Laser Engraving with Easel

30 likes
3 opens
2 copies
24 comments
Austin St. Aubin

Project by

Austin St. Aubin
Edmond, USA

General Information

Setup Instructions & Template for Laser Engraving with Easel
AustinSaintAubin/gcode-depths-to-shades

YouTube Video

See Twitter Post

Like this project Open in Easel®
1

[First Setup] Mount & Wire Laser

30 minutes

Acquire Laser Module

Laser Modules are available from many distributors.
My go too’s are: ( you get what you pay for )

FWI: Most laser modules require a laser drive / control board to regulate and provide TTL control for the laser. The laser modules from OptLasers has everything that is required to drive the laser contained in the laserhead, and protected from dust.

Mount Laser Module

Wire Laser to GRBL

  • Connect Laser TTL / Signal to Spindle PWM
  • Connect Laser TTL / Signal GND to Spindle PWM GND (GND = Ground)
    Also See: jtechphotonics.com

2

[First Setup] Configure GRBL

30 minutes

My GRBL firmware fork & settings are posted @ AustinSaintAubin/grbl (GitHub)
Also See: jtechphotonics.com

Update GRBL Firmware (Optional)

Configure GRBL Settings

  • Read Grbl v1.1 Configuration for more how too
  • My GRBL Configuration & Settings are posted to GitHub.
    • The Main Settings you should be concerned about for the Laser Output are the Spindle RPM Settings
      • In GRBL terminal Set / Send:
      • $30=255 (Maximum spindle speed, RPM)
      • $31=0 (Minimum spindle speed, RPM)
    • You might consider using Laser Mode
      • $32=1 (Laser-mode enable)
      • $32=0 (Laser-mode disable)
        • BE SURE TO DISABLE LASER MODE BEFORE CARVING WITH CNC ROUTER.

3

Create Easel Drawing

15 minutes

Create a Easel Drawing

  • Create a new Easel drawing.
  • Set your Material Dimensions, specify the ‘Z’ Axis as 1mm (You might need to change your unit of measurement from ‘inch’ to ‘mm’, look at the lower left of Easel).
  • Change your bit size to “0.01” (your laser diameter may vary 0.015 – 0.005)
  • Change your Cut Settings
    • Feed Rate: ~250 mm/min (will vary depending on your laser power and how deep you wish to cut)
    • Plunge Rate: 1 mm/min (is not used by us, can set to anything)
    • Depth per Pass: 1.1 mm (set this to greater than your ‘Z’ Axis depth, if you wish to do multiple passes just device this number by the number of passes you wish to do)

Create or Upload your Design / Artwork.

  • Use the depths to set the darkness of your design.
  • Now lets export your RAW G-Code (we will convert this G-Code in a later step)
    • Click “Machine” setting (top navigation bar)
      • Click “Advanced”.
    • In the “Advanced Settings
      • Change the “Safety Height” to “0.0001”.
      • Click “Generate g-code” (your G-Code will be generated, might take a moment)
      • Click “Export g-code

That’s it for this step, not we need to convert your g-code.

4

Convert G-Code Depths to Shades

5 minutes

Convert G-Code Depths to Laser Shades

You need modify the g-code from easel to make it work with the laser.
We are going to convert the 3-Axis CNC Router G-code generated from Easel, and turn it into G-code suitable for 2-Axis CNC Laser Engraving.

  • Open G-Code Depths to Shades hosted @ AustinSaintAubin/gcode-depths-to-shades (GitHub)
    • Modify your Configuration Options as needed (or leave them at their defaults)
    • Drag-and-Drop*, or Choose File(s) you would like to convert. (once you drag-and-drop / choose file(s), the webpage will convert them, then trigger a download or the new converted file)

5

Engrave with Converted G-Code

5 minutes

Once you have your Laser Mounted & GRBL Configured (see below if you have not) you are now ready to Laser Engrave.

Run Converted G-Code

You have a few options to run your converted gcode.

