Overview of AVID Laser hardware

Since I had a prototype of AVID’s laser kit, I thought I’d do a little overview in case people are interested in seeing the hardware in a little more detail.


Great video Jim! Someday I may have the money for a laser. The cyclone dust collector that appears in some shots looks a lot the one I built from plans in Woodsmith.

Ha, ya I built that cyclone about 30 years ago off of plans from one of the woodworking magazines (don’t even remember which one anymore). Has worked great with the blower from an old grizzly DC. As long as the garbage can is not full, this thing takes out all the fine stuff so I don’t use any filters and just port it out to the back yard.


Thanks for the video. I am running the laser package and agree with all you are saying. Great that it works right out of the box with no modifications. Just to mention as I am sure you know, the Vectric laser toolpaths can also be run. I also like, with AVID converting the g code files in Mach 4 I can run a vcarve toolpath using the laser as the tool, makes a nice shadow effect in the carving, if that makes sense.

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Thats really interesting, I hadn’t thought of runing the laser on a Vcarve toolpath…now I have to go try that :slight_smile:

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Great overview Jim. I bought a couple of years ago a PLH3D-6W-XF+ with a uspot lens. I’d like to use it. I got the kit from Opt Laser for AVID. I got it setup and it worked fine. You mentioned you maintained your own MACH4 screens for your setup. I would kinda like to do the same thing. Is it simply another installation for MACH4 on same computer or are you switching between your screens and AVIDS another way? TIA

Hi Eric,

I keep my screens, laser setup files, spoilboard designs, etc. all in this google drive thats free for the taking, so have at it. I will be uploading a new screen in about 2 weeks when I get home from vacation.


Installing a new screen is as simple as copying the file to the Mach4Hobby/screens directory. Then to switch to it, just start up mach4 after coping in the file, then select View->load screen and select the new screen name. You can go back and forth anytime you want just by loading a different screen.

My screens are built on top of an AVID screen and have all the code in the screen file, so as long as you are running an AVID build, you shouldn’t need anything other than the screen.
I also have a readme file in that screens directory to give you the revision history of my screens and some description of the changes I have made.

You can always email me at jnwdwks@gmail.com if you have questions.


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Jim, thank you, that is great. I will take a look. I placed my laser on the Z axis for plasma torch but may want to move that so that I can combine routing and lasing in the same job as you suggested. I assume I can keep my pinout on my laser the same. Since I have a TMC board for Torch Height Control, I had to connect my laswer to the STP X and COM of the TMC board which corresponds to ESS Port 3 Pins 2 and 3. Enjoy vacation. Thanks again - Eric

I’m jealous. I wish I had the double Z stage setup to split my laser and spindle.

However, if you are using the AVID laser kit, or just want to use their screenset and software to do combined laser and spindle Gcode files then you are right, its better to mount them together on the same Z so they have a fixed offset from each other and the same Z stage.

I get mixed results from the split head. I have to plug and unplug motors with my 4th axis and the plasma gets so dirty that I am really worried about getting the laser connections dirty (especially since the connection is magnetic). I see from some of the screen shots on the 15W Laser setup that they now have some options for Plasma/Laser as well as Spindle/Laser for machine setup. I will have to check and see if they would just sell me the MACH4 updates. I already have what I need for my smaller laser. It would be nice to have the “process vector laser g-code” script instead of manually having to place the code in the files. Not sure if I have enough space for the actuator or not…starting to get a bit cramped!

The laser, plasma, and spindle support is all in their latest package, so as long as you have an avid machine, you don’t have to buy any updates. You might have to reconfigure your mach4 settings a bit if you do something a little different, but that’s pretty easy.

Thanks Jim,

I have been reading a lot over the past couple of days. I downloaded 2.5.5 and am trying it out now. I am going to see what I can figure out on the settings for 15W Laser in the new software. I would like to sub in my Opt Laser PLH3D-6W-XF+. I know that there are some fail safes in the new code including a sensor for proper air pressure to the actuator. I am wondering if some of those fail safes can be turned off temporarily until I figure out if I really need the 15W or not. I actually tried converting my aspire spindle code (tool 99) with the newer software and then running it in the older version of avid/mach4.2.0.4809. I can arm and test fire there but I am missing some things in the g-code. I looked over most of the code but can’t figure out where the M64 and M67 macros are located. They are not in any of the macro directories for the different profiles (I found the m2003 and m2004 macros) I can’t find them on Warp9 site and I do see that they are in the user scriptable range on the Mach4 M code descriptions documentation. Long and short of it is that I power on the laser, arm it and run the gcode but the laser doesn’t fire. I can arm and test fire and that works fine. I think I will go ahead and configure my 2.5.5 setup and configure it for the “15W” laser and see if there are any differences in the ESS setup versus mine and then try to figure out the fail safes.

M2000 - M2005 are macros written by Warp9 to control Laser Vector and Rastering, so they need to be installed in your Macros directory. I’m pretty sure they come already installed in the latest AVID SW builds.

M62/63 and M67 are Misc codes in Mach4, so they are already there in your Mach4 build.

All Opt lasers are the same as far as Mach4/ESS and the wiring are concerned. The only difference is what the PWM percentage equates to (6, 15, or 30watts), but that is just something you make note of in your head as you are setting up the toolpath.

I’m not sure if there is an overide on the air sensor in the SW, but its just an input to the ESS, so it can be turned off.

Send me an email and I can help you get what you need working.