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Figure: Gearbest.com Laser Engraving Machine (baseboard not included)

If you have already assembled your Eleks Laser, skip down to the Software Instructions step.


Hardware Construction

This document expands on the detail of the Instructable below:

How to: Laser engraver!” by MakerBox
https://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Laser-Cutt...

Adding some extra hints on construction, as well as providing more details on wiring and setting up and using the Benbox software & drivers. Please see the above Instructable for the hardware construction details.

There are several videos and tutorials on building the Eleks Laser, particularly the GearBest (and Banggood) models. But most lack details, particularly with the software setup.

GearBest: http://www.gearbest.com/3d-printers-3d-printer-ki...

Banggood: http://www.banggood.com/500mW-Desktop-DIY-Violet-...

Step 1: ​Hints & Clarifications for the "How To: Laser Engraver!" Instructable

Below are some hints and tips for building your Gearbest or Banggood Eleks Laser Engraver. The Instructable above has the details, but I found these items as I went thru the steps in their tutorial.

Read through these and then jump to their tutorial.

Do not over tighten acrylic bolts to keep from cracking. (Hopefully, obvious!)

In step 2: Frame Assembly

Use the 1cm bolts with nuts on the frame. Not the 1.2cm or 1.5cm bolts.

In step 3: X-Carriage

Use a 3cm bolt, acrylic mount, plastic spacer, washer, bearing, washer, nut for each bearing assembly.

Orient the Stepper with gear with wiring connector towards the bearings. (picture 1)

Build the second x carriage as a mirror image of the first (picture 2)

In Step 4: Laser Assembly

Attach the Laser and the Stepper with gear to the acrylic pieces before assembling the long screws and bearings (picture 3 & 4)

The kit included two plastic guide covers to route the wires along the outside frame, but you have to install the wires BEFORE you assemble the steppers onto the frame. But it’s mainly aesthetics.

In Step 6: Belt Assembly

Install the center (laser head) belt first. Use the 1.2cm bolts and nuts. Do not cut the belt until you have it adjusted. Feed the entire belt thru the second acrylic fastener. Tighten fastener and slide the stepper assembly up and down the rail. It should travel smoothly and the belt should stay tense on the stepper gear. When ready to cut, leave at least a half inch or so sticking out of the acrylic fasteners so you can adjust tension.

Don’t cut too short! There is about 6 inches of spare belt available after all the installation.

Step 2: Controller & What Are Those Dongles For?

In Step 7: Finishing up

Mount the controller using long bolt, acrylic panel, plastic spacer, circuit board, metal standoff. Place the red caps into the two holes of the black plastic cover. The caps do not need to attach to the buttons but can rest on top of them. (pictures 1,2, 3 above)

Miscellaneous

GearBest includes two little LED “dongles” just as toys. Not used by the laser. If you plug them into a USB port on PC, they will light up. That’s it, nothing more.

Step 3: Wiring Information

The “How to: Laser engraver!” Instructable is good for the hardware construction, but a bit thin for the wiring and on the software side.

  1. Wire your Laser Engraver using the above diagram.
    X motor is laser assembly stepper.Y1 & Y2 are the two side steppers.
  2. Use the spiral plastic tube for the Laser and its Stepper wire.
  3. Route the Y1 & Y2 Stepper wires below the frame if you forgot to wire them previously. The kit included two plastic guide covers to route the wires along the frame, but you have to install the wires BEFORE you assemble the steppers onto the frame. But it’s mainly aesthetics.
  4. Wait on plugging in the USB cable until after the software installation.

Step 4: Software Download & Installation

The two below software packages currently appear to be the same versions. I have the GearBest, so installed that version called: “EleksLaser software.zip”

A) From the GearBest web store:

"● If you want to download the hard driver, please Click here."

B) Or From the Banggood web store:

“The software we have upload it to the netdisk, and its downloading link is: Click here

1. Unpack the Eleks Laser software from either above site.

2. Navigate to the Eleks Laser\Benbox directory and double click benbox.exe

3. It requires Administrator to install.

4. I successfully installed on Windows 10. (but see step 6 & 7 below)

5. Leave the defaults for the drivers. Don’t bother installing their “Driver.exe”

6. NOTE: In order to get a working USB driver, I found that installing the Arduino IDE was the best bet. https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software

Installing the IDE will automatically install a good Windows 10 driver.

7. During the BenBox installation, Windows Firewall requests opening port 7683 on your local PC.

Select Allow “Private” network (not Public). This is allowing the BenBox GUI to talk to the BenBox (laserdaemon) service (both running locally on your PC). It is NOT opening your router firewall to the Internet. No worry unless your PC is sitting directly on the Public Internet (i.e. in a DMZ) or a public (unprotected) WiFi network.

