I am a new member here and am posting on my mobile phone,

I am a new member here and am posting on my mobile phone, so I may not be doing this correctly my options seem limited. I own a few K-40 machines and one them just started misbehaving, so I think it is a perfect time to explore my options in upgrading. I have been very curious to try LaserWeb for some time but don’t know where to begin.

I have a dozen Raspberry Pi 2/3’s that I could use so I considered the Pi CNC hat, then thought that due to the long shipping delays (and currently having a production laser down and out of commission) that I can’t delay this upgrade - so I am considering the Arduino powered GRBL sets on eBay. I think since I have the Pi’s already sitting on my shelf that it would be silly to pay the CPU cost of the Smoothieboard, but honestly I am worried because I don’t yet know what is or is not compatible with LaserWeb.

I will begin reading through this group archives and try to learn as much as can before placing my orders today, but if anyone could offer any guidance or suggestions I would appreciate it.

One of the options for Smoothie (which is 32 bit while Arduino is 8 bit) is the Cohesion3D Mini which drops right in to replace the stock board in a K40.

It is the same size and mounting hole pattern as the stock board, and has all the known connectors. Also quite affordable in my opinion.

(I make this board, any questions let me know)


+Peter van der Walt Wiring and soldering I am above average (always room for improvement) I make my own PCB’s and radio repeaters, as long as I can find a pinout I am set. Thank you for the honesty on the Pi.

@raykholo I have not yet read through the specs, but essentially this IS a smoothieboard correct, a clone that has been improved upon? As I said shipping delays are a MAJOR concern for me as my production, i.e. profit, has just been hit and I want that machine back online ASAP. Do you have these boards in stock now? It is a K-40 so my first board will just be a 2 axis board. If this can do what I need and you can ship fast I will order today.

This is a smoothie compatible, yes. Same microcontroller and firmware as smoothieboard. The current/ next batch is still in production and we expect to have them here and be shipping around 2 weeks from now.

Thank you for your honesty Ray, that honesty just sold me. I will purchase and try your board as soon as they are in stock. Today though I need to get this grbl board ordered to get the machine running as I have orders piling up quickly.

Could anyone suggest a link to buy a board or anything else I might need that would be compatible between the K40 and LaserWeb to get me running please? I really do not have any clue what all I might need, thus the reason I mentioned the Pi’s that I had available.

On a side note, I have been using lasers for about years and not yet even tried raster engraving, looks cool though.

@raykholo The mini does not have the ESP-8266, but the $149 board does correct? I understand the mini is not in stock yet due to the latest revision being in the manufacturing process stages still, do you have the bigger board in stock by chance? How often do you guys do your revision upgrades? With a smoothie compatible board the software (LaserWeb) would be run on the board itself, freeing my laptop, correct?

+Peter van der Walt​ Certainly not questioning your knowledge and experience, but are you sure a Pi3 wouldn’t handle running the web based controls? I am not looking to plug in a keyboard, mouse or monitor. I don’t even need an image with a GUI, I would run the Pi headless. So that said, and just to be sure, you would still say the Pi in this scenario is underpowered for this application?

Yes, the larger board, Remix, is in stock and ships quickly. It does not have the laser specific connectors that mini does.
The ESP8266 that is on Remix would not run LaserWeb, neither does smoothie in general. The ESP acts as a simple serial bridge - you can stream gcode commands to it and it is experimental.
You could run LaserWeb (the server) on a Pi which is networked, but access the webpage through a computer.
Regarding versions, well we ran a bunch of Mini’s and Remixes. The Mini’s sold out. We still have Remix in stock. Running another batch of Mini’s now. Super minor tweaks only - functionally the same board.

@raykholo I understand that those JST connectors may not be the same however the pins or headers I could solder to directly are the same right? I could wire it the same, minus the connectors?

Does your machine have a ribbon cable (FFC)?

Negative, I changed all the wiring because I like the look, feel and routing easy of that super soft dupont silicone wire. Sorry for all the questions being public, just figured someday, someone else might have the same set of questions.

@Joshua_Nulton Then sounds good. I’ll include some crimps to make the motors and endstops work with the Molex KK connectors on ReMix. I like having all this stuff publicly available too, help other people some of whom actually do read all of the threads before posting.
Ok, if Peter says no Pi, then no Pi :slight_smile:

+Peter van der Walt I do my CAD work on a PC, of course. I would not be doing any CAD work on a Pi, merely wanting to use the Pi as the Gcode interpreter to the driver board. For example, I am not forced to be tethered to my 3D printer, I export the Gcode to a file, then import the file from the 3D printer’s intranet web page and walk away. If it is not possible to do this I do believe you, I just don’t understand the purpose in it hosting server software. I have much to learn, trying to catch up on it all. :slight_smile:

Perhaps it was just quicker to design the GUI on a webpage, with no intention of it being used as a server? I am very new to concept of LaserWeb and am grateful, not trying to stir up trouble. Just trying to understand how it works. :slight_smile:

@raykholo agreed, no pi for sure. Trust the men who know. :slight_smile: It saves a lot headache from mistakes.

@raykholo I will place my order within an hour. Is the firmware pre-installed? Does it come with a documentation wiki link describing what software requirements might be or do I simply have to have LaserWeb installed and everything is good to run after wiring?

All boards come flashed with firmware.
ReMix comes with MicroSD Card with stock config on it. You will want to compare it to ours for the Mini which has a Laser Config already prepared.
Documentation: https://cohesion3d.freshdesk.com/
If you are running Windows lower than Win 10 you need to install drivers: http://smoothieware.org/windows-drivers
LW Install Instructions: https://github.com/LaserWeb/LaserWeb3/wiki

Order 265, thank you for your suggestions today. And thank you all for this group.

@Joshua_Nulton To your question about LW structure (server and so on): LaserWeb has two parts, the server and the frontend (web app). The server gets commands and gcode from the app and streams it to the controller (adapted to firmware specifics). The app has a CAM to generate the gcode and a machine control part to run your gode. The time you start your gcode, the whole file is sent to the server for streaming to the machine. From then on, the app (browser) is not anymore needed, but very useful to control the running job (like pause, resume, abort, override feed).
You could run the server part on a RasPi 3, and use a PC to run the App, but it will slow down streaming speed, which makes raster engraving slow and stuttering. For vector cutting, it’s probably enough.

@Joshua_Nulton thinking back, I may have forgotten to include those crimp connectors I mentioned… I was in a hurry to get the package shipped and it slipped my mind. Sorry about that.