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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2020

    Guidance needed on first steps using laser CNC

    Hopefully this is the right forum for this request.

    A few months ago I purchased one of the Chinese CNC3018 routers. I have had some success with cutting and engraving but not getting the end result that I wanted. That’s okay, it will come as I gain more experience and understanding of various settings.

    I have bought a laser attachment for it and am now completely out of my depth. I need guidance on some basic things as follows:

    1. When using a laser, how do I position it at the origin position on the work piece? When using a conventional cutter I can easily position it to the origin as I can see the cutter bit but of course, with the laser I cannot see that unless it is turned on.

    2. On many websites people mention setting the power of the laser to various strengths. How do I adjust the power?

    3. I can generate toolpaths for cutting on Fusion 360 but how do I generate toolpaths for engraving letters using a laser?

    4. When selecting the geometry for the toolpaths, do I select the top surface outline of the letter or the lower, (recessed), outline?

    I use Fusion 360 for my design although most of what I’m fabricating are from other people’s work and files are only available in the .f3d format. I use the GRBL post processor in Fusion and UGS to send code to the router. The control board on the router is a Woodpecker V3.3. I have no limit switches on the router.

    Hope someone can give my guidance on the above, this is really a lot more complicated than I thought it would be.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Re: Guidance needed on first steps using laser CNC

    1. most lasers have a test fire button that can be used to set origin. In my opinion setting a precise origin is not as important as it is on a router

    2. Your software like lightburn has a power setting for each cut. That creates a voltage on the PWM pin on the laser power supply via your controller. I use and recommend DSP type controller
    So fusion doesn’t know power, you use fusion for vector file only, DXF which goes to lightburn where you set power.

    3 fusion only delivers vector geometry to lightburn. Specify cut vs engrave in lightburn. Engrave must be a closed shape

    4. Again no toothpaths because no gcode needed.

    If you are trying to use Mach3 to drive the laser directly you are doing this the hard way. You will be able to drive the vector cuts but engraving will be very difficult.

    Btw using a CO2 laser on a router is not safe. If you want to use a laser then buy a laser cutter.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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