Another post about laser upgrading ! But I haven’t read anything about L-Cheapo in the forum, so here is my experience.
I bought my 5.6 W L-Cheapo from 3dsupplysource.com. It’s $195 (free US shipping) (October 2017).
It comes whith safety glasses, but nothing else ! No data, no explaination, … Even the 3D printed enclosure was really cheap, the laser moving inside …
So, I drew a new enclosure that can be mount easily on the X-Carve. My intention is not to remove the laser each time, so I drew a mount that is compatible with my spindle and my dust shoe.
Then the wiring : 3 wires from L-Cheapo : + / - and PWM. It needs from 12 to 24 V. I didn’t wanted to buy a new 24V power, so I connected directly inside the X-Controller. Because laser is dangerous, I put a switch and a manual connector : when I stop using laser, I disconnect and switch off : 2 safeties. The PWM goes on the X-Controller “Spindle-PWM”.
GRBL software : the X-Controller uses a GRBL version 1.0c, witch is perfect for our use. You just need to change a parameter to be able to use the pwm. I downloaded Universal Gcode Sender (UGS) : connect to X-Controller with your com port and 115200 bds. Then verify actual parameters : settings/firmware settingd/grbl. You should fin $30=1 (or $30=0 I don’t remember). You need to change that. Type the command $30 = 10000. 0 will be off and 10000 full power (but if your prefer 255, or whatever, it’s your choice ! just remember it, for softwares settings).
Laser ON : M03 S(power)
for 10% : M03 S1000
for 50% : M03 S5000
for 100% : M03 S10000
Laser OFF : M05
Focus : at a moment, you will need to focus your laser. Please wear your safety glasses and send a M03 S500. It will light up the laser with a very small power. Then use the crown on the bottom of the laser assembly to focus the laser by screwing the lens. Optimal focal distance is 3 to 4 inches, but you will notice when it’s focus : very bright in a single point.
I’ve read on forums that it’s better not to use Easel for laser cuting or engraving. I found an extension for Inkscape, from JtechPhotonics (they also sell a laser upgrade for X-Carve) : Explaination and download are here : https://jtechphotonics.com/?page_id=2012. In the “laser power” parameter, you will set 10000. Cutting is done at full power. So if you are burning your material, just speed up the “laser speed”.
Of course, you will need to find your parameters for material / thickness / …
For picture engraving, there is a free software : “laserGRBL”. I’ve been unable to connect it to X-Carve, but you can generate the file then sending it with UGS.
AND REMEMBER : be VERY careful, laser is really dangerous : for your eyes : allways wear your safety glass, for the fire risk, for fumes (no way inside a home !), I cut in my garage, door fully opened and big fan extraction system.
Et voilà !