Inventables Community Forum

Get rid of vertical motion

I am using Easel to “engrave” designs on surfaces - wood and leather - for my daughter-in-law using the laser head. For the most part, this works great as long as you remember to adjust the laser power (thanks, Harry!) but there is still a problem. When using a router you must raise and lower the bit every time you move from one recess to another to clear the work piece and the router has to be on when you do this (especially when plunging, of course). The problem is that the laser head is driven in the same way.

When you add
$32=1
to the Easel gcode by navigating to Machine → Advanced → Machine Inspector then Easel is smart enough to translate Spindle Speed into Laser Power, and it does a great job of turning off the laser while moving to the next part of the project. But Easel is not smart enough to know that the laser head is always above the work piece so doesn’t need to be raised and lowered. This is more than the time wasted watching the laser head bob up and down because the laser is on while it is moving vertically (again, a router bit needs to be on when moving vertically, especially when moving down). A focused spot turns into a larger dot when the laser has been moved vertically and the laser dumps extra heat at that x/y location the whole while. You can see these deeper burns in the final product.

The solution is to get the Easel project all set up and saved, then export the gcode to a file on your computer disk. Then you edit the file with an ASCII editor to get rid of every line that begins with
G1 Z …
(G1 means “leave the laser on” and Z means “travel vertically”)
then import the modified gcode file back into Easel and it runs like a champ.

If you are comfortable with Unix command line syntax then it’s much easier to use grep

grep -v ‘G1 Z’ oldFile.nc > newFile.nc

Anyhoo, if this message makes it to the software guys then maybe some modifications to Easel could be made.