Use PicLaser without a DAC?

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cstmwrks
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Use PicLaser without a DAC?

Postby cstmwrks » Sun Nov 20, 2016 10:26 am

Hi folks,
Couple of years ago I bought one of J Tech's laser diodes and am very happy. It is on a 4' x 4' machine with MACH3 and all the information on the set up is at this forum : http://www.cnczone.com/forums/cnc-router-parts/287170-crp800-mach3-j-tech-laser.html. So right now I just do line art work and use feed rate to control the burn level.

Talked with J last Friday and asked if I would be able to use PicLaser with dithering to burn images at one power setting and if my current set up should be able to work. His answer was yes, I could burn at a single power setting but when I asked about the set up the answer was more of " I think that will work ".

So I kinda felt bad about hounding J on the phone for support of another companies product. I bought PicLaser and joined the forum. My laser set up uses M11P1 and M10P1 to turn the laser on and off. Almost no dwell so if you burn an image of a square there is not a hot spot from the dwell in other Mach 3 commands. Sooooo... when entering info in the PicLaser set up and doing some tests and looking at the code, I suspect that though you can set up to burn at a single power level... you still need a DAC board?

I understand that for best quality it would be advised to buy the PWM DAC from J Tech but I would still like to know if it is possible for PicLaser to just send on off commands in the form of M11P1 and M10P1?

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Picengravertoo
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Re: Use PicLaser without a DAC?

Postby Picengravertoo » Sun Nov 20, 2016 11:45 am

Hi William,

PicLaser will not generate the M11P1 & M11P1 commands properly for Mach3 TTL laser engraving. Our PicEngrave Pro 5 will though. PicLaser will only generate gcode with Z, A, B or C axis commands when using an Encoder or DAC. The Std. Gcode profile would be selected. However, if your axis direction pin has a strong 5v signal, it can be used to turn your J-Tech laser on/off with a Dithered image to generate the gcode. You would set the Max Laser Value at -.005 and Min Laser Value at .000 and if the A, B or C axis is used, they need to be set in Mach3 Gen. Config to Linear.

Jeff

cstmwrks
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Re: Use PicLaser without a DAC?

Postby cstmwrks » Sun Nov 20, 2016 11:56 am

Hi Jeff,
OK, thanks. I'll have to look over the additional features of the Pro version. Overall it may be best to get the J tech DAC no matter if I stay with PicLaser or upgrade to PicLaser 5 Pro.

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Picengravertoo
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Re: Use PicLaser without a DAC?

Postby Picengravertoo » Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:10 pm

I agree because the DAC will allow you to engrave grayscale instead of just B&W. It will also allow you to engrave B&W even smoother then the M11P1 & M10P1 commands.

cstmwrks
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Re: Use PicLaser without a DAC?

Postby cstmwrks » Sun Nov 20, 2016 2:11 pm

I had seen a sample image that was maybe 5 x 7 and it took 5 hours to burn. With that I'm guessing that enlarging an image to a 20 x 30 poster size would be a huge g-code file and take a day or more to burn. With that in mind is there a size limit set in the PicLaser software?

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Picengravertoo
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Re: Use PicLaser without a DAC?

Postby Picengravertoo » Sun Nov 20, 2016 3:26 pm

The time would depend on what wattage laser you have and the feedrate for the material your engraving. The size restriction would be the gcode limit that you can load and run in Mach3 which if I'm not mistaken is 10,000,000 lines. We have the program PicFRC that will divide up the very large files into smaller ones to run independently.

http://www.picengrave.com/PicFRC.htm

I just generated a gcode using PicLaser with a 20 X 30 size image and a .006" Pixel Resolution. Our Dell Win10 64bit Pentium 3.00 Ghz PC with 4GB Ram took a little time working on it, but was successful. The file has 16,670,016 lines of gcode and is 325 MB in size.

cstmwrks
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Re: Use PicLaser without a DAC?

Postby cstmwrks » Sun Nov 20, 2016 5:04 pm

Wow.. thanks. Was not expecting you to run a test. So line code is more the limit factor. Nice to know.


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