Shopping

Lulzbot Upgrade

One of the newer open source printers that is gaining a popular reputation for being a well built printer that just plain works is the printers from Lulzbot.  We got our Lulzbot mini about three months ago and it prints perfectly on every print running production every day non-stop!  Needless to say, we love our Lulzbot, but it is missing something…  A Laser!  You can’t have a 3D printer without a laser!  Come on now.

Here we outline the instructions for upgrading the Lulzbot mini, but the Taz is just the same.  It has the same extruder and electronics, the platform is just a bit larger. If you want to see how to build a laser only system, check out our blog post here.

So here it is – Instructions on how to upgrade the Lulzbot printers.  Let’s start!

****(NOTE:  The pictures are mainly for the Lulzbot Mini and the TAZ 5 printer.  If you have the TAZ 4, there is a separate mount and a bit different electrical connection).

Electronics

Mini

We are going to use the fan1 connection on the Rambo board to control the laser.  It has PWM control needed to do picture engraving and is easily controlled with M106/107 commands in software.  We decided to mount the laser in front of the extruder so you can print then laser without any changes.  We choose to mount the driver on the side of the printer because there was already a hole for the driver to attach to and the existing cables in the laser upgrade kit will reach it.   We routed the laser and fan cables up the wiring harness chain to the Z axis and made it all nice and tidy with zip ties.  You can cut the fan cable and either splice the wires to the laser driver intput H2 or maybe even put a nice little switch in to change between laser and printing.

The Mini uses the RAMBOmini board.  minirambo-j-tech-laser-connection2

12 open electronics enclosureOpen the electronics enclosure to see the miniRAMBO board.
13 Fan 1 connection for laser.

It is the Black and White cable.

Taz 4, 5 and 6

The Taz is pretty much the same, but it will be using the FAN0 connection on the Rambo board.  It is:

rambo-j-tech-laser-connection

Laser Connection Taz 4

Lulzbot Taz 5 Laser Connection 2

Mechanical

*note* all of the new printers are coming with fans in the place of where the laser is normally mounted.  For the new Taz printers we recommend using the exchangeable full mount below.  Make sure you understand the mounting before beginning the upgrade.

Mini and Taz 5

We designed a nice little mount for the laser to attach to in front of the extruder.  There are a couple versions of the mini printer now, so there are going to be two ways to mount it:

  1. Utilizing a small M3 screw hole that is on the aluminum heat plate, or…
  2. Utilizing the two screws that hole the extruder to the plate.

#1 Option:  Check if you have the extra screw.  It should look like this:

Mount Screw

If you have it, the good news is it just needs one additional screw!  You do need to get a small M3 screw and it will mount to the existing little hole in the aluminum plate on the extruder mount.  Take the other screw from the left of the assembly off and put it through the new mount.

Download the STL by Clicking HERE (or on the picture)

Lulzbot Laser Mount

#2 Option:  If you don’t have the screw hole (or the extra M3 screw) then you can use the two screws that are holding the extruder to the aluminum plate and base.  It requires a bit more of taking things apart, but it should not be too hard to accomplish.  Here is the mount for this option.

Download the STL by Clicking HERE (or on the picture)

Lulzbot Laser Mount 11 new 2mm

We will go into how to install these in the instructions below.

Taz 4

A very helpful customer, Russel Bogner designed a mount to fit on the previous Taz priters.  It is very similar and mounts in front of the extruder.  You use the same screws that hold the extruder plate down to put the mount in.

Download the STL by clicking HERE (or on the picture)

TAZ 4 laser mount

 

To protect the build plate we put some plastic with a sheet of aluminum on top of it and taped it in place.  You can use whatever material you want for a sacrificial material and tape it or secure it somehow to the platform.

Optional Full Mount On all Taz (including Taz 6)

One of our customers designed a full mount that you can replace the extruder with the laser.  Since Lulzbot makes it super easy to change the extruders out with just one screw, he decided to make a platform for the laser on this.  It takes a bit of time to print out, but in the end you will have a cool laser attachment for the printer.  Plus, the laser will be centered where the extruder normally is, meaning no offsets to worry about!

Download Extruder Mount STL File

Download Laser Mount STL FIle

J Tech Laser Lulzbot Extruder 1sm J Tech Laser Lulzbot Extruder 2sm J Tech Laser Lulzbot Extruder 3sm

Software

*****  You might not need to do this part.  Some of the Lulzbot printers were shipped with firmware that will work.  Check in Repetier Host after you install your laser whether it will work with the FAN SLIDER in the manual tab.  If you can slide the slider bar and the laser gets brighter the more you slide, you are good.  No changes needed.  If it just kinda flashes and gets bright then dark again, then you need to update your firmware. ****

We had to modify the firmware of the Lulzbot because the PWM frequency was set way to high for it to control the laser for our machine.  Here is how:

You can get the firmware from Lulzbot here:

Lulzbot Mini Firmware

or for the TAZ printer it is in the software folder here:

Lulzbot TAZ folder

1 download tar file

Download the .tar file and open it with a program like 7-zip and extract all of the files.

