• Members 4 posts
    June 1, 2019, 11:54 p.m.

    Just picked up a Dahlgren SYS-2516 Engraver. Completely new to this, but for $200 I figured it was a steal. It is completely operational as far as I can tell. All axis move freely and smoothly and spindle spins nicely. My question is will this software control this machine and how exactly I communicate with it. The control box has a serial port labeled com1 on the back so I would assume I would connect and communicate through this serial port. I know this sounds like it should be pretty straight forward, but I am just looking for some confirmation that I am heading in the right direction before I damage anything. Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated and I thank you in advance.

    Have a great day.

  • June 2, 2019, 2:11 a.m.

    Sounds like a great deal! They're well built machines.

    Unfortunately there's not much documentation or manuals online for any Dalhgren equipment (that I could find anyways). Does yours have a manual? If so check if it has any command list / reference.

    My guess is that it would accept gcode through the serial port as you described. It should not hurt anything to connect and try and send some commands (try each protocol).

    Worst case if you cannot get it to work you can get a different controller for it, I've been thinking about making a pcb for mine.

  • Members 4 posts
    June 3, 2019, 11:57 p.m.

    Thanks for getting back to me.

    Unfortunately it did not come with a manual. I just managed to get an old laptop running so I will go ahead and try and connect and see what I can make of it. If this doesn't work out, how would I go about getting a new controller for it? I am not even sure what I would look for. This would be my first engraver ever. I am familiar with 3D printing and I know it's similar, but outside of some basic gcode commands I have zero clue here.

  • June 4, 2019, 2:15 p.m.

    Not sure if you saw or not but I have a Dahlgren System 300z. Could you post some pictures of the spindle and steppers motors? I'm interested to see how similar it is to mine.

    As far as a new controller, you may be able to find a generic 3 axis cnc controller online. Anything with 3 stepper drivers and a spindle driver should work.

    I made a simple controller for mine with a breadboard (see codelv.com/blog/2018/10/retrofitting-an-engraver-part-2-steppers). I've been thinking about making a pcb for mine, so if yours is a similar setup it would also work for yours.

  • Members 4 posts
    June 6, 2019, 2:20 a.m.

    I did see you had a Dahlgren system that you were working with. That is actually how I came across this site. I was trying to find information on the unit I have. I am currently unable to communicate with the control unit. I have windows xp running on the laptop so that should tell you how old it is. In any case inkscape will not even open up on it so I have some troubleshooting to do with that as well. I am just hoping this is not more trouble than it is worth. I am going to keep trying for the moment to try and talk to this thing. I have no idea how old this unit is, but they had to be using something to control it and if I could just figure out what that software was that would be great. It's like these systems cease to exist anywhere anymore. I have never come across something that has almost zero information available on the net. I took a bunch of pictures of the unit so you can see what I am working with. I appreciate the help so far. I have a feeling this may be a long road.


  • June 6, 2019, 10:54 p.m.

    Thanks for the pictures. The one motor has 99 printed on, I'm not sure if that's the year but based on the size of the control box it looks quite a bit newer than mine (mine is 1988!). It has higher rated 4.7A motors and the z axis has a linear rail guide which is good as well (mine just has t-slots). I'd be interesting to see what spindle motor is in it.

    Have you gone through all the menus to see if there's any mention of a protocol? The one picture has "Dml2" which sounds like it may be one but I don't see anything on the web. Also do all the motion buttons work?

    You should be able to use putty www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/latest.html to send commands over a COM port. Inkcut should work on Windows XP but I haven't tried.

  • Members 4 posts
    June 12, 2019, 1:59 a.m.

    Unfortunately I have had no luck getting inkcut to run at all on XP. I tried upgrading the laptop to windows 7, but I get an error when trying to install inkcut. I installed the dependencies as described, but when I do the command to install inkcut (pip3 install inkcut) it returns a compiling error and will not launch afterwords. I am sure I am doing something wrong. I just have not figured out what it is yet. As far as putty goes that was not successful either. It's like nothing sees this machine at all. I am running out of options here and may have to admit I can not talk to this thing in its current state. It's a well built machine and it's a shame I can't get it running. I will take a picture of the spindle motor when I get a chance to pull the cover off it. I appreciate all the help and thank you again. I may have to do like you said and get a new control board. The other option I will explore is maybe I can't use a usb to serial cord so I have to order a regular rs232 cable. Not sure it will help, but I will give it a try. The fight goes on.

  • June 12, 2019, 3:37 a.m.

    For the Inkcut error, see inkcut.org/t/installing-inkcut-on-win-10/7/ it sounds like the same issue.

    Does the usb/serial adapter show up as a COM port in the device manager? You may need to install a driver for it, if it doesn't. If it does you may have to play with the different settings, eg baud, flow ctrl, etc.. I'm not sure if putty has those options.

    If Windows doesn't work you can get a raspberry pi, www.raspberrypi.org/products/raspberry-pi-3-model-b-plus/ they're like $30 and work great with Inkcut (what I use most of the time).