CNC router and laser with the Cohesion3D LaserBoard

Hi there,
I have a CNC router and am looking to add a laser.

My CNC router uses 3 Amp Nema 23 Stepper Motors. My CNC also has its own drivers for each stepper.

Would it be possible for me to replace my existing CNC router controller card with the LaserBoard so that the LaserBoard controls my existing drivers for the xyz, spindle and laser?

I understand I’ll need to then look at software as well.

Regards
James

As far as I know, the Laserboard is also capable of being a CNC router controller.

I have been thinking about this myself again lately - I have a small 3040 ballscrew driven CNC with Nema 23’s that I’d like to put a LaserBoard into, with external stepper drivers.

Spindle Control will depend on what kind of spindle you have and how it is interfaced.

The stock smoothie firmware doesn’t have instant stop, but GRBL-LPC does, and the board can run either. Grbl is only trapezoidal motion planning, Smoothie is smoother. I’ll probably be using GRBL. Instant stop is important for milling.

Spindle AND laser? That’ll be a lot more interesting to set up.

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Brent is the guy who did both:

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I did it with a C3d Remix board, which works great.

I’m running smoothie on it and it works fine. I run grbl on my C3d K40, because smoothie would have issues at higher engraving speeds.

On the CNC with a diode laser, the speed isn’t that big of a deal.

I control my spindle speed manually for the CNC, and have the laser (jtech photonics) connected to the pwm out. It’s all pretty painless!

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This has been fixed, btw:


There are potentially some ways to set up an enable toggle for each thing so you turn on one at a time.

Nice! I did compile the latest smoothie for my CNC over the weekend, so should be good to go there.

Trying to figure out if I want to try it on the k40 now, but I’m not having any issues on it, so might just leave grbl on it, lol.

I’ve just been too lazy to get all the parts together for the spindle speed control. It’s an 800 watt Liquid cooled spindle and setting up speed control would require another little doodad between the control board and spindle controller. It hasn’t really been that big of an issue for me yet, But it all seems to work pretty well.

Here’s a picture of some record boxes I made. CNC cuts all the parts, laser on the cnc does the engraving.

"Spindle Control will depend on what kind of spindle you have and how it is interfaced.

The stock smoothie firmware doesn’t have instant stop, but GRBL-LPC does, and the board can run either. Grbl is only trapezoidal motion planning, Smoothie is smoother. I’ll probably be using GRBL. Instant stop is important for milling."

I’m using smoothie on my CNC because I like using the LCD screen on it. Instant stop would be nice though.

Thanks everyone for replying. Much appreciated.

Hi Brent,
As I’m new to CNC and laser, just wanted to confirm with you a few details.

I have a 6040 with Nema 3A 34’s. I’d like to do what you’ve done with CNC and laser.

A number of people who have Chinese 6040’s talk about upgrading the stock drivers as well, so it seems a good idea for me to buy the C3D LaserBoard and also the 4A external drivers from Cohesion.

Does this sound like a good idea? I have not yet bought the laser components. Am looking at a 40 to 60 watt CO2 laser. I know I’ll need to set up the mirrors, tube and PSU, etc. That’s a job for another day though.

Overall, you’re happy with the LaserBoard and interface software?

Regards
James

I’m very happy with the c3d mini I have in my K40, and the C3d Remix board I have on my cnc.

The c3d mini uses the onboard drivers. The c3d remix I’m using outboard drivers.

They are very versatile and robust and have been working quite well for me.

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Thanks very much for your advice. I really appreciate it.

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