I’m a new snapmaker 40W Ray owner (well UPS says it’ll be here this week at least). I currently own a Muse laser cutter and engraver. I cut a lot of fancy boxes and organizers for boardgames but the Muse is limited to cutting 3mm or deep cuts for woods. So I’m excited to experiment with designs using deeper cuts.
I’m also a software engineer so I’m hopeless at using other people’s software (or at least it frustrates me half the time), so I’ve made custom software to output SVGs to drive the Muse.
As I understand it the Ray likes g-code so I’ll need to develop a g-code output mode for my software. G-code though seems to have a lot of subsets and device specific extensions. Is there a document that tells me what the Ray supports?
Alternately how much can I control with an SVG? Muse’s software lets you import an SVG and just tell it what each color means in terms of number of passes (including zero, vital for debug information layers!), power level, frequency. Which works well enough, but I need to keep remembering to tell it what the various colors are which gets tiring (but at least I only need to do the import once). It would be great if I could just encode that directly in the SVG somehow. How does Ray deal with SVG importing?
While I do not have the Ray, I’ve read that it’ll be on the GRBL platform. Most g-code based machines understand the same language, there’s just nuances and a few changes between each platform. For all intents and purposes, gcode is mostly just a coordinate based code. A few commands to turn things on/off, set settings, then 95% is go here, go there, stop here, etc.
As far as SVGs go, the supplied software, Luban, is fairly limited. It treats it as a single vector to do outlines or fills. Software like Lightburn actually can read each layer to have different settings such as speed, laser power, etc.
However, as with most machines, just an SVG will not get you anywhere, you have to use a setup software to generate toolpaths from the SVG file.
If you would like to develop your own software, I would suggest looking up a GRBL handbook, and downloading Luban to see what it outputs during projects to build your knowledge on that. You can also look into LaserGRBL for help, as it’s completely open source and could give you a good start.
I was hoping for some document that says things like “G17 supported, G18, G19 not” (arcs in the XY plane only). Or if the power level is 0-100 mapping to percentages, or if some other range and units end up getting used, similar with frequency.
Sounds like working with SVGs is plausible enough that I can make it work to test some things out, but painful enough that I’ll definitely want to make my own g-code output mode.
So rather then curse Muse’s software for doing a bad job ordering cut commands to minimize wasted movement I can curse my own software for not getting it right, at least until I make that happen…and then I can curse my own software for not making it easy enough to control ordering to avoid cutting things away that might slightly shift the wood and lead to misalignments… (my current method there is having a Cut first and Cut second layer, putting anything that its away large segments or “inside parts” in the “cut first” layer…but first+second is two layers, and one of the big software angering laws is “there are only three numbers: zero, one, and many”, two is not on that list so just because it has been enough for me so far doesn’t mean it will always be…)
I don’t have anything from the Ray yet, but here is something from the Muse:
The wooden “under shelf” boxes were all cut by me, with the rounded corner one being an overly fussy complicate design, but it was a lot of fun. The acrylic straight shelves I think are nail polish shelves, but the curved shelf I also designed and cut. I had to learn a shocking amount about Bezier curves to make that work out the way I wanted (or technically work out the way my wife wanted, she is the mini painter)
Unfortunately I later designed a much higher density paint storage shelf system that doesn’t look nearly as cool and that has replaced the original cool looking system. It does store nearly double the paints in the same linear space, and uses far less depth on the shelves anyway.