1 open tar

Make sure you have the newest version of the compiler downloaded from Arduino HERE.  Open the file called “marlin” that is an arduino sketch file.

2 open arduino file

Once you double click it, it should load up the entire sketch for you.  Set you board as Arduino Mega or Mega 2560  .

2 change board

 

Then in config.h, comment out the line:

//#define FAST_PWM_FAN

3 Change the fast pwm file

Then make sure your are connected to the correct COM port.  Make sure your printer is connected to the printer.

4 serial port

Compile your new firmware and send it to your printer:

5 compile

You are now done!

We used Repetier Host to control the printer.  We like the “preview” feature for the G Code and it does a good job with everything else as well.  You need to adjust some of the settings because the table will be slightly smaller.  Here are instructions for the configuration:

Lulzbot Laser Setup Instructions

Ok, now let’s get to the upgrading with pictures!

 

Step 0 – Print out the mount

 

There are a couple of versions of the mount to print depending on your printer and the year you bought it.  Check up at the mechanical section to choose which one you want.

Step 1.  Remove the left screw on the extruder assembly.

01 - Remove Screw on left of extruder

Step 2 – Mounting for Option #1 on the Mini

02 - Screw on mount to laser and fan upgrade

Attach the laser to the mount like in the picture above.  Note the screws are going through the back.

03 - Prepare mount

04 - Place mount in front of extruder and screw in

Place the mount in front of the extruder and screw it in.

 Step 2 – Mounting Option #2

A. Put the laser on the mount:

Option2LaserMount

B: Remove the small fan.  Put the small screw aside so you don’t lose it.

Take off the small fan

 

C: Remove the side fan and nozzle assembly.

Remove the side fan and nozzle

D: Remove the large screws holding the extruder and aluminum plate.

Remove Extruder screws

E:  Carefully place the laser mount between the bottom plastic and the aluminum plate.  Line the laser up with the extruder making sure it is in the center.  Make sure it is not over to the right, or the small fan will not fit back in. After getting it aligned, tighten the screws back holding it secure.

Put laser in

F: Put the side fan nozzle back into position.  Make sure the side fan is out of the way and the small fan cord lies on top of the nozzle for later installation.

Put Fan Nozzle back

G: Replace the fan on the fan nozzle mount.

Replace side fan

H: Put the small fan back carefully.  It should fit behind the laser mount with the front right next to the extruder.

Put small fan back

I: It should come all together again with the laser tightly right in front of the extruder.  Now take a rest and get ready for the next part!

All together

Step 5 – Route cables to the back cable chain.

05 - Route cables to the back

Step 6 – Zip tie cables to chain.

06 - Zip tie to cable chain

 

Step 7 – Put laser driver on front side of printer.

08 - Place laser driver on the side

 

Step 8 – Use existing hole to mount the laser driver.

07 - mount laser driver

 

Step 9 – Change out the driver nuts to make spacer to hold driver when you screw it in.

10 - Driver mount

 

Step 10 – Open electronics to get to the fan cable.

12 open electronics enclosure

 

Step 11 – Cut fan 1 cable and splice in cable for laser driver.

16 replace fan cable with laser cable.

 

Step 12 – Open the Arduino SW and load the Marlin firmware (either Mini or Taz).  In config.h, comment out the line FAST_PWM_FAN like in the picture.  You can also use SW PWM, but make sure it is not above 5KHz.

Firmware change

DONE!  READY for LASER!!!

Lulzbot Laser Upgrade

 

Buy your laser upgrade kit now!

Highlight FDA Laser Kit 800

Remember Safety First!

445nm Laser Shielding Measurement 500x500

We sell laser shielding to block laser radiation and reflections!

 Laser Safety Goggles 445nm

Laser Goggles are also a must!

Disclaimer

 The laser used in this project is very powerful and all safety precautions must be taken.  Use proper safety eyewear to prevent injury to eyes.  This is a project and J Tech Photonics, Inc. is not responsible or liable for any and all damage or injury caused to people or property.  The use of these instructions to make a laser cutter is under your own discretion and all safety precautions should be followed.  J Tech Photonics, Inc. is not partnered in any way with Aleph Objects Inc. and they may change hardware and software at any time making these instructions invalid.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply