23 – WiFi Enabling the Lightblade (22:01)

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. In this session, Russ gets assistance from a Thinklaser Engineer and is shown how to WiFi enable a laser machine.

How to WiFi enable a laser machine
How to WiFi enable a laser machine

Contents

  • (In this video a ‘TP Link’ Access Point is used as a ‘Bridge’)
  • Setting up a WiFi connection between the laser and a home network
  • (Although an alternative is to use a USB lead)
  • In this case, there is no WiFI available in Russ’s garage so this exercise involves connecting the laser to the network router using a device called a ‘bridge’.
  • The laser will need an IP address. Most devices get this from the network router (Editor’s Note: …using something called DHCP)
  • The laser only uses static IP address (i.e. an address that you set)
  • Finding the IP address range of the network router
  • Using the ‘CMD’ command to get a ‘command line’ window
  • Using the IPCONFIG command to see the network settings
  • Finding the address of the PC you’re using
  • Choosing an IP address that is free
  • The device has several modes and needed to be placed in ‘Bridge’ mode.
  • Connecting the laptop to the bridge via a cable to set it up.
  • Setting up the bridge.
  • Laser machine is connected via a cable to the TP Link bridge (which will connect to the home network via radio)
  • Turning on the laser and manually configuring its IP address.
  • Using the ‘ping’ command on a PC to check that the laser can be seen on the network.
  • Configuring RDWorks to know the network address of the laser and a name.
  • RDWorks now has two available routes to the device – network and USB lead.
  • Testing the connections.
  • Trying the home and offsets commands in RDWorks.

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 How to WiFi Enable a Lightblade Laser Machine

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00:13

Welcome to another Lightblade learning Lab, um, up to now, I’ve been using my

00:19

little ultrabook here as my programming tool for RDWorks and

00:26

I’ve always output the file onto a memory stick and transferred it to the machine now

00:34

this works extremely well and I’ve been doing all my work up to now with you

00:38

guys in this manner um today I’m being a bit opportunistic because I’ve got a

00:46

service engineer from Thinklaser visiting, Purex have decided to change

00:51

the specification of some of the filtration inside their unit and he’s

00:54

coming down to fit new filters for me, now while he’s here, he’s a very competent

01:00

technical guy I’m going to get him to set up a Wi-Fi system between my machine

01:06

and my Wi-Fi system in here so basically my machine is out in the cold workshop

01:12

and I certainly don’t want to sit out there using and controlling the machine

01:16

I’d much rather do most of the programming, send files down and keep it linked up to

01:21

something like this which I can walk around with either in the office or in

01:26

the workshop and control the machine although most of you guys will

01:31

find life very easy because you’ll have a cable near your machine so you can

01:34

plug straight into your network now the other alternative is to hook this

01:38

machine up with a USB to the machine but again that means that you know I can’t

01:43

walk around with it I’ve got to be stuck at the machine to do the programming and

01:47

the downloading I think the best solution for me is to have a Wi-Fi link

01:51

between here and the Machine my competence level of doing that is pretty

01:56

close to zero so what I’m going to do is I said I’m going to be opportunistic I’m

01:59

going to use his skills to set that link up between the Machine and my PC

Transcript for How to WiFi Enable a Lightblade Laser Machine (Cont…)

02:03

here so today’s session is really all about enabling my machine to be a Wi-Fi

02:11

driven machine we need to connect this up via an

02:14

internet connection just to get everything set up and to do that he

02:20

needed an Ethernet port in here now this does not come; because it’s a little

02:26

compact ultrabook it doesn’t come with an Ethernet port the best that it’s got

02:32

is a couple of USB ports so I’ve been back into my computer museum and dug out

02:38

a really old laptop which has got every port you could ever imagine on it and

02:44

we’ve had to use this horrendously slow machine to set up with I’m now going to

02:50

hand you over to a technical expert that is going to interfere with my PC and my

02:55

network in the nicest way possible he knows what he’s talking about so I’ll

02:59

let him carry on with the conversation {TL ENGINEER} although your laptop is on the Wi-Fi if

03:03

you had network available in the garage you could just plug the machine into the

03:07

network and you’d be connected via your Wi-Fi but the key thing is that there’s no

03:12

LAN available in the garage for your machine so the bridge effectively gives you

03:18

a gap in the cable link

03:20

{Russ Yeah} {TLEngineer}so the as far as the machine is concerned it will

03:25

be wired into your home network via this wireless bridge and then any

03:31

machine on your network could then then access it whether it’s wired or whether

03:34

it’s wireless, regardless of whether you’re going to be connecting the

03:38

machine directly on a Ethernet cable or via your bridge then the machine itself

03:45

the Lightblade will need an IP address. okay so most devices that you connect to

03:53

your network like your phone or your laptop they they ask your home router

03:58

for an IP address but in the case of the Machine it only does static IP addresses

Transcript for How to WiFi Enable a Lightblade Laser Machine (Cont…)

04:03

so first of all we need to work out what range you want the machine on so the IP

04:09

range so to do that because this laptop is connected to your network already

04:14

then if I ,if I check what IP address the machines are, I’ll know what range

04:22

that the routers using {Russ} but you can find you can create an IP

04:25

address for the laser? {TL ENG} I’ll find out what range that the router uses and then I

04:29

just pick an IP address that not being used on that range

04:33

we’re on Windows XP here but it’s it’s no different if you’re on Windows 7 or 10

04:37

and so you just go to your start, or your button on later operating

04:45

systems and type CMD and then press Enter or click OK

04:51

{RUSS} so that just gets into the command line {TLENG} that gives you a command prompt and then

04:55

In here is one command so if I type “ipconfig /all” then it will spew

05:04

out a load of data to me but because we’re on the Wi-Fi I’ll look up the

05:11

wireless connection on here so there is an adaptor wireless network

05:18

connection that’s telling me that the laptop IP address is 192.168.1 {RUSS}which

05:25

laptop is that? {TLENG} That’s this laptop here is 191.681.1.162 the router is this DHCP

05:35

server or default gateway that is on 254 so it’s on the same range 192.168.1

05:42

and then to get to your router it would be 2 5 4 or this device that’s a

05:48

client for that router is on 162 just to prove that and check we’ve got

05:53

connectivity I will bring up the the login page for your router yeah by just

Transcript for How to WiFi Enable a Lightblade Laser Machine (Cont…)

06:02

tapping that address into the browser and so I already know enough

06:06

information which is that the laser will need to be on 192 168 1 and then a spare

06:14

address that’s not being used because otherwise you would have an IP

06:17

conflict so every device has got its own number like an address and so I can

06:24

stick the machine on .1.200 and I’d be quite confident that there’s

06:29

nothing on there so if your browser starts up so if I type this number into

06:33

the address {Russ}you sure you know what you’re doing?

06:36

{TLRNG}oh I’m sure my computer’s faster than that one, so there you go so {RUSS} you had to

06:41

build up a head of steam really {TLENG} yeah like it just reminds me of dial up. it’s fine so

06:47

um so this Rooter is on that address and we’ve now managed to access your Router

06:53

yes so for the laser we will use .200 okay your devices are this

07:06

DHCP enabled yeah which means the device can ask the router for an IP address and

07:14

then the router hands out IP addresses so here for example RussPC

07:21

that’s telling me that the DHCP server as in the router has given your PC that

07:28

IP address there 204 the machine will only do static IP addresses yeah so we

07:33

need to pick an IP address that it will be and it can’t be used by anything else

07:38

currently yeah we picked an IP address that’s not being used so we’ll go with

07:42

200 okay if we want to confirm that that’s not being used just try and ping it

07:49

1.200 if the device was on the network and it was live then this would

07:58

come back with a reply it would send a little packet of data out it would

Transcript for How to WiFi Enable a Lightblade Laser Machine (Cont…)

08:03

bounce back and we’d get a reply so we’ll use 200 ok that’s done so the next

08:08

thing we want to do is in your case is set up this bridge okay so that we can

08:13

connect your machine into your network {RUSS}okay now this bridge is basically taking

08:18

the place of a piece of wire yeah which would normally be Ethernet cable is

08:22

between the router and the laser {TLENG}because your machine is in your garage {Russ} in my

08:28

workshop! it’s a workshop {TLENG} ah yes sorry workshop because your machine is in your workshop

08:33

and there’s no physical cable there if you if you get a device

08:37

that’s relatively inexpensive called a bridge that as far as the machine is

08:43

concerned the machine thinks it’s directly connected via wire it’s a

08:47

transparent connection {Russ}yeah but we’re connected by Wi-Fi {TLENG}yes so it will

08:52

convert the ethernet signal from the machine to a Wi-Fi signal which will

08:58

then connect to your router so there is your link so this one that you

09:04

bought is an access point which probably does bridge mode I’m hoping {Russ} yes it does definitely bridge mode

09:11

{TLENG}so it’s multi-purpose it’s not just a

09:14

bridge {Russ} is a bridge cheaper? {TLENG} I think you’ll probably find they’re all

09:20

much of a muchness but the key thing is because it’s a device that can do more

09:25

than one thing {Russ} that’s a multimode one I’ve checked that it did do bridge mode

09:29

{TLENG}yeah yeah so it just means that we know when we turn it on we’ll have to put it

09:34

into bridge mode okay so we need to find that in the menu which I won’t know off

09:38

the top of my head but it’s good to just show where to look, so we need to

09:44

connect this first of all to configure it and turn it on and we’ll connect it

09:48

in to the laptop directly your PC just so that we can access the settings for

09:54

this you know just like we did on the router here we’ll be

09:58

putting in the IP address for this; in 99.9% of houses the IP address will

Transcript for How to WiFi Enable a Lightblade Laser Machine (Cont…)

10:06

start 192.168 okay and then either 0 dot something sequential number or 1 dot

10:14

something sequential number you know so they’ll or they’ll be on this range

10:19

because that’s known as a private IP to configure this {Russ} and basically what

10:24

you’re doing is you’re telling my router that there’s another device that wants to

10:28

access the router? {TLENG} we will be {Russ} but that’s what you’re trying to do?{TLENG}yes that’s the end result, you try to do that’s the end result you

10:33

we’ll put this onto your network as a client yeah and then the device is

10:38

connected to the cable on it will be then on the network ok so to talk to

10:45

this instead of going by the Wi-Fi like we have been doing

10:47

we need to force the laptop to go via this cable okay so {Russ} but that connection

10:53

is only temporary we must add {TKENG} yeah so for now I’ll go to the network connections

10:59

so we’ll disable the Wi-Fi the LAN tells me it’s connected already so which is

11:07

good tells me this port is live but now that I’ve turned off the Wi-Fi if I try

11:14

and use this browser and connect to the address for your access point which in

11:23

this case is written on the bottom and the default tp-link address

11:29

HTTP://tplinkAP.net tp-link AP dot net and then a

11:42

little bit of luck, the adress into the browser now that were connected by a

11:47

cable okay I’m going to come up with the web interface yeah for the access point

11:53

the login details for this particular one is on bottom and currently means

11:59

it’s set on the default we can tap the log in and we’re in so there’s a

Transcript for How to WiFi Enable a Lightblade Laser Machine (Cont…)

12:09

quick setup for this one which may or may not work we’ll find out so we’ll run

12:14

through this and change the login account I’ll go no for now and then

12:22

we’ll reset that off-camera that though yes off camera yet so we’ve got hello

12:33

bridge mode is it yeah well you got bridge with access point but actually we

12:40

just want client or client it’s still British mode yeah yeah so that will mean

12:47

that anything that’s coming into this port here will be sent out over Wi-Fi

12:52

back to your router okay

12:55

ok so client, this is where we need your access point details {Russ} yes which I shall delete don’t worry.

13:04

{TLENG} yeah okay so we should be able to click survey {Russ}maybe the only people that are

13:11

going to be able to use that are the people next door {TLENG} yeah pretty much yeah so I’ve done a

13:16

survey and it’s seeing these three access points which we’ll use that one

13:21

{Russ}now that is the extension one the .EXT {TLENG} yes because that’ll be the

13:25

strongest signal once we’re in the garage {RUSS}exactly yeah yeah {TLENG}we’re on

13:29

that {Russ}so that tp-link is now configured and connected up to my router so we can

13:35

now move that TP link out to the machine and how does the machine then

13:41

get connected back, you’ve got to tell it

13:46

{TLENG} I said earlier about static IP Address {Russ} where are you going to give that IP

13:50

address to the machine? on the machine itself? {TLEBG} we’ll do it we need to do it on the

13:54

machine yeah okay yeah on the front panel truck

13:56

{Russ}so will now go out to the workshop and we’ll connect this up to the machine so

Transcript for How to WiFi Enable a Lightblade Laser Machine (Cont…)

14:00

here we can see the controller with the yellow cable there um being the

14:05

ethernet cable out of the controller that’s now going to connect to the

14:10

tp-link now I never had any intention of running this machine via a network but

14:19

circumstances forced me to do it because otherwise I can’t tell you guys about

14:24

some of the facilities that are available on RDWorks so that’s the

14:29

main reason why I’m having this modification done okay let’s now go and

14:33

see how the tp-link is going to be configured to talk to this machine

14:38

{TLENG} so the machine is connected on the wire on the cable yeah on the ethernet cable

14:42

into our nice new bridge that’s already configured so this should connect to

14:47

your Wi-Fi yeah at the moment it’s saying it’s down because we’ve not got

14:52

the Machine turned on

14:58

have come up on there so we’re all connected yeah we need to

15:05

go to the front panel on the machine to configure the static IP we’ve

15:09

got our cable connected into the bridge that’s all turned on that’s all fine

15:14

everything’s ready except for the machine which we need to put on the IP

15:19

address which we worked out earlier so because it’s static IP address only you

15:25

manually have to configure it so we’ll go into our menu we scroll here you can

15:30

see IP config pretty straightforward self-explanatory IP config so here we’ve

15:40

got an IP address and a gateway so currently 192.168.1.100 that may or

15:48

may not be free already but we know for sure that if we put it on 200 it will be

15:55

fine now normally on any IP device that if you’re used to configuring them you’ll know

Transcript for How to WiFi Enable a Lightblade Laser Machine (Cont…)

16:01

that normally you put an IP address and a subnet mask for some reason these show

16:06

an IP address and a gateway there’s no good reason why you’d want to give it a

16:12

gateway address unless it wants to be able to see the outside world hmm

16:17

which we certainly don’t want I’m just going to leave that on a random address

16:22

we don’t actually need to do anything with that

16:25

so can’t remember whether you need to reset it so we’re given that it’s new IP

16:30

address so we’ll see if it’s actually connected now, so close your RDWorks which you

16:37

have open and so like we did earlier

16:41

no I’ll do it via a browser, I’ll go command file like we did earlier and I’m just

16:49

Pinging the address Ping Space and then the IP address “ping 192.168.1.200 and I’ll see if I can see

16:55

the Machine, so I’m getting replies hmm in fact the first Ping took a second, that’s not very good

17:04

there we go, nice and stable now. um a couple of milliseconds it’s taking to ping from

17:11

here to the machine and back again okay that tells me now we’re connected

17:15

to the machine it’s working fine{Russ} as I see it at the moment

17:19

it’s from that laptop on to my router and all the way back from the Rooter

17:24

wirelessly to this to TPLink and then via the cable and then via the cable

17:28

into the Machine {TLENG} and the last thing we need to do is just configure RDWorks

17:32

so in RDWorks the port setting yep now by default they always come up with

17:39

a USB yeah and auto for which port it is on the computer yep so there’s no other

17:45

device available there, but if you go to port settings {Russ} this is my port

17:49

settings yep {TLENG} you know this little dialog pops up here which will list all

17:54

of the devices you’ve already configured whether it’s a USB device or if I click

Transcript for How to WiFi Enable a Lightblade Laser Machine (Cont…)

18:00

Add down at the bottom so I will say it’s the 6090 no it’s not a 6090 will say this

18:12

is only 4060 there we go and here we’ll put in {Russ}so that’s basically it’s name {TLENG} yes

18:19

just any any strings you want in there okay and press test um ah see it’s worked the

18:26

second time but the first time it came up with the firewall rule box you know

18:31

that you have to accept for your laptop to be able to talk to the machine

18:36

okay otherwise you’re blocking the ports it needs

18:39

yep to talk to the machine so so I had to allow it on the firewall you

18:43

and then you should know when it works if you press text and you’ll get port

18:48

test success yeah so that’s all good so we’ll okay

18:52

that and now here in our list we’ve got two {Russ}well so I can still use my USB

18:58

as a connection {TLENG}you can yeah so if we just exit out of there you don’t have to

19:03

tick that down in the bottom you’ll see you’ve got this extra device so you can

19:08

either go back to USB if you decide a USB auto or basically call up for the machine

19:13

which has now got our sixty at forty sixty two hundred and on and it gives

19:17

you in brackets it’s IP address. okay so now that’s all set up {RUSS}I’ve got quite a

19:23

few things to relearn on here now because I’m driving it I shall be

19:27

driving it from here now the first thing I’m going to do is

19:32

check this home position

19:37

and sure enough sending it to the home X and home Y but

19:44

that’s all it’s doing it’s not the same as a reset because when I press the

19:50

reset button not only does it go to home like that it also resets to the previous

Transcript for How to WiFi Enable a Lightblade Laser Machine (Cont…)

20:00

origin position whereas when I press home

20:06

it does exactly that sends it home

20:11

if I say at Z- and drive the table down I’ve got a similar facility on the

20:22

z-axis which will send it up to the top of the stroke or I suspect to this

20:29

position here where the sensor will detect it so it’s either or let’s just

20:35

check

20:42

now I’ve got these strange numbers here called offset in X&Y or they just called

20:48

offset millimeters let’s just see if I do that’s Y – and that’s X – so if I

20:56

click that I’m getting this 10 millimeter offset every jump click

21:05

click

21:12

then Y yeah so I haven’t got and I think if I hold the button down I don’t get

21:21

continuous Y so all I can get are these increments of 10 millimeters at speed of

21:25

50 millimeters a second so that’s interesting that’s a complete difference

21:31

to operating on the keyboard when my challenge to Wi-Fi enable this machine

21:37

has now been successfully achieved using the machine in this mode it’s going to

21:43

be a slightly different challenge for me and I shall have to do some work in the

21:48

background before I can talk to you guys confidently about how I use the machine

21:52

in this mode so thank you very much for your attention again today and we look

21:57

forward to seeing you in the next session

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