3D Laser etching?

@Lutraphobia Just to be clear, I’m not telling you that you must use the profile operation. I am saying it is one option for what you want to do. Another option is a v carve operation.

The Long Mill does use grbl 1.1h

I have no idea why Jtech has a newer version for no Z. If it’s important to you, I would imagine you could ask them

I have never edited a post processor, so I have no advice to offer. One of the reasons that I have not done it is that there are a lot of things that can go wrong and I’ve never needed a custom post processor.

With respect, since you don’t need to edit one to do what you want to do, I would strongly advise that you not do it. It’s your call, though.

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Great advice - I’ll ask Jtech if they can make a 1.1h compatible PP with a Z. :slight_smile:

Understood that using pocketing tool is just one option. :slight_smile: I’ll just get v-carve pro and the laser add on at some point. Making it simple and consolidating my tool paths and workflows may be worth the money.

I wonder if they have veterans’ discounts or sales at certain times of the year?

Well, here is my test piece. It’s small - only 4 x 6. It’s cut in 1.25" MDF.

I took the stl of mount rainer that @Lutraphobia posted on this thread and cropped and resized it. Then I took the contour graphic and played a bit with it. It likely is not spot on, but as this is a throw-away piece, I wasn’t concerned.

I created 3 tool paths in VCarvePro. A roughing pass and a finishing pass for the topo map and a profile pass for the contour lines.

I chose a 1/4" ball nose for the roughing pass, a 1/8" ball nose for the finishing pass and a .005 diameter end mill for the contours. .005 is the diameter of my laser spot. I set the spindle speed to 500, which is 50% laser power. I set the feed rate to 3500 mm/min.

The roughing and finishing passes were done using the named bits. The contours were done using the laser.

I set Z0 on the surface of the material for the roughing and finishing passes, using grbl inch as the post processor.

Before setting up the laser pass, I set $30=1000 and $32=1. Then, for the laser pass, I tried something different. I set its focus on the surface of the material and also used grbl inch as the post processor. That way, the Z axis moved up and down as if I was using an end mill (which, to VCP, I was). Using the feature in Vectric to “project tool path onto 3D model” meant that the laser followed the contour of the topo carved by the router.

The pic is not very good, but the lines are a consistent width and level of darkness from the highest point in the model to the lowest. The max height of the model is just under 1.25"; the lowest is just under .25". I am using a G8 lens and the focal length is less than the 1" difference between the highest and lowest point in the model. So, I believe that if the Z axis was not following the contour of the model, the results would not be as precise as they are.


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Awesome test, details on how you accomplished it, and outcome.

Thank you very much @gwilki for helping here. Can’t wait to get my laser from Sienci to get started on this. I think you just made it super simple with the details described below.

Many thanks!


Finally, I received my laser a few days ago! So happy!

I installed it yesterday and burned this logo as a test:

Looks like I need to back off on the power a bit and increase the travel speed I am thinking. The lines are a bit bolder than what I intended it to look like.

Anyway, QQ to @gwilki or anyone else. When I screwed in the laser lens, it was quite a loose fit.

Yes, I put the correct spring in (7mm for G2 if I recall correctly). With the laser on and trying to focus it turning the ring I find that it’s super touchy. I thought it would be more of a perfect fit. When you touch the focus dial the beam bounces around a lot.

Anyone else have this issue?