Endurance L-Cheapo is an attachment for CNC devices and 3D printers that simply and cheaply adds them the ability to cut and engrave many materials. These devices could have never done it before. You could engrave only with a CO2 laser machine or very expensive fiber lasers. Now a 445 nm diode laser is available with a 2.1 watt (2100mW) blue laser diode at its heart that can run continuously without additional cooling and has enough power to burn through acrylic, wood, plywood and leather.
So, you can cut and engrave almost on any surface except.
|Laser cut:||Laser engraving:|
Initial attachment and calibration of the L-Cheapo should not take more than 30-60 minutes, after which switching from printing to engraving/cutting is a tool-free one-minute task. There is no need for a separate power supply for the L-Cheapo either. The average 3D printer’s hot end uses significantly more power than this laser draws, so it can simply draw from the same supply.
Watch demo how to install lasers on Ultimaker
Watch demo how to install lasers on WanHao Duplicator i3
Our laser cutter is a compatible and tested accessory for most 3D printer models.
Our solution is flexible and easily installed. We have many tutorials and additional video guides on how to install our laser and run your 3D printer or CNC mill with it.
A lot of happy customers enjoy our solution and send us very positive commentaries with their pictures.
Endurance has invented a really magic thing for a 3D printer. A laser cutter/engraver that can be easily installed on a 3D printer to use it the way you have never done before.
As this tool can also engrave, it is equally useful for artists interested in adding to their capabilities and for amateurs who just want to add a logo or a cute little touch to their next prototype or that laptop they love. Capability of working with leather opens up the possibility for translating all those complex intricate designs they have in mind to physical reality. The laser can also be used to ablate material, creating arbitrary 3D relief, though, it should be mentioned the high temperature will blacken most materials.
The L-Cheapo can cut plywood or acrylic up to 3/16″ (5mm) thick. This requires multiple passes. The effective “dot size” is about 10 mils (0.25mm) at 1/8″ depth and more at 3/16″. Watch more videos about laser engraving and cutting with the 2.1W (2100 mW) diode laser Endurance L-Cheapo.
Also note that Endurance L-cheapo 2.1 watt diode lasers have a PWM controller. The controller allows you to change the power output while engraving. The controller is a 3rd wire to connect to your 3D printer or CNC router.
It is very easy to setup:
Convert your 3D printer and CNC router into an engraving machine. Enjoy laser engraving with our powerful and efficient laser.
It is really small and pretty.
You can install a 2.1W mini laser on any compact CNC router, including Cubify. It can be easily installed without an additional mount.
It has an actuator to control Z axis responsible for the focus length. Now you can easily adjust it to use the full capacity of the laser power while cutting or engraving.The Z axis actuator is to increase the cutting depth on 2D machines like the DIY…. otherwise, better to use the 3D printer’s.
That one is intended to go on the DIY frame only. It does not have a protection diode or 24V capability.
The size of a 2.1W Endurance L-Cheapo laser is 2.1 x 1.3 x 1.3 inches.
The Endurance L-Cheapo is really a practical solution in the market of laser engraving and cutting.
Delivery liability Endurance takes pictures of the box contents and mailing receipt with the tracking number. Cargo company is liable for delivery.
Endurance is going to tell you about advantages of laser engraving. Laser engraving advantages and horizons, as we presume, are limitless.
Today, nearly everybody has a printer at home. A laser engraver might become as popular and in-demand a device as a printer.
Using it, you can customize and embellish almost any item you wish. You can engrave on a great many of various materials: leather, plastics, plywood, acrylic. That’s really fantastic! The lasers made by Endurance are able not only to engrave but also to cut materials. You can cut figurines and words with our lasers. Using our laser engraver you can make little souvenirs and presents for your people, colleagues, business partners. You can engrave and cut toys for your kids. Endurance is making laser engraving and cutting technology easy and available for use. Engraving and cutting with Endurance is as easy as printing of a text or picture file.
Endurance keeps on working at engraving and cutting technology simplification to make it even more user-friendly. We work at improving plug-ins, manuals, make video lessons.
A few orders completed will pay off the purchase of our laser engraver.
Thus, two hours of work with an Endurance L-Cheapo laser helped the company fulfill a commercial job, which earned us 2500 rub., i.e. 10% of the laser price. гравера Endurance DIY. (Работали на одном лазере, а окупили 10% стоимости другого? )
A portable laser engraver Endurance DIY will not just pay off but will also save you the trouble of looking for an agency or workshop to execute your order, will save the money to be paid for its delivery.
The laser engraving technology is really very simple and does not require any special knowledge, experience or skills. Anybody can master it. Endurance aim is to make engraving fuss-free.
A portable laser engraver Endurance DIY (уточни, какой гравер! ) is also able to engrave on rubber, which opens new options in making stamps and seals. We suppose that this solution will sell readily in the market.
The low price of the powerful Endurance laser engravers is unbeatable in the market today.
According to our estimation, the laser engraving market will amount up to 18-20 billion dollars. That makes our confidence even stronger that our product has a high value.
By now we have sold more than 200 engravers based on L-Cheapo lasers.
In the first quarter of 2016 we plan to concentrate, mainly, on developing the technology of engraving on aluminum and cuprum. By the second quarter we expect to run the production line for a full group of lasers: 2.1W., 3.5W, 5W, 7W, 10W, and assembling of engraving machines 17*17 cm — 50*50 cm in size to meet 90% of the market demands.
We are making the laser engraving and cutting technology more user-available and friendly!
Laser radiation (light) from a hobby-grade laser cutter CAN and WILL cause permanent eyesight damage if it hits the naked eye. Reflected laser radiation is equally harmful. A bare metal or glass 3D printer bed is, for all safety concerns, a huge reflective surface that could act as a light collector lens with unexpected beam exit paths.
Always wear eye protection rated for the laser wavelength that it’s been used. Even if you encase the build area with laser-shielding panels, always use personal eye protection.
An electric key-switch cost less than 10 US dollars and can prevent accidental laser activation. It’s a must-have if your laser is permanently mounted/hardwired. Remember: Other people could use the printer and activate the laser without even knowing it.
Laser cutting is a thermal process with great heat and smoke output. KEEP A FIRE EXTINGUISHER NEARBY. At the very least it should be rated for A & C fires. Dry-chemical extinguishers will suffocate the fire and most likely kill your electronics for good, clean agent extinguishers are better on that regard but could be harmful to the ozone layer. Consult your local fire safety code.
PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK. I’m not endorsing nor vouching for the safety characteristics of any of the products/methods mentioned on this site.
— This is work in progress, more text and diagrams coming soon —
So.. lately I’ve been experimenting with small scale additive manufacturing on a robotic Cartesian system (which is a fancy way to say that I’ve been geeking out with a desktop 3D printer) and it has been brought to my attention that once you get computerized control over the X,Y & Z planes additive manufacturing is just a fraction of all that you can do.
Think about it and you will see the same underlying principles applied to all CNC CAM techniques, both additive and subtractive. In fact, is not uncommon to find ‘transformer machines’ that can go from one manufacturing technique to another just by switching out the tool-head. Check this obscenely oversimplified table:
|Controlled Axis||Example Machine||Usual initial design software tool|
|1||CNC Lathe||2D Cad Software|
|2||Old-school large format plotter||2D CAD software|
|2||Laser/Plasma/Waterjet cutter||2D CAD software|
|3||CNC Mill / Router / Laser engraver||2.5D CAD sofware|
|3||3D Printer||3D CAD Software|
|4 or more||4 or 5 axis robot miller||3D CAD Software|
As you can see, control wise, there isn’t that much difference between a CNC Mill and a Laser Engraver, the main difference between them is that on the first the cutting action is made by a rotating drill bit attached to the spindle and is physically touching the work piece, while on the second the cutting action is done by focused energy coming out of the lens, itself attached to the laser housing. More-so, both should remain at a certain (supposedly) constant distance from the workpiece. For the mill that distance is called «Tool Lenght» and on the laser it’s called «Optimal Focus Distance».
Dxf2Gcode is mostly designed for CNC Mills and it’s cousins. In essence the provided «post-processor» files take a design originally meant to be milled and introduce some changes into the output to account for the «minimal» differences between milling and laser engraving/cutting.
Ideally, everything happens in this sequence:
Since Dxf2Gcode’s interface is designed with CNC Milling in mind, some mental translation needs to be done in order to correctly alter the lasering settings, as follows:
|Tool Number (drop list)||The extruder/fan where your laser is getting power from.||«1», for single extruder printers.Could be changed to «2» but you need to edit the post-processor files. It’s possible to run dissimilar lasers side-to-side this way.|
|Z Retraction Area||The laser beam can «disappear» on command, so it doesn’t need to physically retract like a milling drill.||0|
|Z Workpiece Top||As explained before, the CAD is assumed to be workpiece agnostic, so leave it at 0.||0|
|Z Infeed Depth||How deep can you laser cut/sublimate cleanly in a single pass without excessive smoke or material deformation.This should be a negative number.||Start with your focused spot diameter, adjust up/down depending on the workpiece material light absorption properties.|
|Z Final Mill Depth||Measuring from the workpiece top, how deep you want your cut.Should also be a negative number.||If larger than the «Z Infeed Depth» extra passes will be generated as needed, each one deeper than the previous.|
|Feed Rate XY||How fast will travel the laser over the workpiece while it is cutting.This number is in mm/minute.||As fast as possible while still achieving the desired «Z Infeed Depth» for the given material.Anything slower will produce rough / smoked / over-burn edges.|
|Feed Rate Z||The post-processor uses this as the speed to move the laser housing while the laser is turned off.Should be slow enough to avoid laser over/under shoots due to unwanted inertia or electronics/firmware reaction latency.||Start fast and adjust downward until you get precise start/stop points for each shape.Could be considered as the Draft vs. Final Quality setting for the engraving.|
Mastering Coherent Light:
You can use your existing 3D printing software!
Draw the object in Sketchup and then use the «push» command to raise it to the height you want, then export to STL and slice normally. Be sure that your start/end gcode sets the Z axis to the proper focal length!
Easy to Use and Open Source
No special software or hardware required – not even a power supply! All you need is to mount the laser, create a special extrusion profile on your standard software and get to work. Drawings and schematics available at robots-everywhere.com
Laser cutting requires a significant initial investment, but opens up a lot of making possibilities — laser-cut parts are tougher than 3D printer parts. With L-CHEAPO, the initial dollar investment goes from thousands to hundreds, and the module requires very little space.
