Connecting to the LazerBlade:
The LazerBlade will work with both PC Windows and Mac OSX. As long as you have a spare USB port, you can connect to it.
It has not been tested on Linux yet.
Streaming the Gcode files:
There are numerous open-source applications available to stream the GCode files to the LazerBlade, including our personal favorite 'Universal GCode Sender'. They are generally available for both PC & Mac.
We give you all the details on how to install everything needed and start using the LazerBlade.
Generating the Gcode files:
The software bundle (Cut2D-Laser & PicLaser-Lite) will only work on Windows.
In-house we use both programs on a Mac running Windows 7 under Parallels without any problems.
There are also open-source multi-platform options such as Inkscape for creating your artwork and generating the Gcode files.
Yes, the LazerBlade is controlled by a modified version of GRBL, an open-source project. The main modifications we have made are to handle our CoreXY drive system and be able to drive the laser intensity on-the-fly without disruption to movement.
GRBL has many parameters you can experiment with including travel speeds and accelerations.
You can dive in and adjust the maximum travel of the machine and it's working co-ordinate space if you ever wanted to expand to a larger platform in the future.
For the hardcore hacker, you can even re-burn the firmware to the arduino.
We can use this feature to send you firmware updates and improvements as well.
We get asked this quite a bit, so here is the answer.
The M140 laser we use is technically rated as a 1.6 watt (at 1.2 amps) laser diode in its specification sheets by Nichia, the manufacturer.
We run the laser at a maximum current of 1.7 amps which produces on average a little over 2 watts of laser power.
The reason we can run it at this higher power is because we are able to keep the diode cool enough not to cause it damage and our electronics help protect it from current overshoots.
The 9mm 445nm diode, which we are referring to as a 3 watt laser diode, is a similar situation. We run this at 2.4 amps maximum and achieve around 3 watts of laser power.
These performance values have been tested and if you are interested you can look at the following two links online:
Please ask for further clarification if this doesn't make sense.