Author Topic: T2laser and Makeblock xy plotter with TTL laser  (Read 1559 times)

diy3141592

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T2laser and Makeblock xy plotter with TTL laser
« on: December 30, 2016, 11:13:10 AM »
Hi everybody,

I tried to find answers to my questions in your old discussions, but I did not. Please excuse me if I am going to ask questions that have been answered before.

My Makeblock XY plotter 2.0 with a Me Orion board and a 3 watt TTL PWM laser is working OK-ish under Mdraw and Benbox. Because of the limits of these programs I was very happy to discover T2laser. I supposed it was Benbox compatible, as the T2laser introduction says, but I have issues with the direction control (reverse x or y axis) that does not seem to work, the drawing skips parts and there is no PWM control. I have monitored the code that is being sent over the USB serial port and for example you can see that Benbox uses an Lxxx command for different PWM values, while T2laser uses a Sxxx command. 

So I suppose that although T2laser looks like a much better version of Benbox, it is not fully compatible, at least not for the Makeblock plotter. I have no problems with that at all, as long as I can put the right firmware in the Me Orion board, but so far I have not been able to do so.

MAIN QUESTION: Is it possible to fully use T2laser with my Xplotter and which hex file would do the trick for me???? If I need to edit an Arduino sketch, because Pin numbers are different (I started thinking that), I will be happy to do so, but I would like to start with the correct information.

Thanks a lot out there, for reading this.
diy3141592


Zax

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Re: T2laser and Makeblock xy plotter with TTL laser
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2016, 11:46:01 AM »
Welcome diy!

T2Laser is compatible with Benbox firmware, however, it cannot change the configuration (you must use Benbox for that).

T2Laser will send the appropriate L codes if it detects the Benbox welcome message, so I am guessing you may be using some non standard firmware.

If your machine is compatible with Grbl all of the features will be available.

I am not sure which firmware is compatible with your machine, have you tried 1.1e or 0.9j? If your machine isn't 0.9 compatible you could try 1.1e Non-PWM which uses D12 for the laser.

diy3141592

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Re: T2laser and Makeblock xy plotter with TTL laser
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2016, 02:05:24 PM »
Hello Zax,
Thank you for your quick reply.
I have uploaded grbl_v0_9g as well as grbl_v0_9i using Benbox and grbl_v1.1 with Xloader because Benbox had a problem with that hex file. In all three cases Tslaser connects with a Ready message and continously sends "?" characters to my Arduino, which gives back the (soft) position of the head. A 20 step jog takes about three 3s. But the steppers are not moving at all.

When I update my board with the firmware that came with Benbox, things do work under T2laser, but with the errors that I already mentioned. 

When I goto Settings, Microprocessor I can only choose from Nano and Mega, but my (Orion) board is actually a Uno. May this be the problem? I am seriously worried about this thing with the pins.

Thx

Zax

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Re: T2laser and Makeblock xy plotter with TTL laser
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2016, 02:27:51 PM »
The reason it's moving slowly is you don't have the correct Grbl parameters or there's no default feed rate set.

Did you try to upload Grbl 1.1e using T2Laser? I compiled it with my defaults.

You can try using other firmware but make sure you select "Send Default Parameters" from the Machine menu, they may not be perfect settings for your machine but they'll be a start point for modification.

Make sure you have T2Laser v1.3t (as it includes the latest firmware updates).

diy3141592

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Re: T2laser and Makeblock xy plotter with TTL laser
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2016, 03:15:20 PM »
Uploading the default parameters works fine.

But both Upload firmware and Custom firmware from T2laser result in a very long unreadable line popping up for a split second in the middle of the screen.

I do use T2laser v1.3t.

I still think the pin assignement in the firmware of the board is non standard. Does anybody else uses a makeblock XY plotter with T2laser software?

Thx again,
It's bedtime here...

Zax

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Re: T2laser and Makeblock xy plotter with TTL laser
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2016, 03:52:37 PM »
If the axis jog correctly and you can switch the laser on/off that's all you need, if not, one of the "custom" firmware options I include may work. You can load them using XLoader, they are in the install folder or the zip (just rename them removing the .deploy).

I'm pretty sure someone has T2Laser running on the Makeblock plotter, just not sure what firmware they use.

diy3141592

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Re: T2laser and Makeblock xy plotter with TTL laser
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2016, 04:00:05 AM »
I Xloaded each of the custom firmwares as you suggested, but nope. After that I Googled more on the problem and found this:
https://github.com/grbl/grbl/issues/872

This seems to confirm my suspicion about the pins, but it is suggested that the problem is even worse (split port use etc), so I would be surprised to find somebody who got it working.  I will probably follow Kelly Taylor's (kajackdfw) advice and buy a

Arduino CNC kit / CNC Shield V3.0 + uno R3+4pcs a4988 driver / GRBL for $26,
as this is very likely to solve my problem and I can finally start enjoying T2laser.

Thanks again for all the time you spent on this topic.

Zax

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Re: T2laser and Makeblock xy plotter with TTL laser
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2016, 06:25:03 AM »
The machine looks well made, it's unfortunate they didn't stick with a standard configuration so you could use Grbl.

I agree, based on the discussions it's going to be a lot easier to just replace the board.