We hope this product will allow high school shop classes, small universities and local hackerspaces to be able to work with a wider variety of materials and techniques without breaking the bank.
If you email us 4-5 pictures of good quality depicting how you use our 3D laser cutter we will pay you back 1 dollar.
If you share 4-5 pictures on you social accounts we will pay you back 5 dollars.
If you make a video, upload it on youtube, make pictures and email some to us and put some on your social accounts we will pay you back 15 dollars
If you make a video, upload it on youtube, make pictures, email some to us and put some on your social accounts, and write reference in our social groups + crunchbase, angel.co we will pay you back 20 dollars
You may install our laser on a device you already have instead of buying an expensive CO2 engraver or a CNC tool.
You’ll spare up to $3000 — 5000.
Our laser is a useful, valuable accessory for any 2- or 3-axis-controlled CNC device, expanding its functions.
The value of our laser:
Valuable features of our laser: It can
Our portable high performance laser is an accessory for CNC tools and 3D printers. It does not need a separate coordinate table or a special program for cutting and engraving,
It’s important to note that our laser performs fail-free for a prolonged period of time. A know-how technology of the right power supply to the laser diode enables its durability.
Most of the Chinese analogues in the market do not meet the contracted power standards and are not powerful enough to cut and engrave. It should be pointed out that there are no laser accessories for 3D printers and CNC machines in the market. Endurance is creating this market.
A cheap laser for cutting and engraving. The analogue solutions are CO2 lasers, which are expansive and hard to make settings.
Diode lasers are not produced in Russia. Many countries have laser equipment export and import limitations. There are lasers for sale on Aliexpress. They are mostly Chinese and of doubtful quality.
Engraving with the Endurance lasers and engravers is possible only at 300 dpi.
Please, note: Engraving with the Endurance lasers and engravers is possible only at 300 dpi.
This limitation is due to:
Endurance is working at the selection of more powerful lenses to ensure engraving at a higher quality (resolution).
Pyrography on wood, plastic anything you want. Cutting of variety of materials:
The L-Cheapo cuts paper, acrylic, balsa, plywood, hardboard, cardboard, leather, felt, and foam and also engraves all these, plus ceramic and proto board. The image to the left is the result of the materials test. In addition to the wonderful reality of rapid prototyping that extrusion 3D printing has brought to the home shop, now you can create parts from significantly tougher materials for those bits that take all the force. Acrylic and wood are significantly better materials to make such things as gears and manipulators for your next robot design. This also means those parts of your design that need to bear heavy loads can be replaced with better materials without having them machined.
As this tool can also engrave, artists, interested in adding to their capabilities, will find it useful, as well as other people who just want to add their logo or a cute little touch to their next prototype or the laptop they love. The tool is capable of working with leather, which opens up the possibility to translate all those complex intricate designs you have in mind to physical reality. The laser can also be used to ablate materials, creating arbitrary 3D relief, though it should be mentioned the high temperature will blacken most materials.
|Material||Thickness (mm)||Laser (power)||Engraving (yes/no)||Cutting (yes/no)||Notes|
|Made by Endurance|
|Plywood||1||2.1 W||Yes||Yes||For cutting many passes needed|
|Plywood (5 layers)||2||2.1 W||Yes||Yes||For cutting many passes needed|
|Plywood (3 layers)||3||2.1 W||Yes||Yes||For cutting many passes needed|
|Transparent acrylic||3||2.1 W||Yes||No||Backing board needed|
|Non transparent acrylic||3||5 W||Yes||Yes|
|Cardboard||1||2.1 W||Yes||Yes||Several passes needed|
|Denim||2||2.1 W||Yes||High speed needed (500)|
|Leather||2||2.1 W||Yes||High speed needed (500)|
|Leather belt inside||4||2.1 W||Yes||High speed needed (500)|
|Laser rubber||2,3||2.1 W||Yes|
|Plastic FlexiColor (Rowmark)||0,5||2.1 W||Yes||Yes||4 passes needed for cutting|
|Made by Darky Labs|
|Non transparent acrylic||3||3 W||Yes||No|
|Tinted acrylic||3||3 W||Yes||No|
|Anodized aluminium||—||3 W||Yes||No|
|Brown cardboard||0,45||3 W||Yes||Yes|
|Brown cardboard||2||3 W||Yes||Yes|
|Double-sided corrugated board||3||3 W||Yes||Yes|
|Fabric — cotton||0,27||3 W||Yes||No|
|Fabric (Tyvek)||—||3 W||No||Yes|
|High-density foam — LD45||10||3 W||Yes||Yes|
|Vegetable leather||3,50||3 W||Yes||No|
|Vegetable leather||1||3 W||Yes||Yes|
|Vegetable leather||2,5||3 W||Yes||No|
|Glossy paper||230 gsm||3 W||Yes|
|Photocopying paper||80 gsm||3 W||Yes||Yes|
|Paper cards||230 gsm||3 W||Yes||Yes|
|Mat surface polyester||—||3 W||No|
|Black synthetical rubber||3||3 W||Yes||No|
|Wood — balsa (of middle density)||1,5||3 W||Yes||Yes|
|Wood — balsa (of low density)||5||3 W||Yes||Yes|
|Wood — birch 3 layers||1,5||3 W||Yes||Yes|
|Wood — mapple||2||3 W||Yes||No|
|Wood MDF||3||3 W||Yes||Yes|
|Wood — poplar laminated (3 layers)||3||3 W||Yes||Yes|
«Endurance» company offers its lasers and engravers WanHao and DIY on the basis of diode lasers Endurance L-Cheapo (2.1W and 3.5W). Said lasers have a minimal size of granularity (less than 0.1mm) corresponding to 300 dpi resolution.
