We have been asked by a lot of people to make a post processor to the Vectric Software so it can be used with the laser. You ask and you shall receive! We started one for the X Carve, but it should not really have anything that specific in it to make it unusable for other machines as well. If you would like to modify it the source file can be edited with a standard text editor pretty easily. We have made now specific versions for different machine controllers. If you have a new post processor for another controller that you would like to share, just let us know!
The basic concept is that you set up a tool in V Carve Pro that has the laser parameters to it (the spot size is the drill bit width). Then, you draw in V Carve Pro (or other vectric software) to get the file that you want. When you make your G Code, the post processor will change all of the “retract” portions in the file where the spindle moves up to a laser OFF command. Viola!
We have a couple of versions depending on the controller you use. Here are the download links:
*Right click “save link as” versus clicking the link *
GRBL – (X Carve, Shapeoko 3, etc.)
GRBL – No Z Version (X Carve, Shapeoko 3, etc.)
GRBL – Dynamic Laser Mode M4 & No Z (X Carve, Shapeoko 3, etc.)
MACH 3 – M11p1/M10p1 option
3D Printer (Using Fan Control M106/M107)
ShopBot (Using OP5 Connection)
*Note: These post processors will probably work for a lot of different machine controllers. If you are having problems, then let us know and we can help modify it for your machine.
Now we will cover how to set it up.
1. Set up the Post Processor
Put the post processor file in the directory: C:\ProgramData\Vectric\VCarve Pro\V8.0\PostP
You need to click on your c:\ drive and on the “view” tab you need to click on “hidden items” to view the program data folder. Then click on Vectric and your product folder to browse down to the PostP folder.
2. Set up Your Tool
First you need to have a tool for your laser with the correct parameters. In the “Tool List”, make a new tool for the laser. For the “Diameter” put the spot size for the laser. For the different lasers you will have different spot sizes and it depends on your ability to focus as well. Here are some values you can try. If you notice on the fill engrave that there are a lot of space between the lines, then make the numbers smaller until you don’t have spaces anymore.
- 1W 405nm: 0.004″ (0.1mm)
- 2W 445nm: 0.008″ (0.2mm)
- 2.8W 445nm: 0.01″ (0.25mm)
- 3.8W 445nm: 0.014″ (0.28mm)
You can then set the feedrate here for the tool. You can make different tools for different feedrates, or you can modify the tool whenever you want to change the feed speed. Here are some parameters we have:
3. Make Your Project
Do what you normally do in your Vectric Software to design. Use your tool from the previous setup in your drawing. Here is an example we have:
3. Set Up your Toolpath
Change your Z settings to reduce the Z movement of the machine. The laser will be on during the “plung” and the safe Z moves. You need to eliminate these or the laser will leave a “dot” where it stops to move Z because it will burn.
Set your toolpath settings for your project and then select the post processor from the drop down box. It will be named based on which post processor you downloaded.
4. Save G Code and RUN on your machine!
It is pretty easy. Here is the result from this project:
There are a lot of cool features in the Vectric Software to try out. Here is a filled engrave example: