J tech laser mounting etc

So im some what dissapointed in the jtech laser at the onset. Not the laser etc but a few things with how it goes on.1

  1. The wires for the laser are in NO way long enough to reach even a board positioned close to the unit. they are SUPER short. this is just a poor oversight.
  2. The mount http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1025450 . A good mount ,should work, however when you add the fan to the top, you must also remove the top D660 mount bracket or the mount wont fit at all.
  3. The laser when its mounted will not allow you to screw in the screws in to the mount conduit. you have to take the laser off, mount it and re mount the laser. And mounting that while its on the Z axis is a MASSIVE pain in the ass.

Sorry to vent, but after my grinding Y movement and now this, it feels like im taking steps back.

Oh , and the lasers i bought dont fit (marking lasers) in the holders on this mount either haha.

Hi Ryan LB, sorry you’re having such hassles with the laser mount. I faced a few of the same issues. Here are some things I learned when setting up my laser.

  1. I’m using the universal mount, so I don’t have to constantly screw and unscrew the various mounting pieces. You might find that easier. The laser mount included with my other universal mount pieces (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1245848) has the line laser holders resized to hold larger line lasers, such as the ones you have. However, see my comment below - I no longer use the line lasers and have cut the holders off of my mount.

  2. The line lasers are not needed. A better solution is to turn the big laser on at low power, and just use it to aim. To turn it on low power, you turn the cooling fan to a low value. I think I’m using 4 for the power. You can do this using a computer, or through the LCD menu system.

  3. I am working on a mount that will let me mount the laser and router at the same time. I will then be able to use the laser as a sight for positioning the router. This requires some coding for the offset. I’ll worry about that after I get the mounting done.

  4. I extended the wires from the laser. I used 14 gauge sprinkler wire from the ramps box to the top of the z tower, and used a 4 pin xlr connector to connect to the laser cable. You could use any other kind of connector for this, as long as it will take the 14 gauge wire.

Hope some of that helps. I enjoy using the router, but I LOVE using the laser! Very easy to get professional looking results for plaques, and for doing precision cutting on stuff like vinyl for window stickers.


ok… that helps a bit… i will work on a different mounting system soon.

So karl, from the standpoint of getting it working. I definitely dont want to F around and burn stuff.
Do you use inkscape? I dont like that program at all.
so im wondering, without that plugin it has for jtech, is there a way to get this really working?

I am all cabled up, ready to test. just gotta figure out the software side of things.
once i do, ill do a full tutorial because its not at all intuitive.
jtech makes it sound like if you dont use inkscape, it wont work.

ok. so i figured out at least what to do in inkscape with the plugin etc, however i dont like inkscape haha.
ill try to figure out how to import in to inkskape from another program.

BTW, i know the dial on the laser focuses it to a point, but is there any guide on how to do that? ive got it to where its about 1mm wide, which of course i dont want it that big.

Well, it depends what kind of stuff you want to do with your laser.

If you want to burn pictures, look around this forum for the discussion on image2gcode. Leo and Bryan have modified the program to make it compatible with our setup, and it works great. And it’s free. To use it, just load up a picture. I think it will take the usual picture types - jpg, png, bmp, etc.

If you want to burn signs and black and white images (not grayscale), you can use LaserEtch. It costs $30 from JTechPhotonics, but it works great, and it’s what I use most. You might be able to do the same thing with image2gcode using a black and white image, but it will take longer than LaserEtch. To use LaserEtch, create your image using whatever software you want and save it as a bmp file. Windows paint or paint.net can generate bmp files easily. LaserEtch can also be used to cut. LaserEtch is totally worth the money.

Those are my best suggestions. You can use ESTLCAM to generate laser toolpaths as well, but there is a learning curve.

Inkscape is a powerful program and can do many cool things, but like most vector-based drawing programs, it can be difficult to do even the simplest things the first time. I use it all the time, but have to google at least 2 or 3 things in course of any given project, just to see how to accomplish what I want. Image2gcode and LaserEtch use regular picture files, so anything that can generate those can be used.

