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Messages - Administrator

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Flashing Firmware / Re: Readout Firmware
« on: February 22, 2017, 08:01:19 AM »
>any "grbl sender programs" connect your board.

You can use...

Universal G-code Sender
Grbl Controller
T2 Laser
BenutLaser connect to your laser machine and read the version in the 'welcome message'.

Laser Accessories / Re: Quick laser change
« on: February 21, 2017, 06:16:21 PM »
Very nice work Bert...!!!

General Discussion / Re: Looking at buying a 3D printer. Opinions Welcome.
« on: February 21, 2017, 06:15:25 PM »
As I said in my PM, you cannot use BCL for 3D Printing...laser machines only.

General Discussion / Re: Looking at buying a 3D printer. Opinions Welcome.
« on: February 21, 2017, 04:14:13 PM »
>VLM does not like many of the standard commands used in LinuxCNC.

BCL's Virtual Laser Machine (VLM) operates on what ever standard Grbl parser you select for it. There is a generic one and one for Marlin and one for Grbl itself.

General Discussion / Re: Looking at buying a 3D printer. Opinions Welcome.
« on: February 21, 2017, 02:57:54 PM »
I see what you mean. Our Grbl firmware doesn't support subroutines therefore the G-code BCL generates doesn't format its g-code into subroutines. That's why your g-code test with BCL failed.

I want to make some points about subroutines:

1. Subroutines were designed for human programmers or developers if you will, to make writing their code (not g-code) easier, more compact and more understandable/readable and maintainable by other humans. I suppose you could make a case for this code to include g-code, but I personally don't think of g-code this way.

2. Our laser machine G-code is designed to be 'streaming g-code' which means the g-code is fed to the laser machine starting from the top line and then feeding in every line, line by line, in sequence, until it reaches the last line.

3. Although it may, or can, get a little fuzzy, CAM software mainly is used to generate the g-code that is sent to your laser machine without the need or requirement for a human to modify it. A human can modify it if they wish, but in almost all cases, it isn't necessary to modify it before sending it to your laser machine.

I don't think there is a need to be concerned with whether the generated g-code is 1000 lines of code or 5000 lines of code.

Because of this important point #3 above, (CAM software generating all the g-code), there is no reason for CAM software to generate subroutine formatted g-code. A human isn't involved. The g-code isn't created for a human to's created for a Grbl controller to receive and parse accordingly. But, I did say this could be a fuzzy area, since a human might want to edit the g-code.

To me, these points are the same whether I'm talking about generating g-code for a laser machine or for a 3D Printer.

To me, the only reason I could see to want to be able to create subroutine formatted g-code is if you were manually writing it and maintaining it for repeated use.

My understanding is that some of the more expensive CNC machines with expensive CAM software do support the concept of subroutines...but those are way above our low power laser machines, not only in cost, but in class.

General Discussion / Re: Woodworker Buying My First Laser
« on: February 21, 2017, 02:31:28 PM »
>When you say long cutting jobs what kind of time frame are you talking about?

15/20/30 minute cut jobs...10 passes on large shapes on 12x12 inch 3mm plywood material.

General Discussion / Re: Belt Tension Adjustors
« on: February 21, 2017, 01:11:18 PM »
Nice George...

General Discussion / Re: Woodworker Buying My First Laser
« on: February 21, 2017, 01:06:49 PM »
I'd go with Banggood...I have two 2.5 watt laser heads and both get hot on long cutting jobs...I bought the 1.6 watt unit and it stays cool no matter how long the cutting takes...I have to go 2 more passes to cut 3mm wood but its a nice small diameter beam dot and always stays cool to the touch.

General Discussion / Re: Looking at buying a 3D printer. Opinions Welcome.
« on: February 21, 2017, 12:23:08 PM »
>My particular problem example is subroutines.
>It seems everyone that makes a machine treats them differently.
>And unless an editor knows your specific machines version, they are no help.

You just lost me...I have no idea what you are talking about? Why don't you start at the beginning and define the problem you have and what a solution would be? Are we still talking about g-code?

General Discussion / Re: Looking at buying a 3D printer. Opinions Welcome.
« on: February 21, 2017, 08:04:44 AM »
>A CNC Gcode Editor/Calculator is $99. It checks the code for errors as you write but it does not "help" you write the code!


That will change with the next release of BCL. Arc Assist will be implemented and it help you write Arc, Circle and Curve g-code! No other g-code editor has that feature.

