Good day good people of the LaserWeb community! You've helped me many times before

Good day good people of the LaserWeb community!
You’ve helped me many times before and once again I come here seeking a bit of your wisdom.

I currently run an Eleksmaker A3 engraver with a 2500mW 445nm 1.3A diode laser and a controller that looks like the one in the attached image (grbl).
It works fine, but I was looking to upgrade to something that could engrave in shade (variable power output I’m guessing) and if possible also cut at least 4mm plywood.

First off I’d like to know if engraving in shades would even be possible with my current controller or do I need to upgrade that too?

Secondly, I started looking around but as I don’t know much, I am not sure where to buy (saw DTR’s Lasers mentioned a couple of times), which diode to buy and what else alongsidethe diode I need to buy (I’m guessing I need a lens, driver, casing…?) so I am seeking some professional guidance.

Thank you for your continued help with my newbie laser troubles!

That board is capable of grayscale engraving. I guess the problem is your diode. You need a laser diode with an external driver that has a separate TTL/PWM input.

And forget to cut playwood with a diode laser. I have a 5.5W diode laser but no chance to get throu the glue layer of playwood.

@Paul_Mott This is the LaserWeb community. PicEngrave ist not needed as LaserWeb has a Raser Engrave operation and Auggie is not compatible with LaserWeb.

@cprezzi I was looking at this the other day, do you think I could use this with my current laser/diode to do grayscale?
If not, I’m guessing at least the premade laser modules with TTL would work.

@Karlo_Krizetic Yes that should work. I use something similar.

@cprezzi Awesome, I think I’ll order it today then. Any idea how to wire it up? I’m guessing fan and diode wires from the laser should be plugged into that driver and the wire from my controller in to TTL port on the driver.

@cprezzi My appologies.

@Paul_Mott No problem.

@Karlo_Krizetic It’s easy. Just connect the Laser out from the Eleksmaker board to the TTL input of the driver and connect the laser and fan to the corresponding plugs on the driver. The driver also needs direct power (12V).

@cprezzi So my guess was correct, great. Ordered it and am eagerly waiting for it now.
Do you think I will need another power adapter or will the one with a splitter suffice?

@cprezzi I can cut 3mm birch plywood and 4mm poplar plywood with my NDB7875 2.5W in 3/4 passes. Are you sure yours is true 5.5W?

@Octavian_Bujor Looking at some other posts (and specs on some manufacturer websites) I’ve read, 5.5W should theoretically be able to cut it, but my 2.5W can’t cut Okume (really cheap light wood) 4 mm plywood. It got to through like 20-30 passes (when I stopped because there was no point) at 5 mm/s and it only cut through maybe half. As it got deeper the efficacy decreased tremendously.

@Karlo_Krizetic I don’t try with Okume but I’m sure that the type of plywood is important it can be harder than ones I’ve cut. It can be that your laser is not producing a constant of 2.5W but just peaks. You can try to reduce the speed, I cut at 120mm/m.

@Octavian_Bujor Okume has a hardness of 400 lbf and weight of 27 lbs/ft3 while Poplar has 540 lbf and 29 lbs/ft3 so okume is both softer and lighter and should in theory be more easy to cut.
I’m guessing it’s most likely due to the laser, at times I have noticed some inconsistencies when engraving.

@Karlo_Krizetic If it’s softer then yes, it should be easier to cut. I have to buy some Okume plywood and try.

@Octavian_Bujor I’d be interested to know what results you get with it.

@Octavian_Bujor Sure you can cut with multiple pathes, but that takes too long and produces burned edges. Not what I expect and easily get with my 40W CO2 laser.
My diode laser has “chineese 5.5W”, I guess it’s a nichia 3W diode.

@cprezzi Yes, it cannot be compared to a 40W CO2 laser.

@cprezzi My driver just arrived today and I connected the fan and the laser to their corresponding ports on the driver, connected the 12v power, but as soon as I connect the laser out on the Eleksmaker board to the TTL on the driver the Eleksmaker board just turns off. Any ideas?

Check the pins for +/-. On my board I had to swap the pins on one plug.