Laser Overdrive
Laser Overdrive


Apparently, owning a laser cutter opens a whole new world insofar as building things is concerned. I just couldn’t resist the allure!
The warning label on the back of a laser cutter

I purchased a 40W engraver/cutter from Full Spectrum Engineering during spring break (Mar 11-18). It finally arrived on the 6th of April. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning configuring, aligning, and getting a few test cuts done:
A laser cutter cutting out a piece of 3mm plywood

I do not regret opting out of the Windows-only USB printer interface for the machine, I’ve gotten great results using only the parallel port, EMC2, and Inkscape. Configuration files for the 40W FSE Laser under EMC2.

The only hiccup so far is the manual massaging of the gcode that the gcodetools Inkscape extension spits out, but that should be easy to remedy. A sample massaged gcode file.

  1. Nick

    on April 22, 2011 at 07:25


    Your Gcode is seems simple and it looks like it can be made just in Gcodetools without massaging.
    Tell me more about the changes you’ve done to Gcode and I’ll try to help you make thing easier…

  2. matti

    on April 22, 2011 at 10:32

    Yeah, sure, no problem.

    Here are the scripts I’ve been using: convert, concatenate.

    You’re probably correct; I’ve been using the default tool and the default settings to generate my gcode. Shame on me, for being in a rush to get things up and running!

    I would very much like to streamline my process. I was planning on researching a different way to activate my laser rather then using M3/M5 spindle on/off; I’ve seen examples of commands that can be used with the G0* commands, and I think some others?

    Last, when I had a gcode “skeleton” I was satisfied with, the next step would be to integrate that gcode “skeleton” into gcodetools, whether through configuration or source modification.

    I suppose it’ll be done by defining a custom tool?

  3. Nick

    on April 29, 2011 at 07:55

    Concatenate is great! I do not think it’s possible to make it right now straight from gcodetools.

    But convert possibly could be done. Are you using only regex to make convert?
    There are some ways to make changes 1st to change tool’s Gcode before/after path you can put the code to turn on/of you laser there. You can use different Tools for different materials having their own feed and spindle speed.

    to remove all Z moves you can use regex postprocessor from Gcdeotools-dev.
    Here’s an example how to make complicated regex postprocessor to make fast penetration Gcode:

    PS are there any email notifications on answers here?

  4. matti

    on April 29, 2011 at 09:56

    I’m using a combination of unix ‘sed’ and piping to accomplish my tasks, there’s a non-standard regex used when writing for sed, easily (?) converted to a standard regex.

    As for the email notifications, they are available for authors/admins, but I’ve just installed a wordpress plugin to email a subscriber when someone replies to their comment… did you get an email?

    Thanks for the support/info!

  5. Nick

    on May 19, 2011 at 05:57


    I have not got any notification emails :(…

    It sems to me that you can do the same that convert does by
    1. removing all Zmoves as it shown by the link I gave
    2. add turn on/off the laser by adjusting “Gcode before path” and “Gcode after path” in tool’s properties.
    3. adjust feed rates in the tool’s properties.

    PS try gcodetools-dev version there’s one small but important change being made to tools library.

  6. KARILUOMA » Improving your Laser Workflow

    on March 23, 2016 at 17:11

    […] a few scripts to make 3D printing easier for me, I decided to apply the same principle to my laser cutter workflow (where vectors are drawn in Inkscape, exported using the gcodetools extension, then cleaned up by […]

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