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Messages - Stonemull

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EleksMaker Mana SE / Re: Motor pins on Mana SE
« on: April 05, 2017, 07:36:06 PM »
Well, uhh .. it is.

I have been doing electronics for near 40 years, professionally for 30 in various jobs including emergency industrial repairs, I can hold a multimeter probe and decipher an unknown board.

The sole reason for the existence of the  chunky 5v 3A on the SE board is to power the centre pin of the servo output, nothing else it is connected to uses any more than a few mA.
The motor out connectir is 12v, the laser is 12v .. and oh, I forgot one output, the 'bluetooth' 4 pin header also uses that supply.

T2 Engraving / Kicad PLT non fatal errors
« on: April 05, 2017, 12:51:55 PM »
Hey Zax, import PLT not working with kicad plots.

I only tried one and get a continuous pop up of 'non fatal error' till I use task manager to kill the T2Laser process.
File i tried attached, it looks fairly basic at first glance so not sure where the error lies.

While I have your attention, you mention in the gerber import that you can load drill files, I was hoping I could use them to add pad holes to the copper pour as there is no option to do that with kicad as holes are another layer, but it didn't appear to image anything, is it just for boring holes perhaps ?

T2 Engraving / Re: T2 Laser and Convert2DXF
« on: April 05, 2017, 12:41:26 PM »
There are 2 versions, the GUI and the command line. If you notice T2Laser wants the command line.

A link to it is in the manual, or here:

It only asks for the exe once and then it works perfectly after that.

The reason I don't distribute it with T2Laser is Agastar used some libraries that are not open source for commercial, so I'm not sure if donations would be allowed or not - but probably OK and I agree he deserves recognition for an excellent tool and it may encourage his addition of SVG  ;D

Bummer, the dropbox link is deceased, can you make a copy available somewhere ?

Projects / Re: PCB photoresist film exposure
« on: April 05, 2017, 12:22:56 PM »
Ok I etched the board mentioned above and in general it was a success, I need to up the laser power a little and optimise the board a bit, there was nothing done to that one, I usually increase pad sizes for the through hole headers, vias and IC pads. I failed to do even the most basic checks on that one, I just pumped out a test design .. so the IC footprint is incorrect :)

Photo of a narrow SOIC28  with a match for scale. A couple of the trackes near the match head were improved with a sharpie pre etch as the exposure was pretty minimal and there were a few holes in the tracks in some area.
My photoresist is about 4 years past its use by date too, so it also had visible dark patches that did not etch fully .. very promising though.

Tomorrow, redesign and I might attempt a double sided board.

EleksMaker Mana SE / Re: Motor pins on Mana SE
« on: April 05, 2017, 11:01:23 AM »
The motor pins are connected to the 12v supply, the ground side is switched by the mosfet rated at 10A 16V and the gate is connected to the D11 pin via a 100R resstor.

So a 12v fan connected here will cycle with the laser intensity, could be a decent extractor fan though, faster for more smoke..

The servo pins are powered by the onboard 5v 3A switch mode supply, the servo control line is D11 again. It was designed to be a big servo as the only other things that 5v supply powers is the pololu logic supply, which only draws a few mA.

There is a small solderable jumper underneath the nano that woukd connect the nano 5v regulator output to the onboard 5v supply, I am not sure why yet. I suspect it is so the nano can power the pololu logic but that would require a way of 'unplugging' the onboard 5v, I have not yet looked underneath the board to see if maybe a trach is designed to be cut perhaps ?

A resistor change woukd then enable the 5v supply to be increased for the servo output, a lot of bigger servos use 7v for example.

Projects / PCB photoresist film exposure
« on: April 05, 2017, 10:47:28 AM »
Using a 2500mW benbox running grbl 1.1f and latest T2, pcbs designed in Kicad.

I have some new thermal photoresist coming from china atm, currently though I am using Cape Fear Press Puretch film. Probably the same photoresist though I do not know yet.

Getting good results at feed 1000, laser max 26, bidirectional off, I was using 0.05mm resolution but I think it is overkill and takes around 35 minutes per square inch.
So I am just doing my first attempt at 0.1mm.

Most of the testing has just been done with a piece of film with both plastic layers attached, tried it held down with coins on the corner, microslope glass slide or a piece of 1.5mm glass on top and not noticed much difference.

Everything I do is SMD so aiming for at least a 0.5mm track with 0.5 clearance. Close to achieving it, I might have to 'detune' the focus yet or change a few more parameters.

Though this is a negative photoresist, with a laser you need to consider it positive, so isolation routing is of no use, flatcam is out, gerber2pcb is out, inkscape gcodeutils from a dxf source produces odd scaling.

