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Cheap Chinese Laser Cutter

experiences with a Chinese laser cutter

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christophe dauvergne10/11/2019 19:41:50
8 forum posts

Thanks a lot for informations

christophe

Itisme11/11/2019 07:05:02
38 forum posts
23 photos

I’ve been playing with cut settings on my Elekslaser a3 pro 2.5w. These settings seem to do the best job for me, the ply is left over from a top flite kit so not sure what type it is. The cuts don’t seem to be excessively burnt. Figures refer to speed mm/m and power, bottom line is number of passes. The 2mm hard balsa should have read 10 for passes.

2fce0b83-5e06-4723-b7a7-934bdc2ff09d.jpeg

Edited By Itisme on 11/11/2019 07:16:31

Edited By Itisme on 11/11/2019 07:18:37

christophe dauvergne11/11/2019 08:51:19
8 forum posts

Hi

are you sure about speed units ?

Andy Joyce11/11/2019 17:48:53
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80 forum posts
20 photos

Spent most of the day pondering over e##bay and bang##good to try to make a decision on what to buy. Gut feeling is that the Eleksmaker pro at 2.5W is too small, so thinking 5.5W would be better but its a complete minefield regarding products available. Most of which lack any proper specifications.

Seen copies of the A3 pro with a 5.5W laser which have a neat wiring arrangement, but the seller has a very low score so reluctant to use.

Open to any suggested source for a suitable product. Otherwise Black Friday cant be that far away to see is the standard Eleskmaker goes on sale.

Itisme11/11/2019 20:34:38
38 forum posts
23 photos

Fairly sure on the speed using lightburn and speed is set to mm/min

FlyinFlynn12/11/2019 14:32:19
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67 forum posts
64 photos

Andy - if you go for the eleksmaker pro without a laser I can recommend this 6W laser. I have recently fitted one to my engraver and it has just been reduced in price to $37.50 delivered using ali standard shipping (20 days). If you still need more power they also do a 20 Watt version for $108!...

As for the make or type of frame they all have their drawbacks which become apparent when you use them and most people seem to modify the basic frame to improve matters.....but that is half the fun! If you have a cnc router or a 3D printer you can design and make your own with the aluminium profiles readily available. The electronics also.. I would recommend an arduino uno and a cnc shield and run GRBL firmware but many manage very well with the stock eleksmaker firmware and electronics.

Andy Joyce13/11/2019 18:56:26
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80 forum posts
20 photos

Thanks Flynn

Was tempted to go down the Eleskmaker route if only to ensure I could get working software. However down loaded their application last night and the input requires gcode.

At a loss at the moment as how to produce gcode files on the cheap. My version of autocad 2104, freecad, inkscape nor wintopo appear not to have the ability to produce the required output.

Thanks for the link re the 6W laser as was going to buy a GNC without a laser first just to see if I could get a working interface going, with perhaps a mod to add a 3rd axis for cutting slightly thicker objects.

alex nicol14/11/2019 09:05:05
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305 forum posts
15 photos

Hi Robert,

I hope you can help. I'm considering the purchase of the eleksmaker a3 2.5mw laser (USB version) and am interested in how you expanded the cut area.

Was it a kit of parts, or did you just purchase longer rails?

would I be correct in assuming a longer servo belt would be required?

are there any Settings/parameters which need changed to reflect the longer cutting area?

Thanks in Advance

Alex

Phil Olson - Model Technics14/11/2019 10:59:33
33 forum posts

Hi Alex - to increase the size you just need longer ally sections - there are no end stops so the size is dictated by the size of what you are cutting. Just be aware that bigger things take longer to cut so cooling may be a problem and the ally extrusions will eventually flex if made long enough

Phil Olson - Model Technics14/11/2019 11:00:46
33 forum posts

any recommendations for safety goggles or are the eleksmaker ones ok ?

FlyinFlynn14/11/2019 12:18:21
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67 forum posts
64 photos
Posted by Andy Joyce on 13/11/2019 18:56:26:

Thanks Flynn

Was tempted to go down the Eleskmaker route if only to ensure I could get working software. However down loaded their application last night and the input requires gcode.

At a loss at the moment as how to produce gcode files on the cheap. My version of autocad 2104, freecad, inkscape nor wintopo appear not to have the ability to produce the required output.

Thanks for the link re the 6W laser as was going to buy a GNC without a laser first just to see if I could get a working interface going, with perhaps a mod to add a 3rd axis for cutting slightly thicker objects.

I think Inkscape has a plugin to generate gcode (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ny5IURC7gfs). There is also a free program called 3dpBurner Image2Gcode to generate gcode from graphic images. Also for free there is program called dfx2gcode which does what it says on the tin!. There are not too many other free CAM programs that I am aware of. I use Vetric Aspire but that is a paid for application and not yet specifically for laser work although writing a post processor to convert the 'router' gcode into 'laser' gcode is pretty simple. Of the paid for applications, Lightburn seems to be what most people are using.

I took a day designing this in 123DDesign (which is still available for free even though it has been superceded by Fusion 360)pb140101.jpg

from a picture of a commercial offering from aliexpress. Available for about $38 without a laser..not sure that it would accomodate a z axis though...too much mass on the cantilevered x axis!

