Compatibility with other boards
I'm a registered user of T2 Laser and so far I've been more than happy with your software: I usually use it as a combination of laser engraver and pen plotter, by switching the appropriate tool on a EleksLaser frame with ManaSE control board (I usually switch from the GRBL 1.1e "Default" to GRBL 0.9i "Eleksmana" whenever I want to use the laser or the pen, respectively).
Lately I've purchased an additional tool, the z-axis kit with holder for a spindle. To control the additional functions, I found this other board on Aliexpress and purchased it:
The board is basically an all-in-one solution to connect the laser, the pen holder (steering gear/servo in the picture) and the small spindle that comes with the z-axis (with possibility to upgrade to a larger 300W spindle if I want). Additionally, the board is provided with the following offline controller with 1.8" screen:
The board comes with GRBL 1.1f already installed. I was wondering if T2 Laser can support the use of this board and which GRBL firmware would you suggest considering the different uses (laser, plotter, router). Is the default firmware (i.e. GRBL 1.1e) ok as an all-in-one solution to menage the different tools?
Thank you in advance for the support.
@Randal-Graves I have this same board and remote controller (mine is a prior version), it works great with my mini CNC and T2Laser. It will work with the provided firmware, although I loaded my own as I wanted home switches and probe support.
The controller and USB function are mutually exclusive so you can either use the controller and save machine g-code to an SD card and run without a PC or you can connect the machine normally (unplug the remote) and run it directly from T2Laser (I do both equally, depending on the job).
@Zax Thanks for the clarification!
You've touched a good point, though... I would also like to add more features to the machine, just like limit switches and the probing sensor: hence I figure that I should manipulate the firmware somehow...could you be so kind to suggest me a good starting point? Either some code to start working with that is not (maybe?) the baseline GRBL available on github or some study material.
This is the first time I'm getting closer to GRBL and my only other experience on Arduino code is through Marlin fw (1.1 and 2.0, as I own a 3d printer).
@Randal-Graves Grbl is easy to mod, you can do everything in config.h (include the cpu_map pin definitions so you don't have to edit defaults.h and cpu_map.h independently). In most cases one of my existing custom firmware will suit your needs, the only changes are which pins and sequence to use for homing
it took me quite a while to finally find the time to try this board on the Elekslaser and it seems to work just fine.
I tried connecting the z-axis and all I had to do was to adjust the step/mm values from the default ones (80) to new values calculated after axes calibration.
I've come accross the concept of microstepping values as I found out that under each of the A4988 drivers there are 3 jumpers that allow to setup this features. According to the seller (there are some pictures around), when all the 3 jumpers are in place the configuration is MS1=L(off)/MS2=L(off)/MS3=L(off)=Full step. Considering that I would like to replicate the ManaSE configuration (1/16th), I should remove all the jumpers to have H(on)/H(on)/H(on)=sixteenth step.
Now this is what I don’t understand: with my current configuration I have 80 step/mm on X/Y axes and they work fine…shouldn’t they already be in 1/16th configuration? I checked the ManaSE configuration parameters and they are also set at 80. The z-axis step/mm value is 400 but it does not work with the belts, as it has a ballscrew so it’s OK. I tried removing all the jumpers but the motors either don’t move or make strange noises.
Considering that you have a similar board what is your opinion? Is it already in 1/16th configuration with all the 3 jumpers in place? Or am I missing something?
@Randal-Graves It is already in 1/16th microstepping.
Thanks, that's what I figured...
One last thing: when you compile GRBL with Arduino IDE what kind of board and processor do you set for this specific type of board? I can't seem to be able to upload the compiled sketch correctly (however, if I use Xloader with the GRBL pre-compiled hex files (like the ones in the T2 laser folder) I have no problem.
@Randal-Graves Board: Arduino Uno.