Hope that helps!

Yeah man that helps a bunch. i have no problem paying 30$ for software if its good.
I figure i have 10k in to printers, 700$ in to a cnc with a winch etc. not to mention all the other crap i do :slight_smile: whats another 30$.

About to post my first video :slight_smile: this laser is INSANELY cool.

Karl… do you get your laser to a fine point and leave it there? or do you unscrew the tip making it bigger at times? seems like you would have to be REALLY precise like

  1. Base FINE point.
  2. 1/4 Counter clockwise turn = .5mm burn mark.
  3. 1/2 turn = 1mm


You want your laser as tightly focused as possible. If there’s a reason to defocus it, I don’t know what it would be.

LaserEtch and Image2gcode are both raster-style software, meaning the laser burns the image line by line. The only exception to that is then you use LaserEtch to cut, but it’s limited to cutting the outside edge of the image, or the border of the image.

Choose the height you want to laser to be. I use something around 50mm. Put the laser at that height. If possible, place something matte black on the work surface, it makes it much easier to focus. Turn the laser on low power. Focus the beam as tightly as you can. Make a gage to set the laser height above the work surface each time (a piece of wood cut to the right height will work fine. Something like this:

If you want to do something like precision cutting wood or plastic or vinyl, you will need to learn how to use ESTLCAM or another CAM program, or the inkscape plugin.

BTW, in case no one has mentioned it - always wear laser goggles!

I need a system like you have at your z axis stepper. that i can just plug in different tools up there… thats awesome… the hardest part of this whole thing is all the wires running back places and needing to move and re tie etc.

im printing the universal mount now… then ill start printing some of the other pieces.
karl. you have like 4 660s parts in your MPCNC… which one is actually needed for the 660? QR v5 660 is the right one yeah?

Karl you mentioned you dont use the laser lines anymore, which is fine, i can see them not being necessary. Do you have a new tool head for that? or just cut off the ones you print? :slight_smile:

Yes, v5 is the latest one I’m using. It’s tricky to print, since it needs support, but the two-piece ones had other problems, so I recommend the v5 now.

I just cut the laser line mounts off for the one I’m using now. There is at least one person on thingiverse who has a laser mount for the universal system that doesn’t have the line mounts, but cutting them off is easy enough to do.

That piece for all the connections on the z tower just clips on: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1273861. It’s designed for keystone network cables but can be adapted to a lot of other stuff. It also has 8 solderless connections in the back, which can be handy.

Karl, thank you so much for the info… great stuff.
I like the multiple connections in the top of the Z… i know RJ45 cable is is 26AWG wire, but the main stuff running from the laser and steppers is 22AWG. will it make a difference you think?

Yes, you don’t want to power the laser with 26ga. In fact, I don’t think you want to power it with 22ga either. I’m using 18ga and it runs through the 4 pin xlr connector you see in the picture. I was originally going to use a regular 4 pin molex - like the power for hard drives and stuff in a computer. Anything that can take 18ga or larger should be fine. That same plug will be used to power the heater when I put an extruder on my MPCNC.

Well, i dont ever plan to add an extruder to this thing… I have a printer coming that will do 16x16 x 21inches.

that said, Why would jtech ship with 22 awg but not run with it? So i do feel comfortable with it… I just finished my laser mount, and my universal, so i should be able to test it momentarily :slight_smile:
Now i need to figure out what to do with cabling in the z :wink: how i want to work on that. since this shouldnt change much, id like to put in RJ45, but the gauge isnt big enough, but i guess i could try to squeeze 22 gauge in to the connectors.

If you’re not planning to use an extruder, 22ga should work fine, if that’s what comes on the laser. I ran 18ga knowing that I would be running an extruder through the same wires.

16x16x21!?? That’s huge! What kind of printer is it? I’m currently building a 12x8x12 CoreXY printer.