First off all, none of this post is an exact guide anyone should follow, there are risks involved with running lasers unattended and could burn your house down, only use this if monitored extensively and you got the ability to act on anything that may go wrong. Continue at your own risk!
I’ve been scouring the internet due to my K40 being on the other side of the room… A tiny room, a 5 feet cable would do, however didn’t want to go around everything due to the cable suddenly needing to be much longer, and I didn’t want to risk tripping over cables either, so I started looking into going wireless, not to be able to work from further away, but to avoid dangers to do with cables (I’ve got a 6 year old running around lol).
I started with a bear bones K40, and managed to get M33rK40t working over the network through an old laptop I set up as a hub, but it was slow, had glitches and didn’t sync location correctly, so I first swapped to a Mini Gerbil 3, which only took about 10 minutes. They are about £90-£110, but as they natively work with Lightburn, this was a must have for me (plus a few other features I want to play with in the future). Other controllers will probably work as well (Cohesion3D etc.), but I haven’t tested this.
Once all this was setup I grabbed my spare Pi Zero W (£10-£15), flashed it with Raspbian Pi OS Lite 32-Bit (many guides on this), enabled SSH and pre configured Wi-Fi (This can all be done using Raspberry Pi Imager). I laser cut a case for it (few on thingiverse, make sure to measure your Pi and resize accordingly, mine was a few mm off), connected a male micro USB to female USB B, that to a USB hub, and connected my camera and K40 to it. (Note, if you use a fullsize Pi, you don’t need a Micro USB to USB A or a USB hub, this was what was available to me at the time!)
If you got a monitor connected to your Pi, all you need to do is login (default pw raspberry) run a ifconfig, and note the IP. If it is running standalone you can use any IP scanner to find the IP.
You then SSH into your Pi (ssh firstname.lastname@example.org) from your computer, and run the below commands:
chmod +x vhusbdarm
sudo nano /etc/rc.local
You then scroll down and edit to the below:
/home/pi/vhusbdarm -b &
You then press CTRL+O and then CTRL+X to save and then exit the text editor.
After this you can either reboot the device to start or manually enter:
sudo ./vhusbdarm -b
This essentially tells the Pi to:
-Make it exectuable
-Edit the startup file (-b is background and & is to keep running)
-Start the service
You can then install the VirtualHere client on your workstation, it will automatically pick up the Pi, and auto connect the device, making it work natively in Lightburn.
Note, the free version only allows 1 device at a time, you could use a wireless IP camera instead, but with focus, fov and all, you’re on your own with that one!
I love being able to job my K40 while actually standing in front of it, so I connected an old wireless controller I had lying around and installed AntimicroX (this button remapper isn’t in active development, but it works great for me, there are other ones out there!).
You can then map the shortcuts in Lightburn, I’ve got mine set to the below:
Left Stick - Mouse up/left/right/down
DPAD’s - NUM 2/4/6/8
[A] - ALT+L
[B] - Escape
[ X] - Toggle Mouse LB hold
This allows you to use the left stick for the mouse curser,dpad to use the jog function, [A] for turning on laser position, [B] to cancel laser position and [ X] to press and hold the left mouse button, which in turn allows you to make quick adjustments on the bed and record locations in lightburn.
I also use htop (sudo apt install -y htop and then run htop), to monitor CPU, ram and network usage, and even doing vector/raster at 400 mm/s for about 20 minutes didn’t show a single USB or network issue. CPU Usage spiked at about 45%, temps remained reasonable, and saw no degradations in any factor by going from direct USB to Wi-Fi. However, every setup is different, and some devices might have more data traffic, I got no clue, result may vary!
I’ve created this account just to share this as I did find all the information I needed to get going, but it was all spread out, I hope this will save someone some time at least.