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  1. #1
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    Dual purpose CNC

    I have been using my CNC 3 Axis Router successfully for several years, but now I want to experiment.
    I currently run Mach3 with Aspire software and now want to try Laser engraving.
    I do not want to build a complete new machine as I have one which is perfectly adequate.
    I want to go gently gently and start off by replacing my spindle motor with a 15W 450nm laser head of the type shown.
    Question are
    • Is there a freebie software to control my 3 axis system, recommendations please!
    • Will the laser head I have chosen be able to cut 5mm plywood? If not what are my options ?
    • How is focus achieved
    • How is depth of cut achieved

    Hopefuly someone can help.

    Thanks

    George

  2. #2
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    Re: Dual purpose CNC

    Hi, i was also looking into this a while back. Ended up looking at "endurance lasers". They seem to have these low wattage units properly designed and cooled. All the best with your project, i will be following this

  3. #3
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    Re: Dual purpose CNC

    Arduino Nano/Uno loaded with GRBL 1.1f as a controller and bCNC or UGS (Universal Gcode Sender od LaserGRBL
    On my machine I use Mach3 when a spindle is on machine and LaserGRBL when my 2.5W laser is on.
    Works like charm. GRBL has adaptive power controll of a PWM for laser during acceleration/deceleration.

    HTH
    Make no mistake between my personality and my attitude.
    My personality is who I am. My attitude depends on who you are.

  4. #4
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    Re: Dual purpose CNC

    Quote Originally Posted by ZASto View Post
    Arduino Nano/Uno loaded with GRBL 1.1f as a controller and bCNC or UGS (Universal Gcode Sender od LaserGRBL
    On my machine I use Mach3 when a spindle is on machine and LaserGRBL when my 2.5W laser is on.
    Works like charm. GRBL has adaptive power controll of a PWM for laser during acceleration/deceleration.

    HTH
    I Ideally I wanted to use my existing control board, the electronics are already in place driving the steppers so why go and add an Arduino ?? Does your 2.5watt laser cut 5mm plywood ?
    Thanks for you reply.

    George

  5. #5
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Re: Dual purpose CNC

    Will the laser head I have chosen be able to cut 5mm plywood?
    Maybe, with a lot of passes? A diode laser is going to be marginal at cutting even 3mm wood.
    Gerry

    UCCNC 2017 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2017.html

    Mach3 2010 Screenset
    http://www.thecncwoodworker.com/2010.html

    JointCAM - CNC Dovetails & Box Joints
    http://www.g-forcecnc.com/jointcam.html

    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)

  6. #6
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    Re: Dual purpose CNC

    Quote Originally Posted by ger21 View Post
    Maybe, with a lot of passes? A diode laser is going to be marginal at cutting even 3mm wood.
    Aha! learning starts, so what I proposed to use is a diode laser ??
    What alternatives is there to enable me to engrave or cut 5mm Ply ??

  7. #7
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    Re: Dual purpose CNC

    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    I Ideally I wanted to use my existing control board, the electronics are already in place driving the steppers so why go and add an Arduino ?? Does your 2.5watt laser cut 5mm plywood ?
    Thanks for you reply.

    George
    If you are running through a parallel port breakout board you can simply connect the wires from a, old parallel port cable to the Arduino without the need to change anything.

  8. #8
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    Re: Dual purpose CNC

    Thanks, I'm using a C11 multifunction board from CNC4pc.com which utilizes the parallel port, I would like some more info on adding the Arduino and software control.

  9. #9
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    Re: Dual purpose CNC

    Here is an old post from years ago where I show how I connected an Arduino running Grbl to a parallel port BOB. You would have to do the same but use the pinout from your board and what each pp pin does to figure out where to wire it on the Arduino.

    https://www.cnczone.com/forums/gener...-software.html

    To learn more about Grbl go here: https://github.com/gnea/grbl/wiki

    For a laser I think this is the most advanced interface: https://github.com/arkypita/LaserGRBL/wiki and LaserGRBL – Free Laser Engraving

  10. #10
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    Re: Dual purpose CNC

    Hi Eriks,

    Whats an Endurance laser ??

  11. #11
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    Re: Dual purpose CNC

    Quote Originally Posted by ZASto View Post
    Arduino Nano/Uno loaded with GRBL 1.1f as a controller and bCNC or UGS (Universal Gcode Sender od LaserGRBL
    On my machine I use Mach3 when a spindle is on machine and LaserGRBL when my 2.5W laser is on.
    Works like charm. GRBL has adaptive power controll of a PWM for laser during acceleration/deceleration.

    HTH
    So you are using your original 3 axis stepper? Do you have any build details for the Arduino? Connection diagram ec?
    How is Focus achieved?
    Is the Z axis utelised to control depth of cut?
    Lots more questions to come no doubt.
    I was looking at using the laser head show in my earlier post, can that be used with the Arduino ?
    How about cutting thin plywood say 3 to 5mm thick > can it be done.
    Can you recommend a laser head ?
    Thanks

  12. #12
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    Re: Dual purpose CNC

    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    Hi Eriks,

    Whats an Endurance laser ??
    I was just looking at the laser you showed in the pic....endurance lasers make something similar but with the higher wattage (10W) units in these type of lasers they use heatsinks with peltier cooling.

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