Eleksmaker & Lightburn

I emailed this also to Lightburn support;

Hello,

Quick background. I recently got a K40 and am successfully running it with K40 Whisperer. It was seamless. Loaded Whisperer (already had Inkscape), plugged the K40 into my PC and Whisperer immediately started running the laser.

I want to also learn and use your Lightburn but for now don’t want to change the control board on my K40. So I think I’m gonna purchase a diode laser. I think I’ve settled for the moment on Eleksmaker. Perhaps the A3 Pro or even the EleksMill to save some space. I simple want to Learn Lightburn and at the same time experience a diode laser. And what I’m hoping for is as seamless an experience to simple plug the laser (of course assemble it first) into my PC, purchase and load your software and start running the laser.

I’ve read the laser compatibility info on your web page but instead of purchasing the laser first I thought I’d ask you a question or two. So here is the link to the EleksMill;

Says it’s an EleksMana control board. Under software support is say GRBL/Candle(CNC), Benbox/EleksCAM
(laser). Does this mean your software will talk to/control this machine simple by plugging into my PC and launching Lightburn?

I’m sure if I needed to “flash” this control board I could do that. I also am familiar with Prusa 3d printers and have managed to “flash” the printer with firmware updates. So I really really appreciate your assistance on this question. And if there is even a better more simple laser choice that is compatible out-of-the-box with your software I would appreciate your input.

Thanks,
Scott
Elk Grove, CA
noblecleaners@comcast.net

Response copied from the email reply:

The experience with this machine, or any other diode, will be pretty underwhelming compared to the K40, but it should work. There are a couple things that will make it less plug & play than you’re hoping for:

  • No end stops / homing switches - you’ll need to manually set the home or zero position when you power up, and there might be a change required to the config to have it work.

  • It’s a mill, so it’s likely configured for CNC milling, not laser use, by default. This means settings changes if you flip between the modes. CNC mode and Laser mode have different behaviors - a laser doesn’t need to retract the tool or wait for a spindle to speed up, and a spindle doesn’t have to be turned off when doing travel moves, but a laser does.

  • It uses lead-screws instead of belts, which is going to severely limit the maximum speed, partly because of the fact that it’s lead screws, and partly because GRBL has a maximum stepping rate of about 30khz. If this device needs 1000 steps to move 1mm, the fastest you’ll ever run it with GRBL is 30000 / those 1000 steps, or 30mm/sec. With a unit this small it might not matter.

This laser is arguably a bit better:

https://www.gearbest.com/laser-engraving-machine/pp_009302152812.html

They have a firmware issue that prevents getting full power, but they’ve fixed it and made a firmware update available on our forum. The machine has homing switches, decent power output, and uses a current version of GRBL designed for lasers.

A Cohesion3D board in the K40 would be recognized immediately and the config “just works” - it would truly be the plug & play you seek. The Ortur machine above is likely the closest to that in a diode machine. Any of the 8-bit Eleksmaker devices will need some settings changes and fiddling to make them work well.

Hi Scott,
It’s the reverse way you go :wink: … There are many, including myself, who start with a diode laser and then switch to a co2 laser.
In my opinion, it is a waste of money to buy an Eleksmaker unless you have some very specific tasks for the diode laser.
Use the money to “upgrade” your k40 instead. A controller, Lightburn and air assistance are the most important things to start with, in my opinion. I have never regretted these decisions and I am very happy with my little K40 laser.
Regards
Bernd