J Tech Laser and the X Controller

This thread has given me motivation to hook up my laser to a PWM signal and see what happens :smile:

BONUS: Non Scientific Current measurements will be included!

I made my own controller. Certainly no where near the quality of the X-controller. The one thing I did do was find an authentic Arduino and found it made the difference in getting the jtech 0.9g hex work. I now have two controllers - one which was the original parts from the X-carve purchase and the second with duplicate parts/pieces. The original set utilizes the latest 0.9j grbl and the other with 0.9g grbl. I just use the quick disconnects for the X, Y, and Z, as well as the USB cable. Works pretty well so far.


Again, no where near the quality of the X-controller but it was a fun build. In this case, I made two boxes as noted above- 1 for 09j grbl (spindle operations) and 1 for 09g grbl (jtech laser operations). I drew a lot of the inputs for this from this forum and I am thankful for those that posted the details. Having the two boxes works well for me. Unfortunately I spent more time on the sourcing the parts and setting up the electrical/electronics than I did in actually creating the boxes around them.

List of materials (the wood and acrylic actual boxes were left over pieces but basic 1/8" material bought at Home Depot and Amazon- 12"X12" pieces)

Uxcell Universal Panel Mount 16mm Aviation Connectors Plugs 5 Set (Qty 2) (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00G9KLU72?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s00)
StarTech.com 3-Feet Panel Mount B to B Female to Male Adapter Cable (USBPNLBFBM3) (Qty 2) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FSYBKPM?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s01
Kalevel® 120pcs Multicolored 40pin Male to Female, 40pin Male to Male, 40pin Female to Female Breadboard Jumper Wires Ribbon Cables Kit (Qty 1) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00M5WLZDW?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s01
Uxcell 3Pcs NO NC Momentary Square Push Button Switch DC 24V (Qty 2) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GLQVQ1Y?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s02
60mm x 25mm 24V DC Ball Bearing PC Case CPU Cooler Cooling Fan (Qty 2) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PZM2NJY?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00
Inlet Module Plug Fuse Switch Male Power Socket 10A 250V 3 Pin IEC320 C14 (Qty 2) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00F4MFMXE?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00
Silver Aviation Plug 4-Pin 16mm GX16-4 Metal Male Female Panel Connector Pack Of 5 (Qty 2) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IJ673ZW?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00
CNC Z-Axis Tool Setting Touch Plate Probe Compatible With Mach3 and Other Router Mill (Qty 1) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00UNXXZAG?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00
Switching Power Supply 400W 24V 16.7A for CNC Router Kits 115V/230V S-400-24 (Qty 1)
Bonus: Craftsman 089140301162 Drill Press Laser Assembly (Qty 1) (added this, after cutting in in half and being careful with the wires inside, to the end of my dust collector to add another way to verify I am in the right location during bit change out) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009YERZQA?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s01
5pcs 2.54mm 8-Pin Plug-in Screw Terminal Block Connector Panel PCB Mount (Qty 1) (used on the gshield) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JM4RHQA?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00
Bayite DC 6.5-100V 0-100A LCD Display Digital Current Voltage Power Energy Meter Multimeter Ammeter Voltmeter with 100A Current Shunt (Qty 1) – (I purchased different elements previously which was a clock in one display and an ammeter/voltmeter in another- not sure if I really like it or not) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013PKYILS?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00
“Authentic” Arduino Uno http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Arduino/A000073/?qs=%2Fha2pyFaduiWnARry29OWyRv1Njr02QaYRfUvXA%2bq%2FxOo6yQwTCR1g%3D%3D
Gshield –https://www.inventables.com/technologies/gshield


Back to the OP topic… I have the X Controller and a Jtech laser on the way. Seems straight forward enough to connect to the spindle PWM. Anyone else using this yet? Anything else I should look out for?

Just received my kit and I am going to be using X controller with the Jtech but have some other questions. One thing is that when using Jtech with PicEngraver you need to reflash with Jtechs 0.9 GRBL firmware but the X controller is using 1.0c GRBL firmware, will this mess up something the when using router?

