K40 Whisperer

K40 Whisperer

K40 Whisperer:
Control software for the stock K40 Laser controller

Contents

Background
Features
Supported Controller Boards
Changes
Download
Documentation
Related Links

Background

K40 Whisperer is an alternative to the the Laser Draw (LaserDRW) program that comes with the cheap Chinese laser cutters available on E-Bay and Amazon. K40 Whisperer reads SVG and DXF files, interprets the data and sends commands to the K40 controller to move the laser head and control the laser accordingly. K40 Whisperer does not require a USB key (dongle) to function.

K40 Whisperer is a free open source program released under the GNU General Public License (GPL).

K40 Whisperer Features:

- Reads SVG files and DXF files
- Splits input design based on color formating (red,blue)
- In SVG files blue and red paths are interpreted as vectors for vector engraving and cutting. Everything else is transfered as a raster image.
- In DXF files blue paths are interpreted as vector engrave(blue). Everything else is interpreted as vector cut(red). (Everything on layers that have the text "engrave" in the layer name are interpreted as vector engrave.)
- Performs cuts on features inside of other features before cutting the outside features. (If you cut the outside first the part might drop out of the stock material)
- Converts gray scale images to halftone images to simulate varying levels of gray (i.e. engraving pictures). The Halftone option needs to be selected under "Raster"-"Settings" to enable halftoning.

K40 Whisperer Main Window

k40w_screen.png

Supported Controller Boards:

Only boards that work with LaserDRW will work with K40 Whisperer. (Moshi boards will not work)
To see which board you have you can go to "Properties" from the LaserDRW (or CorelDraw) Engraving Manager window and look at which board is selected for the "Mainboard" option. You can also look at the markings on the controller board. (The controller board is the circuit board the USB cable plugs into)

Controller Boards Known to Work with K40 Whisperer:
- 6C6879-LASER-M2 (M2 Nano)
- 6C6879-LASER-B1
- 6C6879-LASER-M1
- 6C6879-LASER-M
- 6C6879-LASER-B
- 6C6879-LASER-B2
- 6C6879-LASER-A
- HT Master5 (use LASER-M2 setting)
- HT Master6 (use LASER-M2 setting)
- HT-XEON5 (use LASER-M2 setting)
- HT-XEON-DRV (use LASER-M2 setting)

K40 Whisperer Changes:

Changes in Version 0.24

- Fixed handling of large laser area files. Previous version would fail to generate raster data for large areas.
- Fixed compatibility with Python 3.7
- Added better error reporting when raster data fails to be produced by Inkscape

Changes in Version 0.25

- Fixed a variety of minor issues with SVG import (especially files generated with Adobe Illustrator)
- Fixed a couple of issues with importing DXF files.
- Added option to invert colors for raster engraving.

Changes in Version 0.26

- Added options to combine engrave operations, vector operations or all operations.
- Added zoom to design size option
- Fixed option to invert colors for raster engraving.
- Fixed more compatibility problems with Python 3
- Fixed raster engrave from bottom. Now it skips empty spaces.

Changes in Version 0.27

- Fixed speeds for M2 controller boards. Higher speeds were inaccurate.
- Improved installer. The driver installer should work with all version of Windows(XP and later) now.

Changes in Version 0.28

- Added ability to move the laser head to any position on the design. Use the right mouse button to move the laser head independent of the design location. Previously could only move to corners and center.)
- Reduced the number of times the display updates during calculation.
- Fixed speeds for controller boards (except M2). Higher speeds were inaccurate.

Changes in Version 0.29

- Slowed down the movement to return to the zero position after engraving. At high speeds the laser head would sometimes over-run and slam into the hard-stop if the job was started from the home position.
- Added command to stop windows computers from going to sleep while the laser is running.
- Changed the SVG reader so it ignores CSS entry without data instead of throwing an error.
- Added key binding for alt-control-(arrow keys) for moving the laser head independent of the design.


For the full history look at the
K40 Whisperer Change Log

Download

(Right click on the link and select "Save target as" or "Save link as")
K40 Whisperer for Windows (32 bit)
K40 Whisperer for Windows (64 bit)
K40 Whisperer Source
K40 Whisperer
Windows Installer.
(Includes Windows Driver Installer)

These installers will install the
correct executable for your
operating system (32 or 64 bit)
K40_Whisperer-0.26_win32.zip
K40_Whisperer-0.26_win64.zip
K40_Whisperer-0.26_src.zip
K40 Whisperer Installer 0.26.exe
K40_Whisperer-0.27_win32.zip
K40_Whisperer-0.27_win64.zip
K40_Whisperer-0.27_src.zip
K40 Whisperer Installer 0.27.exe
K40_Whisperer-0.28_win32.zip
K40_Whisperer-0.28_win64.zip
K40_Whisperer-0.28_src.zip
K40 Whisperer Installer 0.28.exe
K40_Whisperer-0.29_win32.zip
K40_Whisperer-0.29_win64.zip
K40_Whisperer-0.29_src.zip
K40 Whisperer Installer 0.29.exe

Installation Instructions:

Windows:
Setting up K40 Whisperer on Windows

Linux: Setup instructions for Linux are included via the README_Linux.txt file in the "K40_Whisperer-x.xx_src.zip" file.

Mac: Setup instructions for Mac are included via the README_MacOS.md file in the "K40_Whisperer-x.xx_src.zip" file.
(I can't help with Mac specific questions. I have no experience installing software on a Mac.)

K40 Whisperer Manual:

K40_Whisperer Reference Manual
 K40 Whisperer Manual

Creating Input for K40 Whisperer

1. Create your design in Inkscape.
- Use RED lines to indicate cutting.
- Use BLUE lines to indicate vector engraving.
- Use BLACK to indicate raster engraving (this can be shapes, paths or images)
2. Adjust the size of the document to match the area you want to export (You can use "File" - "Document Properties" - "Resize Page to Content" to make the page the same size as your design)
3. Within Inkscape select "Save" to save the design as an SVG file.
4. Open the SVG file you just saved in K40 Whisperer.

Halftone (grayscale) Images with K40 Whisperer

In addition to red, blue and black, you can also do grayscale with K40 Whisperer. The stock boards that work with K40 Whisperer are not able to control the power output by the laser. However, grayscale can be simulated by creating a halftone image (dithering) of the raster image. Below is an example of an image that was engraved with the Halftone (Dither) option turned on in K40 Whisperer.
madrid_default.jpg
The truck photo came from Wikimedia Commons: Madrid_-_Fargo_Power-Wagon

In order to generate the halftone image in K40 Whisperer the Halftone setting in the Raster settings needs to be selected. When the Halftone option is turned on the image displayed in K40 Whisperer will be shown in grayscale.

K40 Whisperer Videos

Overview/Introduction

Making a Design in Inkscape

Engraving a Picture Using K40 Whisperer

Advanced Settings in K40 Whisperer

Using G-Code with K40 Whisperer

Driver Removal:

K40 Whisperer requires the installation of a different driver than the one that Laser Draw and Corel Laser use. The Setting up K40 Whisperer on Windows page includes instructions for removing the libUSB-win32 driver so that you can go back to the standard programs.

Related Links

Laser Draw Inkscape Extension: Save Laser Draw (LYZ) files from Inkscape.



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