Inventables Community Forum

Changing From Carving to Laser

Can anyone tell me the settings that need to be changed to go from craving to Laser?
I know $32 has to enabled (for Laser). i would like to be able to mount my laser and change the settings to go to work. it always seems like i have to figure a bunch of things out first before starting.

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Depends on your laser and the program(s) you use to control it.
I’ve only had to change $32.

I set my $32 to 1 and never change it between the laser and cnc. I don’t have any trouble with it set like that.

Im thinking Lightburn. What do you guys use

I use Lightburn and Picsender. Used to use Lasergrbl but since switching to Lightburn that is the only one i use anymore for the laser. Wonderful program.

Make sure to change it if you ever have your spindle speed handled by the controller.

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Sorry I’m new to this. Controller?
I typically use Easel for design (carving) and then use Candle GRBL to run the Machine

@NeilFerreri1 will be able to help you with that.

Jay at JTech walked me through setting up macros in Lightburn to alternate GRBL settings. My machine would NOT run both without manually going back and forth. Not sure what you have for a laser.

Its a Sain Smart Laser 550mw

Why not? There shouldn’t be a difference.

The X and Y controls worked backwards if I used Lightburn to jog the machine.

That’s odd…what did he have you change?

I helped someone else with lightburn, and I think there is some general confusion of Grbl over there (Lightburn). It shouldn’t be an issue.

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Neil, I’ll have to look at the macro settings next time I go out to my shop.

I didn’t know you could run a laser on X-Carve. Where can I get more info on hooking up a laser?

I got a Jtech laser a few years ago and love it. Here is a link to there web page https://jtechphotonics.com/ There are a lot of laser on the market that you can use but i have had no problems and there customer service is great.

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You hook the Laser Module control wires up to the SPINDLE(PWM) & GND Pin and the power wires to a suitable power supply ( not to the X-Carve! ). Change $32 from 0 to 1 in the config to activate Laser “behaviour” and off you go. If you have a Speed Controllable Spindle, like I do, you need to remember to switch $32 back from 1 to 0 otherwise your Spindle will constantly ramp up and down as it leaves or enters a corner.

You’ll also want to create yourself some quality-of-life G-Code Macros that deal with the Laser like the aforementioned toggle between Spindle / Laser, a Turn off Spindle / Laser button, and a Low Power Laser Output one that sets it to like 1/12000 for an alignment dot and, if you feel fancy, a code that will zero the Lasers Offset to the Endmill and vice versa.

Be aware though that the LP-Dot will only work while the laser is in the $32 = 0 ( Milling ) mode because by default it will only light up while it is moving in Laser mode ( $32 = 1 ).

I also cannot stress enough the dangers of any Laser capable of engraving materials - You’re not only dealing with the dangers of reflection ( light bouncing off a mirrored surface ) but also refraction ( light going into a material and exiting somewhere else at a different angle ).

Ideally, you’d want for your Laser to be enclosed in a protective housing but with an X-Carve that’s not exactly the most viable option so always wear a good set of Laser certified glasses - Ideally ones that also protect the sides of your vision too since most likely you’ll be turning your head to glance over to your PC running the G-Code which would leave your peripheral vision vulnerable if not covered.

Thank You!!

So not sure what program your using but laserGRBL under the configuration you want to change$30 to 255 —- $31 to 0 —— $32 to 1— if you haven’t done this you will see a huge difference in the tones the laser makes… 255 is the max the laser ruNs at for some reason so give that a try! I love my laser I can’t seem to get a good 3D cut … what program do you use for cutting???

I made a semi permanent mount for my laser.

For jobs where I need to mill and then burn (as opposed to cut) with the laser, I will join the two jobs into a single file. The laser gets placed on a separate workspace (G55). The instructions for switching the laser mode in GRBL on and off also go into the file. This way I can run what is usually a finishing milling pass followed by the laser pass without having to stop the machine to switch tools. It’s my one automatic tool changer.

Fusion 360 makes it easier since the post processor handles this for me automatically.