Questions regarding Lightburn and Engraver

So Im new to engraving and working with lightburn/etc. I recently purchased the ebay cheapo engraver and it works pretty well. My main complaint is the software, which is what brings me here. So here we go with the questions ;

  1. I am not sure which controller I have, but I keep seeing people post pics of the ‘nano’ and it looks a bit similar to mine. But I’m not sure which controller it is. I will attach a pic.
  2. Will this controller need to be flashed to utilize lightburn?
  3. Would it be better to replace the controller with a higher quality controller? and if so, which?
  4. Can the 2500mw laser be upgraded to a more powerful laser for deeper cuts?
  5. Can the gantry (or whatever its called in the laser world) be enlarged to do larger media?

  1. Yes, the little blue board is an Arduino nano clone. These typically use GRBL firmware.
  2. Depends on what firmware it currently has.
  3. Not really.
  4. Yes, there are more powerful laser heads available. Whether or not there is any benefit to them depends on what you are trying to accomplish.
  5. Maybe. It depends on the system you bought. Do you have a link we can look at or can you post a picture of it. It may or may not be worth enlarging this one vs buying a larger system.

how can I check the firmware? The software it comes with is very yawn lackluster. And feels more like a clipart program you find in the bargain bin at walmart.

Attached is the pic of the unit. Here is the ebay link for it as well.

If I do flash it or have to flash it, is it possible to revert it to defaults in case I need to sell it or anything like that?

Currently I’m just burning words into solid stock as small signs for my planters (yeah i know…kinda nerdy) But plan on using it to cut acrylic and ABS (1/4") in the near future. I also would like to use it to cut small sheets of ply for diorama building and constructing buildings for my trains.

What software does/did it ship with? Looks like it could be benbox?
Also you’ll find abs plastic melts rather than cuts but acrylic will work nicely for engraving. Unsure about cutting with the laser you have.

“Larserworks” I believe

how can I check the firmware?

If the software have a console command (all have), type: $
(or use a terminal software (like Putty) connect to serial port and type a $

$ show help
$i show info

:wink:

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Ahh… so this is an EleksMaker SE that I’ve heard so much about… I believe there was a post yesterday or day before in regards to ditching this thing and getting a better controller. Thanks for the diagram, mine seems to have two additional buttons on it. One just turns the laser on, at what I assume is at min power for focusing, the other seems to be a momentary switch for power. I havent figured out what the third button does yet.

Perfect! Thanks! I dont know why I didn’t think to try the console first.

I’m really just looking at cutting acrylic and cutting ABS and not so much engraving. I use them to create custom pieces for my aquariums.

It won’t cut ABS either it just melts back together.

bummer :frowning: So CNC is still the best way to go for cutting ABS?

Yes. Acrylic cuts like a dream but ABS gets all melty and stringy.

Just a heads up on cutting ABS, there is a link to safe cutting items somewhere, but an abstract
“Cutting ABS plastic emits hydrogen cyanide, which is unsafe at any concentration.”
:scream:

Thanks! I’ve actually worked with cutting/molding ABS in a filtered environment but had actually forgot about that.

So looks like my version of grbl is older?

Grbl 0.8c [’$’ for help]

So which laser printer/device should I select?

tried both of these commands but errored out.

Grbl 0.8c [’$’ for help]
error: Bad number format
error: Bad number format
error: Bad number format

Typically the machine ships with an older version of grbl so go with the GRBL-M3 device in LightBurn. Ideally, you would upgrade to GRBL 1.1f and then use just the GRBL device. There is a group for these types of machines on Facebook and quite a few people there use LightBurn, so they would be able to advise you more.

Check your setting for $30 and $32 in the console by typing $$ and pressing enter.

$32 should be 1 (enable laser mode)

$30 should be 1000

The $30 value can be set either in your firmware to match LightBurn, or in the LightBurn device settings (S Max) to match your GRBL setting.

Here is a another great resource for your setup.

http://wiki.eleksmaker.com/doku.php?id=elekslaser_a3_pro

As another member previously posted on fb, "Scroll down to the bottom "operating instructions" And follow that, once you have it working in elekscam. It should work in lightburn.

Follow the instructions to the letter and that will get you up and running…"

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Fantastic! Thanks for the info. I dont appear to have a $32 or $30. Looks like i’ll have to upgrade it. I think I saw a topic yesterday about someone having to upgrade theirs with xloader. I tried selecting grbl pre 1.3c or something to that effect, i hear it initialize the motor or the laser, but it gets stuck in home.

Grbl 0.8c [’$’ for help]
$0=100.000 (x, step/mm)
$1=100.000 (y, step/mm)
$2=800.000 (z, step/mm)
$3=10 (step pulse, usec)
$4=450.000 (default feed, mm/min)
$5=500.000 (default seek, mm/min)
$6=192 (step port invert mask, int:11000000)
$7=250 (step idle delay, msec)
$8=30.000 (acceleration, mm/sec^2)
$9=0.050 (junction deviation, mm)
$10=0.100 (arc, mm/segment)
$11=25 (n-arc correction, int)
$12=3 (n-decimals, int)
$13=0 (report inches, bool)
$14=1 (auto start, bool)
$15=0 (invert step enable, bool)
$16=0 (hard limits, bool)
$17=0 (homing cycle, bool)
$18=0 (homing dir invert mask, int:00000000)
$19=25.000 (homing feed, mm/min)
$20=250.000 (homing seek, mm/min)
$21=100 (homing debounce, msec)
$22=1.000 (homing pull-off, mm)
ok