If you want more compatibility the Eleks L8 board may work, you would lose the servo function but I think you will anyway as it isn't supported in the base Grbl code.

ggallant571

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Re: T2laser and Makeblock xy plotter with TTL laser
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2016, 06:41:21 AM »
The firmware is available in source code and appears to be generic grbl an include file that specifies pin mapping. I did not see any laser or spindle specific definitions (spent less than 10 minutes). If you are not comfortable with building your own firmware then getting a "standard" controller might be your best option.
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diy3141592

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Re: T2laser and Makeblock xy plotter with TTL laser
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2017, 01:50:55 PM »
HAPPY MAKER NEWYEAR!

It is unfortunate indeed that they didn't stick to a standard configuration as Zax said, because I can confirm that the plotter kit consists of very low tolerance and well finished parts, which give you an accurate machine. Apart from the software issue, I had very satisfactory results with it.

I had a look at the source code and I found pin mappings in a file called cpu_map.h. I guess I could deal with that, but the discussion @ https://github.com/grbl/grbl/issues/872 suggests that the problem may be more complicated, so I will indeed get myself another board. I will have a look at the Eleks L8 board that Zax mentioned. The cheap Keyestudio kit looks a bit wobbly, if one can say so, but maybe it it good.

I will let you know the sequel.


diy3141592

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Re: T2laser and Makeblock xy plotter with TTL laser
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2017, 02:04:54 AM »
Hello Zax, hello everyone,

I promised you guys to write again after rebuilding my xy plotter. The previous discussions were about the non GRBL compatibility of my "Me Orion" Makeblock control board. I decided to follow the forums advice and buy a complete new controller set for little money. Which is what I did. I bought a chinese Keyestudio controller, which started smoking immediately after connecting it. I am still wondering what went wrong, or maybe I should say what was wrong. Everybody makes mistakes, but this was too simple. Well, who cares, I sent it back. Long live Amazon.

Then I realized that I could possibly solve my problem by using an obsolete Uno together with the original (nicely made) stepper drivers. Since I did not want to redo the good looking plotter cabling, based on RJ45 connectors, for which I happened to have a set of pliers, I made a simple Arduino shield, added a couple of RJ 45 females and connected the wires to the corresponding Arduino pins. I Xloaded Grbl 1.1e and the machine worked like a dream from minute one.

So now I am (finally) fully enjoying T2laser. Hooray again for Zax. Well done!

I just have a problem with Homing the plotter, using the end switches. Because I have no Z-axis, the firmware hangs, sending Z-steps, waiting for the not existing end switch to close. I didn't have time to figure out if a simple solution exists, without rebuilding the firmware. So I decided to forget about the homing cycle for now and reposition by hand. I have a switch to interrupt the motor power so I can position the head freely. I just have to "Home (machine)" in T2laser a lot, for which I am humbly asking if Zax might  consider adding a ctrl-H key in a future version for that action, avoiding using the menu all the time. Btw, maybe call it "set Home (machine)", as we also have "set Origin (workpiece). And possibly add ctrl-O and ctrl-F as well?? because I experiment a lot with the feed rate.

With my 3 watt laser I can cut through 4mm mdf board, which is useful for certain projects. However I need to repeat the cutting cycle a number of times, which may take a while. Therefore I would be very helpful to have the Multi Pass counter displayed somewhere.

Happy lasering...

Zax

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Re: T2laser and Makeblock xy plotter with TTL laser
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2017, 04:25:00 AM »
I'm happy to hear you are enjoying T2Laser.

If you are using the Grbl 1.1e distributed with T2Laser it is single pin homing ready and does not use the Z-axis.

It will home the X-axis followed by the Y-axis. These are my changes:

// #define HOMING_CYCLE_0 (1<<Z_AXIS)
#define HOMING_CYCLE_0 (1<<X_AXIS)
#define HOMING_CYCLE_1 (1<<Y_AXIS)
#define HOMING_FORCE_SET_ORIGIN
#define LIMITS_TWO_SWITCHES_ON_AXES

When you enable home switches the home button changes color to signify you are homing the machine, after that you should use the workpiece home (right click the house/home icon as the shortcut).

If you are not using home switches then there's not much reason to use the home machine in the menu, just use the workpiece home.

diy3141592

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Re: T2laser and Makeblock xy plotter with TTL laser
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2017, 08:32:08 AM »
Thank you for pointing that out to me. I have to check what build of Grbl 1.1e I finally uploaded. From what you wrote I conclude that it was not the one that you distributed, given that fact that I saw the z-steps on my scope. I will certainly try again. Thx.

Out of curiosity:
While thinking about the subject the other day, it occurred to me that homing by means of endswitches (and then backing off a bit) could lead to a stepper position, that is some microstep position, instead of a full step position and therefor not stable.  Might this be the case, or has avoiding this been built in?

Zax

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Re: T2laser and Makeblock xy plotter with TTL laser
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2017, 09:10:39 AM »
It may home and pull off to a microstep position but that isn't unusual and won't cause instability.

ggallant571

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Re: T2laser and Makeblock xy plotter with TTL laser
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2017, 10:17:29 AM »
I have not observed any problems but think you may have detected a possible weakness. If the stepper drivers get reset then I would expect them to "jump" to a full step on restart. Wonder if this can be fixed by moving the motors off the HOME position by a small amount (1mm) and force resetting the drivers. Then enabling them and using this as home. I do not know how to measure.

BTW, it may not be an issue if the default behavior is always the same.
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