I am using gerbers currently. Hope to try dxf or plt when I can work out how as I have no holes in my through hole pads currently. I would really prefer to vector trace instead of raster scan these.

I joticed in a search that others are using paint options, I will go back and have a read now :)
Just typing this as I am bored waiting for the next test to complete.

Attached a photo of the last few test runs on a piece of plastic to make the film more visible.

Benbox / Re: Benbox stock software/hardware data (Mana SE).
« on: April 05, 2017, 05:06:00 AM »

Ah yes, I mssed that, still coming to grips with all the different options.
Happy with 1.1f, I just recomplied it the 7.8khz pwn frequency instead of its current 1khz, at 1500mm/m I would have got a dot pitch of 0.025mm, which I think was visible, makes me think the laser is expecting a much higher pwm frequency but I am not sure, can't find any details online anywhere. Hard to trace the schematic as they have sanded the numbers off the interface chip on the laser module.

Ran some calculations to double check the 80 steps/mm .. pretty obvious in the end, the belt is 2mm pitch and has 20 teeth, so 40mm per rev and 3200 steps = exactly 80, so minimum resolution is 0.0125mm

Now wondering how I can get the focus as perfect as possible .. more research.

Oh, if I may suggest a tiny change to your software, the green progress bar is really hard to see with green laser glasses on, maybe a red bar would be higher contrast.

Benbox / Re: Benbox stock software/hardware data (Mana SE)
« on: April 04, 2017, 09:45:34 PM »
I have 2 versions of 1.1e listed.
One was no PWM and the other was "axis swap" neither of which I thought was suitable, I was thinking it was reversed for some reason.

Ah, 10000 line limit, that would be it.

purchased T2 :) It looks like it will save me a lot of hours installing other stuff if nothing else and I will bill it to someone else later :)

Benbox / Re: Benbox stock software/hardware data (Mana SE)
« on: April 04, 2017, 11:40:05 AM »
Thanks, that will help I think, also discovered the gerber settings, setting the device to mm mode helps.
FWIW I was fairly impressed with the last print I did and then realised it was at almost half size, so it was pretty well managing a sub 0.5mm pitch, it was a very rough print and I am sure I can dial in the power settings and I think I need to slow it down also.

image of that next to a ruler.

Loaded your default settings as there was not a PWM enabled hex file on GRBL 1.1e.

I then started at a feed rate of 1500 and 30/255 laser power, this overexposed so during the print I dropped the laser to 90% power and increased feed to 120%
that resulted in this
The top section is the slower, higher power exposure.

The concern I have with it at the moment is that the print 'completed' before the demo timed out, however the bottom third of the board is missing.
That photo very bottom is the last of the plot and there is still quite a bit to go..

Anyway, it is nearly dawn here, time for some zzz's

If I can get a whole board out tomorrow I will be buying T2 no questions asked, good job.

Benbox / Re: Benbox stock software/hardware data (Mana SE)
« on: April 04, 2017, 08:20:12 AM »
I found a config  file that seems to do a reasonable job. Basically ..