Thus, you can make a cliché for a stamp of a very good quality.
It takes 1-3 hours to fabricate a cliché depending on its sophistication and intricacy and the laser power.
We recommend for seal fabrication soot-containing rubber or special rubber for laser engraving. It is forbidden to use photopolymers for official seals of enterprises. Photopolymer cliché tend to deform in operation and its imprints made at different time vary notably. This causes problems with financial authorities, partners and customers.
No special knowledge needed to use Endurance lasers and engravers for seals fabrication. This is one of our main advantages. Just mount a laser on a 3D printer or a СNС device, load a vector image, transform it into Gcode and set to fabrication of seals, stamps or facsimiles. Together with an engraving machine, you also get a full instruction on how to make seals, stamps and facsimiles using Endurance lasers.
Hurry up to test lasers and engravers of Endurance for seals, stamps and facsimile fabrication!
A portable high performance tool for cutting and engraving of non-metallic and non-transparent surfaces. Cheaper than its analogues. Useful for those who build models and engrave different but metallic and transparent surfaces.
|Laser Type||Diode – No export restrictions|
|Laser Output||2100mW ± 15%|
|Focal length||10cm (variable)|
|Lens Type||Crystal glass|
|Operation time||Tested 48 hours continuous|
|Current draw||2100mA ± 10%|
What software to use for the work with the laser?
Use Pronterface for best results. Or use the same software as your own printer — just set Z scale to -1 and infill to 0. All printing software has these settings.
Average speed of cutting:
How to install the laser?
Mount it on top of your extruder, and connect it to the extruder heater!
How to fix the laser:
Our laser was tested and mounted onto the following models;
In general, any 3D printer that uses an Arduino or compatible and any 3-axis CNC machine.
Our laser is compatible with all 3D-printers, which we have tested, but Cubify. In January Endurance modified the construction a little.
The ventilator axis is not parallel but perpendicular to the laser axis.
What is the difference between a СО2 laser and a diode laser?
CO2 is more powerful. This is the main advantage. However:
CO2 is harder to set up (laser cannot be moved — mirrors must be used- they can go out of alignment);
CO2 cannot be carried around (see the problem above);
CO2 requires buying
CO2 continually, as there is always some leakage;
CO2 requires compressed air for cooling;
CO2 is subject to export restrictions in most countries;
CO2 is very delicate (lots of glass apparatus) and may be damaged during shipping.
The Endurance team has been dealing with powerful diode lasers L-Cheapo for six months already. The Endurance Laser Lab is aheap with engraving samples of engraving on various materials. People are constantly approaching us with requests and suggestions regarding engraving on all sorts of subjects ranging from a wallet down to a smart phone, providing food for good guys’ thought…
The solution was to assemble a user-friendly laser engraving machine for home and office, easy enough to be operated by a basic user with the help of a simple manual. But we wanted a multi functional laser 3D station, at that.
We have L-Cheapo lasers (2.1 W — 5 W) and an impressive experience in installation of L-Cheapo lasers on various types of 3D printers and plotters. (On our web site there’s an Instruction on Endurance L-Cheapo laser installation). As you might agree, to manage the task we needed a robust, functional and compact 3D printer for home and office, easily modifiable and upgradable. Wanhao Duplicator i3 is the best model corresponding to our demands. The 3D Today resource has a pile of reviews and articles dedicated to Wanhao. By the way, its modified version has been recently presented. However, this printer has a critical safety drawback. Lack of an enclosed casing. A powerful laser beam of Endurance L-Cheapo even diffused is dangerous for human eyes. Be all means, we’ll work with the laser wearing safety goggles but we need to take care of others as well. Of those, present in the room or those who might enter the room by chance. So we need to strictly observe safety regulations. It’s better to be on the safety side.
With this in mind, we decided to make a safety box for Wanhao to cover the printer while in the laser operation. We made it pretty quickly out of nontransparent acrylic 4 mm thick, gluing the sides together, reinforcing the construction with corner ribs, and adding a handle to the front side for better handling.
In the upper part of the box we made a rectangle orifice for the spool carrier with the laser OFF button. The Off button must be outside to open the box only when the laser is off. On the front side we put an announcement: «Endurancerobots.com invites everybody to participate in the Best Christmas Engraving Competition. Submit your works to: firstname.lastname@example.org till Dec. 21 2015.»
As the Wanhao Duplicator i3 printer is made out of steel, its parts are protected against damage by a reflected laser beam.
A few words about the “electronic” component of the system L-Cheapo Laser + Wanhao Duplicator i3. The laser is mounted to the base of the extruder fan and is powered instead of it. You need to open the panel box (removing 6 screws), find the FAN connector of the controller board, and connect to it the wires powering our laser. We place the ON/OFF button of the laser on the spool carrier fixing it to the Wanhao Duplicator i3 upper frame, where it should be. Little refitting and soldering will not take much time.
