Is it possible to change between the laser and CNC heads without powering down the machine?

I am trying to nail down my PCB procedure of laser etching the board on a painted copper clad board and then using the CNC to drill and mill the board. It would be really great if there was a way to switch from the laser head to the CNC head without power-cycling the machine. My thought process is that with the machine on the axis motors lock the tool position (maintaining position during the change) and would ensure that both tool heads reference the same starting point. Am I off base here or is there a trick I haven’t read yet?

Snapmaker Staff: It would also be great if interface prompted the user when they make changes to the Set Work Origin screen and don’t save them before they hit start. I’ve smashed easily $20 worth of CNC bits into my worksurface because I forgot to hit the “set work origin” button…

The position of the laser and cnc in the head are different so they don’t share the same work origin. If everything is working properly on your machine you should have repeatability even after cycling power by going to home. So it is possible to just calculate the difference.
There’s not really a way to implement this without just being an extra step that would just start being annoying as hell.
-S

1 Like

If you have space on your PCB, add a target marker like a feducial to have the same offset coords or a way to recalibrate the offset.
Or have a marker on the fixturing you have anyway for the CNC work.

The electronics on the head are not designed for hot swap. It’s not a simple mod to add hot swapping, either. You’d need not only new electronics but software support for dynamic reconfiguration of the machine.

That would work to an extent. The best you can do with the current linear modules is to put the stepper motors into a holding configuration. The motor have a limited amount of holding torque, and the motors are rather small so that holding torque isn’t particularly large. A tiny bump wouldn’t cause a slip, but they could still move. And then the actual problem shows up: there’s no position sensor on the linear module. So when a movement happens, you’ve got a mismatch between actual position and the position that the machine thinks it’s in, and you’ve ruined a part.

This is on top of the fact that the head mounting on the A350 just isn’t particularly repeatable. There’s lots of play between the screws and mounting holes.

I purchased an A350 on the promise that I could do multiprocess work on it. That promise will never be fulfilled with the A350. It’s just too far away from that capability. It will have to be another generation of product or another manufacturer.

Are you talking about easily and automatically? Or just not quickly enough to use for operations where you’re trying to be efficient and make money?
I’ve had no problems doing combo laser/cnc setups. Takes some planning and some work to figure out sometimes. It would be nice if Luban could have both modules work together in a coordinated way.
However, neither the laser or cnc is powerful enough and fast enough and efficient enough for business use. Great for hobby and learning and fun projects though.
-S

There have been some firmware mods to allow you to execute a macro to swap modules and then a second to come back to life. i believe they also had it move to the toolhead to an easy to access area during this scenario too.

However, from a standpoint of supported features, no and this can damage your equipment.

1 Like

Yea, the electronics are capable of changing the heads, and I added gcode to the latest repository that will be released in the next firmware. It’s expected there will be some buttons or something in Luban that allow for quick changing of the heads while the lights and everything remain on.

To avoid the dynamic reconfiguration issue eh9 mentioned above the gcode resets the controller at the end of the change. Improving that process is possible, but the benefit is small for the amount of additional work required.

Not being able to change the head with lights in the enclosure seems ridiculous.

1 Like

Neither of these. I’m talking about being so inefficient in use that it’s better to do it some other way or to do something else. I did not buy the machine for decorative work nor for self-expression nor for self-gratification; if that’s what you want, the machine is OK for that. I bought it to save time making functional parts; the machine is not worth it to me for that.

Are they? I haven’t looked at schematics, but given everything I’ve read and seen about these units, I would doubt there’s protection against transients. Pull power on a spinning motor and you’re going to get transients. You can tell a user not to do that, but as we all know that’s not a reliable protection mechanism.

The controller is split into power ‘domains’. The touchscreen is a domain, along with a few others. You’re welcome to read the changes the gcode makes here: Enable Power Control by brent113 · Pull Request #47 · Snapmaker/Snapmaker2-Controller · GitHub