Testing the Ruida Controller

So far in this series of blog posts I've talked about setting up the ruida controller and wiring it into the laser cutter, now is the point where it needs to be tested to ensure that it actually works as intended. In the previous post I failed to mention that the power connector needs to be rewired but it's a straight forward swap of GND and +24V. Once the controller can actually be turned on we're ready to start testing.
Testing Automatic Features

Safety is all important while testing the machine, there are moving parts and laser beams during this whole process so care should be taken. The big red emergency stop on the machine is always close to hand, the key switch similar. The safety interlock lid switch for the laser is still wired directly to the high voltage power supply so the laser will not fire with the lid open or the water pump off.
The first test is to ensure that both axis move in the correct direction. The controller was set up to initialise the X and Y axis …

Rubber Stamps

A friend wanted some stamps to ink a pattern onto some material she's working with. We weren't sure if wood or rubber would be better for it so I cut a set of both. The backs were finished will little handles to make them easier to stamp, I left it all unglued so it would be easier to post.

Wiring the Ruida Controller

This is going to be quite an image heavy post describing the rewiring needed to convert between the Leetro controller and the Ruida controller. It is also pretty straight forward on the old Just Add Sharks laser cutters because all of the wires are clearly labelled. The controller was prepared in the previous step in order to make this conversion process as smooth as possible.

The control panel is an easy place to start, both panels have just a single cable that runs down to the controller, both panels are a very similar size, with the Ruida panel being slightly smaller underneath so it will fit in the hole left behind easily. The Pad03 panel clips into place so you'll need to reach up inside the machine to work the clips loose. The cable runs down the inside of the laser and is cable tied onto mounting points inside the metal work.

There tends to be a lot of excess wiring on these machines, a 2m long wire will service 10 different models of laser so the long wires tend to get do…

Last Minute Christmas Gift - Ring Keeper

Christmas is a very relaxed affair in our house, we used to run around between in laws but now we just head to some local friends for the day, this means we get time to play with presents and do things like making last minute gifts. I held out hope right until Christmas eve but Kim's present just didn't arrive so I took the opportunity to make it myself on Christmas day.

This necklace is actually a ring keeper, you can hook a wedding ring over the necklace without actually taking the necklace off (check out the video below). It's made from 2 layers of 0.8mm ply, glued and sanded so it's only 1.5mm thick but it's strong enough not to break, it actually has 6 layers of birch in that 1.5mm. The ring keeper idea was inspired by Morag Hickman and the clasp inspired by Shiny Shiny (svg here)

Load Spreaders

Sometimes I find it hard giving all the widgets and doohickeys meaningful names. I like Christmas foil decorations but this year I've been struggling to keep them hanging from the ceiling, they just keep pulling through the blu tack. Most things can be fixed with a laser cutter though, literally 90 seconds of drawing and cutting and I now have a handful of gadgets cut from 2mm perspex scrap. The string from the foil wraps through the gaps in the disk and the whole disk presses into the blu tack. In theory this should spread the weight load and stop them falling off the ceiling. It's working so far.

Knife Boxes

My friend Duncan has started making beautiful hand crafted kitchen knives and he asked me to cut some boxes for him. He even sent me a base box to work with because time was short, I made a few tweaks and included a flip top lid on the top of the box and sent them back in time for Christmas. The wood was stained on both sides and I tried some different colours. All in all a very satisfying collaboration and I'm sure the next set of boxes will be perfect.

Leetro to Ruida Settings

The first step towards upgrading a leetro based machine is to acquire a replacement controller. I opted for the Ruida 6442G to make it the same as my other machine. I bought my controller through ali express from Cloudray, it's currently $266 USD for delivery to the UK it took 3 weeks to arrive and cost around £250 GBP once customs and duty had been paid on it. I would probably recommend buying it through cloudray ebay instead, it's £260 but it'll arrive within a few days. Cloudray is my current part supplier, they've been pretty good so far. A delay suited me nicely with the Christmas rush on fractal puzzles and other products.

The kit of parts as it arrived was very complete. The controller and the screen were protected with bubble wrap and anti-static bags. Other parts include two USB cables to go from the controller to the edge of the laser, one for USB sticks, one for the laptop connection. An Ethernet extension to go the the edge of the laser and all the screw t…