Author Topic: New to "CNCs with Frick'n lasers on the head"  (Read 3860 times)

Finiousfingers

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New to "CNCs with Frick'n lasers on the head"
« on: April 18, 2017, 10:56:10 AM »
Ok im actually new to CNCs and to add a laser is just one more level of ooooooo.

I bought the SUNWIN 40x50 500mw laser cnc. I had to hunt to find instruction videos, but all in all it went together well enough.
The board didnt work or at least didnt come with pinouts so I dont know what to tell the controller.
So I remembered I had an Eleckmaker board for a DVD cnc I was trying to make. Popped that in and boom in business.
Downloaded the T2laser and liked it enough that I bought that license.
Initially my burns were taking wayyyy to long imo. like a 1.5" coin was taking 90 minutes to burn a simple image...
But now I have it sped up some and can do a 3" in an hour.

I have some questions and comments that I would like to get some input on.
1. Does a hotter laser burn faster/better?
    So if I get a 5mw laser can I expect something that takes an hour now to take 15 minutes or less?
2. is there a ratio of speed/power on burns that works or is it all trial and error.
3. how can I calibrate my steps per mm? If I do a 1.5" coin I have to use 50mm instead of 40.
4. How can I do a coaster that has a logo in the middle and words circling the outside?
    I tried doing sketch and got that to work right, then I have to do the image... is there a way to do it all in one burn?
5. is there a way to add multiple images to the page? So if I wanted to burn something 3x3 images.

Few things I have learned
1. Apple wood is to hard to burn on with 500mw.
2. grain sometimes burns way darker then you want
3. read more of the manual before you get grumpy.
4. using the colored glasses makes it hard to see your burn.
   4a. not using your colored glasses makes it hard to see
     4b. got a little flash burn I think... gotta start using my glasses before they call my the old blind guy at the corner.

Going to pick up some Cherry or other woods beside the basswood I have been playing with. Asking the local cabinet guy if he has some small drops he doesnt want.
attaching some pictures that I can use comments on for improvements.
1 is my wife and I side by side and that took 4 hours and is 3.5" wide
1 is my wife and I looking up and that took 30 minutes and is 3.5" wide
1 is an otter that is 2" wide and took about an hour...
1 is of some coins and a starting portrait of my kid but it was to pixely. the coins took 20 minutes or so but were streaky or not dark enough...

I have updated the firmware from the laser controller and seem to be having better results but still not quite right.
I am using this board EleksMaker® ManaSE 2 Axis Stepper Motor Driver Controller Board For DIY Laser Engraver from Banggoods.
I have tried finding some vector art to burn but have had mixed reviews, is there a decent site with graphics that I can use for some fun graphics?
Is there any tips on converting pictures into burnable pieces that dont take forever to do?
How do I calibrate my steps and upload that?
any advice on adding a zaxis and small router to do engraves in wood or metal?


Thanks again for the help and look forward to sharing some better burns,

Zax

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Re: New to "CNCs with Frick'n lasers on the head"
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2017, 11:20:29 AM »
It looks like you're getting the hang of it pretty well. Nice work and thank you for supporting my software.

So to your questions.

1. Yes, higher power means more speed is possible providing your machine can go faster of course.

2. Mostly trial and error but once you do some different material you'll get closer on the first attempt (save your settings as profiles when you get them worked out, but write them down somewhere too).

3. The standard machines have 80 steps per mm so that's what my firmware uses, but you can change the settings to suit your machine if it's different. The commands are $100 (X-axis) and $101 (Y-axis), so if you need to make it engrave larger you would reduce the steps per mm to say 60. Use the 50mm square in Help / Samples menu to confirm your sizes in case the problem is your image and not the machine.

4. Sketch Plus (in the Mode menu) allows you to add text to an image, so create an image with the logo in the center and add the text in T2Laser using Sketch (after you enable the plus option).

