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7 Watt laser frustration

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  • 7 Watt laser frustration

    My wife purchased my 7W laser directly from Nextwave for Christmas. I purchased the laser module for my Aspire software to work with my SD510. I spent a couple of weeks trying to get the laser to work including opening support tickets with both companies. Both assured me Vectric and Nextwave were working to fix the incompatibility as a priority. I also tried to get the laser to work with Ready2Laser without success. It is now 11 June. Vectric has removed the Nextwave CNC machine from the machines that its laser module supports. It has been over six months with no discernible progress. Multiple supports tickets for both companies keep saying same thing working it as a priority issue.

    For your customers that sent over $1,000 to Nextwave for the laser hardware, and $50 to Vectric for the laser module, both companies performance has been poor. Prior to this interaction I thought both companies were world class with excellent customer service supporting your customers. This transaction has changed my mind. If this was going to take 6+ months you should have told us and we could have returned the product. I should have immediately sent the laser back as you clearly released it before it was ready. If your company had any concept of customer support you should offer to take these laser modules back until it is a supported product.
    Last edited by BillConroy; 06-11-2021, 06:43 PM.

  • #2
    I completely agree with the frustration you are currently feeling. I too have had major issues trying to get the laser to work. Over the last few weeks I have been able to gather some information that may fill in some of the questions you have. I have been working with both Ventric and Nextwave.

    Here is what we have. There were a couple issues Vectric was trying to resolve. The first one was hatching for fill. On some projects if you decided to fill in lettering or logos etc, you would see a double burn in some areas. This problem was sent to Vectric to correct. Their resolution took some time, as they had to basically rewrite how the laser toolpaths were being generated. I received a photo of one of my projects that had this problem, and it had been corrected. The solution for this is included in Vectrics release of Version 11. (Aspire/Vcarve).

    The second problem is photos. This is a lot more complicated then the hatching issue. This goes way above my pay grade, but here is the basics as I understand them. The language Vectric uses to create all the projects are in GRBL, Nextwave equipment is more advanced then that language, this causes issues. I know Vectric and Nextwave are currently working on calibration files, the 2 watt laser is almost complete based on what I saw. I have tested the 7 watt file, along with a test Post Processor. There is still some work to be done to stop the over burn with photos, but they are real close.

    I do agree with your opinion they probably should have waited until all this current testing was done, but it happened. I do know I have been able to produce some nice projects using the "Fake Laser" tool setup. This doesn't effect photos, but it does allow you to do other projects with your laser. My luck with Ready2Raster is similar to yours, in I don't use it. My results were too messed up, but I blame myself, not the software.

    With Vectrics Version 11 due to be out before the end of the month (barring any unforeseen problems), I anticipate Nextwave will have the new post processors soon after. At least I hope. But I do know for certain they are working on these issues, and are real close to correcting them.

    This may not help much, but it's what I know.

    Auger (Kevin)
    Last edited by Auger; 07-18-2021, 09:16 AM.


    • #3
      I have been having similar frustrations with my 7W laser-Vectric-NextWave post processor. Thank you for the updates on the progress between Next Wave and Vectric.

      I have tried Ready2Raster also - I agree that the problems are mainly due to my lack of experience with the program. I have voiced my opinion and requested more complete training be made available for the Ready2Raster program. I hope training is made available soon.



      • #4
        Thanks for the info. As an aside GRBL is an open-source interface language used for 3D machine control. It is as close to a standard as there is in this class of machines. it is found in 3d cutters, 3d printers, and cnc/milling machines, etc. NextWave appears to have has chosen to go a different route. Some times vendors choose this route because they can add some capability the open-source software does not provide. Sometimes they do it to lock customers into their platform. Pro is they can do whatever they like in terms of product capability and enhancements and are not subject to the schedules of 3rd party supporting players. Con is the delay or possible inability to use best of breed software products with the hardware. Vectric is an example. In my opinion, their software is very good. To target the maximum number of machines, Vectric codes against grbl. Understanding that Nextwave has gone away from GRBL, this situation makes total sense. Vectric will prioritize their software to work with as many machines as possible. They would do their grbl interfaces first then get around to non-standard machines as their schedule permits. Nextwave will need to create a new post processor that takes standard grbl and transform the instructions into something their firmware can process correctly.

