The X Controller from Inventables is a new Arduino Based GRBL controller that can come with the X Carve or you can use it on its own to power and control a small CNC machine. We wanted to put some basic instructions here for connecting it and setting it up. It is still pretty easy, so nothing to worry about!
We will cover where to connect it to the laser driver board and the software modification needed for PWM power control.
This is pretty straight forward. Inventables shipped the X controller with small terminal blocks to be able to make easy connections. No more soldering! The laser driver signal is on the SPINDLE (PWM) terminal on the X Carve controller. Connect based on the photo below:
You are going to connect it to the laser driver input (ether H4 or H2 depending on whether you have the molex mini fit cable):
Using the Inventables GRBL firmware (pre-installed)
The X Controler comes with inventables GRBL version 1.0C, which is there own branch. They have the PWM DISABLED in this version, so you will need to enable it in your settings to use power control.
In you GRBL settings, $30 is the PWM max power. It is currently set to 0 when it is shipped. You need to change it to:
$30 = 12000
This will give you a max power of 12000. Your commands for turning the laser on and off are:
To turn on and off the laser the command is:
- Laser ON: M03
- Laser OFF: M05
If you want to use power control for the laser (via Pulse Width Modulation) the laser command is:
Where the “XXXXX” is a number between 0 and 12000. So, some examples are:
- Laser ON 100%: M03 S12000
- Laser ON 50%: M03 S6000
- Laser ON 10%: M03 S1200
- Laser OFF: M03 S0 (or M05 will work as well…)
Focusing your laser with low power: Use M03 S1200 to set your laser to the lowest power. It will just turn on and you will be able to set your focus very well.
Using the J Tech Photonics GRBL version 0.9g firmware
This version of firmware was developed so you can do variable intensity photo engravings using the PicLaser software. The G Code generated from the PicLaser program will give a different power level for each pixel of an image. Note that this version will still control your router as well. Everything will still be the same.
To Download our version click here: DOWNLOAD J TECH GRBL 0.9g
You will need an uploader program to load the firmware on the Arduino. We use X Loader and can find it HERE.
When using our version of GRBL, the intensity value will be a number between 0 and 255. So the laser command will be:
- Laser ON 100%: M03 S255
- Laser ON 50%: M03 S127
- Laser ON 10%: M03 S25
- Laser OFF: M03 S0 (or M05)
This will be the same as on the X Carve. Check out the X Carve page here: