LaserBoard Setting Up a Z-Table

LaserBoard Setting Up a Z-Table

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Connect your Z-table into the Z axis header on the LaserBoard using the built in driver.

The external stepper driversaccompanying cables, and the additional power supply are not typically required unless you are wanting to work with heavier projects, have a larger machine size/bed, or are using heftier stepper motors. For additional info: Cohesion3D LaserBoard Buyers Guide

If you are running a larger/heavier Z-table, or it uses larger motors, follow these instructions for how to connect the external stepper drivers: LaserBoard Connecting External Stepper Drivers

For a Z table using a larger AC motor, it would not be connected to the LaserBoard and would continue to operate from the machine controls as it currently does.

Possible Configuration File Changes

A few config file updates may be necessary to ensure that your table is calibrated properly.

For the stock Smoothie Firmware that comes on the LaserBoard, use Sublime Text as your Text Editor. With the power off, remove the SD Card and access it on your computer. Back up your current good config file and review the following:

Please note that some values are mm/min, mm/s or mm/s^2 in the config file and can cause issues if a value is entered improperly.

  1. Verify the gamma_steps_per_mm are correct. A value of 316.9 is a good starting place, but measuring the travel distance during testing will yield better results.
    • Some devices may not require the decimal point in the steps value and will need to be updated (made evident by extremely slow vertical movement). Ex: 3169
    • If you remove the decimal, make sure to lower your Z-Speed in LightBurn to 1.0 to prevent going too fast, then incrementally increase it to test.
  2. If needed, increase the gamma_current. The board’s per driver max is 1.2 amps. Do not exceed the stepper motor max. Ensure the motors are not overheating after increasing. For more info: Changing Stepper Motor Currents on the LaserBoard
  3. Lower the z_axis_max_speed (Ex: 180 or lower)
  4. Ensure that your z_acceleration is uncommented by removing the # at the beginning of the parameter line and decrease to between 120-180 or lower.
  5. Save your changes, eject safely, and put the SD card back into the board before powering everything up to test again.

Enabling and Testing the Table

Z Axis Control

  • In LightBurn, enable the necessary option(s) for Z Axis Control under Device Settings.
  • On the main Cuts panel, the Material (mm) thickness sets the base Z height for your jobs. If “Relative Z moves only” is enabled in Device Settings, this value is ignored.
  • To focus at the center of the material (primarily for cutting or defocusing), specify a Z Offset on the Cut settings window; otherwise, it will be focused on the material surface (primarily for engraving).
  • For multiple passes, you can specify Z steps per pass per layer, if needed.

Test the Z-table

In LightBurn, use the “Move” tab or run commands from Console to test Z axis movement.

On the Move tab:

  • Ensure that the “Distance” is set to a low number for the table to travel in mm (Ex: 10)
  • Set the Z-Speed and increase/decrease as needed to test (Ex: 10)
  • Use the Up and Down dashed arrows to move the bed vertically

Or on the Console:

  • Enter G0 Z10 F60 in the text field and hit enter
    • G specifies a rapid move
    • Z is the axis and the number value is the position coordinates to move to
    • F is the feedrate per mm/min. The example above (F60) is 1 mm/s, which is really slow
  • Increase the F value to 120, 180, etc. to test the feedrate
  • Jog the bed up and down accordingly by alternating between Z10 and Z0