Your virus protection may alert. As long as you downloaded the software from Gearbest or BangGood, you are just seeing a false positive. Scary, but not a real issue. Note, some say to delete a file called laserdaemon.exe but I found that if I did, I could no longer get the driver & COM port to appear in BenBox. (Wireshark showed a connection between Benbox.exe & laserdaemon.exe, but no data is passed.) If you don’t feel safe, you could run Benbox in a VirtualBox VM running Windows. Procmon shows laserdaemon.exe reading the Registry, but doesn't appear to write anything. Benbox folks say its used for driver and not malware. :-/

8. After installing, reboot your computer.

9. You can now plug in your USB cable and 12v power cable to the Laser Engraver.

Leave the 12v power OFF initially. (the left red Power button on the Eleks controller not depressed)
The 12v runs the steppers and laser. Not needed for the initial setup.

10. Once ready, double click the BenBox icon on your desktop.

NOTE: I found that BenBox doesn't always detect the Laser Engraver USB COM port the first time it starts. Just quit BenBox and then restart it again. Seems to work fine the second time!

11. Set the LANGUAGE by clicking on the tiny flag in upper left corner and select EN (or appropriate) (see photo)

Step 5: Firmware Installation

You must install firmware into the Arduino Nano.

1. Be sure your Laser engraver is plugged in to power and USB. Leave the 12v power button OFF.

2. Select the “lighting bolt” icon to upload HEX ROM.

3. Select the COM port (probably the bottom one on the dropdown list)

NOTE: If you have a problem then use the ALTERNATE FIRMWARE Instructions, next page.

4. Select NANO device

5. Click Choose Firmware and navigate to the Eleks Laser\Benbox\ROM directory and select the Eleks-Benbox.hex file (aka. "LX.hex") and click the OK button (blue check mark box)

Step 6: ALTERNATE FIRMWARE Instruction

If you have problems with the Benbox Firmware installation, try the following:

a. Quit Benbox

b. Download XLoader and LX-Nano hex file:

http://russemotto.com/xloader/

http://benboxlaser.us/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=50.0;attach=155

c. Run XLoader and select the LX-Nano hex file (aka LX.hex), COM port for your Nano(AT328), 57600 baud (photo)

d. Start Benbox again. You should now see the COM port available in the Menu->Serial Port drop-down. (Menu icon is 3 horizontal lines under “Benbox Laser Engraver” text)

Step 7: BenBox Commands

Above screenshots show the BenBox commands.

1. Note that some commands are not available (blacked out on screenshot). Specifically, Laser Intensity is not avail. It is always Max. Use Engraving Speed and Burning Time to control.

Be sure your setting match those in the photo as a starting point.

2. Draw a straight line an "inch" or two on your screen using the green drawing tool bar on the left. This is just for a quick test.

3. To erase, right-click to cancel drawing mode then left mouse drag over your line to select and hit Delete key.

4. Select the Menu options shown below. Note the < and > tabs for the other options.

Step 8: Lets BURN Something!

1. Place a piece of cardboard or color paper on laser bed.

I suggest setting a piece of 8” x 12” fiber board or plywood on the bed and then place your test material on top it and position under the laser. You will burn your tabletop or desk otherwise!

2. PUT ON YOUR LASER GLASSES! NO KIDS NEARBY!

A 500MW or higher Laser is DANGEROUS. Burns skin, puts out eyes, etc.!!
Treat this like an Arc Welder with sparks flying all over the room!

3. Turn on the Power push button on the Eleks controller board (see the wiring diagram previously)

4. Focus the Laser by pressing the Weak Laser button on the controller and adjust for sharp beam. It will be a tiny pinpoint when focused.

Do NOT leave the Weak laser button depressed for more than 30 seconds.

I found that I could turn it off and the laser still glowed. Once focused, I turned off the Power button to get it to stop lasing.

5. If off, turn the Power button back ON.

6. Note that there are LASER controls on the Benbox menu bar:

OFF | n/a | ON FULL | Momentary On

7. Click the Green Play button. The Laser should turn on and burn a line then turn off.

8. I turn off the Power button on the controller afterwards, just to be safe!

9. If everything works, then next comes the real fun… learning the adjustments.

If problems, jump to the last step: Troubleshooting

Step 9: Adjusting and Tuning

This part becomes a labor in patience and slow, methodical work.

When learning, I found that it is best to change settings ONE AT A TIME, otherwise you can’t tell which one actually worked.

Each material will be different, so write down the values as you find them.

Initial settings and values shown in picture.

Hints & Tips

  • Try doubling or halving the values of SPEED.
    1600 gets you a light engrave in (assuming 2w)
    400 cuts the thin cardstock (included with laser kit)
  • Changing TIME does not have much effect for me.
  • Use separate, free InkScape program to convert SVG files to DXF
  • Accuracy is controlled by PPM setting. 160.0 doubles accuracy (kinda!) but halves size, so resize drawings by 2x.
  • BenBox drawing area rulers are in mm. 25mm = 1 inch (approx.)
  • Power off between burns to reduce stepper heating (and increase safety!)
  • Don’t engrave/cut any type plastics without good ventilation.
  • Engraving elaborate images in your bedroom will set off fire alarms! :-0
  • ALWAYS Remember your Laser Glasses! No kids w/o glasses.
  • NO! Do not stick your fingernail under beam… it WILL bore a tiny hole thru! And hurt like hell!

Step 10: Troubleshooting...

These Laser Engravers are relatively inexpensive, but they do require time and effort, so many things can go wrong.

Your best bet for troubleshooting is the excellent benboxlaser.us forum:


HELP! Go to http://benboxlaser.us/ and sign up for free help!

Update 11/2016 - You will need a free Registration key.

This forum is very active and will be happy to assist you with specific questions. By using the forum's Search function, you will probably find others that have answered the same question. They also have other software products besides the BenBox program.

<p>my issue is with benbox itself, if i made a file in illustrator that should be 100x100mm it drops into benbox alot smaller, is there anyway to drop it in at the size it should be? </p><p>Cheers, anthony</p>
I've found that exporting in .DXF file format seems to keep the correct size. What format(s) did you try?
I tried .dfx but it dropped in as an outline so everything was outlined instead of solid black areas
<p>I have tried everything and still can not firmware to load, I have tried 7 different ones no go.</p><p>dwa60@hotmail/\.com</p>
<p>Salve, vorrei un aiuto , io ho una Tensione di funzionamento: CC 12V</p><p>Potenza del laser: 500mW <br>Incisione Area: 40x50cm (massimo) <br>Dimensione: 56x44x16CM </p><p> software benbox V3.6.96 </p><p>scheda LX nano</p><p>Ha due motorini e non tre.</p><p>sono riuscita a montare la macchina e istallare il programma ,collegata e legge tutto.</p><p>sulla tabella del sistema ho messo i vostri parametri velocit&agrave;,tempo,passo ,come intensit&agrave; ho messo 4 e 255 .</p><p>Sincronizzato il tutto , clicco sul simbolo del laser e lui fa il segno sul legno ,mando l'invio per fare la riga,lui parte ma non segna nulla o quasi. </p><p>Poi per mettere a fuoco il laser come devo fare ? Il mio ha una rotellina che io l'ho girato fino a vedere la luce blu piccolina, ho fatto giusto o no ? </p><p>Si aiutate </p><p>gr</p><p>Francesca</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>
<p>Hi everyone. I have a small issue. I can't get the motors to move! I've successfully installed Benbox, updated the firmware with LX.hex, and connected it using COM3. When it comes time to burn a sample pic, theres no response from either the motors or the laser. When i press the power button on the nano board itself, it turns the laser on full power instantly. Any ideas?</p>
<p>UPDATE: So when the power button is depressed and the laser is in that weak &quot;focus mode&quot;, I tried jogging the motors and they responded! So it seems my issue is the laser turning on when the power button is pushed. I'm getting there!</p>
<p>OK so problem solved. All I had to do was set the laser setting in the Benbox menu to 11. Lovin this thing now</p>
<p>Hi, I've some problems with the burn, it's full of dots, really bad.</p>
<p>Hey guys, I am having a problem with getting the driver installed. I tried using the supplied driver from Benbox, I can't get it to read a rom, I can see a USB devise that has an error. I uninstalled that driver, I found this instructable to see what I could be doing wrong. I already had Arduino software installed, but went ahead and updated it to the newest. it says the software is installed, however, I'm getting the same results. I'm not seeing anything for coms and ports, and the USB device is showing an error.</p>
<p>Matt </p><p>Go to LX loader.com down the program. Once you get the lx.hex file paste it on the desktop, easier to find it. Open lx loader.exe it open a small window should now show, use 57 k ,com port and other information click ok.</p><p>Open benbox change the language to en, it's on the flag top left. Now go to the end of the icon bar, lighting bolt. Open should show comport, select second bar select nano, next select third bar....find your lx.hex file on the desk top. Finally go to the right side bar open the top bar de select the top bar.</p><p>At this point the software as hard as it is will work.</p><p>There several wor arounds to do. Have fun.</p><p>Good luck</p><p>Ick</p>
Thanks, but I found the issue, I had a bad Nano board and a bad cable, all is well now! Thanks for the response though. I just got it fixed last week.
<p>I suggest jumping over to the Benbox Laser forum <a href="http://benboxlaser.us/" rel="nofollow">http://benboxlaser.us/ </a></p><p>You will need a <a href="http://benboxlaser.us/index.php/topic,1087.0.html" rel="nofollow">free Registration key</a> to sign up. </p><p>Just search the messages for Driver issues. There's lots of hints and help there.</p>
<p>I also set the machine and installed the benbox program I choose the firmware and the machine does not work.</p>
<p>Another problem with USB COM communication is that newer Antivirus software includes USB virus scanners. This could be causing issues with the COM port driver installation and use, so you might have to turn off Antivirus temporarily.</p>
<p>As I can configure the size of the image to print.</p><p>At what scale are the rules pixels?</p><p>Thank you!!!</p>
<p>He Comprado e Instalado grabador y Benbox y me Funciona .... Pero: Me gustaria si alguien PUEDE contestarme, como puedo SALVAR / GUARDAR, los dibujos Que Yo Haga con las Herramientas Que ofrece Benbox (p&aacute;ra su utilizacion En d&iacute;as posteriores) &iquest; Porque no me abre Im&aacute;genes Vectoriales, SVG? Gracias a quien me conteste. </p>
<p>Utilizo Inkscape en lugar de Benbox para crear SVG.</p><p>No s&eacute; c&oacute;mo guardar Benbox. </p><p><a href="https://inkscape.org/es/" rel="nofollow">https://inkscape.org/es/</a></p>
<p>Hi, excellent instructable. I am thinking of buying a 2500 watt, but I am in doubt if the card that controls the motors does PWM to adjust the power of the laser? You have tested with that?</p><p>Do you think it is possible to change the laser through a drill to cut pieces?</p>
<p>@peewoo08... same here.. registration requires a registration key that not available anywhere. How do we get that?</p>
<p>I see that the Forum has had to change their sign up due to spammers:</p><p><a href="http://benboxlaser.us/index.php/topic,1087.0.html" rel="nofollow">http://benboxlaser.us/index.php/topic,1087.0.html</a></p>
<p>Some time ago I built a Laser Engraver with this GearBest Kit.</p><p>Unfortunately I have not found a software acceptable and easy to use, so I wrote my own.</p><p>My software allows to load a picture and send it to the laser engraver quickly and easily.</p><p>My software is written in a generic way for almost all machines with standard GCode firmawre.</p><p>At the moment the software is WORK IN PROGRESS currently, in ALPHA testing.</p><p>As I needed to modulate the laser power (I have a 5500 mW one) I used GRBL firmware version 0.9 (other versions are ON / OFF, 0.9 is PWM)</p><p>Here the Robot Laser Project page : http://www.robot-eyes.com/en/RobotLaser/</p><p>I will update soon the page (for now very rough).</p><p>Please send an email at robotlaser@robot-eyes.com with your opinion, thanks.</p>
<p>My laser was working perfectly fine before I attempted to try out your software. I updated my Grbl to 0.9 and now my setup is no longer working. how do I reset it back to it's original state?</p>
If your software works with firmware different from GRBL 0.9 (ex.BenBox) you need to flash the original firmware (how ... is software dependent, check the installation manual)<br><br>Remember that GRBL 0.9 uses a Laser control output different from BenBox or GRBL 0.8. Because it worksin PWM, i.e. manages the laser power and does not go always at full power.<br>The boards Eleks L7 have a specific jumper beneath the processor to select the output.<br><br>Best regards<br>Carlo
<p>I just bought one from Banggood and good to you see doing improvement. I look forward to see your release.</p><p>Thanks.</p><p>Kevin</p>
<p>I have tried to join the benboxlaserforum mentioned above and it's asking me for a Registration Key....... Where would I find this?</p>
<p>I had assembled my own and it's working</p>
<p>Anyone know my problem, please help.</p><p>If I want to modify the frame and increase it up to 1000mm in X &amp; Y , does Benbox software can configure for that dimension? Bigger than popular Laser engraver machine on market now.</p><p>Thanks a lot for any input.</p><p>Regard!</p>
<p>When it comes to installing the belt onto the laser head , how do you secure the belt with nuts and bolts if you have already bolted the laser slide onto both of the gantries? The nuts wont fit at that point. please help!</p>
<p>If you are following the instructable at https://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Laser-Cutter/#step5 and step 6, and cannot install the belt, you will probably have to disassemble it from the side gantries so that you can install the belt bolts.</p>
<p>I am having quite some difficulty in following the software instructions. They do not seem to have anything in common with the software I downloaded. I will try again tomorrow. I may just be a bit tired. </p>
<p>Thank you for putting this together. I have the 5.5kw kit from gearbox and the software is very frustating.</p>
<p>Thank you for putting this together. I just bought one of these from GearBest. The 5.5W version and am looking forward to getting to experimenting with it.</p>
<p>Awesome Work!</p>

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