The LaserWeb project recently released version 3, with many new features and improvements ready to give your laser cutter or engraver a serious boost in capabilities! On top of that, new 3-axis CNC support means that the door is open to having LaserWeb do for other CNC tools what it has already done for laser cutting and engraving.
LaserWeb3 supports different controllers and the machines they might be connected to – whether they are home-made systems, CNC frames equipped with laser diode emitters (such as retrofitted 3D printers), or one of those affordable blue-box 40W Chinese lasers with the proprietary controller replaced by something like a SmoothieBoard.
We’ve covered the LaserWeb project in the past but since then a whole lot of new development has been contributed, resulting in better performance with new features (like CNC mode) and a new UI. The newest version includes not only an improved ability to import multiple files and formats into single multi-layered jobs, but also Smoothieware Ethernet support and a job cost estimator. Performance in LaserWeb3 is currently best with Smoothieware, but you can still save and export GCODE to use it with Grbl, Marlin, EMC2, or Mach3.
We recently shared a lot of great information on safe homebrew laser cutter design. Are you making your own laser cutting machine, or retrofitting an existing one? Let us know about it in the comments!
EMC2 CNC keyboard labels
If you’ve got a dedicated computer running EMC2 for CNC control you may be interested in these keyboard labels. [Rich] mentions that they use the labels for their engraver at the Connecticut Hackerspace. Just print them out and glue them in the face of the keys.
Dev board seminars and freebies
[Mike] wrote in to tell us STM is giving away samples of the STM32 F3 Discovery again. But you can also get in on some free seminars. One is an online webinar for TI’s Launchpad family, the other is for the F3 Discovery board and is being held all around the US.
Replacing batteries with USB power
[Johan] didn’t want to use batteries for the light on the microscope he uses when working with SMT parts. He added a few components with let him power the device from USB instead.
MSP430 VU meter uses FFT
Here’s an MSP430 using Fast Fourier Transform for signal processing. There’s very little explanation, but apparently this collection of FFT related material was used heavily in the project. [via Reddit]
If you’re looking for a new office game you might consider Cell Racr. It pits your cellphone’s vibrating motor against everyone else’s. Just place the phone on an incline and repeatedly dial its number to advance toward the finish line.
[Darrell Taylor] wanted to add a CNC control pendant to his mill but didn’t want to foot the bill which can often run several hundred dollars. These pendants are basically a physical remote control that operates the CNC software that controls the machine. Since he was already using a Linux box running EMC2, it wasn’t too hard to figure out how to operate the mill with a PlayStation controller.
To get the controller talking to his Linux machine he uses a package called QtsixA. The package identifies and loads the control through Bluetooth pairing. From there it can be used to map the buttons and joysticks as keys on the keyboard or as a mouse. In the video after the break [Darrell] demonstrates how he has his shortcuts set up. He’s able to move the machine head, and even start or step through the programmed routine. As he mentions, this is pretty nice if you’ve got dirty hands; just throw the controller in a zipper bag and you’re set to go.
Continue reading “Wireless controller operates your CNC mill”
We love CNC hacks, so when [Jonny] sent in his nearly complete CNC router we were ecstatic. There are only a couple of posts thus far, and it takes some digging, but its pretty easy to understand his mindset and overall plan while making the CNC. It currently has full 3 axis movement and he replaced the previously dinky Harbor Freight Dremel with a much more powerful DeWalt that even Tim Taylor would be proud of. Software side of things he uses a combination of EMC2 and their collection of open source CAM codes. The project is coming along nicely and more updates are promised. Check out some more videos after the break. Continue reading “CNC router on the way”