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General Discussion / Re: Slightly off subject
« on: May 29, 2016, 09:35:37 AM »
I think it would be easy to replace the extruder head on this and it would be pretty good. I also imagine there is a way to get it to work with Windows 8 and 10

I'm not sure you could mount a 'conventional' extruder head on this one...maybe...and maybe the head on this one will work fine...

General Discussion / Re: Slightly off subject
« on: May 29, 2016, 08:26:29 AM »
Auto-leveling is a feature that runs before every job and takes less than a minute to go through...its supposed to level the extruder head with with bed...I don't know how well it works but many have added them to their machines...I find I have to level about every 10 jobs and I can manually level pretty damn fast now...however, I always check the start of every job and find that in most cases I have to tweak the bed leveling screws to get the filament to lay down and look 'right'...after a while you learn what the filament needs to look like when its being laid down on the glass...not too flat (extruder head too close) and not too thin (head too far away) so I check and adjust as needed during the start.

The start of the job may have what is called a 'Brim' whose purpose is to just get the filament coming out and it may take one or two race track patterns for this to happen...then another inside 'perimeter' is laid down and this one is to add support to get the part to stick to the glass...the brim and perimeters are just one of the many items you configure for your part...its this time that you can make final adjustments to the head distance from the bed before the actual job starts to lay down.

Correct head distance and getting the part to stick to the glass (during the whole job which can take hours) will be your biggest challenges in 3D printing.

General Discussion / Re: Slightly off subject
« on: May 29, 2016, 08:02:03 AM »
These look incredibly cheap to me ... what's the catch???

Advice before parting with beer tokens please


I have a Prusa i3 which is almost like this one...however, this one has a very tiny looking extruder head...don't know how well it works...that is a very attractive price indeed...

General Discussion / Re: smoke management?
« on: May 28, 2016, 02:35:33 PM »
I just have a PC cooling fan sitting on the side blowing towards the laser work area. I plan to add an air nozzle right next to the laser head blowing downward on the beam point, but just have not had the time to build that yet.

General Questions / Re: ADJ jumper L2 board
« on: May 28, 2016, 11:54:12 AM »
Welcome @DaveC3...!!!

General Questions / Re: 12V Fan output on Eleks Maker Controller
« on: May 28, 2016, 11:04:46 AM »
Welcome @cxin...!!!

Benbox / Re: Software and instructions?A5
« on: May 27, 2016, 05:39:29 PM »

General Discussion / Re: Another new guy
« on: May 27, 2016, 02:28:51 PM »
Welcome @wild.bill

Cutting / Re: Laser calibration for cutting
« on: May 27, 2016, 10:17:49 AM »
Welcome @Maury69

Unfortunately, any cutting parameters you come across (even my own from the post what I can cut) will most likely have to be adjusted. Yes, the parameters posted can be used as a guide, but you will have to test on YOUR material to see how close the parameters are.

The reason for this is the low power of the laser. It's cutting abilities depend a lot on the wood, the direction the laser is cutting (with or against the grain) the glue used to laminate the layers and the environment (temp and humidity). Thus each person will have to test the wood they purchased and see how the parameters published from someone else will work.

I can tell you for an absolute fact that you cannot read what someone has published as the cutting parameters for 3mm Plywood and just use those values on YOUR plywood and expect it to work. It just doesn't work that way. You will need to be able to tweak your settings for YOUR plywood.

Thanks @Zax...its starting to come together...just taking longer than I expected, but as a software developer, you know exactly what's that is like...!!!

Here is an update to my previous post re toolpaths.

My current design does the entire toolpath definition of the whole drawing as the attachment shows. That list on the right side is the toolpath list for each drawing object (again, limited at this stage to Lines).

The list on the left side are your defined laser tools. They each have their own color to help visually 'see' in the drawing how each Line object will be handled once its gcode gets to the laser.

I've defined my cutting tool as in the drawing, my outside cut lines should all be Red. Visually, if I saw a Cyan or Green color somewhere on the outside cut lines, I'd know right away I don't have the correct laser tool selected. Without colors, this mistake would be easy to miss and you'd ruin your material once the job started. The decision to design in colors added a lot of work to the toolpath coding but it was needed in my opinion. The colors can be customized by you if you wish.

Next up, on the right side, I've got to figure out how to implement moving the toolpath jobs up and down in the list to allow you to control the job sequence. I know the design of it and what I want it to do, I just have to design the interface to make it happen.

I'm currently spending a lot of time testing my toolpath design (Lines only at this stage but the structure needs to be in place before moving on to circles) and my next step is thinking about how to design the interface to control the sequence that the laser burns are sent to the laser machine. This is very complex and I have a couple of solutions in mind.

Your idea about layering is interesting and could be applied here. I will say I've never seen laying done in toolpaths in classic CNC work but that doesn't mean it can't be done.

My current idea to be able to move the toolpaths up and down in the list of laser burn jobs that define the .dxf drawing objects. In BenCutLaser, a laser burn can be a full cut or just a surface engraving in a light, medium or dark manner. Those are my basic laser tools (cutting tool, light burning tool, medium and dark burning tools).

I'd prefer to be able to define the whole job and then send the whole job to the laser. Layers are an interesting idea but that would still require the ability to move each layer job up or down in the list to control when each drawing object is done in what order.

The reason this is needed is because when you make a 2D drawing, as you draw lines (I'm only working with Lines at the moment), you may not draw them in the direction a given Line needs to flow when being worked on by a laser. To allow you to kept your creative juices flowing and not worry about Line directions, BenCutLaser will allow you to 'correct' those line directions, if needed, in the toolpath section.

So in summary, the layer idea is interesting but I will still need the ability to edit the job sequence regardless. I'll ponder that layering idea.

General Discussion / Re: new forum naming suggestion
« on: May 26, 2016, 10:20:25 AM »
Benbox is the name of the factory engraving software...everyone gets that software...everyone knows its name...that's how I chose the website name.

Thanks for the suggestion to change the name but that would involve a lot of work to move the site data to a new domain name, extra cost to purchase a new domain name, lost money I've already paid for the existing domain name...and finally (whew) I don't believe it would make it any easier to the site...if you google "benbox forums" or "benbox" or "benbox software" we are on the first page of those three searches...!!! You can't do any better than that!!!

BenCutLaser / Re: What is BenCutLaser?
« on: May 25, 2016, 06:10:09 PM »
Ralph, if I want to install your software will it interfere with T2? I purchased a L5 board as a backup so I could switch the nano and switch if necessary. I see from you other site you have a version ready to try.

No, BenCutLaser should not interfere with T2.

Yes, I have my L5 controller board and I have flashed it and set the stepper drivers to their correct voltages so it is all set to use. Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to do much L5 testing as I have been up to my neck in solving toolpath design issues for BenCutLaser. I was using the default Microsoft WinForms drawing canvas to load the .dxf files into and I was not happy with how that component worked.

So, I removed it and added the more advanced WPF Graphics Canvas. Much better results but it is a handful to code, so my progress was slowed down. However, I am now about 80% finished with Toolpaths, so I am very happy about that. Toolpaths was THE biggest challenge I faced with this software development project.  The next and last phase is Gcode Generation and I think that will be easier to do than Toolpaths.

I do plan to release a new beta version as soon as I am finished with Toolpaths so the test team can try that out.

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