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So I am going to change the brains of this so I’m, going to replace this proprietary board with the control board from the 2 watt, laser that I belt running garble, so here’s the board and I’ve taken it out of the other unit and one of the Reason I’m sort of going this route is this one’s already set up, and I already know the pins and everything for triggering the laser. So what I’m going to need to do is identify most of the pins here now, unfortunately, I don’t have the one with the big side on it up here, I’ve got the one with the digital display and it’s. This board is actually tucked up inside there and it’s kind of hard to get at. The only positive thing is I’ve got a ton of wire to work with the negative is going to be trying to get this back in there or mount it back, and therefore someone have to change some of the holes. However, I’ll cross that road. When I come to it, I guess, however, what we do have here is on this board. We have up here. We have our limit switches or n stops. We have our power, which is 24 volts and 5 volts coming into here, and then we have our two stepper motors now. I believe one of these this end one is the laser trigger. When this one goes low, I believe it fires the laser, so it doesn’t pulse with modulated laser.

The laser is either on or it’s off, depending upon what it’s set at on the indicator appear now there’s a separate circuit board up inside here that drives the percentage which does not appear to be integrated with this at all. So my fingers crossed at least that’s what it’s look like: I’m lying and there’s, no logic that appears to come back here other than this low line, which comes back to the power supply and really toggles the power supply on or off so most of that’s. I believe right in here and this control board, which is underneath there is only setting sort of the pulse which, with modulation or current, if you will, because I am going to add a current meter and you’ve – probably seen that already in another video so I’m, going To cut a hole up here for that, so anyways sort of just want to introduce the project as I go along. So what I’m going to do is I’ve it’s, not clear which stepper goes to which wire goes to which stepper so I’m going to have to sort that out. It is well labeled, though, what what wires go to, which limit switches so that’s, actually good and it’s. Also clear which, which are low, which are power so most of this, is pretty well labeled, so I don’t see a big problem knock on wood in making the changes, I probably will have to change the connectors to plug them into the DuPont connectors on here.

So that’s going to be a bit of work, but I should be able to get it all running actually outside of the chassis now this runs on anywhere from 12 to 36 volts. This runs the motor at 24 volts, so we won’t have a problem there. This should work out, okay in doing the conversion and then, like I say, I’m, going to get all this working and then we’ll see about tucking it all back in and seeing how it all works. So you know again, I’m hoping because one of the big issues I’m having with this is I don’t mind the dongle and everything. However, I don’t get that this just acts weird, so I don’t get some repeatability. If you saw in the last video or a couple videos ago where I cut the rubber, you know, I told it just to keep cutting that circle and to restart, but it restart in different spots and so well anyways. I think it’s got to do with the board and logic. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it wouldn’t and there’s no mechanical reason. It shouldn’t work, so I’ve come to determine it’s. Simply a software thing so best just to do away with this and go with good old G code, so I will have to do probably some adjusting to get it to do. Engraving I don’t do a lot of engraving. I really want this to cut acrylic so that’s. Why I’m not worried about it and again, I think, with with this and using G code, it’s much more suited to task than then utilizing a graphics program.

However, you do or will need to have a cam post processor to you know, work with things and I’m. Okay with that, because I’ll just write a post processor like I did for the 2 watt laser or you know for my CNC machine it’s, not a big deal so anyways, I just kind of want to introduce the project what I’m going to do. So if you, if you have one of these and you’re wondering about it, follow along some of the big things I have to figure out it really. Alright, you know the little electronics part is actually pretty simple. I don’t expect again not going to put too much problems with that I’m still searching on the internet for the settings, the garble settings you know, in other words, steps per millimeter and all that kind of stuff. So because I know a couple other folks and some of the lazer boards did it so I’m, going to I’m going to look around and see if I can’t find that, and hopefully I will and once I do, I’ll document it both in the video as I Make this change and I’ll show you how to set up garble on this machine so in ways. Hopefully you enjoy the series. Please give the thumbs up if you’re interested in it helps me out and then also subscribe to the channel, because a lot more coming I’m going to do this.


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  1. Is the acronym pronounced “garble” or “gerbil”? I’ve heard another CNC guy refer to it by the latter.

    1. Most claim “gerbil” as in the small rodent, however I dislike small rodents so I refer to it as “garble” or “gerbal” depending on my mood or hour of the morning 🙂

    2. – LOL. OK, I can understand that but to me “garble” and a “controller” just don’t go together well. Especially if it’s tied to a “LAZER”. Ha ha. Wouldn’t want it going haywire. 😀

  2. Just a question, I don’t have the digital one, I have the one with the dial. When doing cutting the value seems to be what I have it set to. Though, when doing engraving the power does fluctuate from 0 to the max power setting I have the dial set to. So, will doing this stop the engraving feature?

