Exploring: Metal Cutting with Ruida RDC633xM

My makerspace has acquired a Kern 100"x50" laser with a 150w Coherent RF laser, built circa 2004. We’d love to be able to cut metal on it, but the existing control system doesn’t support that. (And is long unsupported by Kern.) I’m exploring the pros and cons of updating the machine with the Ruida package marketed by Cloudray, centered around the RDC633xM. I see that Ruida has a variant of RDworks called MetalCut, which I’ve downloaded and installed. It’s a little … opaque, and does not seem to have a User’s Guide or Help. :confused:

I do know that there have been several topics in this direction, please forgive me if I cover old ground in my coming questions. IN A PERFECT WORLD, I hope to get a complete understanding of the stack of hardware, software, and protocols involved, and then offer to loan the Main Controller + Distance Controller to Lightburn (Oz?) for evaluation and testing.

So! Back on Feb 6, 2019, Alrich (@robomojo?) listed a few functions that MetalCut provides. (Listed below) My questions today are for him, or anyone else who uses this software. Where the heck are these features implemented in MetalCut?

Cut in + cut out are in the Cut Property Bar, and Lightburn has already implemented them. (Happy happy)

Mix Cut Parameters: Where can these be accessed in MetalCut?
(follow up/down delay, finish delay, punch time, punch delay, shutter delay)

Cut Direction option: Where is this controlled in MetalCut? (“Already implemented in Lightburn.” More happy happy)

Gas Assist options: Where is this controlled in MetalCut?
( high pressure gas, or low pressure gas, or just air)

Question 2: Can the firmware on Ruida controllers be updated in the field? I’ve investigated the Ruida package enough to see that it uses two of their microcontrollers, and repurpoes six of the I/O pins to communicate in real time, with individual I/O bits.

a) Is the Focus Controller physically just a standard Ruida controller with specialized firmware?

b) Does Ruida ever release firmware updates that are field-deployable?

I can answer the 2nd question - Ruida does provide firmware updates for their hardware, yes. You need RDWorks (or MetalCut) to update the controller firmware, as LightBurn doesn’t include that functionality at this time.

OK, today I see that the firmware updater is in the same place in both programs:
Config > SystemSettings > System Info (tab) > Upgrade Firmware (field for name, and button).

(My reason for asking this is one of opportunities: wondering whether one can buy a RDC633xG soon, and be able to convert it to a RDC633xM , only a firmware change.)

So! Let’s move ahead to the next step. Where can we find those CAM functions called “Mix Cut Parameters”? @robomojo, @Axeman, @cmlaser, @raykholo, can you help us move ahead?

Anything that is put into the job file (the RD file), like punch times and power, I should be able to extract what I need from the RD file itself. For the stuff in the user tab, I’ll actually need to purchase one of these controllers and capture the traffic from it to get the settings info I need.

That sounds excellent, Oz!. I have sent a pricing enquiry to CloudRayLayers to see if we can buy just the RDC633xM, a display to go with it, and a MetalCut license. (Actually maybe two sets, one for you and one for us.) This might allow us (Protohaven.org) to get our Kern 50x100 machine rebuilt with modern/supportable motion control, doing just wood & plastic for now, until such time as metal cutting becomes feasible.

Given that CloudRay sells Lightburn, do you have some contact on the inside who you can nudge for a speedy and positive answer? :wink:

I looked on Cloudray earlier today and only saw the 6332G, not the M variant. Alibaba / Aliexpress had them though. I do have contact info for the man behind Cloudray, but I try not to harass people if I don’t need to.

OK, I understand better now.

The AliExpress page (by “Wavetop Sign”, yet another entity) for the 6332M seems … confusing. I am left with the impression that the first offering there (1st of 3 buttons for “voltage” :roll_eyes:) is the one in the photos. (And that the 6334M would get us the touchscreen variant instead.) Further scrutiny of the wiring diagram further down the page implies that maybe we need to have the LFS box also, even to get started, in that the USB connection to the PC is made through the LFS, not the 6332M.

Hey, @robomojo! First, thank you for the clarification on the parameters. Secondly, is my viewing of the wiring diagram correct - is your PC’s connection to the overall system made through the LFS?

Close examination of the LFS Operating Manual (page 13) states that the USB connector on the LFS module is ONLY for updating firmware. Therefore, I am assuming that Wavetop Sign’s diagram is in error. (And that the PC connects to the 6332M via USB.)

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