Now a few words about the “mechanical” part of the laser mounting. It is important for our laser beam to be absolutely vertical. It is easy to check making a few cuttings on a wood (at the angles of 0 and 90), changing the height of the laser. If the cutting line is straight, without shifts, the laser is installed vertically.
Another important issue is laser focusing. At the distance of 20 cm the laser beam is too diffused to engrave a wooden sample. Use the Laser Engraver Instruction to set the correct laser parameters on Z axis. Do it beforehand. There is also a similar article on the web site of Endurance.
For the engraver to recognize the image, you have to convert it into G code. To do the task you need the following software: RepetierHost, Cura, InkScape, Notepad++, CNC Viewer and perhaps more. But not everybody is ready to download so many programs to one’s PC or tablet just for implementing into life one artistic idea. It is much better to have a separate device for engraving.
A simple budget solution is a Windows tablet Prestigio Multipad Visconte Quad 3G. We installed to it all the programs named above. It has one little minus – a bit late response due to its rather low efficiency. But its big plus is compactibility of the device in general.
The most interesting things await you when you try to engrave various materials: wood, plywood, acrylic, Plexiglas, polystyrene, leather, etc. adding certain chemicals to the engraving samples.
The scenario of the user-friendly engraving implementation looks like this. Let’s imagine an amateur engraver or, better, engraveress. By means of the cloud she easily loads her image to her working tablet and opens the image in InkScape, converts it into a black and white vector art. If there is no need in additional picture processing she places the picture with the correct coordinates on the working table of InkScape.
To understand the coordinates correctly you need to know exactly the place of the engraving sample on the surface of the working table. From our experience we know that the best place is the front right corner of the printer table. You need to specify the laser beam shift against 0 of the coordinates of the 3D printer table. Through trial and error we succeeded to direct the beam to the corner of the table.
But let’s go back to our engraver. Using Gcodetools plagin she gets the code of he image for the printer. Depending on the 3D printer model and the way of laser installation you might need to edit the code (Notepad++ will help).
Then she opens the ready code in RepetierHost, the program of printer control; closes the printer and laser with the safety box, starts the program, puts on the goggles, and only after that presses the red button “laser ON”. In the safety goggles she can control the process of laser engraving.
It is not possible to cover all the details in a short article. Your questions and commentaries are welcome.
L-Cheapo laser, like any other diode laser, has a focusing lens. This lens makes it possible to focus a laser beam right down to 1 cm. Below, we describe how to focus the laser beam in the inner coordinates of a 3D printer to a precision of a few mm. In addition to a computer, 3D printer and L-Cheapo laser, you will need a piece of plywood fitting the size of the printer table, clips to fix the plywood to the printer table, and a ruler.
We need to burn a straight line on a flat working surface evenly changing the height of the laser head above the surface along z axis. For a working surface we use a piece of plywood 200х200 мм in size and 4 mm thick. At the end of the burn process we take measures with a ruler.
Step by step Instruction How to engrave on a Wanhao Duplicator i3 a raster picture (ClipArt)
;Generated with Cura_SteamEngine 14.12
;Default start code
G28 ;Home extruder
M107 ;Turn off fan
;Extruder in absolute mode
;Activate all used extruder
G92 E50 ;Reset extruder position
;Wait for all used extruders to reach temperature
G1 F2400 E633.50589
G0 F9000 X143.040 Y107.202 Z20
;Default end code
M107 ;Turn off fan
;Disable all extruder
G91 ;Relative positioning
G90 ;Absolute positioning
G92 E0 ;Reset extruder position
The more layers are the deeper and darker is engraving. Normally, 2 layers are enough. In this case the code after LAYER 2 is deleted.
16. Z coordinate (the height, on which the laser focus depends) is to be set by yourself. To set it open Change by clicking Ctrl + F.
17. Insert SD-card into the printer, set the coordinate axes to 0 (home state) and enjoy engraving.
Please note: a vector image is not a precise copy of the pixel picture but a set of curves for further processing.
To convert a pixel image to contours we use InkScape (https://inkscape.org/ru/download/).
To do so import your pixel image to InkScape, then select it in the InlSkape window, click “Contours” in the program menu, and then “Vectorize raster”, or use the combination of Shift+Alt+B keys.
You will see three filters in the opened “Mode” window. The first one is “Brightness Reduction”. This filter uses the sum of the red, green and blue components of the pixel (i.e. shades of grey) as an indicator and chooses to interpret it as black or as white. The brightness threshold may be set from 0,0 (black) to 1,0 (white). The higher is the value the fewer pixels are taken as “white”, resulting in a darker image.
The second filter is «Edge Detection«. This filter creates an image even less similar to the original than the one created by the first filter but it accentuates the curves, fully ignored by the other two filters. The threshold value (here: 0,0 — 1,0) regulates the brightness threshold between the adjacent pixels, depending on which the adjacent pixels will or won’t partake in the contrast edge formation, thus becoming or not part of the contour. Actually, this parameter determines the brightness (thickness) of the edge.
The third filter is «Color Quantization«. The image processed by this filter is quite different in comparison with the previous two but it is also useful. It does not show the brightness or contrast isoclines but it detects the edges where the color changes even if the adjacent pixels have the same brightness and contrast. This filter parameter (number of colors) defines the resulting number of colors as if the raster image were colored. Then the filter assigns a pixel as black or white depending on the parity of the color index.
