24 April 2014 – The Chinese just keep on impressing me! Although I have to admit you need to do your homework and make sure you buy form reputable suppliers.
Whats in the box:
We received the Group Buy Lasers, all in excellent wood packaging with no visible damage on the outside. I promptly opened one and found everything inside very well packaged and in good condition. We received the K40IV. This model has a new design cutting bed, includes air assist and fume extraction. We also received a water pump, small air compressor, fume extractor fan and a pouch with software on a CD, a USB dongle, printed manual and a piece of acrylic which was cut with the laser for final QA.
Wiring and control:
I found the wiring to be pretty good with no immediate concerns. The K40 is controlled with a Moshisoft MS10105 V4.6 USB board. The laser tube connections are also done well with silicone filled tubing insulating the connections.
I only needed to change the power plugs and hook everything up to get the laser up and running! The mirror alignment needed a few adjustments and luckily that was fairly easy to do. I’m still not 100% sure its perfect but it will have to do for now. The Moshisoft board inside the K40 is apparently only compatible with the Moshidraw software or a Moshidraw plugin for Corel Draw. I received Moshidraw V9.96 and MoshiLaserSetup. This is where the frustration started… MoshiLaserSetup trips my antivirus so I have not done any testing with that – yet. Moshidraw has powerful text editing features for mainly creating stamps, but be my guest trying to figure it all out. I’m just not interested. I draw my designs in other CAD packages and want to use Moshidraw only as the interface to the laser. After restarting the laser and laptop a few times I got the laser to make some test cuts. In the photo you will notice jagged corners but this is due to the imported bitmap images I used. The biggest problem I have with this version of Moshidraw is that it does not support DXF files. I downloaded Moshidraw 2014 and it does support DXF files but I have not been able to make any cuts. With 2014 you can control the laser head position but this does not seem to work correctly as I need to figure out what micro stepping the motor drivers are setup for. The 2014 version does look a lot more polished so I will definitely try and get it working.
Oh yes, you might wonder why 4 red hearts? Well, keeping the wife entertained means she wont mind me playing with new toys till early in the morning…
Where to from here:
I need to get it cutting DXF files to be useful at all. Currently I have 2 options, either get Moshidraw 2014 up and running, or use the Corel Draw plugin. Will report on that soon. I might also spy on the USB and create my own application to control the laser. A simple program that imports DXF files and then controls the laser should not be too difficult. Another option would be to use Mach3 with a standard Mach3 breakout board. In the long run, I want to add a red dot for easy material alignment. Add a motorized cutting bed to make focusing the laser easier and definitely control laser power from the PC. I noticed the Moshi control board has a header to control laser power but I will have to investigate further to know what that will entail.