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Topics - Agastar

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16 / 2.5W laser module on sale for $70
« on: September 23, 2016, 04:54:59 AM »

General Discussion / Stencils
« on: September 22, 2016, 02:58:00 PM »
Anyone seen this site before?

I was looking for stencil art that can be downloaded and I ran across an article from that had a link to the url above. It has a ton of vector art that can be downloaded and used on our laser machines.

Here is a link to the makezine article which shows you haw to make stencils.

Convert2DXF / Convert2DXF Windows Application
« on: September 20, 2016, 07:54:10 PM »
Here is the first alpha release of the Convert2DXF windows application for converting PDF files to DXF.

Please read the readme.txt file in the zip for instructions on how to use the application. If you have any issues with the application please let me know here in this thread.

Currently there is no installer. You simply need to extract the contents of the zip to a location of your choice and have .net framework 4.0 installed which should be on your system by default. If you don't have the dot net framework 4.0 installed, you can install it from here.

I have more features planned which includes reading the text and images from the PDF and inserting them into the DXF file.

I am open to any feedback you are willing to provide.


Convert2DXF / Convert2PDF Update
« on: August 28, 2016, 08:13:02 PM »
This project is going to take me some time to get this complete but I did want to give an update on where I am.

It's going slower than I'd like but that's mainly due to some limitations in the Libraries I chose for this project. For instance, the PDF library was developed mainly for creating PDFs from .net and currently only supports exporting the JPG images that are stored in PDFs. The other types like BMP, PNG, TIFF, and others are left to people like me to figure out how to implement.

The good part is I'm learning about these image types, the bad is I feel like I'm wasting time. There are other .net libraries that read PDFs but they are either not available for use with commercial software or require you to implement the image extraction and conversion.

I will look into more libraries since I'm not looking to reinvent the wheel here. Exporting images should be a fundamental part of the PDF library. The part that needs to be the focus of this project is building the glue that brings these separate libraries together. The PDF library should handle getting the objects from the PDF while the DXF library should handle writing the DXF files and the SVG library for reading SVG files. There is plenty to do to take the objects from PDF and SVG and use the DXF library to write it all out, without having to add the missing pieces to these libraries.

The only reason I've stuck with the PDF library is because it is pretty easy to work with otherwise and well, some of the other libraries are missing the same thing. Hopefully the image extraction should be complete soon and I can get back to translating the PDF and SVG objects to DXF.

Once the images are done, I will focus on converting the paths to DXF drawing objects. Next will be text followed by tracing high contrast images.

I will update once the image extraction is done.

Projects / Complete Home Custom PCB Fab Projec
« on: August 08, 2016, 09:42:31 AM »
Well, I've been busy last couple of days working on a side project for friend of mine's client. He has a business doing rapid prototypes but needed some help with the electronics part of it and reached out to me. I opened my mouth and suggested a change to the design and that resulted in an almost complete re-design of the electronics. The only thing that didn't change was the battery charger circuit.

I've been ordering my boards from OSHPark but they take 2-3 weeks to come back to you and this is not really conducive to rapid prototyping. The laser printer process I use for making PCBs is not bad but a bit manual so its time to build a more automated process for making these boards. I'm thinking something with an interchangeable head so I can swap the laser with a small router or Dremel and let  my A5 machine do double duty.

My little 500mW laser is too under powered for this task so the 6W or the twin 6W is going to be needed here. I've already switched over to the L6 board so next will need to be adding the limit switches as well as the z axis. After that I'll need to figure out how to make the laser and router interchangeable. First order of business once I get to a stopping point with this paid project is to finish up the driver boards already in progress and get them tested.

Once I get the end to end process laid out I'll post the steps here.

Trouble Shooting / Need the crew here to help this guy out please
« on: July 30, 2016, 10:05:46 AM »
I was contacted by a new member through PM who is not familiar with forums and wasn't sure how to reach out to us for help. I am starting this post for him and I will send him the link so he can respond here.

His name is Dennis (aka dwa) and here is what he sent me.

