G-Code Editor -- or -- using your mouse to click and drag Lines and Arcs on the right side in the VLM canvas itself. As you visually do this in the VLM canvas, the g-code of that object is dynamically updated on the left side in the editor itself.

Watch the video tutorial Paul made here on my Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBXCexwX_EKPTI9vgK1vaDQ

2. Huge speed up of toolpath operations on large dxf files.

3. Bug fixes and code clean up in various areas.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you decide to purchase a Paid license, please use this Paypal email address: bclpp@primemail.com

Thank you for your support.

101
BenCutLaser / BenCutLaser Help Files 1.5.0
« on: August 19, 2016, 07:16:50 AM »
Here are the BenCutLaser help file download URL's


http://www.BenCutLaser.us/BenCutLaser1.5.0.pdf


http://www.BenCutLaser.us/BenCutLaser1.5.0.chm


I have also made a number of video tutorials. Those can be found at my Youtube Channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/rfresh1011


102
BenCutLaser / Laserable Aluminum Example
« on: August 17, 2016, 09:10:54 PM »
I ordered some laserable aluminum just to see how it would work with BenCutLaser. I wanted to see if I could make plaques and signs. The material arrived today and the attachment says it all. It was hard to get a good picture because of the reflection, but looking at it up close, it came out awesome!

They have different colors and I ordered (obviously as you can see) black.

103
BenCutLaser / 1.6 watt laser
« on: August 16, 2016, 04:29:08 PM »
FYI -- I am planning to order a 1.6 watt laser diode from China. I am getting a price quote from my China factory, AliExpress.com Novel Life.

I want to see how the 1.6 watt unit compares to using my 2.5 watt unit -- and -- I want to measure its heat signature when running at 100% power.

104
General Discussion / Most online record for our little forum
« on: August 16, 2016, 04:21:03 PM »
Two days ago, our little forum, set a most online record of 95 users...!!! Yes, I realize we're not as big as CNCZone.com but we're growing!!!

I spend a lot of time rejecting new accounts because their email addresses end in *.ru which is a big source of spam. And I also reject other email addresses that look strange to me. I'd say we're getting about 12 to 16 new account requests per day (which is slowly increasing each week) and about 20% to 30% of those I reject.

So, despite all of that, our little community is growing...!!!

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