Options for K40 and Lightburn

High everyone. i am new here and this is my first post but i have been reading this forums and others as well as videos and such on laser cutters for a while now. And i am seriously considering buying a K40 from OMTech.

This would be my first “intro” laser. And i figure it is a good way to get my foot in the door. And at a later date when more money is available i can buy or build a bigger and better machine.

The issue is from what i have seen Lightburn is the best option for controlling the cutter but obviously it is not an out of the box option on s K40. So i have looked at the Cohesion option the Ruida Controller retrofit and the Mini grbl (sp?) options. And i am having trouble deciding what is best.

The Ruida seams the best controller but is complicated to install (but i could handle it) on the plus side if i build a bigger machine later it would be useable for that. So a better long term option. I see a retrofit kit with this and a few other things from Cloudray for about 315. or so.

The Cohesion bd is easy to install but cost almost as much as the Ruida (about 50-75 less)
And the cheep option being the mini controller from Auesometech for about 95.

So advise?
BTW do these options keep the controls such as the test fire. button working?

-yes i know about the various suggested upgrades
-No i cant really afford to just jump up to a 2400-3200 machine at this point.
-I figure i will mostly be cutting thin wood for model buildings (1/8” or thinner) at least to start.
-I work with autocad for a living and will draw most things with that. I have LT on my computer.
-I have done CNC Autocad drawings professionally so i understand the concepts.
-I may stick my toe in the water of selling a few things once i create them for myself or my family. But i understand if that goes anywhere i will need something more powerful.

once again thank you for any advice?

Don’t worry about the hookup, if you’re planning on modifying it yourself and you have the basic skills. There’s lots of people here to assist if you need it.

I have a Ruida, it’s been around and it’s tough. The interface to the hardware is well known on many controllers of that quality.

Have you seen a photo of the Ruida compared to the Cohesion? Also the Ruida is a DSP controller allowing hardware control of some functions. Power, is one, where you can set minimum and maximum power values.

Cohesion is grbl based and the Ruida is not. You do have to pay a license fee for the Ruida. IMHO, I would recommend against a grbl based controller if you’re going to spend that much.

I’m sure you’ll have fun with whatever you decide.

Good luck, take care :slight_smile:

I have chosen the economically advantageous solution for my K40, the Mini-Gerbil. It can do everything necessary to get started quickly and works well. The LightBurn license is also more starter-friendly in price. After 3 very good years and many pleasant and productive working hours with my K40, I am now “mature enough” to move on with a larger machine. All the larger machines I am interested in come with Ruida controller, so I get a new controller and still have my K40 for specific tasks.
But no matter what you choose, you will have fun with the machinery.

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where did you get your Mini-grbl from?
Also does that allow Lightburn to vary the power?
Some of this is not very obvious when watching vids or reading pages.

I bought my Mini Gerbil from their online shop and it was delivered to me from their European sales department. The cable connections fit perfectly with the existing connectors, after 5 minutes I have been running.
All control takes place through LightBurn, the power variation and speed. The only thing missing is a mA ammeter, which in turn is absolutely necessary to be able to put the percentages from LB in relation to the real power. In my K40 power supply I can not limit the output max, therefore I use ammeters to check that my max. 16 mA is not exceeded. 16mA fits approx. to 55% on the LightBurn power scale. I personally think that power management is very sensitive, with all the necessary nuances for image engraving.

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