The “Parameters” toolbar gives additional options to process a vector image. For example, we recommend clearing of the “Angle Smoothing” checkbox to accentuate finer details.
Note for beginners: The processed vectorized image sits above the original raster picture and is a separate, independent contour object. This object is selected by default. You can move it using a mouse or arrow keys. You can edit the nodes of the object using the “Node tool”.
Just try all three filters to compare the results of image processing. Every image is individual. In every case the filters work in a different way producing different effects. To achieve the best result choose among the three filters that one, which makes a contour of the optimal quality.
After vectorization we recommend using of contour simplifying, to reduce the number of nodes. You will find this function in the main menu toolbar – “Contours” – “Simplify”. Or just use the key combination Ctrl+L. Nodes reduction will make it easier to edit the resulting vector image.
Notes: 1. Gcodetools and Inkscape are free and open source software licensed the GNU GPL, free for commercial use as well. Both programs are crossplatformal and have distributives for Windows, Linux и MacOS.
Before laser engraving of an item you need to know:
1. You need to fix the item to the working table of your 3D printer or engraver to prevent it from shifting during engraving if the working table vibrates too much. You can use for this:
1.1. Grips, clips, clamps of all kinds;
1.2. Double stick tape or mats;
1.3. Rubber bands;
1.4. A couple of magnets to be placed on and under the working table.
Note: All those holders must be placed off in the engraving field.
2. If your item is transparent or semitransparent use an underlay for the item (e.g. a piece of plywood), otherwise the laser beam will go through the item and damage the 3D printer/engraver table. Use an underlay when cutting as well to protect the table surface from damage at the final stage.
3. To engrave the vector image precisely at the chosen area of the item you need to:
• Correlate the vector image position coordinates and those of the engraved item with the machine coordinates of the 3D printer;
• Correctly position the image in the InkScape coordinates. So, let’s do it by steps:
1.1. To find the image and the item position in the machine coordinates of the 3D printer we need to choose a certain marking point and pinpoint it to use hereafter for determination of the working area coordinates and positioning of the engraved item on the 3D printer table.
1.2. With a Wanhao 3D printer, we recommend to use the right bottom (the nearest to you on the right) corner of the 3D printer table as a marker point (marker).
1.3. Then we determine the machine coordinates of the marker (right bottom corner of the table), for which we need to:
1.3.1. Turn the 3D printer on.
1.3.2. Perform auto-detection of the axes coordinate origin: go to the printer settings turning the knob on the printer control box, select «Quick Settings» and «Home All». The commands here and elsewhere are given for a Wanhao Duplicator i3 3D printer.
1.3.3. Raise the laser along Z axis up to the level necessary for engraving (it depends on the laser focus length. For more info see “Laser focus length instruction”). For a start set Z coordinate at 40 cm. For coordinate positioning use the printer control box. In the settings go to the «Position» -> «X Pos. Fast», or «Y Pos. Fast», or «Z Pos. Fast», and change the coordinate value turning the knob.
1.3.4. Using step-by step zooming, move the laser along the axes to aim the laser beam on to the right bottom corner of the printer table (our marker point). The marker point coordinates will show up on the screen. To check the focusing accuracy we need to turn the laser on. Before it put on safety goggles. Observe the safety rules while working with the laser! Work only WITH YOUR GOGGLES ON! Using the control box, turn the laser on and go to the settings, -> «Fan speed» -> «Set Fan Full», and tune the focus anew, if necessary. To turn the laser off we can use «Turn Fan Off» or an additional red ON/OFF button on the upper part of the Wanhao 3D printer frame.
1.3.5. Write down the marker point coordinates.
1.4. E.g. Suppose, the marker point coordinates are: X=200, Y=75. Fix the engraved item in the right bottom corner edge to edge. If our item size is 100х100 mm, and the engraving image — 60х60 mm, and we want to position the engraving in the middle of the item, then the left bottom corner of the engraving (of the image) will be X=120 and Y=95. To find it: X= 200 — (100-60)/2 — 60, а Y= 75 + (100-60)/2. We’ll need these coordinates further on in p.2.2.2. Try to draw and calculate them by yourself.
2. Now we need to position the vector in the coordinates of InkScape. To do so:
2.1. Set the page size (i.e. working field of the 3D printer) in the working field of the document:
2.1.1. Go to «File» à «Properties» à «Page size» (or use the key combination Shift+Ctrl+D).
2.1.2. In «General» set «Measure unit» in «mm».
2.1.3. In «Page size» go to «Other size» –> «Units», change to «mm», and set «Width»: 200, «Height»: 200. Note: 200х200 mm is the coordinate range of the Wanhao 3D printer head movement.
2.2. We also need to position the engraving image and set its required size in InkScape. To do so:
2.2.1. Set the size in the “W” (width) and “H” (height) icons in mm. The lock icon (in operation mode) will save the proportion if you change the image. 2.2.2. Enter the left bottom corner coordinates of the vector image in the «X:» and «Y: » icons. These coordinates should correlate with the marker point position. (See e.g. in p.1.3.) 2.2.3. To get the required coordinates move the image with the mouse or arrow keys.
First of all, you need a ready vector image. Here are key requirements for the vector image to make engraving of the best quality:
• The vector should have only one image layer (sometimes it has a number of image layers with different details).
• It should not have too many fine features (less than 0,5 mm), otherwise the laser will burn through the engraved item, because it will work too long over one fine detail.
