adding laser engraver to existing CNC controlled with Masso.

gdallaire

gdallaire
I'm interested in adding a laser engraver to my existing build. I've seen some videos on the JTech 2.8W engraver which looks for what I would want to do. These videos show it being connected to an existing Shapeoko XXL. My question is how would I connect it (inputs, settings) to my Masso as it has its own control board and how would I be ale to switch from my router to the laser engraver within the program? Does someone have any suggestion on a better laser engraver that works with Masso??

Any help or advice would greatly be appreciated.



Jiggs
 

breezy

Arie
Staff member
I also want to add a laser to the shed's Heavy Mill, but I don't have any suggestions.

Arie.

For the Bicton Men's Shed.
 

masso-support

MASSO Support
Staff member
Hi Jiggs & Arie

I don't know if anyone has added a laser to a Masso but years ago I added a laser to my CNC machine and the principle will be the same.

I am talking here about simple line drawing with the laser and not Grayscale which is another subject all together. According to the J Tech manual for the 2.8W laser it can be turned on with a voltage ranging from 2.8 volt up to 36 volts. I swear I read it is optically coupled but can't find it now. It will be possible to used one of the Masso outputs to turn the laser on and off. I downloaded the Vectric post processor and can see they are using M03 to turn on the laser and M05 to turn it off. Since you want to use it in conjunction with your existing setup you could change these to maybe M10 to turn the laser on and M11 to turn it off. Set the output you are using to a Chuck Clamp. Change the post processor codes M03 to M10 and M05 to M11 ,you should be good to go. This is just one method of doing it. I used the direction pin of an unused axis for my setup and there are several other options as well but they all rely on turning on the laser via an output of some description. That will do basic engraving and half tone photos.

Grayscale is another matter and can be done in several ways. Variable feedrate, PWM, mechanical stepper motor driving an encoder which outputs PWM, digital pulse counter to convert distance to PWM and those are the ones I can think of. I think we can forget using the Masso PWM to start with because the Masso outputs a voltage 0 -10 volts and not actual pulses as the Laser will require. PWM is not assignable to another output in the Masso. A lot depends on the machine when it comes to using a laser for photo work.

CNC machines are big heavy but work well for line drawing and engraving just like a spindle. Not so good for photos because of the constant stop start of the axis but they do work. Either way you will be able to run a laser on the Masso and the J Tech is a popular choice for hobbyists. I bought mine off Ebay from a company in Turkey. It's 1.4 W and does a good job engraving but 2.8W would be even better and would run faster. It might even cut thin wood. I could cut sandpaper and thin colored paper but not white. It reflects too much and I spent several hours thinking I had a fault until I realized what was going on. A laser is a great addition to a CNC machine.

Hope this helps

Cheers

Peter
 

clover

clover
@gdallaire

@breezy

@masso-support

A fair number of people who run X-Carve CNCs also run lasers on them. X-Carves are GRBL machines but some have converted to other controllers. Their community forum is a good place to get a bit of info on the J-tech. I plugged in 'laser' in their search bar and came up with this. Good luch, I also am interested in a laser.
 

clover

clover
@masso-support
I swear I read it is optically coupled but can't find it now.

Is this what you saw Peter? it is here.
The input connection provides an optically isolated input for control of the laser diode. The connection and the jumper settings were described in the previous sections. The voltage required to turn on the opto?isolator is 2.8 volts. The input can handle up to 36 volts. The input can be cycled with no degradation up to 5KHz. It will work with 3.3V, 5.0V and 12V, 24V logic boards from various manufacturers like National Instruments
 

masso-support

MASSO Support
Staff member
That will be what I saw.

My thoughts are the same regards GRBL being better for laser when it comes to photo engraving. There's a reason that lasers are made light and agile so adding a laser to a CNC for photo work is at best a compromise.

On the other hand if you want to do basic engraving, like writing or drawing lines etc then the laser will work just like a spindle and works well.

Cheers

Peter
 
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