Creality Melzi board

I´m getting myself a K40. However I see a lot of ppl recommending switching the M2 mainboard for another one. Most recommend Cohesion3d but it´s like 200€ just for the board.
Though I would like to run lightburn for sure…
I have a couple of Creality boards lying around and I´m wondering if I might just use one of those? If it´s even possible. I mean even though they´re for 3d printers, it´s pretty much the same, right? Marlin, gcode, steppers, endstops and so on… PWM output for the co2 laser.
Am I missing anything or would this be a viable option? Anyone else done something similiar?

“Pretty much the same” in very much the same way that a Ferrari is pretty much the same as a go cart. :slight_smile: They both have wheels, and engines, and use petrol to move you around.

If you are using the laser to do simple cutting or vector engraving it would likely be fine. If you want to process images, it will likely be too slow. I’m assuming it’s an 8-bit board, which is going to make its maximum GCode throughput relatively low. This is fine for 3D printing, but engraving a photo even at modest speed and resolution can mean chewing through 1000 or more GCode instructions per second.

The Cohesion3D is a 32 bit, 120mhz processor, whereas most 3D printers use 8-bit, 16mhz Atmel chips.

Marlin firmware is also a poor choice for laser use in general, although the most recent versions are addressing this - they’ve added a couple laser specific options like variable power output, and made the GCode more compact, so it’s improving, but still my last choice.

Thanks for answering

Yeah that´s true, it is an 8-bit board so they will be limited. Would it be better than the M2 board at all?
Not sure how much engraving I will do though. But it´s always nice to have the possibility when that day comes.
I still feel like the Cohesion board is too expensive. Might an alternative be to get a 32 bit board then, like a smoothieboard, or a SKR 1.3 for around 30€ (I´m back at 3d printer boards cause it´s the only boards I know) But for some reason they´re a lot more reasonably priced

Because someone else did all the work and they just manufacture them. :slight_smile:

The cloned boards work, but BTT contributes nothing to the Smoothieware project, they have zero support, and the hardware typically uses the cheapest possible components, including the 100mhz version of the main chip instead of the 120.

Again, they do work, but you’ll be on your own for wiring and configuration. Part of the price of the C3D is that it has all the K40 connectors on it, and takes about 5 minutes to install - it’s just unplug the M2 and plug in the C3D.

A Mini Gerbil is another option, similar to the C3D, and also plug & play, but with only two axis instead of four, and they have a seller in the EU somewhere so you won’t get hit with import taxes. I think they’re about $90.

You´re absolutely right. Of course I would much rather support the ones who contribute to the community than the shady chinese clone industry. But as a student I feel that it gets a bit harder to justify extra expenses right now.
If I had the cash I probably wouldn´t have bought a K40 at all.

Mini Gerbil sounds interesting though! Will check it out.

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