5. No, I don't have any step/repeat feature currently. It wouldn't be too difficult to add but for now you can jog to the next start point, right click the home icon and start again.

Keep those glasses on...  8)  and enjoy!

Finiousfingers

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Re: New to "CNCs with Frick'n lasers on the head"
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2017, 11:46:23 AM »
Ok thanks, I will try that glasses trick and "see" how it goes.

Sketch plus... hmmm musta missed that button. Ill take a look when I get home.
Thank you again for the reply and tip.
what file is it that I modify those lines?

ThothLoki

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Re: New to "CNCs with Frick'n lasers on the head"
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2017, 12:17:14 PM »
Keep those glasses on. If you want to check your work mid burn, left click the send button and wait for the burn to stop. It pauses the burn.
Laser: 2x EleksMaker A3s
3D Printer: Monoprice Maker Select v2 / Sovol SV01
Image Resizer Applications (All OS): http://benboxlaser.us/index.php/topic,1434.msg17297.html#msg17297

Zax

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Re: New to "CNCs with Frick'n lasers on the head"
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2017, 12:19:29 PM »
You send them from the manual command box, it appears when you're in debug mode.

e.g. $100=80 [enter] would be normal

Stonemull

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Re: New to "CNCs with Frick'n lasers on the head"
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2017, 07:57:23 PM »
Howdy, you seem fun, fellow old guy here, there are a few of us.
Firstly, scary bit ..

The glasses let through nearly 1000 times too much beam to be considered safe, even with them on this laser will easily permanently damage your eyesight.
With glasses on you have a class 3B laser instead of a class 4. The frequency of the beam means the beam is actually 10 times brighter than it appears.
I use the glasses when laser is on safe mode, when at higher powers I keep the machine out of sight totally. I do use some arc welding goggles to check burn or an ipad camera while I wear specs and use ipad as laser shield. These things need far more warnings than the sticker on the laser .. its from china though, they don't care if you blind yourself, kids or the goldfiish. Consider this as 0.1mm milling bit embedded in your retina, it is.
if you have a spare retina, go nuts.
Please read the stickied 'are the green laser glasses safe' thread, we want to be able to buy these machines, a few blinded users and they will get banned.

This should be a must read too.. http://laserpointerforums.com/f53/hit-eye-1000mw-445nm-blue-laser-69469.html

I have burnnt retinas from working in a military lab decades ago, it sucks. You will see me make lots of typos as I cannot focus on little writing until I get new eyecalls. ie .. never.

The steps per mm, needs to be set according to the pulley diameter, ths is a hardware setting and shoukd reflect the hardware, not the image.
if the pulley has 20 teeth, it is 40mm per rotation, belt is 2mm tooth pitch, 200 steps and 16 microsteps = 3200 steps per rev, 40mm circ pulley = 80 steps/mm

The best way to fit a certain size is to preprocess the image to the correct resolution to scale it.
If you stick with ac0.1mm burn putch tis easy, want 25mm high burn, scale to 250 pixels high.

A3 Eleksmaker 2500mW
Solidoodle V2 Pro
Wanhao I3+ touch
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CNC3018 engraver
CNC Plasma (work in progress)

Finiousfingers

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Re: New to "CNCs with Frick'n lasers on the head"
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2017, 06:37:00 AM »
Great tip on the laser safety, ill see about getting some better shields to use or a better observation method.
I also like the left click on the send to pause. I know its in the manual, but who has that kind of time... oh wait, i do, yeah maybe Ill read more of that on the pot next time.

Side note, is there a pdf of the manual I can add to my iPad for ease of reading?

I will try doing the teeth and belt teeth count to see what my steps should be.

I have been using this Mayan image to test my burns. Since it has fine and filled areas.
I did a 150px image and it took 2 hours and small change with 255 and 1500
I did the auto trace, and filled as well.

dont know if someone can tweak it into a better version or tell me how they would do it and I can give it a try.
I am all about being able to do the things...