        Long story short, it appears Nextwave has decided to head a different direction than many of their competitors, This means they can go faster in areas they prioritize. It also means we are locked into Nextwave for any future capabilities. If I was aware of this configuration I would have selected a different cnc vendor. At my level in my cnc journey, the software is much more critical to a successful product than the hardware. I purchased Shark based upon demos of the Vectric software and the ability to start generating products right away. The Nextwave strategy is perfectly viable. New users need to understand that they are giving up potential enhancements the 3rd party software vendors are creating or at a minimum a delay in access.

        I hope that eventually they work out the post processor so I can use the $1,000+ equipment purchased last November. I also wish Nextwave the best but. The only commodity product I am aware of that has flourished in the face of open source is the Apple MAC. Everything else has seen the hardware align on standards or go the way of the dodo. Software makes the hardware go. Limiting the number of folks programming against your platform has led to the eventual demise of many core products.


        • #5
          Here’s my take on ready to Raster/laser over burning issues. I've been burning pictures for a few years now and I find over burning/under burning an unedited image to be unavoidable, but I don’t see it as a software issue. I think the problem is reproducing a grayscale when burning on wood. The software will power your laser from no power to full power to reproduce a grayscale going from black to white. The problem is a laser won’t start burning an image until it reaches say, 60% power for example. In order to burn the lighter parts of the image you need to crank up the laser power which oversaturates the darker areas.

          I have found 2 solutions to this problem. The hard way is to adjust the image levels white end dark enough that a light gray barely starts burning the wood. This can be difficult because of the irregularity of the wood. One board can have different properties in different areas as well as the effect of the grain.

          The easy way is to convert the image to a 200 dpi halftone. This creates an image with black dots. The closer they are to each other the darker the image is. This way you get an accurate representation of the gray scales with no oversaturation. If you look close you can see the dots but they’re not very noticeable. Here’s an example I did a while ago: . I hope this helps.


          • #6
            Steve, I fully agree with your assessment. A raw unedited photo can and will cause issues. But is where my problem comes in. If I set up a photo project and burn it (again, I'm using Aspire), the Maximum I can set my laser is 3%. On other burns, the max I can set is 20% and never on a photo. Yes, the material you are using will effect the level of burn needed.

            But here is my take on it. For the sake of argument, lets just say 0% laser = White and 100% laser = Black.
            For every % I increase my laser, the effect should be put out like grey scale. (I know this is simplistic, but bare with me).
            If I can only use max of 3% to get some form of a picture burned and over 3% burns, am I not limiting the range of the laser ?? 0 to 3% verses say 0-100% range ??
            And just how fine of an adjustment is actually taking place.

            I have tested V11 release, and I know they have corrected their issues with hatching toolpaths. NWA has also send them a 7 watt laser to test with.


            • #7
              I use Ready To Raster for photos and always run my 7 watt laser at full power. what speed (ipm) are you running the laser. Running it faster should allow you to run it at a higher power.

              As far as limiting the range, my guess is the software creates an image with either 16, 32 or 64 shades of gray and sends that to your laser. Turning it down to 3% will give you the same number of shades but only burns them at 3%.
              Last edited by stevelod; 08-16-2021, 08:27 AM.


              • #8
                My average speed is 100"/min. Was recommended from the techs at NMA. Anything faster then that seems to lose details.

                Ready2Raster utilizes direct input from NWA. It was made for them by them. One reason I do not rely on that program is the additional steps I would have to do for combination projects. (cutting and laser).

                The reason I mention what I did is less laser range. I suspect the Ready2Raster program does allow for a range from 0-100% laser with more precision.
                This would then allow you to put in 100%=Max Laser. This is not the case for those using Vcarve or Aspire.

                We received Vcarve Pro when we purchased the CNC, I went as far as to upgrade to Aspire for 3d-cutting and laser use. Prior to the laser module we had to make a fake laser tool to run the laser. This actually worked rather well, all things considered. But to adjust the laser power, we had to use "Spindle Speed" . 1000rpm = 100% laser, 500=50%, and so on. The module eliminated that, and allows us to place in the actual laser power % we want to use.

                With the program as it is, we can really never use over 10% power. (again this is all pertaining to picture burning).
                I would suspect if I could use more then 10% of the laser on the photo, I would have more control of the burn. A wider range of grey scale, then 10%.