written by Dennis Heinze, excerpt from hardwarepoint.
With the Jinsoku LC-40, SainSmart has a new entry into the world of CNC lasers in its range. We took a closer look at the model and compared it to our 3018-PRO DIY CNC milling machine, which had previously been upgraded with a laser. In terms of price, the two models are the same at around €400, as is the 5.5 W laser module used. Besides the obvious - the optics - there are also some other differences.
Thanks to SainSmart for providing the test sample. This is the sales version, also the model that you can buy from the dealer.
Everything from scratch - this is how the LC-40 comes to your home. Usual SainSmart, everything is neatly packed in foam and individual parts can be lifted out of the box layer by layer. With the Jinsoku LC-40, there aren't that many in the end, since everything is pre-assembled in large assemblies.
There aren't any more parts, so the structure is also limited, but more on that later. All frame parts are made of aluminum and have a high-quality, anthracite-colored finish. The corners are made of ABS plastic. Holders and mounts are also milled parts and look very valuable. All parts are provided with chamfers or radii so that there are no sharp edges. The first impression of quality is no comparison to the entry-level milling machine 3018-PRO DIY.
In addition to the main frame parts and the 5.5-watt laser, the following is also included in the scope of delivery:
- USB stick (manual, driver, software, test files)
- Power adapter
- Multilingual manual
- 2x Allen keys
- Whiteboard markers
- Cardboard box for first laser tests
- USB cable
- 3x connection cables
- Cable holder
- Screw set
Both the cables and the connection to the cable bridge are labeled so that the position can be found relatively quickly. The USB C cable leads towards the control module and is plugged in next to the other USB outputs. The black 3-pin plug goes directly into the laser. Now the cable holders can be plugged in and the installation is complete.
Measured crosswise, you can check whether the structure is right-angled and can now finally fix it. Due to the radii in the profile, it is otherwise rather difficult to create an angle.
To complete the assembly of the bridge as well, I would recommend powering up the laser and turning it on. Don't be surprised, with the app firmware the laser is immediately on at low power and starts a homing cycle. After this is complete, the stepper motors hold all axes firmly in their positions, making it easier to bolt the bridge on perfectly evenly.
With the previous rubber stopper method, I had problems that everything still fit when screwing it on, but after driving back and forth several times, the right side deviated 1 mm from the left. With the laser switched on, the steppers are in the working position and can always be adjusted tooth by tooth, now aligned and screwed tight, the bridge no longer shifted and remained parallel to the front and back.
Actually, you can now jump to the Software/App chapter and get started right away. You are actually ready to use as soon as you set it up. If you intend to control the LC-40 via the app anyway, you are ready and can take your first steps or carry out tests. However, for all advanced users who rely on GRBL in combination with e.g. Lightburn, it is advisable to invest some time in calibration and tuning (also described on the following pages).
Especially when it comes to the working area, a few settings and adjustments to the limit switches can also be used to get a little closer to the range of motion. In the end, it was 395 x 400 mm for me. Accuracy and performance will of course vary if a different laser module is used, in total there are three different ones to choose from. Our model is the entry-level variant, with a normal 5.5 W fixed focus laser, and there are also two versions with laser compression in 5.5 and 10W.
Tighten the belt
At this point, we use a series of pictures to show how the belt can be tensioned. Fresh out of the box, all three straps should be pre-tensioned. In particular, it should be ensured that the voltage between the left and right Y sides is identical. If the tension decreases over time, it must be readjusted. To do this, the covering of the corresponding ends opposite the stepper motors must be removed. The base can be removed using three screws, once the tabs on the top panel have been hooked out, this can also be removed. Two more screws hold the side panel and ultimately release the tensioning mechanism. Two Allen screws clamp the deflection wheel, and a third screw on the front ensures tensioning.
Time to implement the first projects. In order to see how different materials behave, it makes sense to produce a test pattern with different laser speeds and outputs. This can be generated directly via Lightburn -> Lasertools. In this way, the result can be estimated later.
The same can also be generated for cutting to find out how many passes/power it takes to safely reach the end of the other side.
In addition to working on different woods, I also tried glass and ceramics. Since the laser is basically similar to that of the 3018 PRO DIY, similar materials can be processed. However, the module of the LC-40 seems to be able to deliver more power, because despite cleaning the lens on the 3018 PRO DIY laser, it does not seem to reach the level of the LC-40 and requires more power for the same result.
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