Friday, August 8, 2014

40 Watt Chinese CO2 Laser Upgrade with RAMPS & Arudino

3/31/2015 - Updates made in the Firmware and Inkscape plugin section below. Thanks go to Turnkey Tyranny for the many improvements and fixes he's contributed. 

Also, I would like to note, there are many variations on the Laser supplies.  Please be very aware whether yours is an ACTIVE LOW or ACTIVE HIGH enable signal.  The firmware below is ACTIVE LOW.


Introduction:


I've wanted to start playing with Laser Cutter/Engravers for quite a while. I finally happened across a great deal on a Chinese made 40 watt Laser Engraver with the Moshidraw software and control hardware. Wanting something I can modify and that is of better quality I decided to use my spare RAMPS 1.4 and Arduino Mega I had sitting around.  I've successfully upgraded the system and here are the details so that others won't have such a hard time getting theirs up and running. One benefit with this setup is the system is completely standalone.  All you need is an SD card with your gcode files on it (remember to have the .g extension)

Please excuse the picture quality, when I get some time I'll try to take better ones.





Whats Needed:


- CO2 Laser Cutter/engraver  $478.00 with free shipping.  Not too bad at all.  Ships from US too...

Electronics ($65) for everything on ebay - im sure theres other deals out there too!
- RAMPS 1.4 with 2 Pololu stepper drivers
- Arduino Mega 2560
- Reprap Smart Full LCD Controller (if you want something that's stand-alone - optional)

- Ribbon cable connector: (I just unsoldered mine from the Moshidraw board) - couldn't wait for them to come from digikey :)
CONN FFC 12POS 1.25MM VERT PCB TE Connectivity 1-84534-2

DigiKey#: A100331-ND
- Modified firmware the Lansing Makers Group started.  The one here I modified to have an active low LASAR activation signal. Turnkey Tyranny one is the current go to favorite.

- (optional) Lightobjects.com Power table bed for the K40 Laser machine.  Note: be ready to bend and reseat screws until the stepper can turn the belt to raise and lower.  I still dont have mine working right.

(CURRENT FIRMWARE AND PLUGIN I USE)

***Marlin Firmware with fixes and mods from Turnkey Tyranny (I suggest using this one)
https://github.com/TurnkeyTyranny/buildlog-lasercutter-marlin

***Inkscape Plugin with fixes and mods from Turnkey Tyranny (I suggest using this one)
https://github.com/TurnkeyTyranny/laser-gcode-exporter-inkscape-plugin

Additional Information/References:

Opensource Laser Group (LOTS of Smart people and good info!)
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/opensource-laser

Good K40 Laser Build Blog:
http://weistekengineering.com/

Original Firmware:
https://github.com/lansing-makers-network/buildlog-lasercutter-marlin

Inkscape Plugin from Lansing Makers Group:
https://github.com/lansing-makers-network/thlaser-inkscape-plugin

Lansing Makers Network Web Based G-code tool: (very nice!)
http://laserbeta.lansingmakersnetwork.org/


K40 LASER CONVERSION STEPS

Removed the existing electronics, making sure I left the ribbon cable and Y-axis cables in tact. Removed the mounting plate:

Mounted the Arduino Mega to the Plate the moshidraw electronics were attached to, the USB port doesnt really line up, get ready to bend some metal:



Electrical Connections (please note, there are many Laser supply variations):



Note: An alternate pinout for some laser supplies is as follows:

In this case you want to connect D5 to L.  WP to GND is the normally closed interlock loop. D6 to IN for the PWM (Laser intensity) signal.  Also, if you are using your own firmware, L is active low for laser on, and H is active high.  

Made the above connections: (still need to neaten things up)



Lid Interlock:

Used a aquarium air pump for the air assist, the drag chains are cheap ones off ebay (Drag Chain - Cable Carrier 7 x 7 mm for CNC Router, Mill 500mm - 19-5/8" Long), an air assist head can be 3d printed from one of the designs on Thingiverse.com.  Lightobjects.com also sells a complete aluminum air assist head:



The aquarium water pump it came with actually works fairly decent, some heat exchangers help dissipate the heat due to my small reservoir of distilled water, the clamp is there because I don't have a check valve and air would get sucked back into the lines.  The 12V fan is being driven from an ac wall adapter for now until I put a 24V to 12V DC converter in the laser to power it all:



I'm using Inkscape and the Lansing Makers Group plug-in to generate G-code for cuts.  Still looking for some tools to do raster and picture engraving.... Did 4000mm/min feed rate test on 1/16" acrylic - works well...