$0=10 (microseconds, Step pulse time: Sets time length per step. Minimum 3usec.)
$1=80 (milliseconds, Step idle delay: Sets a short hold delay when stopping to let dynamics settle before disabling steppers. Value 255 keeps motors enabled with no delay.)
$2=0 (mask, Step pulse invert: Inverts the step signal. Set axis bit to invert (00000ZYX).)
$3=0 (mask, Step direction invert: Inverts the direction signal. Set axis bit to invert (00000ZYX).)
$4=0 (boolean, Invert step enable pin: Inverts the stepper driver enable pin signal.)
$5=0 (boolean, Invert limit pins: Inverts the all of the limit input pins.)
$6=0 (boolean, Invert probe pin: Inverts the probe input pin signal.)
$10=3 (mask, Status report options: Alters data included in status reports.)
$11=0.010 (millimeters, Junction deviation: Sets how fast Grbl travels through consecutive motions. Lower value slows it down.)
$12=0.002 (millimeters, Arc tolerance: Sets the G2 and G3 arc tracing accuracy based on radial error. Beware: A very small value may effect performance.)
$13=0 (boolean, Report in inches: Enables inch units when returning any position and rate value that is not a settings value.)
$20=0 (boolean, Soft limits enable: Enables soft limits checks within machine travel and sets alarm when exceeded. Requires homing.)
$21=0 (boolean, Hard limits enable: Enables hard limits. Immediately halts motion and throws an alarm when switch is triggered.)
$22=0 (boolean, Homing cycle enable: Enables homing cycle. Requires limit switches on all axes.)
$23=0 (mask, Homing direction invert: Homing searches for a switch in the positive direction. Set axis bit (00000ZYX) to search in negative direction.)
$24=25.000 (mm/min, Homing locate feed rate: Feed rate to slowly engage limit switch to determine its location accurately.)
$25=500.000 (mm/min, Homing search seek rate: Seek rate to quickly find the limit switch before the slower locating phase.)
$26=250 (milliseconds, Homing switch debounce delay: Sets a short delay between phases of homing cycle to let a switch debounce.)
$27=1.000 (millimeters, Homing switch pull-off distance: Retract distance after triggering switch to disengage it. Homing will fail if switch isn't cleared.)
$30=1000 (RPM, Maximum spindle speed: Maximum spindle speed. Sets PWM to 100% duty cycle.)
$31=0 (RPM, Minimum spindle speed: Minimum spindle speed. Sets PWM to 0.4% or lowest duty cycle.)
$32=1 (boolean, Laser-mode enable: Enables laser mode. Consecutive G1/2/3 commands will not halt when spindle speed is changed.)
$100=80.000 (step/mm, X-axis travel resolution: X-axis travel resolution in steps per millimeter.)
$101=80.000 (step/mm, Y-axis travel resolution: Y-axis travel resolution in steps per millimeter.)
$102=80.000 (step/mm, Z-axis travel resolution: Z-axis travel resolution in steps per millimeter.)
$110=5000.000 (mm/min, X-axis maximum rate: X-axis maximum rate. Used as G0 rapid rate.)
$111=5000.000 (mm/min, Y-axis maximum rate: Y-axis maximum rate. Used as G0 rapid rate.)
$112=5000.000 (mm/min, Z-axis maximum rate: Z-axis maximum rate. Used as G0 rapid rate.)
$120=600.000 (mm/sec^2, X-axis acceleration: X-axis acceleration. Used for motion planning to not exceed motor torque and lose steps.)
$121=600.000 (mm/sec^2, Y-axis acceleration: Y-axis acceleration. Used for motion planning to not exceed motor torque and lose steps.)
$122=10.000 (mm/sec^2, Z-axis acceleration: Z-axis acceleration. Used for motion planning to not exceed motor torque and lose steps.)
$130=370.000 (millimeters, X-axis maximum travel: Maximum X-axis travel distance from homing switch. Determines valid machine space for soft-limits and homing search distances.)
$131=300.000 (millimeters, Y-axis maximum travel: Maximum Y-axis travel distance from homing switch. Determines valid machine space for soft-limits and homing search distances.)
$132=200.000 (millimeters, Z-axis maximum travel: Maximum Z-axis travel distance from homing switch. Determines valid machine space for soft-limits and homing search distances.)

except I have since changed $30 back to the default 255

I just grabbed your demo and I must say it beats anything else I have looked at so far hands down. I am running at 20/255 laser power and probably only need 30 I think, I am just testing with piece of film at the moment and not mounted it to pcb but it is discolouring it which is a good sign for a successful developing.

Are the guys etching on here using a photoresist or removing paint from a pcb ?

I think a photoresist method should be adequate resolution for me, I may well buy a smaller laser just for the job, while I was waiting on my A3 from banggood I ended up loading up a nano with grbl and removed the guts of an old roland plotter in my shed, chucked on a couple of pololus at 28V and have it running at 5000mm/min quite happily. It could happily shunt a 200mW laser around which is all i think i need. So I might save this slow 2500mW beastie for burning things.

Is there any way to offset an image  apart from mechanically within T2 ?
The board I am testing with is loading up on the far right of the frame (but etching on the left ?) and i was wondering if I could remove the offset, it is probably from creating the board in the middle of the kicad page and I could move it there too.

attached the little test board gerber if you are interested in looking.

Benbox / Re: Benbox stock software/hardware data (Mana SE)
« on: April 04, 2017, 07:13:08 AM »
Cheers man, I might just have to grab it shortly. You were next on my list.

Installed GRBL 1.1F and have been mucking round with a variety of CAM's and output variations on kicad from inkscape plug ins, pcb2gcode, FlatCam,  Laserweb4 and yet to find anything deserving of a lot more attention. They either want to run on a mill using trace isolation (not going to work with a negative photoresist) and none have imported a gerber yet.
The russian gcodetools extension is close and with a few macros in notepad++ I had a few test plots running, however the scaling was way out and I cant see an easy way to set it correctly within inkscape. Seems a bit arbritrary considering the files have absolute units.

Benbox / Benbox stock software/hardware data (Mana SE)
« on: April 03, 2017, 11:38:59 PM »
Hi guys, first post.

