Electronics > Mechanical & Automation Engineering

Inexpensive "Beijing JCZ" fiber lasers


I've successfully reverse engineered the protocol of the Chinese commodity fiber laser engraver, the type that costs about $2-4k for the 20W model, typically blue and silver in color, hopefully you know the ones. This laser normally comes with the putrid "ezcad2" software (which, besides its more severe functional flaws, only runs on Windows.)

If you aren't familiar with this type of machine, it combines a q-switched 1064 nm fiber laser with a galvo scanner assembly and allows marking/engraving on most inorganic substrates (metal, ceramics); of particular note on this forum, it can ablate copper from PCB stock, selectively remove a whole-board coating of solder mask, and purportedly cut FR-4 (though I haven't tried that one myself.)

I am planning to create an open source command-line based toolchain for using this laser. What features would be useful to you? Is anyone interested in helping me out on this project? Besides programmers able to directly help with the coding (in Python), I'm looking for pre-alpha testers who have these or similar machines and enough technical know-how to do USB packet captures so that I can examine the protocols of their lasers and compare them to my own. (A willingness to expose one's machine to the danger inherent in this project is also necessary as obviously this is early-stage, experimental software.) My machine also does not have a rotary axis installed, so getting data from a machine with one would be of interest as I'd like to support that feature.

For reference, this is stuff I'm already thinking about (organized by the name of the proposed command-line tool, all starting with "Balor" after the Irish mythological figure with one eye destroying all it beheld.)

--- Code: --- balor - send machine-specific binary data (MSBD) to the engraver
mark (use the engraving laser)
light (use the visible preview laser)
balor-test - generate test patterns
grid - for machine/lens calibration/compensation
matrix - for dialing in two parameters at a time
balor-cc - generate lens compensation and machine calibration files
balor-sim - render an image interpreting MSBD
outputs png
balor-light - convert marking image output of the vector and raster programs to lighting
balor-raster - convert images to a raster MSBD file, using a
calibration/compensation file
laser settings on command line
support image files that Pillow supports
balor-vector - convert images to a vector MSBD file, using a
calibration/compensation file
support gcode (output of flatcam or cura)
support gerber and various pcb / drill formats
support svg
per-entity laser settings with separate tool file or
included metadata if the format supports
balor-debug - convert MSBD into explanatory text

--- End code ---

I more or less did the thing I was planning to do above: https://www.bryce.pw/engraver.html

If you choose to take the risk to use this experimental software with your machine, I would appreciate hearing about it. Thanks!

Very cool.  Looking forward to seeing how the PCB process turns out!  2 mil features are nothing to sneeze at.


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