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Thread: Networking a Chinese Laser

  1. #1
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    Networking a Chinese Laser

    Don't know if anyone has tried this.
    My LaserJet printer has a USB and CAT5 connection.
    My 3D printer has a USB and CAT5 connection.
    My Chinese CO2 laser has CAT5, USB and USB thumb drive connections.
    My Chinese Fiber laser only has a USB port for connecting to my laptop.

    Has anybody ever tried to find a Network to USB device to run their Fiber laser or anything that needs two-way communications?

    I know they make printer servers that you can go from a network hub and convert it's USB output to a printer's USB input plug. (Now days most all business class LaserJet printers already have CAT5 connectivity so they are not as big as they were years ago. )

    Just curious if anyone has any experience with the network=>USB devices before.

    In searching I don't see where any of the Chinese Fiber lasers in the 20/50w range have controller boards that can communicate via CAT5 or I would just consider replacing the controller card in the Fiber laser.

    Thanks.Rob

  2. #2
    I'm no network genius but to the best of my knowledge there's no CAT compatibility with Chinese lasers. The fibers must have a proprietary computer connected in order to control the start, stop, pause and redlight functions from the engraving program, EzCad in most cases. Engraving data sent to the machine is stored onto the controller card, and there's a pin on one of the controller's connectors that when closed to ground (user must install a momentary-closed switch) will activate the 'remark' function, which runs the last job saved on the card. However, when 'remarking', the only way to stop the job in progress is to power down the machine since the computer is divorced from the machine during remarking. Remark is useful for auto-feed jobs, or if the user has a gazillion identical engravings and needs to use the program for setting up the next job...

    C02's, aren't much different I guess, my big Triumph's engraving program allows me to get present head coordinates, or I can key in my own coordinates to move the head to where I want-- at the very least these 2 functions require the computer and machine to 'talk' to each other.

    That all said, I don't know why ethernet connections couldn't be used, if one is smart enough to juggle the wiring! (I know I'M not! )
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  3. #3
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    Thanks Kev.

    I was thinking something like this:

    https://www.digi.com/products/networ...ip/anywhereusb

    Most say it will only connect to one usb device at a time which wouldn't be a problem in this case.

    I may take a chance and try it after a little more research.

  4. #4
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    I use a cheap network switch to really emulate a network for my CO2 laser through cat 5 cable. I could NOT get it to work directly to computer with a CAT 5 cable (except via USB) without doing this. But for a fiber, Nope, direct usb to the laser.
    Same computer btw, but only USB. The network switch to the CO2 uploads to laser several times faster than USB btw and WAY more reliably. I only get a fail if I forget to turn the laser on....
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  5. #5
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    Unless there's an Ethernet port on the machine (or wireless capability) it's unlikely you'll be able to network it directly. While Ethernet to USB devices exist, they require software/drivers on the device they are being plugged into and that's not very likely going to be something that can be accommodated with the laser. You can potentially network the "dedicated" computer attached to it for remote control and file transfer, however.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
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    After some searching basically my conclusion is it may or may not be possible.
    There are print servers that are one-way devices that just spool information to send to the printer. This would not work.
    There were a few devices that claimed to be two-way devices that specifically said for use with multi-function printers, USB drives, USB devices, etc. This may work.
    But these devices haven't been made recently and it is just old stock or used.
    So, I will have to see just how willing I am to throw $$ down the drain just to experiment with no future backup since these are not being made any longer if the device fails.

  7. #7
    Don't know why I didn't bring this up before, probably because I don't do this very often, but I DID just do it a few minutes ago, which I'll get to---

    --would Remote Desktop work for you? Works great for me... Today I needed the BIL to run some parts on the Triumph fiber laser while I worked on other stuff. Running the Triumph fiber means sitting in front of the garage shop computer, which I needed to set up and run some stainless panels in the GCC, which is in the garage. So I just went downstairs and connected to the garage computer with the basement computer. (this disabled EzCad for the BIL but didn't matter since he could just use the foot switch to start the fiber)... Running the garage computer from downstairs is no different than running it itself (a little latency notwithstanding). I was able to setup the job and send it the GCC without bothering the BIL. The GCC is 'start on print' capable I could've started the laser too if I'd wanted. The job that was running on the Triumph, I could start the machine or edit the job from downstairs...

