This document describes how to setup a PWM-controlled laser or spindle using output_pin and some macros.

How does it work?

With re-purposing the printhead’s fan pwm output, you can control lasers or spindles. This is useful if you use switchable print heads, for example the E3D toolchanger or a DIY solution. Usually, cam-tools such as LaserWeb can be configured to use M3-M5 commands, which stand for spindle speed CW (M3 S[0-255]), spindle speed CCW (M4 S[0-255]) and spindle stop (M5).

Warning: When driving a laser, keep all security precautions that you can think of! Diode lasers are usually inverted. This means, that when the MCU restarts, the laser will be fully on for the time it takes the MCU to start up again. For good measure, it is recommended to always wear appropriate laser-goggles of the right wavelength if the laser is powered; and to disconnect the laser when it is not needed. Also, you should configure a safety timeout, so that when your host or MCU encounters an error, the tool will stop.

For an example configuration, see config/sample-pwm-tool-cfg.

Current Limitations

There is a limitation of how frequent PWM updates may occur. While being very precise, a PWM update may only occur every 0.1 seconds, rendering it almost useless for raster engraving. However, there exists an experimental branch with its own tradeoffs. In long term, it is planned to add this functionality to main-line klipper.

Commands

M3/M4 S<value> : Set PWM duty-cycle. Values between 0 and 255. M5 : Stop PWM output to shutdown value.

Laserweb Configuration

If you use Laserweb, a working configuration would be:

GCODE START:
    M5            ; Disable Laser
    G21           ; Set units to mm
    G90           ; Absolute positioning
    G0 Z0 F7000   ; Set Non-Cutting speed

GCODE END:
    M5            ; Disable Laser
    G91           ; relative
    G0 Z+20 F4000 ;
    G90           ; absolute

GCODE HOMING:
    M5            ; Disable Laser
    G28           ; Home all axis

TOOL ON:
    M3 $INTENSITY

TOOL OFF:
    M5            ; Disable Laser

LASER INTENSITY:
    S