When using Inkscape (which I don’t need to reflash GRBL)how do you make one shape just etch and another shape cut through?

What type waste board do you use under a cut as not to cut original waste board.

Hope to have this up and running this next week.:smile:

It is recommended to use the J-Tech firmware for raster engraving photos with our PicEngrave & the J-Tech laser for two reasons. First, it executes the S commands in real time without any dwelling. Second, it has the proper PWM frequency for the J-Tech laser driver.

Our PicSender streamer makes it easy to switch back & forth between the different versions of grbl firmware. For the laser to engrave photos, the J-Tech firmware should be used, then you can switch back to grbl 1.0c for spindle use or vector cutting with the laser. Here is information on how to switch back & forth with our PicSender.

We use 1/4" thick honeycomb aluminum with our 6W laser under our material for cutting. You can also lay something else none reflective under the honeycomb aluminum to protect your waste board.

I don’t have experience with inkscape, so I can’t answer that question.

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Sounds like you are going down the same path as me. I hope to have the laser this week.

Thanks Picengravertoo.Good luck Petesworld

I’m confused thought uno boards that came with xcarve would not work properly with jtech grbl software. Because they are not official

What am I doing wrong. I am using Inkscape, import jpg, then trace, then delete org. image, then object to path, create gcode with Jtech plug in. When running Gcode in UGS seems to only run 14 lines of code, head moves about 1" to right then nothing. Just sits there.

Also when executing M03 S1200 to focus laser seems to be full power and in burning wood.

Thanks to Jay a Jtech When using the plugin for Inkscape set the delay to 0

The M03 command still is a mystery, cannot vary the intensity and yes I am plugged into the PWM

What is your upper and lower PWM signal set to give?

On the original XCARVE rig, M3 S1200 gave a good focusing spot and M3 S18000 gave full power.

But there have been changes and you may find the range is 0-255, depends on your configuration, grbl version etc.

The best way to learn and understand how the laser functions with GRBL is to run a quick and dirty file and play with the numbers. It also helps to have PicSender to do this because all the settings are at your finger tips.

This is a very simple and just an example of code to use.

X0 Y0 M05 S0

M03 S10
X0 Y5
M05 S0

First line sets X and Y to 0. M05 “LASER OFF” S0 “LASER POWER 0”
Second line M03 “LASER ON” S10 “LASER POWER 10”
Third line Move Y positive direction 5 inches/mm
Fourth line M05 “LASER OFF” S0 “LASER POWER 0”

There are a few assumptions,

  1. S is your laser power. Z can also be used. This depends on the GRBL version being used. Jtech laser vs Standard GRBL.
  2. Min laser power 0, Max 255

This should enable you to play and understand what the values do. Change the S value up and down and see how the intensity changes. If you use PicSender, your can do this without running code.


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I am using the version of GRBL that comes with the Xcontroller which is 1.0c and UGS. I have tried to enter M03 S10000 and then M03 S5 the intensity does not vary both burn the plywood and the brightness seems to be the same. M05 does shut off laser. Thanks for your replies

To make sure you have the laser power supply connected to the X-Carve controller correctly, connect a meter to the spindle speed control pin and ground. As you vary the S command, the voltage should increase and decrease. This should let you know where your trouble is and start troubleshooting from there.

That’s the problem. The voltage stays at 4.97VDC Whether I enter M03 S10000 or M03 S5

There is a mode in 1.0c where PWM is simply an on/off. I.e. doesn’t matter what you send with M03 it goes full duty cycle and M05 is off.

Wondering if you’ve stumbled into that?

Thanks, still waiting for a call back from Inventables.

Well the answer is… In Xcontroller Grbl is V1.0c the firmware for $30 default is 1 if using PWM $30 should be $30=12000

Works now :grinning: Thanks IanWatkins for the clue, Even inventables had a hard time with this one.

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Great news! I am glad you found the solution. It is going to be a great help to everyone wanting to connect a laser in the future.