    As to 'print servers', I have 2 old XP's that do nothing but send jobs to machines, I have to have them simply because newer computers aren't the least bit serial/parallel-port-friendly, most of my machines don't even do USB let alone Ethernet, and USB-to-serial/parallel converters just don't work right. But everything works out by networking. And with Remote Desktop, I can run ANY-- or ALL- computers in this place FROM any computer..

    I'm thinking Remote Desktop and a couple of used XP's would help-?
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  8. #8
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    All good ideas but I was trying to get it down to a single laptop for everything.

    Originally, I had one laptop on one side of the shop and one on the other side of the shop.

    Now the fiber and the CO2 are sitting together so they can both be monitored and the printers are on the other side of the shop that don't need to be monitored.

    They were originally setup like this in the two locations:

    Location 1

    LAPTOP 1:
    -USB-HUB (Laptop USB port 1)
    - 3D printer
    - Dye-Sub Printer
    - Laserjet printer
    -Fiber laser (Laptop USB port 2)
    -Wireless mouse (Laptop USB port 3)
    No HDMI out since it would cause the Fiber to disconnect.

    Location 2:

    LAPTOP 2:
    -CO2 laser (Laptop USB port 1)
    -Wireless mouse (Laptop USB port 2)
    -USB camera inside CO2 laser (Laptop USB port 3)
    -HDMI out to 32" LCD monitor
    Everything worked fine

    Unfortunately, if I connect the HDMI monitor to either laptop I can only use two of the USB ports when the fiber is connected. If I connect a third USB device the fiber will disconnect with the HDMI connected. So to use three usb ports even though the USB-HUB, I can't use the HDMI monitor.

    The wireless mouse has to use one USB port.
    The camera inside the CO2 laser has to use one USB port.
    The fiber laser has to use one USB port.
    Which means no HDMI out can be used.

    So the plan was to get a Network switch/hub and one laptop and connect:

    -3D printer (network)
    -Dye-Sub printer (network)
    -Laserjet printer (network)
    -CO2 laser (network)
    -?Fiber laser (hopefully network)
    -USB wireless mouse (USB port1)
    -USB Camera in CO2 laser (USB port2)
    -HDMI to monitor

    It may just be a limitation of power in the laptop but I don't know.

    I could try and buy a desktop and see if the fiber would still work with all the other devices considering it has a dedicated video output.
    It is just something about the laptops (both less than 2 years old) that they don't like the HDMI output being used with all three USB ports being used, but only the fiber has the issue.

    Rob

  9. #9
    I have a hard time getting my Dell T5400 Precision, with an SSD, 2 Xeon 3gig processors, 8 cores and 32 gigs of ram to keep up with just Corel, Gravostyle and my email! You're asking a lot of one laptop! I have 9 computers in this place to handle everything I need done, and I can't figure out how to get rid of even one of 'em!
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  10. Attach a wireless display adapter to HDMI of LCD monitor and connect via wireless to bypass HDMI on Laptop.

  11. #11
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    Now that is interesting. Thanks.

    Never even thought of that direction.

    Could also look at a bluetooth connected mouse to eliminate another USB connected device...
    Last edited by Rob Damon; 09-27-2020 at 8:31 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Damon View Post
    Now that is interesting. Thanks.

    Never even thought of that direction.

    Could also look at a bluetooth connected mouse to eliminate another USB connected device...

    Might pay to look into a Powered USB HUB as well. That will eliminate the Laptop shutting down devices due to power requirements.

    https://promotionaldrives.com/blog/powered-usb-hub/
    Epilog Fusion M2 32 - 60 Watt
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    APLazer SN1812 - 40 Watt
    Radian RL-GT3-F30J JPT 30 Watt 3D MOPA Fiber

  13. #13
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    Steve that was the first thing I tried. I bought a 7 port powered USB hub and plug everything into it including the mouse so with just one physical USB from the hub and the one USB for the fiber, the fiber still did not like it when the HDMI cable was plugged in. If I just connected one USB device to the hub and the mouse USB to directly into the laptop, the HDMI would work. But plugging any second device into the hub killed the fiber connection.

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