This will be my first cnc that will have both cutter and laser.

Mike although I have put in an order for the 5.6 watt laser I am now thinking of upgrading already to the 8 watt laser since sometimes I will be cutting 4 mm plywood and 6 mm polycarbonate.

Would you suggest this is better to upgrade now than later on this endurance laser head from George?


He does offer a trade-up, but I wish I’d bought an 8W first

I sent him a message. Hopefully he gets it before sending the unit.

Hi @Mike_Thornbury , I have already designed the carriage for the 5.6W laser from George (Endurance), he has proved to be incredibly helpful.

I have purchased the Arduino Due as well as the Synthos gShield v5 today based on your recommendation of a 32bit control board.

The Sphinx CNC is nearly built, and is very solid in design for this size.

I am looking to try CamBam as well as Vectric. However based on your recommendation that CamBam is very simple, I will be giving this a demo to see if I can wrap my head around it easily.

Most of the work on this machine will be to machine curves on the side of timber boards, then mill out pockets to inset mother of pearl for the company branding.

Is my understanding correct of workflow in that I need to look at using Inkscape first to create the raster image for the cut profiles, then use CamBam or LaserWeb/CNCweb to create the machining paths and create Gcode, then use another software like Gcode sender or even cncjs to run the GCode.

Does that workflow sound correct?

Many thanks for all your input on this project thus far.

@Ciaran_Whelan CAMBAM isn’t really for raster images - it’s not really suited to creating gcode for laser etching. I use it for CNC milling and cutting.

Inkscape isn’t my tool of choice - I’ve got too many years in Adobe products to change now :slight_smile: But, it’s a great tool for image and vector manipulation.

Laserweb is ideal for raster image processing.

CNCjs, UGCS, SPJS, etc. are all tools used to send to a device over a network. I use them because my Laser device is connected to an OrangePi which handles all the local processing. If you are close to your unit, you can just plug in.

It really depends on your setup.

My ‘design desk’ and my electronics workbench are in my office, my machines are in a wood and metalworking workshop next door, So I queue up the job wirelessly, then go to the machine to set up the material and kick off the task.

If it was me…

Your Sphinx is doing double duty as CNC mill and Laser engraver - concentrate on getting your milling side working with a toolchain you like - Inkscape > Cambam > Laserweb/CNCweb > machine works great. But then so does Inkscape > Laserweb/CNCWeb > Machine. Cambam is nice, but you don’t need it if your machining jobs are simple (like cutting an outline).

Once you are happy you are cutting efficiently, then work out the tool path and configuration of your laser side. Again, Inkscape > Laserweb > machine works great to be starting with.

OF course you can work on all that without a functioning machine - if you have a spare Arduino of any description, just fire up GRBL and play with the tools, right through to sending the job off to the controller. II had sent probably 100 ‘jobs’ before I had a piece of hardware that obeyed my commands. It helped to refine what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it and to highlight areas that were clunky or laborious.

There are some key things to remember - the tool head 0,0 position for routing will be different to the ‘tool head’ position for laser. Work out the offset and ensure you add it in to your ‘pre’ GCode when creating - then a home cycle will still mean your laser engraving happens in the right place and you can use your milling tool as a pointer.

I still have two TinyG’s to use up before I need a new controller and I am hoping there will be a polulu-style shield for the Due that handles 3.3V. For my needs, the V5 Shield is pricy, when you add in the cost of a Due and the wasted two motor outputs (My laser design only uses two motors). But good choice - well made hardware and G2Core is the bomb!. Its should drive your motors with ease. Maybe look to some cooling if you are going to drive it hard through hardwood.

Let us know how you are going and certainly continue to ask questions.