Using more than one laser

Machine: K40 with nano

Board: LaserBoard

Firmware: Smoothie

Problem/ Question: Hi, I see that the laserboard has alternative laser output and PWM. If I were to mount a blue laser onto the ‘laser cart’ in the K40 and switch the CO2 laser off, could I use a second laser for applications requiring lower power? If so, would there be much value in doing this, other than preserving the life of the CO2 tube, and how would I connect things up, but more importantly persuade Lightburn to use one laser or the other?

By this same token, could I also drop in a small spindle (for drilling and light milling). My thinking is that many jobs might need lasering, drilling, routing and a few other CNC processes, yet to be developed, spray painting, polishing, flame cutting/polishing etc., etc.

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

You may want to start by reading this topic, as you are sort of asking the same thing but in the opposite direction:

That said,

  • all of the 3 LaserBoard laser outputs are tied to the same pin on the microcontroller so they are the same signal.
  • the basic idea is to only turn on one device at a time with a switch, whether that is a physical switch or a digital one that is controlled by the board and some macro buttons in LightBurn.

I could maybe see adding a diode to a K40, but this would already make the head a lot heavier.

I would not suggest adding a milling tool to a laser. The physics parameters are completely opposite - lasers need to be light so the head can move very fast, while cutting needs a stiffer frame to oppose the sideways forces of the cutting tool. Then there’s the matter of cutting dust in your laser, and so on.

Have a separate machine for each thing you want to do.

Thanks Ray, good points. While I’m blinging up my K40, I think I’ll wire up, and cater for a second laser. I might try for other devices - small scale. I’m thinking on the lines of a replaceable ‘cart’ on the gantry, for each application. I’ll start with a second laser though. Setup is as much a hobby as using the laser in anger!

“Hey Ray, what on earth do you make with your 30+ 3D Printers?”
-Uh, parts for more printers, duh.


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