Big Laser Controller Choice

OK. Moment of truth.

Time to decide on what controller to install in the Big Laser.


  1. Hive owns a spare Leetro controller for the big laser. This runs the much disliked Lasercut2017. Lacking any decision, this is what gets installed. Have fun.

  2. Ralph’s heroic Arduino GRBL experiment on the small laser is operational.

With some caveats. It lacks a front panel control. It requires a PC to do all tasks. It also demonstrates this setup has some speed limits on the laser performance. Can these be tuned out? Or remedied by a more robust Arduino? Probably.

At this point, the Arduino is probably OK for the small laser.

3) A Ruida controller can be installed. Both of these controllers are preferred by Lightburn

We need the S version = single laser head version.
Ruida RDC6442G/S Manual

Ruida RDC6445G Manual

From the manual physical descriptions, these will both fit the opening in the Gweike laser. There is a complication, in that the Ruida design has control panel and control board all in one.
We would need to rewire from the controller to the power supplies and stepper drivers. Note: We rewired the CNC Router in a similar effort earlier this year. It was done over a weekend with a lot of teamwork.

Good News - Owing to some sale discounts the replacement parts purchase is coming in under budget. There is enough money to buy a Ruida board and Lightburn licenses.

My recommendation is to go with a $249 Ruida RDC6445G controller

Any volunteers to help rewire to install the Ruida controller?

I 100% agree with Dave’s opinion on controllers. I won’t be touching the small laser much after we have everything documented.

[raises hand] I’ll step up to spearhead this IF we move forward with the Ruida. This does not mean that I am volunteering to spearhead the whole project (belts, mirrors, fire suppression, etc).

I’d guess 2-3 people, total, will be sufficient to get this done in a day or so. From what I see, there is no major reason we can’t test it with the laser as-is… We’ll have to re-calibrate when everything is setup (belts and new tube), but that is expected either way any controller.

Before we jump to the controller replacement, can we get the spare old controller bodged in and make sure the motors drive around and there aren’t other issues that would need to be addressed outside of the controller replacement?

I remember there was some question about all the bits and bobs that would need to get swapped out with a different controller. If some of those components already need to be replaced, it makes it a real simple choice in my mind. And if everything is good, and we can do a drop in replacement of what we have and shave a few weeks off the rebuild, that also is a strong argument.

Basically I’d like to have real information before having an opinion on the plan of action.

We plan to test individual electrical components in the next day or so. Using the Leetro controller until a decision is made is OK.

Thinking that there will be an eventual rewire to the Ruida controller should inform our rewiring of the damaged wiring.

I’ll go ahead and throw my support behind getting the Ruida controller since it is very likely to perform better and isn’t very expensive compared to what all else we have to order/replace. I’d actually advocate going a step farther and getting one for both lasers so they share a common configuration, though this could be easily done at a later date for the small laser.

I’d really like a laser that I write toolpaths for in normal CAM software. This has its advantages. I absolutely agree that both being able to use lightburn serves the most people and that having the same or similar controllers on both is ideal. I’d like to know if other g-code based controls can keep up with rastering. Smoothie or Duet or whatever.

It appears RDworks software which comes with the Ruida controller supports importing g-code.

IDK re Lightburn.

I support Dave’s criteria, and I offer my help to work on the reconstruction as much as I can.