    1. After re-reading your comment this fluctuation is just the laser turning itself on and off as unlike cutting, the laser turns it itself on and off rapidly to create the raster image. However if you make this change you will not be able to raster engrave as you do now. If you want to engrave you will need something like ArtCam which will turn a raster image into GCode.

    2. LOL! No worries, any question just ask and love the monkey wrench comment as a kid my dad sent me for a crescent wench so its about the same 🙂

    1. Made a BIG difference in usability as cutting goes which what I use mine for and it works every time now! Use to have all kinds of odd issue with the chinese board…

  3. Looking forward to seeing your progress. I’ve considered doing this to mine but so far the standard controller hasn’t let me down too much. Picking the right options in corellaser is where I fail myself usually.

  4. You are so going to love that conversion . You will be able to stream , and later add SD card back , as you can stream form file on SD card.
    I forgot to mention when you asked about my firmware , My plans were to move from custom home brew g code interpreter to GBRL any how . I was planning to edit GBRL to control my custom laser setup and keep my old OLED on I2C if i can .
    Also InkScape’s plugin for laser is quite handy and free . I use chrome app universal g code sender most of the time with mine.
    You should be able to calibrate your steps with a few calibration cuts . i tried calculating mine , but in the end cutting a 150mm x150mm square a few times and doing some large 75mm radius circles , and checking them for being true was all it took to dial it in .
    You will be able to cut using vector paths . Makes me want to finish my bitmap to raster

    1. The G code sender had some growing pains a while back , but i talked with the dev then and i think it all got sorted so the preview looks fine . It will send G code it does not know , it will whine and tell you about unknown gcode , but still send it to your CNC . it was made for a shapeoko (sp) CNC .
      i can drive my custom laser firm ware no issues . I bet same for GBRL . as long as GBRL sends a ‘ok’ back after each command it gets , it should be fine . I should put GBRL on a Nano , and try it in dummy mode.

    2. just spent a few hours trying to get U8glib to compile with GBRL , so we cna use I2C Oled .. and well i think the issue is GBRL src is C and and OLED is C++ like , its hard for me to tell in arduino IDE , but seems it does not like the class keword when you add U8glib.h in the gbrl.h file. lol so not sure how to proceed just yet .

    3. Interesting, thought arduino was C? I have done a little C on arduino to drive some camera sliders and the like. I also do C# on Apple but must admit I am getting a little rusty 🙂

    4. it is C sand C++, or .cpp . C++ can include lower level C code via ‘extern’ and such , but c cannot include c++ . the clue for me was it did not recognize the keyword ‘class’ . Arduino is a special nice packaged C++ . the compiler it sits on can compile c and c++ no issues. I just have to fing a c lib for the OLED or break down the c++ driver to c by hand . lol

    5. well I see the guts of u8glib are c , but the interface is c++ .way too much work to figure out how to drive it directly . I need to find a simple c only lib for our OLED over I2C . lol

    1. Thanks and yes, most these are really 30 Watt units they over drive to get up to around 35 Watts (i.e. round up to 40 watts). A true 40 watt laser will have a tube 750mm long whereas this one is only 550mm…

    1. Nope they keep it that way for safety reasons as who in their right mind would fire on a low signal? So you have to build a small logic inverter…

    2. True, but GRBL is built to be relatively generic. Did a little digging around, in ‘config.h’ the comment on line 154 says ‘Inverts pin logic of the control command pins.’ if you follow the rest of the comment it takes you to ‘cpu_map_atmega328p.h’ You mention that you are firing on pin 12 ? which seems to be set on line 66- #define Z_LIMIT_BIT 4 // Uno Digital Pin 12 and used in the mask ‘#define LIMIT_MASK ((1<

  5. So, quick question for you… I am looking to do something similar, and I know there are some that have the power meter on it..where you can adjust the power of the laser. Is there a way to adjust that too, to control the intensity of the beam? Or is that just something that is controlling the PWM of the laser.. variable resistor driving the speed of pwm… Thanks for the videos!

    1. +Dan Regalia thanks for the kind comments and to answer your question, there isn’t an easy way to modulate the laser. Now you could design an additional circuit to vary the resistance of the pot and use the PWM to drive it. However again it will require of design work.

    2. and @ Dan There is a PWM output on the GRBL board, and I have read that the Laser Power Supply can use both PWM or Pot resistance to set current… Have you done any further research or learned any more in regards to PWM to set current?