Alex.....yes, you would need a longer toothed belt if you lengthen any of the rails...Also perhaps you may need to change the maximum travel parameter if your application uses that parameter and soft limits is enabled (GRBL definitely has these parameters - not sure if eleksmaker software does)

alex nicol14/11/2019 13:22:39
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305 forum posts
15 photos

Hi Gents,

Thanks for the info, I guess it looks like I'll need to just do some more homework and take the plunge and 'suck it and see' as they say

Cheers

Alex

Andy Joyce14/11/2019 19:17:42
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80 forum posts
20 photos

Thanks Flynn, Re installed inkscape and followed a set of instructions I found on the web to generate gcode which it did, but what a faff.

Will go looking for dfx2gcode as Inkscape does not seem to be a User friendly interface at all.

Andy

Andy Meade19/11/2019 10:40:42
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2671 forum posts
681 photos

I'm using Lightburn and the controller has GRBL on it, and I'm having a laser power problem. I've changed $31 (or was it 32? can't remember but it fixed it) to turn the laser off on moves, but now that laser seems to be stuck at 10% power, no matter what I change on the cut path settings. Anyone got any ideas?

FlyinFlynn19/11/2019 12:03:54
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67 forum posts
64 photos
Posted by Andy Meade on 19/11/2019 10:40:42:

I'm using Lightburn and the controller has GRBL on it, and I'm having a laser power problem. I've changed $31 (or was it 32? can't remember but it fixed it) to turn the laser off on moves, but now that laser seems to be stuck at 10% power, no matter what I change on the cut path settings. Anyone got any ideas?

 

It is $32 for laser mode on.....which must be set to 1. Go to the console...type in $$... what do you have in $30 (maximum spindle speed) and $31 (minimum spindle speed). typical values will be $30=255, $31=0 or $30=1000, $31=0....... then type

G1F1000S[whatever value you have for $30] [enter]

....then type M3 and the laser should come on AT FULL POWER.... M5 will turn the laser off .

If the laser only comes on at 10% then the problem lies in the laser and/or its power supply and not the software.

edit.....just noticed....

There is a setting in Lightburn --Edit-Device Settings S-value max that must be set to the same value as GRBL $30. t5his will set the max power that lightburn will use.

Edited By FlyinFlynn on 19/11/2019 12:14:10

Andy Meade19/11/2019 13:08:44
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2671 forum posts
681 photos

Excellent, some things to try there FF. I do like Lightburn as it's "all in one" as compared to my other choices where I'm passing gcode to something else etc.

yes

FlyinFlynn19/11/2019 17:46:17
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67 forum posts
64 photos

I use LaserGRBL. I did download and install Lightburn and am now nearing the end of the free trial period. I quite like Lightburn too, but not enough for me to pay the asking price, I don't feel it gives me enough over and above LaserGRBL.

All of the artwork editing I do in Vetric Aspire and if I didn't already have that software then the asking price for LightBurn would be more reasonable for me.

Incidentally, you can find your GRBL $30 settings in LightBurns machine settings tab and you can configure GRBL from there instead of dealing with the command line in the control console if you prefer.

Andy Meade19/11/2019 22:10:53
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2671 forum posts
681 photos

$30 was indeed at 1000, and turning the laser on via M codes gave a good 100% beam. Yet when running a cut program, I'm still at less than 10% I'd say.

I double checked machine settings everything matches as you'd expect. Strange.

FlyinFlynn20/11/2019 15:32:16
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67 forum posts
64 photos
Posted by Andy Meade on 19/11/2019 22:10:53:

$30 was indeed at 1000, and turning the laser on via M codes gave a good 100% beam. Yet when running a cut program, I'm still at less than 10% I'd say.

I double checked machine settings everything matches as you'd expect. Strange.

OK..well I would suggest you take a look at the gcode file that LightBurn generates. Upload a file and save the gcode, take a look in notepad or notepad+ near the top of the file and look for the Sxxxx entry..here is an example ..

; LightBurn 0.9.07
; GRBL device profile, absolute coords
G00 G17 G40 G21 G54
G90
M4
; Cut @ 1000 mm/min, 5% power
M9
G0X88.09Y88.43
G1X88.57S50F1000
G1X89.33Y91.16
G1X89.39Y91.36
G1X89.43Y91.57

; Cut @ 1000 mm/min, 75% power
M8
G0X150.05Y89.74
G1X146.3S750
G1X145.05
G1Y86.03
G1Y84.8
G1X144.24Y84.67
G1X141.81Y84.27
G1X140.57Y84.07
G1X136.85Y83.49

you can see the % power is set to 5% and the S command is S50..a bit further down Lightburn was set to 75% the S command is S750

You can also see Lightburn is set to use a speed of 1000mm/min and the F1000 tells GRBL to do just that. Check both GRBL and lightBurn are set to the same units (mm or inches) .

What version of GRBL have you got loaded?

Andy Meade20/11/2019 15:41:45
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2671 forum posts
681 photos

Good idea, I'll check the gcode output. GRBL is at version 1.1f I believe.

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