BCL's G-code Editor has a built-in parser...actually it has several of them that you can choose from...the parser will 'help' you to write correct g-code, according to the g-code standard you have chosen via the selected parser.

And finally, pressing F1 anytime while inside the Editor will popup a help window listing all the available g-code commands and what each one does. Pressing the first letter of a g-code command (such as 'm' for all the M commands) will take you to those commands starting with that letter quickly, so you don't have to scroll so much in the popup window.

Benbox / Re: adjusting laser power?
« on: February 21, 2017, 07:58:01 AM »
>Where can I find information about these codes?

If you have installed BCL (Trial ver is OK) it has a G-code Editor inside can click in the editor area and press F1 and get g-code command help in a popup window. All supported g-codes will be shown.

Also, if you do some test shape testing (don't have to send to the laser if you don't want to) the generated g-code has comments for each line so you know what each g-code command is doing. Pressing Ctrl-i will toggle comments (information) on and off.

General Discussion / Re: Looking at buying a 3D printer. Opinions Welcome.
« on: February 20, 2017, 09:38:10 PM »
No, the Cam-Tech Team is into firmware development and designing laser kits that actually work well and that come with assembly instructions. They (the four of them) are not into CAM software development like @Zax and I are.

I actually think a CAD/CAM program makes more sense for lasers than for 3D printers -- because -- there are more 3D CAD programs out there than there are 2D CAD programs. Writing a 3D CAD program into your CAM software would really be "re-inventing the wheel" -- worse than trying to do it for a CAM laser machine program using 2D CAD. To put it another way, why would your 3D Printer CAM software include your own 3D CAD software when there are (let's just say) 10 3D CAD programs out there that one could use? For a laser machine which only needs 2D you'd be re-inventing the wheel but it's worse for 3D because there are more 3D CAD programs.

IF you were to find a library that you could just pull into your software program, then it might make a lot more sense as you wouldn't have to hand code all of the CAD tools, features, etc. I came across one such library about 8 months ago when I was researching what was available in the way of libraries for BCL. I found a really nice CAD lib package...unfortunately it was expensive and would have driven up the cost of BCL by quite a lot. Since BCL didn't really need to do its own CAD work, I could leave this out, keep the cost down and get BCL to market faster.

Folks forget how expensive CAM software is for normal CNC machines. $39.95 for T2 and BCL CAM software for low power lasers is really a good price point.

So, unfortunately, this answers your question I think. An all-in-one CAD/CAM program isn't in the future for 2D lasers and really isn't in the future for 3D Printers. I don't know how you could do it and keep the price down as a one-man shop. Too much time would need to be invested by one person to do it for free in my opinion.

It would be better if a team of developers worked on different parts of it so as to spit up the work needed for each developer. Then, all would have to agree to work for free and make the software available for free. Hard to find that kind of team.

It's just a tough problem to solve...not impossible, just tough...I don't see a CAD/CAM software solution for lasers or 3D printers anytime soon.

General Discussion / CO2 Laser Grounding Safety
« on: February 20, 2017, 06:40:38 PM »
If anyone owns one of the 40/50/60/80/100 watt CO2 laser machines from China, this video is an absolute must see regarding electrical grounding safety.

Particularly interesting at the 9:30 point of the video regarding the bucket of water used for laser tube cooling!

10:50 point talks about safety glasses.

BenCutLaser / What's coming up next
« on: February 20, 2017, 06:25:57 PM »
What's coming up next for BCL?

1. Paul is in the final design and coding stages for the G-code Editor Arc Assistant. I'll soon be testing this exclusive feature of the BCL G-code Editor. If you have any interest in learning g-code, Arcs, Circles and Curves are the hardest thing to learn about g-code. This visual Arc Assistant will make learning this task very easy and very fast!

2. I'm working on speeding up the loading of .dxf files with a large number of drawing objects. While I've always recommended .dxf files with about 250 or less drawing objects, sometimes that's just not possible. The loading of these large files is currently taking too long for me. Soon, with some coding magic, Paul and I hope to be able to load up a .dxf file with thousands of drawing objects within seconds and to be able to perform any operation of any number of those drawing objects within seconds.

General Discussion / Re: 2.3W TTL & Mana SE vs 2.5 W non-TTL & L7
« on: February 20, 2017, 06:04:52 PM »
>but are there any advantages to the latest stuff?

There is no advantage to using a TTL laser head with BCL. I don't have one on my machine and I don't want one.

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