Features I'd love to see: 1) I'd like to keep a "database" of materials.

Features I’d love to see:

  1. I’d like to keep a “database” of materials. Associated with each one, I’d like to store a speed and a power level. When I want to lasercut acrylic, I go and select the acrylic material in the db, and go! Then i can swap out for, say, foamcore, and tell laserweb I’ve changed materials, and it can adjust power levels and speeds.
  2. I actually need three settings: mark, score and cut. Rasters would be marking, but also used for text, or cutting just the top layer of paper with foamcore. Score is where you cut most of the way through (eg: with foamcore, you cut the top paper and the foam, but not the bottom paper)
  3. serverside config. Unless I’m missing something, it seems to me that LW3 is storing its settings in my browser cache. Doesn’t that mean that I have to re-enter all config options on each machine I might use to cut from? And I need to reload the config every time I clear the browser cache because some website wasn’t working and that’s support’s first suggestion. etc.
  4. I seem to recall seeing something about tying colours and speed&power settings together in LW, but I think that was in LW1 or 2… I want to be able to do that.

I like your suggestions

re 2:
I don’t mean to suggest its hard to assign power levels, I’m hoping for presets. I’ll get a calibration file of some sort and use it to optimize how to cut/score/etch a material, and then put into a table somewhere “Material : cut 1% speed 10% power, score 10% speed 10% power, etch 30% speed 30% power” (for example), and then the next time I want to work with that material, I don’t need to remember the settings. I just load the images and set each to “cut material X” or whatever. I guess its sort of a settings macro.

3: on the settings page: last tab
Not really what I’m hoping for, I think. Those settings are essentially an export of the browser cached settings, right? So every time I update the settings for any reason, I need to do an export and then import that file on every machine, with every user, I might use to connect to LaserWeb. Trying to avoid that.

as for 4, yeah, I found the conversation about it after making this post. I’m not sure I’m jazzed about the implicit workflow with DXFs, but its certainly do-able. I haven’t used LW long enough to rethink how I do things or really convince myself that things are wrong or right as they stand.

Even with the bigger Trotec, ULS or Epilog machines using a single client on multiple machines would be an edge case. In fact I don’t think I’ve seen it. All the machines I’ve used have dedicated clients though the clients are able to store and load the machine configs locally.

What I’ve seen and used plenty of are stored configs and material libs. My FSL doesn’t have out of the box material libs but I can store configs and complete jobs with configs. The Letro/Lasercut machines don’t have standard, generic material libs either.

The ULS machines I was using for a couple of years had great material libs but I’ve managed to change my workflow without them.

I’m setting a higher standard than the professional units! :smiley:

I forget the name of the controller currently on “my” laser, the one that LW is about to replace, but it has material profiles (at least, it did, until it decided to crash whenever we change materials…) Its also installed as a generic print driver which is super convenient… I’m thinking about how to do that too. I think CUPS and a little scripting can do it.

Material profiles are specific to the characteristics of any particular machine. That is what makes a generic profile across different machines types challenging. One of the reasons an Epilog/Trotec/ULS is more expensive than an import is the software/firmware implementation. The differences are night and day between the imports and name brand domestics.

Virtually all non flatbed CO2 lasers, at least what most of us would come in contact with, use printer drivers as the means to communicate with the machine. The DIY machines are the only machines of this size of which I’m aware that use a traditional CNC gcode toolset rather than a printer driver.

The drivers install from a traditional Windows install program and function identical to using a conventional printer. One potential downside is the lock in on a single platform though many if not most of those users are Windows users. Over the last 5 years, hands on about 20 machines from 4 different manufacturers I’ve yet to see any significant install or user issues relating to using a printer driver.

The K40 realm is a trainwreck compared to larger machines but that’s due to poor coding, implementation and porting of the Chinese drivers and not the mechanism of using a printer driver per se. Having spoken to engineers at the name brand manufacturers they would disagree that using a printer driver is an issue. One of my first questions during a manufacturer training was why they implemented the interface as a printer instead of as a CNC machine. The like the approach as it gives them a better user experience and can leverage an existing API in the OS and it’s an interface with which the users are more familiar when connecting or choosing a machine.

@dstevens_lv I absolutely did not intend to suggest I wanted a single hard-coded material profile for all machines! I want to be able to put some scrap material in my machine and cut a test pattern. Then, based on the results, I will fill in a form with the optimal settings for my hardware for that material. The next time I want to cut that material, I’ll let laserweb recall the settings, instead of me having to remember it, or keep it on a post-it note, or a desktop spreadsheet that I keep losing, etc.

I very much like @Richard_Betel idea on presets for speed / power. Something like the macros page. One created it could be selected from a drop-down fro convertion

+Peter van der Walt

I think you’ve done a fantastic job in a short amount of time Don’t feel you need to defend your actions or methods/reasons of what you are doing with your program. At least not with me. I completely support what you’re doing.

What made 3D printing work isn’t the fact that it used grbl. It’s the fact that it was 1) open and 2) had an active user community that was passionate about using and developing the machines. Entry level laser has the user interest but the lock in of controllers and firmware/software is limiting it from the initial growth rates of 3D printing.

I think the Smoothie/Laserweb combo is a key to opening up this space. The motors, motion hardware, PSU, mirrors and tubes are all commodity hardware at this point. Laserweb could (in fact I think should) be the missing link that ties all of it together. Opening the controller hardware, software and firmware will be the exact disruptive event that will open CO2 laser to many, many more people.

Storing settings locally is a common feature on most all machines. It’s the dedicated materials databases, out of the box, that would be a challenge to implement.

It’s approached in a couple of manners. One method is storing the job with the parts or engraving job stored with the settings. From that then the settings only can be uploaded if needed. Regardless of the method or implementation, recall of previous settings should be a standard feature.

@dstevens_lv I feel like I’m using words you don’t understand! I am absolutely not looking for an “out of the box” anything. I want a “place” to store labeled settings. I’ll provide the values for those settings, as well as the labels. Ariel Yahni gets it.

On thursday, (the next time I’m in the shop), I’ll try to get screenshots of the Testra corporation’s ssLaser drivers so you can see what they do. I am suggesting we do something similar.

@Richard_Betel Second this idea, We will have a k40 in a group setting soon and my best solution so far is a piece of paper taped to it that has speed and power settings for different materials. Example 1/8 MDF - Cut at 10mm/s at 80% power. It would be nice if this could be in software somewhere