And things were going so well…
When I first connected the software to the cutter I could get no response at all. I examined the supplied parallel cable and found that some of the pins had been pushed in. Nothing that couldn’t be fixed with some needle-nose pliers. So I fixed the cable and plugged it back in.
Now I’ve only been able to get the software to work sporadically. Sometimes the cutter responds to move commands, sometimes not.
It looks like the controller board is “partially” damaged. It homes the gantry correctly, but it does not respond all the time, and occasionally it crashes the gantry and tries to shake itself apart.
Soooo…. after talking things over with the vendor it looks like I need to get the controller replaced.
This probably means it’s going to take a while to get fixed.
Alternatively I could replace the board with the standard motor controller I have, and run the cutter from Mach3. Andy Slater has already gone down this route, and solved the problem of how to turn the laser on and off. It’s tempting, but I might wait to see what happens with the replacement controller.
This is the board they sent with the laser cutter – it is microprocessor driven and so responds to parallel commands (whereas Mach3 run motors are controlled directly from the port itself). I find it a little ironic that the names have been removed from all the chips
Does anyone recognise this board? The silk screen is in English – it looks like it was made to control a laser cutter or plotter, as there is only control for an X and Y motor (no Z).
Whatever I decide to do, it’s going to take a while to do it.
As a side note – the vendor (Wang – strong_signstech) has been very responsive – sometimes we have a language problem, but he seems very willing to help.
UPDATE : Having run a few more tests on the controller, it looks like it really is going to have to go back home to China.
So while I’m waiting the 2 weeks for the replacement to be delivered I’m going to hook up Mach3 and try controlling the laser that way. First thing I need to do is create a temporary FFC connector for the stepper motor cable. Then wire up the laser control lines (following Andy Slater’s information). Finally I need to teach Mach3 how to run it.
It also occurred to me that if I made the table (Z) computer controlled I could make multiple depth passes just like a conventional router.