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Using a CO2 laser with Arduino/Grbl (2015 pre-xcontroller version)

I’m presuming that it may be possible to use the PWM spindle speed control pins to send laser fire commands to a co2 laser PSU to initiate laser fire. Has anyone done something like this before? Before I sink another ~$100 into a controller like Cohesion3d or Azteeg, I’m wondering if I can use my old preorder xcarve Arduino to do it.

It can be done with a few changes. The laser uses the PWM signal for power level, but also needs an enable signal. There are various ways to get this signal.

Hopefully, someone that has already done this will join the discussion.

I hate to say it but a quick Internet search will bring up all you need to know.
There are a lot of arduino based CO2 laser control mods out there.
Been there done that.

My google-fu is weak these days. Almost everything I’ve seen is in relation to using a Ramps board and very little about g-shield like ours. i’m keeping on the hunt though.

Here are the results that will help out

Paul is a great guy who made his own drop in replacement. He is always happy to help out even if you do not use his hardware.

This one is using a RaspberryPi instead of a computer but the details for the arduino driver is what is important

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Awessome, thanks! I watched those diy3dtech videos and tried their site but he never seems to show wiring diagrams other than the tangled mess in the videos. Might have to slow down and watch a few more times to see if I’m missing some stuff.

My Xcarve hasn’t been used in a while, and I never hooked up PWM or limit switches because I didn’t want to solder. But I did update firmware to 1.1, and ran a meter on D11 + GND and ran a test carve with no motors hooked to the Arduino and I got 4.93V when the spindle was running.

I didn’t see it change any, but not entirely sure if there are any settings in Easel that really care about spindle RPM anyway, but I know I can generate gcode in a number of tools.

Xcarve is mostly apart and being reconfigured in new laser mode, going to get hiwin style linear rails from SMW3d and will have a ~600x700mm laserable workspace out of the deal - not too bad for reusing 100% of rails (plus some new ones from inventables), 2 of the motors, and hopefully the power and arduino/shield.

Read this document for running a laser on grbl 1.1f

this is a calibration tests
This is a jpg file but the definition is high enough to avoid jpg artifacts.

greys