We get a lot of people asking about connecting the GeckoDrive products to our laser system. It is normally pretty easy with most motor controllers, but with the Gecko Drive there is a little trick. It is a pretty easy setup and will work great once it is all set up! Adding a laser to your CNC setup with your GeckoDrive 540 is super easy and fun! So let’s get started.
Well, you have a CNC so you probably have some room on the spindle to mount your laser. If you have a nice aluminum mounting plate, add some thermal compound to the back and you should be ready to go! Just drill a couple of holes and mount.
The GeckoDrive 540 does not switch the positive, but rather sinks current via the ground. So, you will need to set up your output a bit different than normal. You will need to either use the motor power supply or another power supply you have for relays. Make sure this power supply is less than 36 volts and you are good. To hook it up:
Connect the Positive of the power supply to the “+” input terminal on the laser driver H2.
Connect Position 5 (for output 1) on the Geckodrive output terminal to the “-” input on the laser driver terminal H2.
Here is the picture of connecting using the motor power supply:
Many people use Mach3 to control their CNC using the GeckoDrive motor controller. You will set up the software to control the laser similar to any output.
There are two outputs you can use on the Gecko. The pictures above show using terminal 5 on the Gecko header.
Gecko Header Terminal 5
Mach3 PIN 17
Gecko Header Terminal 6
Mach3 PIN 1
You can configure the Mach3 in the ports and pins section to use either output 1 or output 2. Use either pin 17 or pin 1 depending on which you choose.
Instructions for setting up Mach3 are located HERE.
Remember Safety First!
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 affiliated in any way with GeckoDrive and they may change the hardware at any time making these instructions invalid.