I designed the panel to mount the LCD control board, current meter, on/off, and laser on/off controls to.


Here is the DXF file for the above cutout:


Here's the unpainted plate mounted in position.  I still need to tweak some of the hole centers, but for the most part it worked out well:



Video of it in action, cutting out the panel:


video

Random Notes: 
- M03 and M05 are LASER ON and OFF respectively
   This is at the top of all my gcode files:
     G96 S90 (set spindle speed so M3/M5 will work)
     G21 (All units in mm)
- G00 move laser to position without turning off
- G01, 02, 03 etc.. are cut moves
- S(0-100) specifies the laser intensity on G01,02,03 line and arc moves
- G07 is RASTER line.  
- Check the direction of the fan mounted inside.  Mine was blowing out... Blowing in is much better and smells better too. 

***PUT A FAN DIRECTLY ON THE LASER SUPPLY!***
Just a 5 minute job got it hot to the touch.

LASER SUPPLY VARIATIONS

RESERVED FOR DOCUMENTING ADDITIONAL LASER SUPPLIES. STAY TUNED.


Still to do:

** I have some solid state AC switches I'm going to tie a digital pin to.  This will turn on the Air Pump (for the laser head), Water Pump (for cooling), and the exhaust fan with an M-code (will add to firmware - might just use spindle on and off...) 

** Add a case switch and water flow switch to the interlock loop so I don't burn an eye ball or the laser tube.

** Plugin Z table axis to Z on RAMPs board.  Having trouble with the Z table at the moment, very hard to move the belt, loosened and re tightened everything - need to find what is making it bind...

** Design a PCBoard that will plug into the RAMPS and allow for an almost seamless upgrade by just plugging all existing cables into the new electronics.


I will post updates as I do these...

DONATE:
If you would like to donate to my projects fund, my paypal is: zothar@zothar.com  All donations will contribute to open source efforts and documentation to make others lives easier.  It's a pain trailblazing a new or dirty path, especially with limited funds...

96 comments:

  1. Your post is nice but YOU DON'T SAY what Cheap Chinese unit you used as a base. Could you please update your post with a link to the original unit you modified, and perhpaps its price? Thanks.

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    2. Công ty chúng tôi nhận phân phối, bán buôn, bán sỉ, bán lẻ các loại máy rf, máy oxy jet, máy triệt lông vĩnh viễn, máy triệt lông diode laser, máy giảm béo, may anh sang sinh hoc, máy laser co2 được nhập khẩu từ Nhật, Anh, Pháp, Mỹ....

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    3. @ Nerd Progre: The cheap unit he used as a base is called a k40 laser cutter. You can find them on ebay for about $400 now.

      If I upgrade my cutter like this, would I be able to use a good slicer like Simplify3d to make the gcode? If so, are there profiles that exist already? I'm sure they don't have one that is already in the software build for this setup.

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  2. It looks like our K40 laser we got off ebay for like 600USD...

    Have you played with getting rastering to work on it? Right now ours is run by LinuxCNC but it is in noway an easy task to setup rastering :(

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    1. I'm playing with an image to g-code tool at the moment. Having an issues with the library dependencies, but once I try it out ill post my results. I looked through the firmware and the raster command (G07) are fully supported.

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    2. Last I spoke to Tim Schmidt of LMN, the bug was found and fixed...I think it might have been pushed to the repo as well?

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    3. Rastering is not working for me. The imagetogcode script puts out what looks like the right gcode, but when I run it the laser doesn't fire. And it won't fire again for cuts until I reboot.

      Also, note that the MSU generators gcode is not supported by LMN Marlin.

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    4. Any luck getting rastering to work? I'd love to replace the electronics like you did but am hesitant to make the leap without that feature.

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    5. If you are running through linuxcnc you may want to check out the setup that Area515 (my hackerspace) uses. We have full vector and raster control over our sharktooth laster. Probably would be easy to make work with your solution.

      https://github.com/area515/sharktooth_linuxCNC

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  3. Great job, Dan. You pretty much blasted past me on all these upgrades, thanks for documenting!

    The heat is just unbearable in my garage so I haven't been able to work much on the laser or CNC. Guess I can just follow your lead now :).

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    1. Luckily i'm in the basement. It's nice and cool down here :) Trying to get the raster working. The array assignment problem in planner.cpp seems fixed, but there's some issues with array size I think...

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  4. I actually have one of these as well, and the ramps. But I'm pretty sure I have a newer laser supply. Anyway I can't seem to get the plug in to work with the newest version of inkscape what version are you running? I'd love to get this thing up and running.

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    1. I'm using Inkscape 0.48.5 r10040, with the github plugin - hasnt been updated for 11 months. Be sure to copy the files thlaser.py and thlaser.inx into your nkscape extensions folder. I posted the alternate Laser supply connections above, If you have one that's different then the 2 listed above I'd like to add it to the list so everyone can get their system converted.

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  5. I just acquired one of these type of laser cutters. It has a CorelLASER board instead of Moshi .. still equally as craptactular :) Any updates on your project? How is the to-do list going? Any particular limitations of function? I am choosing to go for an adjustable laser lens instead of a variable height platform (www.hackahobby.com).

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    1. Unfortunately time has been a problem lately. I did manage to get the Laser power supply fan installed, case switch, water flow switch, and a digital ammeter. It works great on acrylic, I ended up printing another panel to accommodate the digital ammeter. It's totally usable, except the raster engraving needs some testing. I'm hoping this weekend I'll be able to take more pictures and post more updates. The variable laser lens focus looks like a good idea. I'll have to look into that.

      The only limitations of function so far seem to be the bed size... I'm debating building a T slot aluminum frame to mount the innards to, that will allow a 12" x 24" cut/engrave plane.

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  6. Thanks for your work on this conversion Dan. My K40 came with board and supply (different than the two you noted) shown at the top of the page here: http://redmine.laoslaser.org/projects/laos/wiki/K40-III

    I'm using an independent 12V PSU to power the RAMPS for the time being and have only tested motion, haven't actually wired up laser fire and intensity yet. Turns out the wiring on the steppers was a little shoddy, so I figured I'd rewire them first and maybe install some Astrosyn dampers while I'm at it...

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  7. I really need to do this, the laser has just been gathering dust laity as I have not had any time to mess with it. I really want to build a new structure for it as well but don't have the funds atm. Less I can find some super cheap t slot and I mean super cheap.

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  8. Yep, final dove in and did it. Got both axis working as well as an induction sensor for the Y axis.

    I have the second power supply, but I have documented the build with lots of pictures so far so I will post it to my blog and give ya a link when I'm finished.

    What are your steppers set at 1/16th micro stepping? My Y axis sings alot and my x axis does at times as well.

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    1. Hi Jeremy,

      Looking forward to seeing your buildlog!

      I've got my RAMPS setup for 1/16 microstepping. My motors don't sing, but my steps_per_unit are way off and I'm struggling to adjust them because I can't find a data sheet for the motors. The motors are generic, the X one is labeled as 17HW3448N-15AD and I assume the Y is similar in dual shaft version. I'll probably end up swapping the motors for Kysans or Wantai. I have bunch of each with single shafts, so I'll either order a matching dual shaft or use two on Y (which would have the advantage of creating a little more build area.)

      I noticed that neither Dan's nor LMN's Marlin versions implement G96, so the laser intensity is always 100%. At first I thought I had wired up my laser PSU incorrectly, but after modifying my gcode to add intensity level to the M3 command and then looking at the Marlin code it seems that this is an omission. Also, if I stop the cutter from the LCD (SD>Stop print) and home all (G28) the laser fires up at the last intensity set during and after homing.

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    2. That's great, I'm looking forward to the build link and pictures. I have the RAMPS set for 1/16 stepping; I had to tweak the current on the pololu drivers to minimize the singing, but there's almost always a little bit on my build. Works great though.

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    3. AJF, that's not good with the laser activating after homing... I've done it with mine and havent observed this... I'll take a look through the code. The guys over at LMN are awesome, I bet they could implement G96 in no time. I'll give it a try (time permitting).

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    4. I added a line to set laser intensity to zero for the M5 command in Marlin, that seems to have taken care of the homing issue. I'm not too worried about G96, I suppose I could add it myself, but I'm kind of more interested in trying to make a more streamlined toolchain for vector to 2D gcode. Might play around with Slic3r when I get a little extra time, have a couple of delta printers I still need to finish, and then there's work...

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  9. Part 1 of my build log, figured you would like to see it. sent off for a "middle man" board i designed in eagle cad to make connecting the Ramps a little less Medusa like.

    http://weistekengineering.com/base/?p=2406

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    1. Jeremy, do you mind if I link to your blog up top? You should submit it to Hackaday.com. I think alot of people would find it a good read.

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    2. Site has been changed a bit the base url is now www.weistekengineering.com that will take you straight to the blog. the post is located at http://weistekengineering.com/?p=2406

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    3. Part 1A of the build log is up! once i get the rest of my parts in I will do a bigger build log. then the final log should be getting the laser to cut stuff :)

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  10. Dan thats fine by me. I was thinking that, but I don't know how much HaD likes shameless self promotion :)

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  11. I was looking at following your build to upgrade my 40w laser machine, I believe my power supply is not PWM compatible, do you think this would work for it? http://www.aliexpress.com/item/110-220V-40W-Power-Supply-for-Co2-Laser-Engraver-Cutting-Machine-3020/1040009630.html

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    1. Hi Robert,

      The linked PSU should work. Mine is similar, like this one but with different terminals (.100" pitch molex/dupont rather than screw/plugin thingy.):
      http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-40W-CO2-Laser-Power-Supply-for-CO2-Laser-Engraver-Engraving-Cutting-Machine-/231061365199

      What makes you think your current one isn't PWM? The vast majority seem to be.

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  12. I assumed mine wasnt, but here is the exact one I have in my machine, http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&id=281460926619&alt=web

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    1. Yup, that's the one I got too. D6 to IN, D5 to L

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  13. I've modified THLaser a bit so the gcode is compatible with LMN Marlin. It also let's you set separate feedrates for cut/non-cut moves.

    https://github.com/ajfoul/thlaser-inkscape-plugin

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    2. Nice! Thanks AJF. The addition of the cut/non cut feedrates is huge. I was hand editing the gcode for these, gets annoying real quick. I'm hoping to have some time this weekend to debug the raster engraving.

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    3. Thanks, Dan. Unfortunately, it's still not very good and I wouldn't recommend using it for any real gcode. LMN's web tool provides much better results.

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  15. Hello and thank you for the build log!
    I have attempted to follow your lead and I have it all together and all I get is dancing servos. Anything I send just makes the servos dance back and forth about one mm.
    Any Ideas or advice for rectifying this would be much appreciated.
    I know the servos work as I ran it just before swapping out the brains, and I'm fairly certain I have the wiring correct and I have quadruple-checked the steppers with a ohm meter to find the correct pairs.
    Did you have to change anything in your settings to make them work?
    Thanks!

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    1. Try to connect GND to D3/D14 (X-Endstop and Y-Endstop) (I had some strange issues with X/Y stops)

      Disconnect the ribbon cable (to debug) and check that Y is working.

      Ribbon cables wires 3 and 6 are connected to a place where you have the display panel. Check that they were connected at the right place humhum

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    2. Like Gabriel said, I'd check all of my grounds. Try one axis at a time. I didn't have to do anything special for the x,y,z axis in the modified firmware. Just the Laser activation pin. Maybe post a couple pics?

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    3. I found it! The pins in the ribbon were not getting a solid connection. the center was bowed so the slot was a d shape. I heated it up and formed it back to the correct shape and now its up and running!
      Thanks!

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  16. Thank you for the great work! I still need to test the PWM function (not working correctly I think...)

    May I suggest the following changes?

    Front Panel:
    - Add the g-code file of the front panel :)
    - Have the holes for the screw of the power meter on the other side. (It's reversed in my case...)

    Tests
    - Add an extra g-code where you have tests scenarios.
    : Burn a line at 10, 20, 30%, etc...

    Connections
    - Connect Ribbon 3 and 6 to Aux-2 instead of Aux-3 (aux-3 is used for the front panel).
    - Could we connect 5v-5v to another location (as we have the screen connected here too..)

    Merlin
    - Transform the area of 400mmx400mm to 300mmx200mm (or make a note about it...)

    Tips:
    - I use DuPont Breadboard Jumper Wires for almost everything, and it's working perfectly!
    - Use long enough wires as you have to be able to open/close the case...

    Stupidity on my side:
    - I have connected Aux-2 instead of Aux-3 (GND and A11/D65 instead of GND and 5v)
    - XA- XA+ XB- XB+ just need to be reversed if the motor goes in the wrong direction, same with the Y axis.

    To be found :)
    I need a longer connector between the screen and the Ramps... mine is a bit short.

    I have written on my power supply: "G P L G IN 5V"... is it equals to "P1 P2 LaserFire GND LaserPWM 5v"

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  18. I am probably missing something but couldn't find a way to set the laser power so I added this line:
    gcode += ("M3 S%%-%ds\n" % (size-19)) % (layerName)
    at line 770 in thlaser.py

    Now I can call a layer in inkscape a number between 0 and 100 and that is the power setting for the laser in the gcode.

    The G96 instruction doesn't seem to do anything on my board, I have to set laser power with the M3 SXX instruction so that is what the line above does. Note: I have no idea how to python programme so if there is something wrong with that line please let me know. I just copied it from a few lines above and changed it.

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  20. Hi there Dan Beaven.

    Very nice build log..

    We are on the first steps of following this. Yet we noticed that our power supply is different from yours.

    Please see picture: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2sOebfV0O5EaG54dGhDblpreWc/view?usp=sharing.

    Ours is labeled as P+, G, K-, K+, G, IN, 5V

    The P+ and G are shorted. Does that mean its the same as P1 and P2 from your diagram?

    Also, can we say that the IN pin is the LASER_PWM and K+ is the LASER_FIRE?

    Can you advise, please?

    Also, I have noticed that the 40W chinese laser is not exactly the same at all. The ones we have has 7 segment in it. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2sOebfV0O5EQkRqc21rRXQ2TUdHNG5kUmlWeGU1dzNiaXVZ/view?usp=sharing

    Please share your thoughts..

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  21. This is the same PSU as yours.
    http://redmine.laoslaser.org/projects/laos/wiki/Moshi-to-laos-conversion-SH-K40-1V

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  22. Hi, unfortunately we don't have any smart reprap lcd. So we used a 16x2 hitachi. It displays "Laser Power: 100 X 0 Y 0 Z 000" now.

    The thing is how to control through the menu using push buttons? Please advise.. Thank you very much.

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    1. I bought my screen + board here
      http://www.aliexpress.com/item/1pcs-Mega-2560-R3-1pcs-RAMPS-1-4-Controller-5pcs-A4988-Stepper-Driver-Module-1pcs-12864/1487051671.html

      Delete
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  24. Hi guys,

    Missing something here, how do I set different power levels for different lines in the same job? For example wright my name on 20% and 40 speed and then cut it out 80% 20 speed,

    Thanks!
    Dion

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  25. Công ty chúng tôi nhận phân phối, bán buôn, bán sỉ, bán lẻ các loại máy rf, máy oxy jet, máy triệt lông vĩnh viễn, máy triệt lông diode laser, máy giảm béo, may anh sang sinh hoc, máy laser co2 được nhập khẩu từ Nhật, Anh, Pháp, Mỹ....

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  26. Great site Dan.
    Just one thing. You might want to reference THinkscape to the actual originator. I believe it came from our Hackerspace in Hamilton, Ontario. It was modified to its current form by Peter Rogers. Your credit us to what we'd call a secondary source.

    Nitrous

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  28. So I have a PSU http://redmine.laoslaser.org/projects/laos/wiki/Moshi-to-laos-conversion-SH-K40-1V as above
    also I have it connected as advised above D6 to IN, D5 to L but now I have a problem of different sort, when i go for test fire on RAMPS it turns constant ON for laser also after firing test fire and than pulling D5 cable laser goes off so is it my bad wiring or is it an error in marlin where it does not turn laser off again?

    other than that wiring is very easy and straight forward, though its a rats nest now :)

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  29. are the PSU connections as this? seems that mine has openframe configuration including the HV and 24-5v DC outputs https://www.flickr.com/photos/jegb70/21281848488/in/album-72157658676367346/

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  31. I have the same PSU as the last post anyone get this to work with marlin and ramps?

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  32. can you only use distilled water for the cooling, or can I use distilled water and antifreeze? I am setting up a laser cutter like yours in my home shop. However, I have heaters out there but it is not heated all the time and I dont want to water to freeze and damage the laser.

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    1. I bet you wouldn't have any problem with antifreeze. It shouldn't react with your pump or anything, and algae and whatnot would have a hard time growing in it.

      Delete
  33. good . I have a problem. The laser does not turn me on. as is the syntax of m05 and m06 ? thanks

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  34. I have a doubt . It does my panel k- and k + . I Connect D5 A k- ? THANKS

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  35. Got a Problem with the steppers as well... they move in the right direction, but only in one direction ("-"/negative values), in "+" direction, nothing happens, only a little bit of high pitch noise until I change direction again. tried to connect both endstops to gnd, no change... any ideas?

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  36. mine did the same with my ramps conversion make sure that there is enough voltage to the motors from the drivers(on the ramps board). you can adjust them with a multi meter and small screwdriver.

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  37. Thank you!
    does anyone know what the max current of the usual 40w stepper motors is?

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  38. so I think I got the drivers set up correctly, seems as the board/software registers some "hit" end stops at the extreme ends (non-zero-ends) of the platform. at least the motors act exaktly like when after they hit the zero-endstops - are there any pins meant for positive endstops that I can just put to gnd?

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    1. just found the solution: I had to ground D2 and D15, as the software expects max endstops for x and y, which my machine does not have (maybe I should add them sometime...).

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  39. I am stuck with what to do with all the files I have all the hardware I know how to program arduino's but unsure were to put all the files could somebody point me in the right direction please.
    Cheers
    Bill

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  41. I would like to know if anybody is supplying the arduino ready programmed for this project Please.
    Cheers
    Bill

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    1. Ill see if i can make a tutorial tonight for loading the arduino with the software.

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  45. Wow is just the simple word that may explain that how much I liked it. It was nicely stuffed with the material I was looking for. It’s great to be here though by chance. laser cutting machine price

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  48. Sorry if I missed it in all the comments but did you get the raster working, how it the resolution, the same?

    if you have engraving working how many mm/sec are you going?

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  49. Can truly relate and retain this outstanding post. Very well written.
    China Laster Cutter

    ReplyDelete
  50. just converted a K40 to run from arduino and ramps using your guide, switched it on to see if it went bang, it seems to be working, but when I switched on the laser the meter shows it drawing around 10mA, although the laser doesn't actually seem to be firing, have I done something wrong or is this normal, as you can see I don't have an electronics background

    cheers Mike Cahill

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  51. I would live to buy an arduino image off someone as I am challenged on the computer side. I am currently making a huge table cnc and decided to put my old laser k 40 on the other side of it.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Many thanks for the exciting blog posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you are a brilliant writer. I actually added your blog to my favorites and will look forward for more updates. Great Job, Keep it up..laser cutting machine price

    ReplyDelete
  53. If you have any interest in trying out my laser cutting CAM software please let me know. I wrote it to work on the low power laser diode machines. I am interested in buying a CO2 laser like you have and making the same kinds of modifications but have to wait a bit to do that. However, in the mean time, I would support your testing efforts if you had any interest in trying to use my cutting CAM software: BenCutLaser. I am also the admin for the laser forum www.BenboxLaser.us. Thanks...

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! I'd love to give it a try. Do you support G07 raster lines?

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    2. BCL only does cutting and surface line burning at this time.
      There is a software section on that forum for BenCutLaser and there is a thread about downloading it. Email me with setup questions, etc. support_bencutlaser_us I look forward to working with you.

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  54. Air Pump is very helpful for any fish tank setup. it is easily buy form amazon …..

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  55. Hello everyone, I am under arduino firmware marlin and my RAMPS is connected to power supply D6 - L & D5 - in. I have 5v permanently on IN but the laser remains OFF ?? Thank you

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  56. Thanks Dan. its gread what you did. i wil do the same in short time whit mij K40 (ebay 330 euro) is you progress a bit better now ( dou you have more photo's)
    For drawing i use sketchup. do you now a plugin or a good tip to lasercut scketchup drawings.

    Good job Dan

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  57. Thanks, this looks interesting!

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