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Introduction

Thanks to Thrinter.com and walterhsiao on Github.com we have a method for Mac OS X users to operate the BoXZY laser with Gcode produced in Inkscape, an open source vector software. Windows users can also install Inkscape and the same plugin to produce Gcode.

  1. In your web browser go to this link and download the thlaser-inkscape-plugin ZIP file from github containing the Inkscape plugin, indicated by the blue arrow in the image In your web browser go to this link and download Inkscape for Mac, as indicated by the blue circle in the image In your browser go to this link and download XQuartz, as indicated by the blue box. XQuartz is required for OS X users to use Inkscape
    • In your web browser go to this link and download the thlaser-inkscape-plugin ZIP file from github containing the Inkscape plugin, indicated by the blue arrow in the image

    • In your web browser go to this link and download Inkscape for Mac, as indicated by the blue circle in the image

    • In your browser go to this link and download XQuartz, as indicated by the blue box. XQuartz is required for OS X users to use Inkscape

  2. Open XQuartz from where your browser downloads and follow the Install XQuartz installer procedures Run the newly installed XQuartz application. Select preferences from the XQuartz main menu and match the X11 Preferences tab contents as indicated by the blue boxes in the image, this information can also be found at this link, the official Inkscape website The final step to installing XQuartz is restarting your computer, do so now and return to this guide and finish this step
    • Open XQuartz from where your browser downloads and follow the Install XQuartz installer procedures

    • Run the newly installed XQuartz application. Select preferences from the XQuartz main menu and match the X11 Preferences tab contents as indicated by the blue boxes in the image, this information can also be found at this link, the official Inkscape website

    • The final step to installing XQuartz is restarting your computer, do so now and return to this guide and finish this step

    • When your computer is finished restarting open and run Inkscape from where your browser downloads. Note that it may take some time for the Inkscape window to open, please be patient

  3. Once the Inkscape window opens press Shift+Ctrl+P shortcut to open the Preferences window open then select System from the menu on the left hand side of the Preferences menu Copy the User Extensions address as indicated in the image with a blue square.  Press Cmd+Shift+G to open the Go To Folder search window and paste the User Extensions address, as indicated with the green square. Select Go and the User Extensions folder for Inkscape plugins will open Open your web browser downloads and open the thlaser-inkscape-plugin-boxzy-2 folder. Copy shinylaser.inx and shinylaser.py and paste them into the Inkscape User Extension folder you opened in the previous action in this step, this is indicated by the blue box and arrow
    • Once the Inkscape window opens press Shift+Ctrl+P shortcut to open the Preferences window open then select System from the menu on the left hand side of the Preferences menu

    • Copy the User Extensions address as indicated in the image with a blue square. Press Cmd+Shift+G to open the Go To Folder search window and paste the User Extensions address, as indicated with the green square. Select Go and the User Extensions folder for Inkscape plugins will open

    • Open your web browser downloads and open the thlaser-inkscape-plugin-boxzy-2 folder. Copy shinylaser.inx and shinylaser.py and paste them into the Inkscape User Extension folder you opened in the previous action in this step, this is indicated by the blue box and arrow

    • Close Inkscape and then reopen it.

  4. With Inkscape open, draw your vectors making sure that stroke of the vector is in pixels and the color black. Select the vector(s) as indicated by the blue box in the image. With the vector(s) selected, go to the Path Tab, indicated by the red square and select Object to Path, indicated by the red arrow With the vector(s) selected, go to the Extensions tab, indicated by the red square and select Export from the menu. Next select ShinyLaser Gcode for BoXZY from the menu, indicated with the red arrows
    • With Inkscape open, draw your vectors making sure that stroke of the vector is in pixels and the color black. Select the vector(s) as indicated by the blue box in the image.

    • With the vector(s) selected, go to the Path Tab, indicated by the red square and select Object to Path, indicated by the red arrow

    • With the vector(s) selected, go to the Extensions tab, indicated by the red square and select Export from the menu. Next select ShinyLaser Gcode for BoXZY from the menu, indicated with the red arrows

    • The ShinyLaser Gcode for BoXZY window will open and you will enter a filename that ends with .gcode, as indicated by the blue square. Select apply and the file will be saved

  5. Open Repetier -Host, select Load G-Code, as indicated by the red square in the image. Locate the file you saved from the last step and select Open as indicated by the blue arrow'. Select the Gcode tab in your Repeater-Host interface and examine your Gcode, as indicated by the red square. Notice how the file we have loaded in the image is not positioned in the build area correctly, as indicated with the blue square. You will not be able to reposition the file in Repeater-Host so you will need to reposition your vector(s) as seen in the image, indicated with a orange square. Additionally you can change your document size settings to 165mm x 165mm to match the BoXZY Build platform, if desired.
    • Open Repetier -Host, select Load G-Code, as indicated by the red square in the image. Locate the file you saved from the last step and select Open as indicated by the blue arrow'.

    • Select the Gcode tab in your Repeater-Host interface and examine your Gcode, as indicated by the red square. Notice how the file we have loaded in the image is not positioned in the build area correctly, as indicated with the blue square.

    • You will not be able to reposition the file in Repeater-Host so you will need to reposition your vector(s) as seen in the image, indicated with a orange square. Additionally you can change your document size settings to 165mm x 165mm to match the BoXZY Build platform, if desired.

    • Save your new file and load it into Repetier-Host

  6. With you new .gcode file loaded you will see that the vector is in the build area, as indicated by the blue square. Adjust the location of the vector in Inkscape to position the vector where you would like it.
    • With you new .gcode file loaded you will see that the vector is in the build area, as indicated by the blue square. Adjust the location of the vector in Inkscape to position the vector where you would like it.

    • With the laser head removed, home your Z Axis. Measure the thickness of the material that you are going to laser. Add that measurement (in millimeters) to laser focus distance of 50.7mm.

    • Move your Z Axis down(positive) manually in the Repetier-Host controls or with the Gcode sender to the combined value you just calculated .

    • Now type G92 Z0 in the Gcode sender line and select send to set your Z0 location. Your laser will now be in focus.

    • Place your laser in the mount making sure your Laser is secure and connected correctly, that your material is positioned how you want it and that you have your laser safety glasses. Press Run to run your file

Conclusion

Thanks again to Walter for the plugin and to Ken Gross for his Pronterface BoXZY hack he posted in the BoXZY community guides!

2 other people completed this guide.

BoXZY

Member since: 04/12/2016

3,827 Reputation

30 Guides authored

4 Comments

I am certainly coming at this from the position of ignorance but I feel like I am missing something on focusing the LASER. Going through the above steps does not produce a sharply focused dot and the lines are clearly not sharp. The problem is, I have no idea what the initial distance the LASER is from the work surface with the Z-axis at zero. I have manually positioned the base of the LASER aperture to 50.7mm (2" maybe?) from the material to be engraved but that still does not produce a sharp dot.

And perhaps this is addressed elsewhere in some other document. If so, it would be useful to have a link with a note like, "Do THIS first then continue here."

Thank you. Until that point, I was doing great.

Brian Lloyd - Reply

Brian,

The laser is set to have the beam focused 50.7 mm from the emitter. Measure the material you are trying to etch and add 50.7 mm to that number. That is the distance you want to set the Z depth to.

Hope this helps

Ken Gross -

Is there any way to adjust the speed at which the laser moves? Is there any way to set a number of passes so that I don’t have to manually run the g-code n times? Thanks

Alex Chou - Reply

I’m using Mac OS X btw… I don’t see the laser tab in Repetier Host Mac

Alex Chou -

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