I am an electronics guy and mostly bought this doohickey to expose negative PCB photoresist, so if anyone has done that with one of these etechers please let me know and save me some thinking :)

Machine arrived yesterday and I like to know where I stand before using them much. Might be errors below since this is my first day with this dodgy software, I could not find this documented anywhere despite several searches. So decided to have a look myself and document it, might as well place it here.
I have pulled the arduino out since it is easier, I have a board marked Mana SE.

Most useful image I can find I stole from ebay and added here

Hardware description Mana SE

I have no jumper under the arduino, just an inductor and what appears to be a solderable jumper, PWM is always enabled.
The solderable jumper, one side is Vdd on the pololus, the other is 5v pin of the Nano, so I gather the pololu logic supply is different from the nano 5v regulated output. Suffuice to say, this link has nothing to do with PWM.

The inductor looks to be a stepdown supply operated by a TPS54331
sense resistors are 10k and 1160R so the output voltage seems to be set at 7.69V however I measured it as 5V  :-\

This supply seems to drive the low voltage Vdd supply for the Pololus and the unused "servo" output supply, the Laser, "motor" connector and stepper drive voltages are both the straight 12V input.

These are a good chip apart from one nasty trait I know of, shorting the input wires together during operation (shutting input power) will blow the device mosfets, all good, just be careful with dodgy 12v input wiring. I recently stopped using these on a raspberry pi supply i designed for a client and swapped to an LT device due to a few failures, probably due to the chinese assembling the boards for the client and not using the nice low ESR caps I specified, replaced the chip and the caps with TDK's and had no issues.

There is a driver mosfet onbaord (gate drive resistor R1 = 100R) is an
so rated for 10A, has nothing to do with the laser, it is low side switching for the "motor" output.

The servo control signal is also arduino D11, so this is fed directly to the laser, to the servo and controls a mosfet doing low side switching of the "motor" output.

Default pololu motor currents, the Y motor pair driver is set for 640mV and the X around 350mV so these have been factory set to reasonable values. Suspect they could be cranked up significantly for higher torque/speed.

The "bluetooth" connector RX and TX are the normal arduino RX/TX so you could monitor the serial comms from the CH340G directly on these pins.

Stock Software

Stock software is currently
Benbox Version 3.7.99

nano has no reset button and does not respond to the reset line, interesting, maybe a 'special' nano.
uses a CH340G driver and default 115k baud.

on power up it sends

benbox laser 3.1(c) mul 2015.06.06

the benbox software responds to this packet with a

$21 P-2

So the numbers you set up on page 2 Step,dir,min,max etc are obviously arduino port numbers for the most part.
ie Step 2,3  Dir 5,6 and laser 11

Speed .. if you traverse then this is the frequency of the step pulse.
No need to save, a change on the page is the speed of the next command
set high to determine maximums
These are with the default 320.0 ppm setting on page 2, setting the PPM higher still leaves you with a 3.68kHz top speed.

highest speed 3.7kHz (136uS high, 132uS low)
1000 = 1.31kHz (380/384uS)
2000 = 2.45kHz
10 = 13.3Hz

Step .. minimum step distance using the traverse buttons ? varys with how long you use the button and a short click is missed entirely.
also the value makes not a lot of sense, don't rely on it for accurate movement.
eg ..  1 = 14 pulses, 10 = 62 pulses

Laser .. D11 output. PWM frequency 490Hz
low light set to 16 default = 125uS pulse every 1.915mS
Minimum 1 = 8uS pulse
DO NOT SET TO ZERO .. this results in full power.
change by editing value then reclocking the low power 'on' button

Stock Gcodes.. ( I used as a reference)

Laser off = M05 L0
Low on <power> = M3 L<power> P0

Traverse left distance <step> at <speed>
G01 X-<step>L0 F<speed>

Traverse right
G01 X<step> L0 F<speed>

A short click on button sends G91 with no G01 commands, a long hold repeats G01's

traverse Y is G01 Y<step> L0 F<speed>

Note that changing <step> seems to require 2 sends before it changes in the command sequence.
changing speed does not, odd.

Drew a diagonal line from 0,0 to 20,10 and ran it.
resulting command sequence, added comments after from standard gcode list

G21 // set to mm mode
G90 // absolute mode                                             
G92 // position register                                                 
M05 L0    // spindle (laser) power 0                                                                     
G00 X0 Y0 F1500      // rapid position to 0,0
G92 // position register
G00 X0.20 Y-0.20 F1500 // rapid go to line start (absolute)
G01 X19.90 Y-10.40 F1500 L100 // etch line to approx 20, -10 ( so front of the machine is a negative value)                   
G00 X0 Y0 F1500 // rapid return to 0,0
M05 L0 // laser off
G00 X0 Y0 F1500 // yet another rerun to 0,0 ?

TX output sends ok <cr> <lf> on a command

enough for now..

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