Is this even possible?

Should one wish to purchase a Laser head / module and attach it to a Shapeoko Pro XXL.
I know grbl laser software would be needed.
Would another control board be needed?
How would this be integrated on the machine?

Light burn and Jtech use a controller for the laser and the Shapeoko control board for gbrl movement of the machine. You run a macro that changes from CNC mode to laser and when through you run another macro to switch back to CNC mode from laser mode.

You load light burn and it recognizes through the usb the SHapeoko controller. So in essence you have two controllers. Likely other brands do something similar.

Look at JTech’s website ( ) for lots of information.

I do this integration all the time, but I use Vectric software which makes the laser just another tool in the box. I have Lightburn software ( ), but I don’t use it much because I don’t need it much. I only need to “engrave” lettering onto stock, so I don’t need to “cut” out stock. The lasers for cutting are the large desktop models with a different kind of laser.

The key is that whatever software you use to put your design onto stock, make sure that it has a post-processor that will convert the design correctly into gcode for the Shapeoko. It isn’t magic; its engineering.

The laser should come with a control board (driver). The driver is connected to the ISP header on the Shapeoko control board where it gets a PWM signal telling the driver to fire the laser as per whats in your G code.

Looking at JTech’s site I am looking at the lesser outlay of cash route, would the 2.8 laser head be sufficient for engraving and possibly light cutting?

Would the driver unit be compatible with a third-party laser head/module?

I have a 7W JTech laser. The laser is powered by its own power supply which I mounted on the outside of my Shapeoko 3 power supply. I doubt it would be feasible to use other equipment with it.

On my projects, I’ll run from 10% power to 80% power. Small lettering on thin veneer material will get extra crispy with too much power and 10% works just fine. I’m just trying to mark the veneer.

On the other hand, I’ve done some ceramic tile that needed the 80% to mark it well. YMMV.

I chose the 7W, because it was the highest powered product that they were selling. Of course, now you can burn with lots more power. I’ve had no problems with the 7W other than the PWM frequency is low enough that I can’t push it faster than 20 ipm, or the gaps between the on period show up. Maybe they changed that by now.

You won’t be cutting much, but engraving is always available. :smiley:

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