Stonemull

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Re: New to "CNCs with Frick'n lasers on the head"
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2017, 07:59:45 AM »

A standard G2 belt is 2mm pitch, that 40mm circ works out to 12.7mm diameter, if you have an eleksmaker kit you have 80steps/mm.

To tell the truth I am not much of a "burner" yet, I bought the laser to make printed circuit boards and only had it a week or 2, hence a bit "focused" on safety still.
So i am probably the resident expert on gerbers (except Zak who may well know everything there is to know) .. I have been using a feedrate of 3500 and power of 40 lately, though I did just burn some pen stock for lols. (75/1000)

Try and avoid jpg if you can, measure up the dimensions of the area you want to burn and preprocess the image to that size beforehand. Always save your preprocessed image in a lossless format like PNG, GIF or even BMP if you have lots of diskspace (uncompressed, raw and huge). Google image search and its options are a great resource, will experiment in a bit and see what I can come up with. Short answer is to try and source images in anything but jpg and never ever use it as a middle step.

If you have a vector image then you may well have a DXF, grab free software capable of handling it like Inkscape or if you have a autocad license, well .. thats also a way.

I am not a graphics guy, but I have to do some coding with image data at times, I hate jpg more than an audiophile hates mp3.
Jpg is not well suited to sharp high contrast images due to its mathematical approach, you will always get noise on line edges as it works on groups of pixels at a time when we want the exact opposite, a line drawn between 2 points.



A3 Eleksmaker 2500mW
Solidoodle V2 Pro
Wanhao I3+ touch
Hacked Roland DXY-880
CNC3018 engraver
CNC Plasma (work in progress)

Zax

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Re: New to "CNCs with Frick'n lasers on the head"
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2017, 09:11:54 AM »
I don't maintain a PDF anymore, the Windows Help system is actually an html page so you should be able to get it on the iPad. Let me see if I can load it.

Zax

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Re: New to "CNCs with Frick'n lasers on the head"
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2017, 10:56:18 AM »
I loaded the current help file (well actually it's for v1.4c) to https://zax.neocities.org/ see if that works.

ThothLoki

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Re: New to "CNCs with Frick'n lasers on the head"
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2017, 11:57:27 AM »
I loaded the current help file (well actually it's for v1.4c) to https://zax.neocities.org/ see if that works.

neo cities huh? is that the new version of geocities?  ;D
Laser: 2x EleksMaker A3s
3D Printer: Monoprice Maker Select v2 / Sovol SV01
Image Resizer Applications (All OS): http://benboxlaser.us/index.php/topic,1434.msg17297.html#msg17297

Zax

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Re: New to "CNCs with Frick'n lasers on the head"
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2017, 12:13:48 PM »
Apparently so, I just searched for a free host since dropbox stopped allowing html.

Finiousfingers

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Re: New to "CNCs with Frick'n lasers on the head"
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2017, 10:27:16 AM »
Sweet! I got the file and saved as a pdf. Thank you for the extra help on that Zax.
I concluded my 500mw laser is just a toy and not hot enough for doing images on harder woods like cherry.

So, I am going to get me a hotter one... see what I can embezzle from the wife... hehe

I am also going to look at the router motor and assembly that is on BG.
I think I can get into one for under 100 so maybe...

Thanks again for everyones help.
I will post things if I get something cool or have questions.
I will continue to lurk and answer if I can, but continue to learn from the others mistakes or ah ha moments.


Finiousfingers

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Re: New to "CNCs with Frick'n lasers on the head"
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2017, 09:00:09 AM »
Ok did some testing on what my $100 and $101 need to be.
if they = 100 then its perfect.
But, I really dont want to have to do this for every burn, is there a way to update a file to always have $100 and $101 = 100?

Zax

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Re: New to "CNCs with Frick'n lasers on the head"
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2017, 09:14:19 AM »
The settings are stored in the Nano EEPROM, you only need to update once.