• It should not have too many nodes, otherwise Gcode generation will go on for hours. Use the function of contour simplifying, to reduce the number of nodes or edit the image manually.
For the detailed description of the vector preparation go to the Engraving Instruction. Step 1. link.
1. At first:
1.1. Select the vector image, prepared for engraving, using the selection and transformation tool (the first one at the top of the toolbar with a black arrow), or pressing S or F1 key.
1.2. With the mouse or arrow keys position the selected object in the X-Y axes according to the coordinates of the engraved item position on the working table. It is also possible to set the necessary coordinates in X and Y icons of the upper command line. 2. For Gcode generation we use «J Tech Photonics Laser Tool», the first plug-in of InkScape.
2.1. Said plug-in files («laser.inx», «laser.py») must be present in the program directory: C:Program FilesInkscapeshareextensions». For your convenience we attach these files to be downloaded to the Instruction.
2.3.2. Movement speed (when the laser is off).
2.3.3. Burning speed (when the laser is on).
2.3.4. Delay time before moving (burning) in msec. after the moment of laser activation at the beginning point of each contour.
2.3.5. Number of passes during image engraving.
2.3.6. Burning depth in mm in one pass. This parameter is taken into consideration in Gcode when the number of passes is more than one. After every pass a new command is added to move down the laser by this value (to save the same laser focusing).
2.4. Save the Gcode file in an appropriate catalogue. The program will keep it ready for use for the next time.
2.5. To activate the plug-in click “Apply”.
2.5.1. If a plug-in failure notification pops up, edit a little the vector image again and start the plug-in once more. Or choose another plug-in (for instance «GcodeTools»).
2.5.2. For your convenience add a few useful commands to your Gcode. Open your Gcode in Notepad++ (https://notepad-plus-plus.org/).
18.104.22.168. At the beginning of the code insert «G28 X Y» (Go to origin only on the X and Y axes). It is important in case of mechanical displacement of the printer head. The «G28» (Go to origin on all axes) command will reset the axes to zero.
3. In case of the first plug-in poor performance use another one: «GcodeTools».
3.0. Open «Extensions», then «Generate Gcode», and «Path to Gcode».
3.1. Sometimes before the «Path to Gcode» function call it is necessary to one-by-one initialize the functions: «Orientation points…», «Tools library…», «Area…»). For more details see tutorials at: http://www.cnc-club.ru/gcodetools
3.2.1. Save the code in the program catalogue, to avoid entering it again next time. 3.3. Go back to the first tab «Path to Gcode» and click “Apply”.
3.4. Open the obtained code in Notepad++ (https://notepad-plus-plus.org/) and make a few replacements in the code:
3.4.1. Delete all the upper lines before the words «Start cutting path id:…»
3.4.2. At the beginning of the code insert «G28 X Y» (Go to origin only on the X and Y axes). It is important in case of mechanical displacement of the printer head. Note: The command «G28» (Go to origin on all axes) will reset the axes to zero.
3.4.3. Set the cursor at the beginning of the file and press the key combination Ctrl + H. In the dialogue window “Replace” go to the settings of “Seek mode” and select “Extended (r, n…».
3.4.4. Replace «(» for «;(»
3.4.5. Replace «G00 Z5.000000» for «G4 P1 n M107;»
3.4.6. Replace «G01 Z-0.125000» for «G4 P1 n M106;»
3.4.7. Replace «Z-0.125000» for «» (i.e. delete еeverywhere «Z-0.125000»).
3.4.9. Please mind, in this Gcode we do not set Z coordinate (laser height). We’ll set it when we start the laser.
3.5.This is what the edited Gcode look like:
4. Our Gcode is about ready to be used in a 3D printer or engraver with an L-Cheapo laser. Program error and failures do happen, so here are our guidelines for bug fix:
3.1. The plug-in «J Tech Photonics Laser Tool» sometimes misses spaces before “F” in the Gcode file lines. E.g. «G0 X167.747 Y97.2462F500.000000». To fix this error manually replace «F500» for « F500» (inserting a space in the quotes before F).
3.2. The plug-in «GcodeTools» sometimes creates an empty file at the end. To fix that go to the “Contour” menu, “Contour the object” and repeat Gcode generatoin. 4. Recommendations: 4.1. For Gcode visualization use: Basic CNC Viewer.
After turning on the printer perform auto-detection of the axes coordinate origin (see Step 2, p.1.2.2).
Before engraving start, it is necessary to manually set the laser height Z on the printer if it is not within the generated Gcode.
The optimal height of Z is the one, at which the laser beam is focused on the surface of the engraved item.
On the upper frame of the Wanhao 3D printer there is a special red button to turn on and off the laser. Before turning the laser on always wear safety goggles!
Put them off only after turning the laser off!
ALWAYS OBSERVE THE SAFETY RULES when lasing. ALWAYS WEAR SAFETY GOGGLES when the laser is on. Useful:
1. The command M18 (Disable all stepper motors) unblock the working table. (When it is blocked you cannot move it). This command is useful at the end of Gcode performance to manually move up the table.
Select a vector image (a set of contours) with the selection and transformation tool (a black arrow).
Start with «Contour object.»
Next, select the plug-in extension «Right G-Code» and then «G-Code …».
The first tab: basic code and commands setting.
