After returning the L’Cheapo Laser kit I acquired the JTech 2.8W Laser Upgrade Kit as a replacement. It shipped from Jtech’s website the same day I ordered it. Free Priority Mail shipping was supplied for orders over $150 at the time.
The frame for the laser driver assembly is a 2 piece printed part with the electronics sandwiched between them. It’s held together with nuts and bolts. It includes a fan that runs when the power is turned on.
The laser driver features a small key to enabled or disable the functionality of the laser. When the laser is enabled (key turned right) it cannot be removed. It was a bit finicky the first few times I tried to turn it. As the instructions stated you have to push the key in a bit to get it to turn. I didn’t notice any fragility of the chassis when I applied excess force to the key. After 10 seconds I had the motion down and had no issues turning it on and off without snagging.
The laser itself comes inside of a heat sink with a set screw holding it in place. It comes with a 24″ lead for attaching to the laser driver.
The heat sink is how the laser is attached to the effector via the two holes on either side.
The laser driver comes with an Triad Magnetics external power adapter that supplies 12 volts at 2 amps.
According to the Jtech site there are different price points depending on the power adapter desired (international vs US). I would have preferred an optional power supply for the kit to save a few extra dollars though. After contacting Jay from Jtech, he informed me that the laser is more susceptible to transient voltage spikes than other electronics. When combined with a lower end PSU (which most printer kits come with) the laser can be destroyed because of this spike. He stated the 2.8W version is less susceptible to this than the 2W. Since I am using a higher end Mean Well SP-500-24, I believe I should be alright tying directly to the PSU and skipping the adapter.
The 12v power input does not have an extra way to make connections unlike the laser output and laser control input. I wanted to power the laser with the printer PSU but the lack of an extra wire connection made splicing the power adapter into the line a necessity.
The two connections to the right of the power are for an optional fan attached to the laser and an optional remote reset switch. Both of these require a custom connector, which unfortunately aren’t included in the kit. Jay from Jtech stated the accessories are for sale separately on their site. I failed to notice this when I was purchasing my kit. The reset and fan wires are simple JST connectors, which can be picked up anywhere online or local hobby stores.
The included glasses appear similar to the L’Cheapo Laser kit, the dimensions are the same and sport the same adjustable ear pieces. The Jtech glasses have more clarity when looking through them and are made out of more durable plastic however. They come with a nice case to keep fingerprints and dirt off of the lenses also.
Excellent documentation about the kit is available on Jtech’s website. PDFs of the technical specifications and instructions for configuring and operating the laser are well written and have appropriate diagrams and pictures. Their site also includes STLs of the laser driver chassis, the laser, and the laser heat sink for creating mounts to attach the laser to various printers. Numerous mounts are already listed on their site for various brands.
This is the second laser I’ve had my hands on as a means for a few cutting projects I am working on. The L’Cheapo is advertised and named as a budget friendly laser add on coming in around the ~$200 price point. Even though I opted for the 2.8W Jtech edition, the lower 2W kit (which has all the same hardware as the 2.8, only a less powerful laser) is currently priced at $240. I found the amount of value Jtech put into their kit for $40 extra got me a much more professional and documented product.
I am waiting for my replacement smoothieboard to arrive, part 2 will follow then.