  6. Hi there.
    I’m having a single problem with converting my K40 to Uno+CNCShield.

    My laser PSU has two pins for the laser.

    Laser PWM and Laser Fire.

    I cant find anywhere online where these two pins plug into the CNC Shield.

    I can get the Z+ pin working with M3 and M5 commands. Testing with an LED and it controls properly, however when the LASER FIRE Pin is put on that same Z+ pin, the laser is always on.

    Which pins do I need to plug my LASER PWM and LASER FIRE onto my CNC Shield and which commands to run it?

    1. The K40 doesn’t do PWM so not sure. As far as the firing line line goes. Just google “transistor inverter circuit” and pick the one you are most comfortable building. However one safety note, if you abort the job before the job is complete (hence the M code to turn off the laser) is sent, the laser will remain ON! So be safe 🙂

  7. Your videos are giving me the confidence to purchase an eBay 40w co2 laser to hack it. Did you ever get the chance of building a motorized bed for z axis?

    1. No have not done as really have not had the need as most of what I do is 3 to 5mm so I just shim up the 3mm with washers. Maybe this winter, just too many other projects : -)

  8. I’m having issues with the potentiometer causing erratic behavior with the current. (*edit* Current when setting the power level I want, I know it jumps around normally when rastering.) I’m wondering if changing to a multi-turn 2 amp 1k potentiometer would be better? Also thinking about getting one of those drop-in smoothie controllers so I can do photos on acrylic because I’m having problems getting the K40 Whisperer program to dither on glass/acrylic even when inverting, although it works pretty good on wood.

    1. The pot problem is a common and it doesn’t handle a lot of current as its just a cheap one. Most folks simply replace with it with a simular pot but you could try a better one. Since I basically only cut, its not such a big deal for me…

    2. Yeah, I was thinking a multi-turn pot would be so much smoother when adjusting. I’m not at the laser now, but I thought it uses a 2 amp pot? If I get the drop in replacement, it won’t matter, but it will probably be awhile before doing that and I’ll really miss the K40 Whisperer program, so much so that I’m considering making a switching circuit to toggle between boards. Something nobody has done probably, but then it’s probably not much desired either! lol LOVE YOUR CHANNEL!

    3. Many thanks for the kind commets however I am confused “switching circuit to toggle between boards” as where does the two boards come from as I use the K40 whisper with same board as laser draw…

    4. It was only a thought. I like the K40 Whisperer and how easy it is to open a file and go, but it doesn’t do too well on acrylic, so the smoothie could do the high res stuff in greyscale and then I could flip a switch and be back to the K40 Whisperer for easy stuff. Probably not practical, but could be interesting.

    1. On some version yes, but not all versions. This video was made long before K40 Whisper, check the eBay K40 playlist as I have also created videos on K40 Whisper too…

  9. Just from looking at this, the wire line are monopolar steeper motors with proper darlington arrays. THerefore, just will Arduino will not do the trick unless you do hard coding the register.

  10. Good stuff man, but I can’t seem to find part two. I’m assuming you did one showing about the wiring. Could you post links all videos in the series here?

  11. I have stripped a K40 down and built an Acro 1510 system using the parts. I am running the arduino uno and cnc shield. The software I am using is Lightburn. I have looked at literally hundreds of posts and can’t find anyone who can actually tell me how to connect the LPS to the Arduino. I am attempting to use PWM. Does anyone have any idea how to wire this correctly? My power supply is the G-W-W-G if you know what that means. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Very interesting do you have any posts on the build? I would be interested in seeing how you mounted the tube. I have seen another Maker take a K40 and do similar which I found interesting. To your question, this is the number one question I am always asked and the answer is not easy however possible. I think the circuit would be rather simple in terms of general design as I would bias a transistor with the PWM signal and replace the potentiometer with this as a resistive circuit as that is all the “pot” itself is doing. The challenge will be to determine the transistor/resistor combo to make all of this work. For someone that does this for a living I am sure it would be easy and hence I am surprised I have not seen it done. As I would start with breadboarding a transistor feed by a PWM and build up from there. If you are really brave, you could crack the HV PWS and see if you can figure out how to bias it there but fear this would one be harder and two more dangerous…

    2. I was able to figure out my error this morning and it works fine now. I would be happy to share the build with you. I’ll snap some shots tomorrow and share. It’s not pretty at the moment but I have plans to make a more permanent solution. It’s an awesome setup. I am able to utilize an X axis of 800mm and a Y of 1,300mm. I can almost etch a shower, or storm door from top to bottom.


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