Laser engraving is pretty cool.
However, it has obstacles.
The biggest obstacle is engineering stubbornness.
Let’s take a look how getting mentally stuck inside the box holds us back.
Laser engraving with common GRBL controller is known to be sloooow.
Some folks claim that STM32 controllers are faster.
So I have got one of those and did a bench test.
Here is the board.
Spoiler: result was unexpected, but you can probably guess that by my bitterness in the introduction.
Look at this:
Yes, my laser cutter went crazy and have burned the base plate.
Am I right blaming GRBL firmware? Well, it is not black and white
I made a back light for a microscope based from some very cheap but powerful 12V LED panel!
3D Designing a cube and a cylinder is easy. Try to design a spoon!
Well, I made one:
Yet another laser cutout coaster designed in Inkscape:
Laser engraving is cool, but it misses colors. How about a little touch of acrylic paint?
Result looks pretty cool!
This is Belarussian coat of arms “Pahonia”, which means “chase”, BTW.
Shall I do more of those types of projects?
STM32 is an awesome alternative to Arduino board. Unlike 328P, it has native (fast) USB support. It is cheaper than 32U4. And it faster, 32 bit and has 10x more RAM!
Also, unlike Atmel, counterfeits wannabes are clearly identifiable (look at the microcontroller on your board. If it is CH32 – throw it into a trash can. STM32 and CKS32 are good)
It is easy to make it work – just follow the instructions:
STM32 Arduino Instructions
(you can also use ST-Link V2 and connect to the board via 4 wires. I have found this approach very reliable. You can both flash firmware and upload sketches from Arduino IDE. I set both boot header switches to “1″ when I do it. But programming via USB is more convenient, right?)
Ok, so you follow the instructions from Windows 10 PC and try to program your board via the USB and it cannot find the DFU.
Here is my old good 4018:
The problem is – 180 mm in Y is sometimes limiting my project ideas. But how to upgrade it?
I needed to tap 6 mm thread in the 2040 (you can also tap it in 2020)
What can possibly go wrong? Aluminum is soft, right? I have tapped a lot of thread in all kind of steel parts and have a steady hand.
Well, I broke a tap.
Many years ago my daughter had a school project – making t-shirts
She came up with this design and made one t-shirt for me: