K40 Laser Engraver/Cutter Conversion

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I decided to get one of the ubiquitous cheap chinese lasers and see what i could do with it.

I do not plan to reinvent the wheel on the conversion and setup of the machine as there is a lot of information out there pertaining to this.  I plan to document my conversion as it differs from the others both mechanical and cosmetic.

I will not bore you with the "here it is the day it arrived" pictures as it looks Just Like all the rest....

There are two basic variations of the K40, Analog Controls and Digital Controls.  I elected for Analog.  I found mine on eBay and it was $313 shipped from a California warehouse.

I elected to ditch the original controller and the lousy Corel Draw 12 and plug in routine as sourcing the program and then still not being able to vary the laser power in software did not appeal to me.  The universal opinion of the software/controller combination is "it sucks".

I elected to run the SBASE MKS v1.3 a clone of the Smoothie Controller.   There are a number of variations on the Smoothie Ware boards, this and the Cohesion being the most common.  Read up on Smoothie

 

Smoothie Clone

 

The board is readily available and generally costs around $50.   This is a clone of the Smoothie Ware board and so far seems compatible.  Expect some pushback on the Smoothie forums if you ask for help.  The people making this board have not played entirely fair with the open source practice. 

If I had it to do over, I likely would have purchased the genuine Smoothie board.

The one I got came with the basic Graphic Display controller.  The display O got was damaged in the lower LH corner of the screen and in addition to looking pretty ugly, the backlight did not work.

Setup of the controller was pretty straight forward and simple.  I had toe flip the direction of the Y Axis stepper and make an adapter Y cable to plug in the X and Y axis Min end stops.

Along the way I purchased a kit of plugs and sockets for both the JST-XHP and the Black Single Row headers found on PC motherboards.  I also upgraded to a ratcheting type crimper for these as well.

 

 

 

  To facilitate connections from the board to the outside world I got a Micro SD Card extension and a panel mount USB B extension.  I designed the part with Fusion 360 and printed it on my 3D printer.

I have posted the file on Thingiverse

The SD Card Socket is a snug fit through the opening and a bead of super glue keeps it in place.

This give a nice finished look to the outside of the machine and allows for easy removal of the memory card as well as access to connect the PC during use.

I plan to use the LightBurn software.