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Mach3 controlling Co2 Laser
« on: January 06, 2013, 03:26:04 AM »
Hi Guys.

 I currently have my x y table finished running under Mach3. It all works nicely. Now it's time to take the next step and install a 100 watt Co2 Laser. I have done some research but being a newbie I cant understand how to control the laser with Mach3. Could someone please explain it all in NEWBIE terms so I can understand it. I only wish to use Vector files for cutting lite ply. No rastering is necc. So all i need I think is an on off switch, although some way to adjust laser power would be a great advantage.

Thanks in advance.

Warped.

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: Mach3 controlling Co2 Laser
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2013, 03:38:19 AM »
Hi Warped,

If it's any help, take a look at my article here http://hobbycncart.com/publ/cikkek/mach3_temaju_cikkek/switching_a_laser_under_mach_control/8-1-0-29 (also the following comments relating to the updates) then, if necessary come back with any questions.

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.
Re: Mach3 controlling Co2 Laser
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2013, 08:57:13 PM »
OK, read all that and downloaded the latest Lock down version. Whats next.... ;)   ;D

How do I get these  E1P0 / E1P1 commands into my G code? Also what do I hook up to the actual laser. Is it controlled via the laser's power supply. I am using a Gecko G 540

I read I will need one of these..

http://www.homanndesigns.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=21

Also will the M commands you mentioned may suit me better. As I am only going to do Vector cutting. I don't think the delay will bother me.

Are they easier to install in the G code   EG: does it happen automatically?


Sorry for all the newb questions and thanks again for all your help. :)

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: Mach3 controlling Co2 Laser
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2013, 02:09:52 AM »
It all depends on your laser high voltage power unit, perhaps you could post some details of this item.

My PSU has 0 to 5 Volt analogue input for power control and this, internally, incorporates a simple DAC (digital to analogue converter) so it will also accept a 5 Volt PWM (pulse width modulation) signal (0 to 100%). As Mach3 has an inbuilt PWM spindle speed control this can be used. However it does have some problems of periodic variation which may not show when controlling a spindle motor but does show with laser control.
At this stage I would recommend that you get everything up and running by using manual control of the maximum laser current.

The on / off  M10P1 / M11P1 or E1P0 / E1P1 commands are inserted into the GCode by the post-processor used with your CAD/CAM software.

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.
Re: Mach3 controlling Co2 Laser
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2013, 06:34:03 AM »
When you say Post Processor... do u mean V carve Pro ? As that is what i am using to import my 2D DXF files and process them into the cut paths/ Vectors.

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: Mach3 controlling Co2 Laser
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2013, 08:39:15 AM »
When you say Post Processor... do u mean V carve Pro ? As that is what i am using to import my 2D DXF files and process them into the cut paths/ Vectors.

Yes, modify the VCarvePro post processor to include the M10P1 /M11P1 codes. (If you have any difficulty doing this then I am sure the guys on the Vectric forum will point you in the right direction).

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.