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Author Topic: Using Mach for Laser and Sherline  (Read 173 times)

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Using Mach for Laser and Sherline
« on: June 18, 2019, 07:50:38 PM »
I am a modeler, and build and fly RC airplanes, and at some point will be scratch building retractable landing gears and other items, as well as cutting out the parts for building the planes.

So I currently have a Sherline(which I have yet to use) with the Sherline Linux OS on an old machine with the parallel port, but have issues because somehow, some way the power supply is AC and not DC :o so haven't been able to do anything with it.   

I am contemplating getting an 80Watt laser cutter with a 25 x35 bed as well for cutting the wood parts.

I ran across several different threads on Google while researching and came across Mach3 and Sherline, and Laser.   Now I don't know what Mach3 is, but sounds like a cutting/milling/CNC program that drives the controllers, is that correct?

If so, can it drive two different devices from the same computer, IE the mill and the Laser, as if I was choosing a printer, and if so, what is needed to make it work?  The Laser I am looking at has one of those cheap chinese controllers that uses corelaser, and have found that a Ruida would be a better controller.  I also have the Parallel Sherline 4 axis controller. (I hope it still functions after plugging in the AC controller and having the power supply burn up. Controller has no odor of burnt parts which is a good sign)

For creating the output, I am considering Vectric Cut2D pro. From what I found so far, it looks like it should be able to create the G-code for the mill and exports as DXF, which I believe is what the Laser uses with the CoreLaser software.  I looked into CorelDraw, as many use it for laser engraving, but the trial I am using I am finding a bit difficult due to what I am trying to do, trace parts from a PDF of the plans. Probably something very simple as getting the later right, but the plans are 77 inches by 27 inches in size.

Does this sound like something I can use?

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: Using Mach for Laser and Sherline
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2019, 01:57:23 AM »
Hi Acdii,

I think the Vectric Cut2D would be a good choice of CAD/CAM software (as are all the Vectric products).

Mach3 or Mach4 would be a good choice for controlling your Sherline and if you search the forum you will find many examples of others who have converted and successfully used their Sherline mills for producing model components.

I think your new laser machine would be best left controlled with it’s DSP controller. These use HPGL code rather than Gcode and CorelDraw is probably the last stronghold for the HPGL so it generally has to be used in preference.

I use Mach3 (and sometimes Mach4) for controlling my Milling machine, my Router machine and my Laser machine. You can read more about my laser in this thread; https://www.machsupport.com/forum/index.php?topic=12444.210
(The thread is now too long so perhaps just scroll through looking at the images and if there is anything of interest stop to read).

Tweakie.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.  Winston Churchill.
Re: Using Mach for Laser and Sherline
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2019, 04:27:51 PM »
I gave Cut2d Pro a test drive today and was easily able to trace out one of the fuse halves for a large scale Corsair, and then mirror it.  The was from an image taken from the PDF of the plans.  The only thing I didn't get correct was the size, so will have to work on that.

Now the next step since I have pretty much chosen the designing software, is the controller side.  Is there a way to emulate a laser to test drive the cutter software?  I am still narrowing down the cutter itself.

Offline Tweakie.CNC

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Re: Using Mach for Laser and Sherline
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2019, 07:43:03 PM »
Mach3 has Scale DRO's (1.0000 = full size, 0.5000 = half size, etc.) so at run-time you can check the size (also indicated by the Program Limits in the Tool Path window) and adjust or scale the work as necessary.

You could perhaps connect a LED (current limited to <8mA) to an output pin and switch that ON/OFF in line with the Mach3 M11P1/M10P1 command set. The Vectric laser post processor will produce the appropriate Gcode; https://www.machsupport.com/forum/index.php?topic=36639.0

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