Author Topic: Controlling Z axis  (Read 2611 times)

jbrasfield

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Controlling Z axis
« on: April 03, 2017, 08:35:37 PM »
I built a motor controlled adjustment for the Z axis. I 3d printed the parts and used a small dc motor to adjust the height. I do quite a bit of leather and wanted to be able to change focus from the lower work surface to a plate on the frame. I set a wooden cube on the work surface and focused the laser at that height. Now if I need to change focus I put the cube on the new work surface and move the laser to the correct height. I already decided to exchange the DC motor to a NEMA 11 stepper so it will be compatable with T2 laser and a few other programs. A work in progress. Comments welcome.

ThothLoki

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Re: Controlling Z axis
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2017, 09:02:12 PM »
Sounds like you have a good thing going. Please share some pictures and maybe the stl  files if you are willing
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jbrasfield

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Re: Controlling Z axis
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2017, 09:15:59 PM »
After I get the NEMA 11 mounted I'll post more pics and the stl files

ThothLoki

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Re: Controlling Z axis
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2017, 09:20:32 PM »
Man, I can't wait to get my 3D printer
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Re: Controlling Z axis
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2017, 10:00:25 PM »
Very nice work...!!!
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Zax

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Re: Controlling Z axis
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2017, 04:56:54 AM »
That's excellent, I think going with a small stepper or even a large servo is a good idea. Of course the stepper is easiest since the firmware already supports it.

Looking forward to seeing the finished results.

mrehmus

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Re: Controlling Z axis
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2017, 11:19:00 AM »
I built a motor controlled adjustment for the Z axis. I 3d printed the parts and used a small dc motor to adjust the height. I do quite a bit of leather and wanted to be able to change focus from the lower work surface to a plate on the frame. I set a wooden cube on the work surface and focused the laser at that height. Now if I need to change focus I put the cube on the new work surface and move the laser to the correct height. I already decided to exchange the DC motor to a NEMA 11 stepper so it will be compatable with T2 laser and a few other programs. A work in progress. Comments welcome.
With only two channels available from the normal Arduino-based controller, what are you using to control the Z-axis or is that run from another controller?
mrehmus
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ThothLoki

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Re: Controlling Z axis
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2017, 11:34:55 AM »
mrehmus,

He didn't say, but he might be using a 3 axis controller like an L6 board. It comes with an additional motor controller on the board for the z axis. Even with my L7 board, the z axis pin is mapped in grbl, just not broken out on the board. With a little soldering and another motor controller, controlling a z axis motor would not be a big deal (at lease in the electrical side)
Laser: A5 2000mw with L7 Board / A3 2500mw PWM with Mana SE -- All using T2Laser
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Zax

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Re: Controlling Z axis
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2017, 11:49:28 AM »
The L6, L8 and new Mana CNC all have 3-axis, the Nano and firmware already support it.

The default firmware does not have Z-axis homing, but you can easily enable it (I use it on mine).

mrehmus

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Re: Controlling Z axis
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2017, 01:53:02 PM »
How to hook up the homing switches would be useful information. I could not find the information on a search.
I have a Uno or two with a 4-channel CNC Shield and a Mega on order with another CNC shield and the new high power stepper modules that replace the red ones that came with the laser and have 1/32 stepping (half the step size that the red boards have).
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Zax

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Re: Controlling Z axis
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2017, 02:08:45 PM »
It depends on the firmware you use, any of the available pins can be used.

The firmware I compile for the Nano's uses D9 for both X and Y home switches (normally open switches in parallel), it makes it easier for wiring and leaves more pins open for other purposes.

mrehmus

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Re: Controlling Z axis
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2017, 02:44:48 PM »
Thanks, Zax for the information.
Here is a new product AFAIK that has a manual 'focus' capability: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Laseraxe-405nm-2500mW-DIY-Desktop-Mini-Laser-Engraver-Engraving-Machine-Laser-Cutter-Echer-35X50cm-Adjustable-Laser/32524467381.html?spm=2114.10010108.1000023.11.3oYzjI

It is a manual knob to move the laser up and down.
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Zax

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Re: Controlling Z axis
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2017, 02:47:32 PM »
I guess that's for laser modules without a focus lens.

jbrasfield

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Re: Controlling Z axis
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2017, 03:34:30 PM »
I did a manual knob for the first version but was just as slow as using the focus ring. I've got a couple of controllers that have a z axis port already. Also thought about a standalone picaxe controller ($3.50) for the software that doesn't support z axis control.  I hopefully with get Zac's T2 in the next couple of weeks. What I want to do is use an arduino with the cnc shield, since I have said shield in my junk box, but haven't looked up controlling the laser with the shield. Should be easy enough.

mrehmus

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Re: Controlling Z axis
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2017, 05:05:04 PM »
The new Mana CNC board has three Axis drivers (and the laser hookup just like the Mana SE board). About $25 from China on eBay.
mrehmus
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