Can you or any member help me out. I was given a eleks 2000mw a5 mini laser engraver, by my sister, her husband had died 3 weeks ago. She said I could have it. Her kids cleaned the computer.. I have nothing now. I do not know where to get the software or driver for it, I don't even know what the red buttons are for. What to hook up first then second. I want to make money like he was. If you know any one that can help me out, you can give them my email address. now it is just sitting here, it keep asking me to get it to run. I told it I do not know how to.
Thank You

Hi Dennis and welcome to the forums. For the software, you can grab a copy of what I used to get my machine up and running by clicking on this link. This has the Benbox software as well as the drivers you will need to get connected to your computer.

Try downloading this and getting it installed on your machine. If you have any issues along the way just post your questions here and one of us will be sure to respond.


Projects / LED Driver & Lipo Charger
« on: July 17, 2016, 05:19:10 PM »
Ok, so not exactly Laser related but I thought it was a cool project to work on and I thought I'd share.

The boards on the left of the image are the LED constant current driver boards for some 130 lumens Cree LEDs. The boards on the right are LIPO battery charge boards that will plug into USB and charge a lipo battery at 100mA/h  The board has a micro usb connector on one side and the charge circuitry n the other.

Incidentally, the constant current circuit for this LED driver is the basis for the current regulator in the Laser TTL driver design I'm working on.

The fun part is going to be soldering these components onto the boards lol. I'm using solder paste and a toaster oven to melt the solder paste. The toaster oven is used only for my projects ;)

General Discussion / TTL Controller Boards
« on: July 16, 2016, 01:29:17 PM »
I started playing around with the LT1529 voltage regulator in LTSpice today and had some promising results.

I modeled up a circuit that would emulate the 12v PWM signal at 1Khz as the only source of power to the circuit. I still have to work out the adjustable current limiting and a few other details but it was a good start.

The attached pictures are the equivalent of setting the power to 0, 127, & 255 in the software. You can ignore the 2ohm resistor. I just stuck it in there to limit the current to 3A for testing.

Spare Parts Sources / 30x40cm Aluminum Extrusion Lengths
« on: July 12, 2016, 12:50:59 PM »

Can someone with the larger kit please let me know what the actual lengths are for 20x40 side rails, 20x40 top rail, and 20x20 front and back rails. I'm trying to get an idea of what the aluminum extrusions are going to run to upgrade to a larger size.


T2 Engraving / Pin 11 PWM remains after image completes
« on: July 09, 2016, 05:20:15 AM »
I disconnected the arduino and hooked up my O'scope to pin 11 to see the PWM in action. I loaded an image using grey scale and clicked send gcode. After T2 completed I noticed there was still a 4.2us wide pulse on that pin. This goes away after you left click the stop button so I don't know if it is related to T2 or the J-TECH branch of GRBL that I'm using.

Obviously my laser module doesn't currently work with PWM so it's not an issue but I just wanted to let you know.

T2 Engraving / Using T2Laser to engrave on Cylindrical Objects
« on: July 07, 2016, 03:33:21 PM »

I'm thinking about building a small engraver using the 3 axis Eleks Maker board to engrave pen blanks that I have turned out of wood or other cylindrical objects. The laser will move left and right but the forward and back will be used to rotate the object.

My question is would T2laser work for this. I'm assuming I would need to adjust some settings for different diameters.


T2 Engraving / Minor bug in T2
« on: July 07, 2016, 10:40:56 AM »
First let me start with this, the cause of this issue is due to user error. I'm only mentioning this because of the need to use task manager to close the app once this has happened.

Running on Windows 7 64bit using either 1.2t or 1.2w, when you try and open an image (jpg, bmp, etc...) while in sketch mode, a MessageBox pops up and displays an invalid file type warning. When I click okay I get an IndexOutOfRangeException that keeps popping up no matter how many times I click ok. I didn't check to see if it would eventually go away once all the items were attempted to be loaded or if it was stuck in an infinite loop. I gave up after about 20-30 clicks and just used the task manager to close the app.

I quickly realized my error but the (seemingly) never ending IndexOutOfRangeExceptions seemed to warrant this post. Just in case someone else stumbles upon it as well.

General Questions / Open Source Driver Board
« on: July 06, 2016, 04:08:36 PM »
Anyone thought about doing an open source driver board for these? I doubt they will but, just in case the boards are discontinued.

We could reverse engineer these, draw up the schematic and layout some PCBs. They would cost more to make than you can buy but it would be a way of getting a board made in case they were discontinued.



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