So, there are a handful of people out there who have upgraded their X Carve with a laser. I came across this video today and, it occured to me, it wouldn’t be too hard to make a G-Code file to do this. It would require a second arduino to simply extrude the solder, but that shouldn’t be too hard. You’d have to write a small program to connect to both Arduinos and control them back and forth, going to the correct location, turning on the laser, extruding some solder, turning off the laser, moving to the next solder pad.
Hey a question, how would you go around controlling both arduinos? I read that when you flash grbl to the arduino it stop being a ¨arduiono¨ per se.
Your X Carve’s arduino has a USB to serial converter chip, like an FT232, built into it. That mounts itself as a Serial Converter device in your computers COM ports list. Having multiple arduinos plugged into your computer causes multiple Serial Converter devices to be listed, each with a unique COM port number, like COM 2 and COM 3. Because they’d have unique identifiers, a program written in Python or C# or what-have-you would be capable of sending serial data to both independently.
I don’t think you would need two Arduinos. Couldn’t you move up to something like a Mega or RAMPS board, and use one of the 3d printer firmwares as a base? They already have code built in for the Extruder.
Thanks, thats really good to know!
You mean an Arduino Mega? Because the extruder is probably just a stepper motor, which really could be run off of a barebones ATTiny2313. I just have a drawer full of $5 Arduino Nano Chinese clones, so I figured I’d go with that. The code wouldn’t be that complex. I looked around and only found the Solder Buddy, a motor based solder feeder. I didn’t even think of adapting a 3D printer based solution. It’d probably be more expensive than the stepper motor extruder.
The secret to a truly good solder joint is the combined heating of the solder pad and item to be soldered. I wonder if both areas are sufficiently heated at the same time with this method.
Toward the end of the video it shows the area and shape of the area the laser covers is programable, so I imagine the rate that the pin and pad are heated would be a ratio of how much of that area less on each.
Solder paste would be easier to apply I would have thought but not sure how that would react to laser heating.