02 – Laser Machine Datum, Zeros and Origins (16:26)

The Lightblade Learning Lab with Russ Sadler

The Lightblade Learning Lab is a series of videos that Russ did for Thinklaser Limited based on using the Lightblade 4060 Laser Cutting and Engraving Machine. Thinklasers Lightblade 4060 has a 400 x 600mm bed size and was supplied with a 60W EFR laser tube. This video covers and explains the Laser Machine Datum, Zeros and Origins.

Laser Machine Datums, Zeros and Origins - Cartesian Coordinate System
The Cartesian Coordinate System

Contents

  • Graphs, angles and Cartesian geometry
  • Rotating objects
  • Mirroring
  • Changing co-ordinate systems
  • Setting dimensions of objects
  • Scales
  • Absolute co-ordinates and Current Position
  • Position Point

My thanks go out to Tom at Thinklaser for giving permission to embed these videos on this site. If you are looking for a new laser machine from a quality supplier, then I would suggest you check out their website: www.thinklaser.com.

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Transcript For Laser Machine Datum, Zeros and Origins

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00:15

Welcome to this session of Lightblade learning lab, today we’re going to show you just

00:21

how to make sense of the profusion of Zeros, datum’s and origins associated with this

00:28

software and the machine.

00:30

In the first session, we talked about setting up at the top right hand corner here, the

00:37

datum position 0,0 datum for the machine itself and then down at this bottom right-hand corner

00:45

we’ve got this little floating green square which parks itself when there’s nothing on

00:50

the page, down at this bottom left hand corner.

00:53

None of this will make sense unless you’ve got a basic understanding of something called

00:58

Cartesian geometry, now this does not mean you have to be a mathematician so don’t for

01:02

goodness sake get turned off.

01:04

This is all very simple stuff because I’m sure that most of you when you were at school

01:09

got involved with graphs and when you looked at graphs there was always a y axis that went

01:14

upwards, and there was always an x axis that went out to the right, that’s probably as

01:19

much as you ever learn if you didn’t go very far into mathematics.

01:23

Now in the bottom corner there is a point there which was zero for the Y-axis and zero

01:29

for the X-axis, and then it went from zero to X+ and then it went from zero to Y+ and

01:37

that was the pattern of events that you expected to see on a page.

01:41

If you go beyond those zero points the X becomes X minus and the Y becomes Y minus, this Cartesian

01:51

coordinate system is basically nothing more than whenever you put a point somewhere, and

01:57

lets just put my cursor just there, basically that point is defined by a Y plus dimension

Transcript For Laser Machine Datum, Zeros and Origins (Cont….)

02:05

and then a X minus dimension, that would define where that point was in space.

02:10

The guy that invented this, a guy called Rene Descartes, as you can probably tell from his

02:16

name he was French and well, he didn’t like to make things too simple. I mean wouldn’t

02:24

life be easy if everything worked the same way. Everybody understands that 12 o’clock

02:30

is at top and then we go three o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock, wouldn’t it be very

02:36

convenient if we had zero degrees at the top 90, 180, 270 note this guy was a Frenchman

02:46

he decided to confuse people, so he started off at 3 o’clock with the Zeros and so that’s

02:53

zero degrees there, and then we work backwards to 90 degrees and backwards to 180 and backwards

03:01

to 270 and eventually we get round for a full circle with 360 degrees.

03:06

Note this is all very simple stuff for most you guys but there be one or two people that

03:10

need just a little bit of help with their maths so persevere with me please. So we go

03:15

to use one tool up here, which is basically this rotation tool and as you can see the

03:22

Chinese have shown a very nice little symbol up there which shows it going clockwise. Now

03:28

that’s not particularly helpful, now we want to place this arrow in the correct direction

03:34

so that it goes Y plus now we’re going to rotate that because we’ve got handles round

03:42

it now, we can come up here, we can click in this box and we can change that zero to

03:48

another number. Now which number do you think we should change that to? We want it to point

03:54

up there at 90 degrees should we point it up there at 90 degrees? Let’s do it. It points

Transcript For Laser Machine Datum, Zeros and Origins (Cont….)

04:01

up at 90 degrees but did it rotate the way that the arrow was showing? No, so what about

04:08

this one here if you want to get to 180 that’s pretty easy because whether we go clockwise

04:16

or anticlockwise we going to ask for it to go to 180 degrees, so I can now move that

04:26

to this axis here. Now this last one we want to point downwards, now I know that it says

04:32

270 down there and that’s a clue to say that we could actually write 270 degrees up

04:36

in here, but equally well, look this is zero plus 90, if we go from zero to minus 90 we

04:46

get to 270 as well so instead of writing 270 in there, perhaps we can write -90, so – 90

04:56

works as well, so why have I bothered to show you all this?

05:00

When we set our machine up, it’s the same corner as this corner here. So when it said

05:09

we wanted to mirror something, the something that we were going to mirror was X plus and

05:17

of course when you mirror X plus it becomes X Minus and when you mirror Y plus it becomes

05:23

Y minus – that’s why we had to tick the mirror boxes, we had the mirror the X and we had

05:30

the mirror the Y. So we had to make them both the opposite to a standard X and Y pattern,

05:36

so that’s the definition of our first 0,0 which is the machine 0,0 which is tucked up

05:41

that corner there and it’s moving in an X minus and a Y minus coordinate system. So

05:47

our work table is in the third quadrant, that’s enough of that mathematical stuff.

05:52

Let’s go back to doing a simple drawing and we’ll put a circle in again because it’s

05:58

a very convenient form that allows us to see the handles on the corners. So we hold down

Transcript For Laser Machine Datum, Zeros and Origins (Cont….)

06:04

our ctrl key and then we’ll put handles on the corners. Let’s go back to the config and

06:12

we’ll change the system setting. If I change it to this bottom left corner there’s not

06:20

a little man in the background with a calculator that works out how you’re going to get this

06:25

is your machine. There’s a very set, very complicated set of Mathematics that goes on,

06:31

every object on this page is a mathematical object and it can be defined in mathematical

06:36

terms.

06:37

You don’t have to worry about that at all, because the programming system hides it all

06:41

away from you, but the essence of the program is that it will be written from this green

06:48

dot so this circle will be defined in terms of X plus and Y plus coordinate points.

06:57

Now, if we change the coordinate system with the config system setting to that one, which

07:09

is where we’ve got our datum over in that corner. It’ll be written in X minus and Y

07:17

minus numbers, so I think for convenience purposes we will leave the green dot at the

07:25

top right hand corner of all the geometry that we’re going to use. Because that way

07:31

we will know that basically we’re trying to always generally set things over here at the

07:35

top right hand corner of the work table, and then everything will grow out to the left

07:43

and downwards. So that’s what the green dot is, the green dot is the 0,0 point for the

07:50

program that’s going to be written.

07:52

Now there are ways of moving this around accurately on the page, let’s just take a look at these

07:58

little windows, this window here has got little arrows pointing up and down and left and right

Transcript For Laser Machine Datum, Zeros and Origins (Cont….)

08:05

and I think it’s probably fairly reasonable to assume that they’re something to do with

08:09

the dimensions of this object. So if we set, first of all unlock the lock and I will set

08:18

this dimension here to 100 so you can see that I’ve actually changed the X dimension

08:26

to 100 and it’s no longer a circle.

08:29

Let’s just undo that, and now what we want to do, is we want to set them to exactly the

08:35

same dimensions and the way that we change the dimensions and keep them proportionately

08:41

the same is to put the padlock on. If I change that dimension to 100, I have now got 100

08:50

millimetre circle. Now what I would like to do is move this corner here which is the green

08:59

corner and the reference point if you remember, to a position somewhere. This can be rather

09:07

confusing, now what I am going to do initially is move this object to a known position in

09:15

this coordinate grid.

09:16

And I am going to move it with these first two windows, to a position of 100,100. Now

09:28

where do you think the object is going to finish up?

09:32

Well if you look, the clue is in the scaling at the top here. Because the scaling of this

09:40

drawing is working away as I said from 0,0 so it’s running backwards it’s not running

09:47

from this corner as you might have expected it’s running away from this 0,0 point and

09:54

it’s running down the page from that zero point at the top. So this is truly machine

Transcript For Laser Machine Datum, Zeros and Origins (Cont….)

10:01

0,0 and this is a coordinate although we’ve defined as 50,50 in real terms it’s -50,-50

10:09

but that’s only for the programming purposes, but hang on, we didn’t set that corner at

10:18

50,50 we told that corner to go to 100,100 didn’t we?

10:26

Ah, that’s because it hasn’t moved in accordance with that green Dot, this object

10:35

here on the drawing has moved in accordance with this little pattern here. Now if we take

10:43

a look at this, if we click on this little icon next to the padlock, we get something

10:50

called at Select position this is a feature that only here in the drawing package, it’s

10:56

not on the machine itself, and that is, what we’ve done, if you look we’ve got centre point

11:03

marked here. Now if we check where the centre point of this object is, that has gone to

11:10

100,100 so when we defined this dimension up here of 100,100 for the position of X and

11:17

Y it wasn’t for the green dot it was for the centre of the object.

11:23

So if I choose to move that to there now, and I say ok. Watch what happens up here to

11:32

X and Y, what do you think is going to happen? Yep, now we’ve got the green dot and the positional

11:44

location the same, so although we’ve still got a Centre Point for the object, that’s

11:51

no longer the handle for moving the object around on the page.

11:56

That basically is the centre of gravity of whatever shape is there, let’s for example

Transcript For Laser Machine Datum, Zeros and Origins (Cont….)

12:04

just add to the situation with this square, and we’ll put a box around it. You can see

12:16

what I mean, this has now moved so that the diagonal between this corner and this corner,

12:23

and at this corner and this corner, intercept at that mid-point there. That’s no longer

12:28

the centre of an object it’s the centre of the box the enclosing rectangle. So yet another

12:35

confusion about how you locate things in space. At the moment we’ve got it set on the corner

12:43

and that generally is probably a good place to keep it, because then you’ll know that

12:48

your green screen and your positional location, if you want to use these numbers at the top

12:54

here will be in accordance with each other.

12:56

Now there is one other place where datum’s and zeros can be a bit confusing, and if we

13:04

move to the bottom right-hand corner here, we shall find that we’ve got something called

13:09

position, and at the moment it’s set to current position but there are some other options

13:17

down here, one of them is absolute coordinate, that’s a very useful features sometimes.

13:25

If I save my program with this saved Ufile with the drawing like this, then I shall not

13:35

get the option on the machine to move the datum around and press the origin button.

13:42

You specified absolute coordinates, so what that means is, the Circle will get drawn there

13:49

and only there in relation to 0,0 you won’t have any chance of moving around on the workpiece.

13:57

So in general terms, unless you want to very accurately position something in relation

Transcript For Laser Machine Datum, Zeros and Origins (Cont….)

14:01

to a datum point on the machine itself, and we can talk about that the location purposes

14:07

later on, in general terms stay down here with this thing called current position which

14:13

allows you to be totally flexible with where you place the origin point or the head on

14:19

the machine. So bear in mind that the head, the Machine Head is actually going to sit

14:25

at this green point here. Most people will grab hold of the head and will drive the arrow

14:32

key so that the head sits there, and their immediate reaction is � ok, my first circle

14:39

is going to be here. You can clearly see that isn’t going to be, you’re going to be cutting

14:45

off of the work area and you’re going to get an error on your keyboard, it says “Slot

14:51

error” basically I think Slot in Chinese is probably meaning idiot.

14:58

So that’s one of the dangers of having a system which is not intuitive, driving the head to

15:07

the top right hand corner is far less intuitive as far as positioning you work then it is

15:13

if it’s on the top left hand corner which is where everybody conventional works from,

15:17

reads from, writes from. To try and overcome this problem, what I would generally say is

15:23

try and get your mind around the idea that your first object will be sat there and you

15:28

work right to left and down the page and you work right to left and down the page rather

15:31

than left to right across the page

15:35

Now although it seems like a lot more, in reality that’s only four datum points, 0,0

15:42

positions and Origins that you’ve got to think about, so it’s not too bad. But the problem

15:47

is trying to make sure you understand them in relation to each other and the work area,

15:54

so we have been near the machine in this session and it’s possible that we might not go near

15:58

the machine in the next one or two sessions. So we’ve really got to look at all the tools

Transcript For Laser Machine Datum, Zeros and Origins (Cont….)

16:03

that we can use before we start drawing anything or before we start programming seriously any

16:09

objects.

16:10

So today has all been about the relationship between this drawing page and the work area,

16:17

but that’s an important set of fundamentals that you really must try and master. Well

16:22

thanks for your attention and I will see you next time.

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