  1. Use Easel
    • Open new Easel
    • Click Import
    • Click G-code
    • Import G-code
    • You are ready to run G-code
  2. Use CNCjs
  3. Use Chillipepper

Austin St. Aubin
Link to 3D Printable @Inventables X-Carve Laser Mount that I designed. https://cad.onshape.com/documents/e11a40ccfc70e0eb3175e3fd/w/851a67df82d06d6769a54480/e/1f19577e500e877416dcade4
Austin St. Aubin
Joseph Bridgford
Very Detailed Explanation, Thank you. I have just one issue when uploading the gcode back into easel. The laser does not reduce power when traveling in areas that should call for 0 power. Is that a setting that i might have missed?
Joseph Bridgford
Austin St. Aubin
I see you picture. The laser not tuning off might be wiring or hardware issue.... Message me with your g-code files (raw, and converted) I will take a look at the gcode. I would also check that your laser is responding to "M3 0", "M3 1", "M5"
Austin St. Aubin
Steven Vasquez
Nice work... Do you have the link for the dual fan laser module you used or is that a modification you made to it?
Steven Vasquez
Austin St. Aubin
On my older 33x33mm laser module I added a 30x30x10mm blower fan. https://www.seemecnc.com/products/30mm-x-10mm-blower-fan However, if you don't currently have a laser module(or need a better one), have a look at Optlasers PLH3D CNC laser modules, they are awesome!
Austin St. Aubin
Steven Vasquez
Thank you for the info.
Steven Vasquez
Patrick Rogers
I'm new to all this. After exporting out of easel. it brings up a browser based version of the code and then i guess I'm supposed to save it somewhere. Then upload it into to converter? what do i save it into and what format does it need to be? again. i can't stress how new i am.
Patrick Rogers
Patrick Rogers
Actually never mind I figured it out. However I am having difficulty with the laser turning on at the when I press carve and then staying on till it rehomes.
Patrick Rogers
cristopher coleman
Once the GRBL is setup for running a laser and you convert the cut depth to shades and are running as a 2 axis are you able to switch back to using the machine as a 3 axis cnc easily or is this something that you designate a whole machine to?
cristopher coleman
cristopher coleman
I think I see now. Is it just an app that does this for each vector?
cristopher coleman
cristopher coleman
I think I understand it better now, but what changes are necessary in the GRBL firmware to make it work properly?
cristopher coleman
Austin St. Aubin
No changes are required to the GRBl firmware. However, I do recommend GRBL v1.1f or newer. I will try to update my guild with more details about firmware settings.
Austin St. Aubin
Kiko Lobo
Great tutorial. Thanks for the help! Saved my bacon under Mac!
Kiko Lobo
Jeffrey Palacios
Hey Austin, I went with the EleksMaker 2.5w. I don’t know anything about lasers, but I really wanted to add one my machine. How do I wire this to my X-Carve? I don’t see how it would connect to the X-Controller. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
Jeffrey Palacios
Austin St. Aubin
Take a look at the video I posted on YouTube. Let me know if it answers your question: https://youtu.be/igQ_rLZS0wc?t=130
Austin St. Aubin
Pierre Fransson
I want to start with saying Grate tutorial. Do you only use Easle to engrave with your OptLaser (i got a optlaser to)? What exaktly do you have on your raspberry pi that you user on your x-carve? If i upgrade GRBL will Easle still work ok ? What is the benefits to upgrade GRBL?
Pierre Fransson
Pierre Fransson
Can you do a youtube video about your setup and how you set it up (no need to talk about your digital loggers switches you did that in a video :) ? Sorry for all the questions but i am trying to learn all about carving and engraving and want a good setup :)
Pierre Fransson
Tomas Bagdonas
Hi, Have noticed in you settings commant $32=0, ir laser mode off, should it be so or it should changed to $32=1? And when again using router gor carvinig should I change to $3o=0 instead of $30=255?
Tomas Bagdonas
Austin St. Aubin
he Main Settings you should be concerned about for the Laser Output are the Spindle RPM Settings $30=255 (Maximum spindle speed, RPM) $31=0 (Minimum spindle speed, RPM) These set your expected range for the G-Code statements. M4 S1, M4 S255
Austin St. Aubin
Austin St. Aubin
Laser Mode is ($32=1) to enable, and ($32=0) to disable. Have Laser Mode disabled if you plan to cut with the router. "..Milling operations require the spindle to get up to the right rpm to cut correctly and to be safe, helping to prevent a tool from breaking and flinging metal shards everywhere."
Austin St. Aubin
Tomas Bagdonas
Thanks for the answers. Have tested in easel works great... Only thing left to check the shadings. How I can do it? I ca not find the file... Any link? please... And how I can adjust the laser power, is only speed?
Tomas Bagdonas
Austin St. Aubin
Laser power can be dictated by the "depth" of your cut in easel.
Austin St. Aubin
Samerson Marques
I've having some troubles in config PLH3D6w in XC1000. Done all steps and when start, two issues:
Samerson Marques
Samerson Marques
1st: the machine starts doing the moves and the relay gets in late about 5 sec after the moving. 2nd: laser fan turns on, but there is no laser at all. With the laser fan on, shure the PWM setting is working. So I can't imagine where is the problem..
Samerson Marques