The second tab: setting of the curves and lines approximation accuracy with G-code commands.
The third tab: Hatching settings. Angle: Hatching angle in degrees from the horizontal axis counterclockwise
The fourth tab: Display settings. Warning: in this version the file with the results is overwritten when the plug-in starts anew.
Two radio buttons Process and Generate:
Process: Only contours – process the G-code of the image contours
Process: Only fills — process the G-code of the image fills
Process: Both contours and fills
Generate: Only lines — display all the processed lines (under the G-code)
Generate: Only G-code — write the processed G-Code to a file
Generate: Both lines and G-code
Result – the fills should be converted into the G-code, if it was not preset in the plugin settings.
Note: To create a stamp cliché:
• the vector version of the stamp imprint should be mirrored;
How to install and connect the laser to a WanhaoDuplicatori3 printer
To create a 3D model on a 3D printer it is necessary to make a model in SketchUp. Let’s take SketchUpPro 2015 for example. When a SketchUp model is ready, save it as STL file, then convert that file into GCode using Cura, having set the necessary parameters for printing. Load GCode into the 3D-printer using SD card.
Comparative characteristics of lasers 2.1 W и 3.5 W (cutting and engraving)
|Laser 2.1 W|
|Material||Thickness of the material||Length of engraving / cutting||Cutting / engraving time|
|1.1 A purse of leather, outer surface||1 mm||4,5 cm/ —||engraving 15 sec. / no cutting|
|1.2 A purse of leather, inner surface||0,5 mm||5 cm/1 cm||engraving 17 sec. / cutting 47 sеc|
|1.3 Plywood||4 mm||5 cm/0,5 cm||engraving 2.7 sеc / cutting 5,25 min|
|Laser 3.5 W|
|Material||Thickness of the material||Length of engraving / cutting||Cutting / engraving time|
|1.1 A purse of leather, outer surface||1 mm||4,5 cm||No engraving / no cutting|
|1.2 A purse of leather, inner surface||0,5 mm||5 cm||No engraving / cutting 41 sec|
|1.3 Plywood||4 mm||5 cm||engraving 23 sеc / cutting 4,9 min|
Cutting and engraving
1.1 A purse of leather, outer surface
2.2 A purse of leathe, inner surface, cutting
1.2 A purse of leather,inner surface, engraving
2.3 Plywood, engraving
1.3 Plywood, cutting
I wanted to let you know I’ve modified and printed an extruder carrier for the QU-BD Two-Up printer and heavily modified the file you sent me for the laser mount. Both items have been posted to Thingiverse. The heavy part of the modification was removing all of the extra triangles in the mesh. Sketchup or your STL exporter probably had something to do with that. It was full of holes and duplicate triangles and wouldn’t quite print properly. I tore it down and rebuilt it, then added a support for the fan so it’s more stable and holds the circuit board in tighter.
The modded extruder carrier just has a flat face on it where you can glue the two parts together and end up with a solid piece that pops right on to the X carriage rails. Make another for the extruder and you can easily switch back and forth.
I was also able to come up with a profile in Simplify3D that works well with this printer and laser combination.
Thanks for the help.
Kevin SummersKISTech Studios
Our customer’s video engraving footage
Current settings are 50% power moving at 40mm/s.
Our customers photo
Upper is pwm with your laser on a smoothie board. Lower is pulsed on-off full power… Works well.. tToo dark due to my low speed… Gcode from pic laser lite… Thanks works great
PVC : 5 pass at 3mm/sec EPS: Single pass at 5mm/sec
1. Design of the Laser plotter:
2. Beam focus adjustment. For security reasons goggles with red-orange glasses were used. Beam focus adjustment was done by laser lens rotation. We found the lens position at a very low power (2-3%), when the brightness of the observed beam unexpectedly and sharply increases. (Focusing by means of focal length evaluation in a smoke-logged air was not performed.) The optimal focal length for engraving is 150 mm.
3. Materials used for engraving.
4. Results. Burning through time:
|Material||Thickness (mm)||Time (sec)|
Engraving time of a drawing 10х10 cm with density of ~70% (Micky Mouse’s head on a video):
|Material||Engraving time (sec)|
We used makeBlock 3d www.makeblock.cc
Endurance offers 10% price discount on a laser engraver/cutter accessory for 3D printers and CNC devices. The doorbuster is valid only for photographers and food-bloggers.
If you install the Endurance laser engraver/cutter on your 3D printer or CNC miller you’ll be able to cut and engrave any surfaces but metallic, ceramic or transparent. An engraved text or image will help you accentuate your personality, add charm and intrigue to your photos or videos.
The Endurance engraver/cutter easily cuts and engraves wood, plywood, acrylic, leather.
You can buy either a ready-to-use laser engraver or just a laser to be installed on your 3D printer or CNC device (if you are an advanced user). With it, you’ll be able to easily and quickly engrave materials and to become a really unique master.
Our laser engraver is very easy to use.
Engraving has never been so easy and convenient.
Examples of engraving process:
Be quick to embrace the offer. The discount is valid till Dec. 31, 2015.
Free delivery in Moscow. Endurance specialists will not just deliver the device but also install it and explain how to use the laser and the engraving table.
We arrange Skype videoconferences for customers outside Moscow in case they have problems with the use of the laser engraver or laser installation if they bought it separately.
For more information: