Output to fire a relay, to turn on exhaust fan and air blow & 4th axis questions

I am doing my first Smoothie board conversion. I have a 60W GWieke Laser engraver with Z axis. I am NOT new to CNC conversions. Done quite a few from benchtop mills and lathes to large machinining centers.
I have a 5XC
A few questions
I would like to know if it is possible to fire a relay, that would power the exhaust fan and air blower prior to starting the cut, say allow a given number of seconds for both to come up to speed, and then a delay a given number of seconds to turn them off. (to allow finishing exhausing of smoke/fumes.

In the CNC milling machine world we could use M3/M5 with delays or G4Px pauses to start and stop a spindle for example…

In a CNC milling machine, we would use a 4th axis to drive a rotary indexer. I noted that many that use a Laser Engraver, disconnect their Y axis and connect the rotary axis in its place temporarily.
Since I have the 5XC board, is it not possible to use the 4th stepper axis to drive the rotary axis? or is this unconventional in the Laser Engraver world? I will be using Light burn.

Pictures of my machine and build: https://photos.app.goo.gl/TLPfx2NAQGHU43pg7
(note I am using external Leadshine drivers set to 2000 pulses per revolution)

Thanks in advance!

There is firmware available to to use the 4th axis for your rotary, and LightBurn supports this.

Do a search for clustering firmware on https://forum.cohesion3d.com

Thanks Anthony, I’ll check it out

You are going to have to forgive me. It appears Cohesion3D is a different control board than Smoothie. Or is it a “clone” of Smoothie? I have a genuine Smoothie 5XC. I noted Smoothie put out a new CNC version about 2 weeks ago. I have not yet loaded it. I wonder if it has support for an A axis

The Laserboard firmware will work on a genuine Smoothie as far as I know.

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i can confirm that the cluster firmware does indeed work on a genuine smoothieboard 4xC.


Thanks Joseph.
Are you running a laser with the 4th axis? If so, can I get a look at your config file?

not currently but i am using the 3rd ant 4th drivers for x and y as i burned the first two.