Installing The J Tech Laser module and PWM controler on my Shopbot Desk top
and using Vectric Aspire to design my projects.
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photo01

I installed 2 LED strip light bars under the gantry to light the work area a little better. I also ran 3 extra 3 conductor sheilded cables to the gantry top for future use.

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With the spoil board removed.

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A view from the front of my 2418 ShopBot Desktop. Now it is easy to place cable wiring through the cable rack to the gantry and spindle area.

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And a view from the backwith aluminum deck and plastic cover removed.

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I ordered the spindle mount 7 watt Laser which gives me other mounting options. The shaft on the Laser could have been a little longer then the collet nut wouldnt have to be so tight against the Laser housing.

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I think there could have been more space allowed for the Laser cable, it's a little tight at the collet nut. The laser housing also has magnets so that is another mounting option.

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photo09

I want to have the Laser and Control module easily removable. There are two 10/32 threaded holes in the spindle mounting plate, one I use for my Z height pointer.

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I will need another tapped hole near the top for better support. And with that done I can estimate where I want the other Laser mount location.

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Holding the Laser where it will be spaced away from the dust boot bracket. No holes drilled yet, still thinking, I want to get as much Z height as possible.

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Decission made I drill and tap the ¾" hex aluminum spud each end ¼" 20 and use a flat head bolt to hold it in place.

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The Laser will be held in place with a thumb screw, not in place yet..

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This is perfect, however I will loose about 2 inches of (left) X, but I will gain over three inches of Z. I may never need the extra Z but I have only 5½".

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photo019

Okay, now to mount the PWM control box, there are two cables that will have to be disconnected to remove the Laser and control unit from the spindle mount plate.

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I want to have the Laser control settings and power switches easly accesable, but yet not in my way.

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Laying out mount holes.

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I use a couple of 8/32 machine screws to mount the control box to my aluminum plate. Drilled and tapped.

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With the aluminum plate, the Laser, the control box and mounting hardware weighs very little (23.4 oz. and my splidle does not coast down with power off. So that is good.

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The aluminum plate ( 0.125" thick by 10" by 3½") I am using was from the scrap dumpster and was scratched up and dirty.

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photo025

I used a pocketing tool path and buffed the surface.

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Using a stainless steel Dremel wire brush #531 it looks pretty good.

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The hex spud that will hold the Laser.

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photo031

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Mounting plate in place.

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Side view.

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Front view.

My control card is an earlier model and does not have the terminal block with OP5, OP6, OP7, OP8, so with the help from Jay and Shopbot support the pinout points were identified. .
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I took the card to my (electronic work bench) and with lots of care located the solder points under the card.

photo036

The 16 solder points in the upper left hand corner are what I am looking for.

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photo037

I found some male/female pigtail connectors I had purchased from Banggood .

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The red leads are the + and the 4 blacks are - and soldered to a common buss.

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As an electrician for MANY years I have learned to go the extra step, so when I had the circuit boards removed I soldered on out puts for 5, 6, 7, and 8..

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So there you have it, the 4 outputs, female connectors.

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Preparing to reassemble, the 3 circuit boards that the control board plug into are the stepper motor drivers.

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Ready to replace the plastic cover.

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photo043

The wire from the PWM Laser control card is shown here connected to OP5. If in the future I may need OP6 OP7 OP8 for another device ? who knows, but the outputs are ready.

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This is the power supply for the Laser control box PWM supplies 12 volts DC. It just rides along on the gantry. Held in place by double sided tape that didnt work too well so I used some copper all round strapping. And used existing gantry mounting screw bolts.

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This view is from the side and you can see that if I remove the panel from the spindle mount, I have only 2 quick plugs to remove. The Laser is in place in this photo.

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The laser is removed and now you can see the two home made wing nuts I made that stand off the surface to make removal quick and easy.

My first BURN my first test run, and YES I was nervious. When someone like me gets into soldering itty bitty wires onto itty bitty solder pips and praying it will work when I am finished, YIKES scary stuff, but if I can do it, so can you .
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photo049

I made a test file with Vetric Aspire 10 and using the post processor from the Jtech site, saving to a thumb drive then to my Shopbot desk top.

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This is ¼" plywood scrap and the burn went well, I wore the protective glasses and also held the shield to prorect my eyes.

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This material is laminoid White on Black.

photo054

This is White leather.

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photo055

After the test.

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Removed the two “wing nuts” on the left, unpluged the power and the control plugs and I am ready to put the laser in safe storage.

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Notice the two 8/32 studs where the two wing nuts get screwed into. I used 5/16 brass hexagon stock, threaded it all the way through then took a long 8/32 machine bolt, cut it in half and made two studs then locked onto the spindle mount.

photo058

This is NOT a good representation of the Laser burn, the lines are solid and a very fine burn.
I think when I reduce the image size form the camera to 455px X 337px causes the laser burn lines to be obscure ? .

I am very happy with the results of my Laser purchase .
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