Okay, the cat’s out of the bag… I bought one. I’m always looking for something new to play with as I’m slowing down with age… but I’m still quite comfortable with these little laser machines, so I figured, “What the heck!”. I can always use the parts…
Absolutely shocked… ordered on Aug 9th, received on the Aug 12. Not for everybody but I will say that this is one sturdy little machine. All metal and uses 2040 (vs 2020) extrusions. Uses cable chains so neatest wiring I have on any of my other machines. Four M5 screws for the gantry and a couple of M3’s for the end of the gantry cable chain. Working area about 220mm x 290mm and 3W laser (claimed).
Powered it up… it homed and parked itself in upper left corner with a red cross and small laser dot. So everything appears to function as designed. Which is okay if you can read Chinese and don’t mind using crappy proprietary Windows software… which I didn’t install or try to use. I already knew about all that from the LB discussion thread… so was ready to make it better.
Opened the metal box containing the controller board… JL1 Mainboard. Found the X and Y connectors and fished them out of the box… along with the connector with 3-wire laser connections…
Took one of my trusty old Eleksmaker Mana SE 2-axis controllers that I’ve used to test many machines and was able to easily find corresponding connectors and pins to control machine and laser. I left out the limit switches and red cross laser… don’t need or use them
I’m genuinely impressed with the physical qualities of this little machine and, like I heard one fellow say, in effect… if they’d simply put a Grbl-based, Lightburn-capable, controller on this thing, they could probably sell a million of them.
Of course, I needed another machine like I need another hole in my head but there it is. But if you’re a little bit handy and looking for a low-powered machine to do small stuff like ceramic tiles and rotary engraving… this machine should handle it nicely. I’ll also add a Z-lift mechanism to it to enable easier focusing but otherwise it’s a nice basic machine that I’ve enjoyed messing with…
Jack, it was probably your comment I was referring to… I just couldn’t remember where I’d seen it. Thank you, and I agree with you completely. I’ve since requested the Grbl firmware upgrade from Wainlux for the JL1 board. Hopefully they’ll respond.
Some progress… successfully flashed the JL1 board with Grbl 1.1f (@LsrSal’s ROM.bin file). I use Chromebook/Lightburn almost exclusively but decided to fire up my Win7 machine for the first time in a couple of years. It took a while to update wifi and log into forums. Yuck!
Clicked “start upgrading” button and indeed a green progress bar comes up and completes. No messages, status, nothing… but no error indication either.
Since I had previously swapped out the JL1 with a different Grbl controller, I reconnected the JL1 board back up to the laser engraver. Moved over to Chromebook and Lightburn… connected USB and got indication that a USB device was detected and connected to Linux side. In LB I was able to connect and console indicated GRBL 1.1f. It acted a bit flaky at first and kept locking up until I also connected up the limit switches and adjust some settings. It’s now settled into a predictable state and I’m air-milling now under Lightburn control.
So, it looks as though it’s pretty easy to flash that board with a ROM.bin file and the .exe. Hate to have to fire up Windows but, given the tools I had, I guess that was my only recourse. [I now feel a little “dirty” ] Given the generic filenames, I had no way at first to know for sure what board that ROM.bin was set up for until I finally tamed the erratic operation…
The upgrade.exe appears to do what it was supposed to do.
Jack, I think I’ve confused the issue, posting to the other thread you’re engaged in with @LsrSal. He asked you about soldering… and you’re last post here seems to be related to his question. I apologize for the confusion I’ve caused. – David
LOL. In the V1Engineering forum, another place I “inhabit”, a poster just informed me that the price is now $99! I hope that’s not what you paid. Just a couple of days after I ordered mine for $79, they lowered the price to $75… and I’m pretty sure they said “thru August”. I felt good they had created a “special” for those who might want one… and was even considering buying another one
I paid $79.00. I had to wait because I had a $25 Amazon gift card that I wanted to apply to it and did not have it available when it was $75. I did try to see if there was a cheaper price but unfortunately I did not see the $75 one. It will be interesting to see how long it stays cheap
I found a different listing for $59 back when this first came up. I’m sure these will just make the rounds for a while with fluctuations in price. Looks like this has had some pretty severe price swings the last few months.
Like @jkwilborn said… just think of how many of these things they could sell if they ditched the proprietary firmware and just put GRBL on them. Wouldn’t cost them anything and instant LightBurn compatibility…