Tooli G3 laser cutter – part I

Months ago, when planning for putting together our new gas bags design, I’ve realised that we’ll need something more reliable to do all the cutting. Spreading a word, we suddenly ended up with a Tooli G3 Laser cutter form Toolbotics!

It looks even better on their Ad – CNC, Laser Toolbotics Tooli 3G Launch!

While it may sound like a fantastic news, it ended up being a big story – it actually might be a good time to get yourself a good cup tea before you’ll start reading.

So it begins, we’ve did the obvious first – assembled the tool and ran it!

Even Sebi & Oli had pretty promising go on that.

However we’ve hit the first obstacle here, to be able to do something sensible we needed to produce a gcode which would tell it what to do. Checking on the vendor’s page solution seems to be simple just get their Plotter! Well not that fast as it needs the Art2Gcode program which does not open because it needs the Adobe Flash service, which doesn’t exist for past X years. Bummer.

So, trying to get something we wrote an email to to get some support there. It worked out that Toolbotics practically doesn’t exist anymore and their support is limited. Anyway someone finally responded and we’ve got our hands on that Art2Gcode app and Sebi has been able to run it somehow on his Windows PC.

We’ve loaded resulting Gcode and loaded it on a SD card, plugged it in the device and .. it couldn’t find any files loaded. So we got back to Toolbotics support again, asking for any advice and they came back with:

… and then many more iterations later it became – that it all can be an SD card reader problem. And that was a proper opportunity to check what’s inside that box! 🙂

Very interesting. Information on boards provided us with few ideas. Main thing here – you can see that the board is modified Mega controller from Makerlab. Its description says that it is a Single board solution, Remix of Arduino mega and RAMPS and it is actually pretty cool!

However we are interested mainly in that SD card support (you can see connections in a blue frame saying LCD/SD support with Mini Panel above). Thinking obvious – SD Card reader is broken, we did a quick run to grab a new one for $5.95.

Well, swapping it with the new one changed nothing – no files seems to be loaded / detected by that thing! Getting already bit frustrated, I’ve asked for another advice and been given that it is very likely main board problem and it needs to be replaced. So I asked if we can be provided with a source code or a firmware to attempt to do some debugging ourselves and ended up in some sort of strange Catch 22 situation where firmware cannot be provided as it is their IP so even they recommend board replacement, there is no way to reload it.

This argument seemed to be good enough that Toolbotics support actually ended up providing whole FW source code! Having it checked by Andrew – he discovered that it is based on a Open-Source 3D printer FW called Marlin, just version 1.x, while they already moved forward a bit.

Still, Andrew’s been able to revive it to get it compile again. Next step was obvious – load it! And this is where things are getting interesting a lot again, by loading the firmware provided over the one present in there, everything stopped working, even those things which seemed to be half-working before. Darn.

I’ll keep you hanging here as this is getting pretty long, while rest assured that this story is not over!

One thought on “Tooli G3 laser cutter – part I

Leave a Reply