Trotec Ruby

Structure of this document

This wiki is to document our explorations for Ruby setup, management and use.
Once the documentation is fleshed out, we can separate it into an admin manual and a user guide.

Section 1: Ruby Administrator Manual

  1. Key concepts for lasertechs new to Ruby - high level overview
  2. Transition to Ruby - organisational, administrative and user issues to be considered
  3. Installation - once-off installation steps
  4. Configuration - once-off configuration steps
  5. Materials database management - cleanup, structure, management
  6. User administration - adding and managing users (members)
  7. Proposal: Remote access to the laser PC

Section 2: Ruby User Manual

  • Overall workflow - high level overview of how to use the laser
  • Specific instructions for each step (some exist, some are new because of Ruby)

--------------------- Ruby Administrator Manual ---------------------

1. Key concepts for lasertechs new to Ruby

1.1 Documentation and resources

Trotec’s information is still a bit thin, and fragmented.

  • Help - main documentation
  • FAQ - high level information about the future of Job Control and Ruby
  • Roadmap - we can track which features are ready, imminent or a long way off

1.2 Access and security

  • Each user has their own username and password - no-one needs to login as director@southlondonmakerspace.org
  • Remote access allows users to explore the software, and push jobs to the queue.
  • They can do this on any web browser on any device that is connected to the same network as the laser PC.
  • They don’t see the simultaneous activities of any other users, including someone on the laser PC.
  • They can only start jobs from the laser PC, so they still have to be physically present at the laser during operations.

1.3 Usage

  • Unlike the existing JobControl workflow, which involves steps that are taken in multiple pieces of software (e.g. Illustrator, then the prin settings, then JobControl), with Ruby you do everything on several screens within the Ruby interface.

2. Transition to Ruby

2.1 Parallel operation

  • Ruby and Job Control can and do co-exist.
  • We need to check if there is a sync of the materials database, or just a one-off import. We don’t want material settings changes on one platform to affect the other.
  • There is an important process for switching the laser between JobControl and Ruby (see below)

2.2 New inductees

  • At some point we can decide to induct new users on Ruby rather than Job Control.
  • We can run training courses for existing inductees covering just the new software and workflow to help them migrate from Job Control to Ruby.
  • Ruby Remote Access (local network) allows for a new mode of training as users could sit in the clean room and explore the software, rather than having to crowd around the laser PC.

2.3 Existing users

There are some big changes to the workflow for setting up a job file and cutting/engraving.
We could offer a mini-course that covers:

  1. A brief reminder of the overall workflow (from stepping up to the laser to walking away)
  2. How to prepare a job file in Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape (if there are differences from JobControl)
  3. Setting up the job and running it

3. Installation

Move to lasertech-only Ruby Administrator Manual once complete
Once this document is private, add the password here

@Brendon_Hatcher wasn’t involved, so can’t say much here.
We will only need to find out how if we need to re-install. Some details are:

  1. directors@southlondonmakerspace.org received a welcome email with a temporary password.
  2. @Dermot did a default install without going into the details of the various options.

4. Configuration

Move to lasertech-only Ruby Administrator Manual once complete

4.1 Configure password

  1. @Brendon_Hatcher used the email address and temporary password (provided by Dermot) to login
  2. @Brendon_Hatcher changed the password to the one shared with the lasertechs

4.2 Enable remote access

@Brendon_Hatcher enabled remote access (which actually means access from other devices on the same local network). This only has to be done once, unless we need to re-install.

  1. Start / Ruby
  2. Login to Ruby as an administrator
  3. Menu button (top left)
  4. User management
  5. Download the certificate
  6. In Windows File Explorer, go to Downloads and double click on the file
  7. Install certificate
  8. Local machine
  9. Next
  10. Yes
  11. Next
  12. Finish
  13. OK

5. Materials database management

  • The existing JobControl Material Database was imported during Ruby installation.
  • Any cleanup planned for JobControl will (probably) have to be done on Ruby as well.

6. User administration

6.1 Overview

  • It seems like only admin users can add new users (@Brendon_Hatcher can’t see any indication of a bulk import procedure).
  • Any user can be given administrator rights (16/12/21 - @Brendon_Hatcher this is untested)

6.2 Privacy issue

Lasertechs will need member’s email addresses in order to set them up as the login credentials are sent to the user’s email address. We will need an appropriate way to obtain, use and dispose of this personal data.

6.3 Create new user

  1. Login as Director/other administrator
  2. Menu button (top left)
  3. User management
  4. Add user
  5. Email address (match to SLMS-recorded email address)
  6. Username (match to SLMS username)
  7. OK
  8. Quickly copy temporary password (if the new user wants to login immediately, and doesn’t have access to their email account)
  9. Assign administrator permission - lasertechs and directors???
  10. Materials - y/n - need to explore this setting

7. Proposal: Remote access to the laser PC

Access to the full Windows system, not just basic access to Ruby. However, this would give us the ability to actually fire the laser if turned on, so care is required.

It would be great if lasertechs could remote access the laser PC in order to:

  • Learn how to administer Ruby and how to set up a job (otherwise we can only learn when at SLMS)
  • Configure/tidy up Ruby and Job Control
  • Add new users (since there is no mass-import function)
  • Support users with technical issues (especially during the transition to Ruby)
  • Perform software upgrades

Possible software:

  • Windows Quick Assist is a core Windows 10 app, so no installation is required, but it is only suitable if there is a user at the PC, as they have to grant access.
  • Remote Desktop Protocol would allow us unattended access (no-one has to be at the laser PC to grant remote access), but this may require changes to our network configuration, and the laser PC would need to be left on.

--------------------- Ruby User Manual ---------------------

Move to public Ruby User Manual once complete

Overall workflow

  1. Prepare your Job file - create your design in Inkscape, Adobe Illustrator etc
  2. Prepare the laser cutter - access, maintenance and cleaning (unchanged)
  3. Load Ruby
  4. DESIGN - import into Ruby
  5. PREPARE - set materials and processes
  6. PRODUCE - run the job on the laser
  7. Cleanup

@Brendon_Hatcher has started exploring the steps in capitals (these are steps defined in Ruby).

1. Prepare your Job file

Specific instructions for AI, InkScape etc here.

Instructions for Inkscape

  • You can use an SVG file produced using Inkscape (tested Version 1.1.1)

Object preparation:

  • All objects must have a stroke colour (only black tested so far).
  • The stroke thickness is ignored, so you can set it to zero or any value.
  • “Internal” Inkscape objects (circles tested so far) are fine, and don’t need to be converted to paths in order to import into Ruby (this is a common issue with other Laser Control software).
  • If you add a stroke (required) AND a fill, it treats the stroke as one object and the fill as another.

File preparation:

The document border is included in the imported object in Ruby.
This is annoying when you try to position the objects on the virtual bed, as the page border forms part of the object group
Need to test the following:

  1. Complete the objects, including positioning (nesting)
  2. Ctrl + Shift + R - the page will shrink to fit only the objects

There are no additional export steps required.

Untested:

  • Colour palette selection
  • Preparation for vector engraving
  • Text output
  • Thick and percentage strokes

Instructions for Adobe Illustrator

2. Prepare the laser cutter

2.1 Booking, access control, safety

Include the existing documentation here.

2.2. Cleaning

Include the existing documentation here.

3. Load Ruby

Ruby is a combination of control software (which appears in the Windows notifications tray) and a web app (which opens in any web browser). Both are required to be running.

3.1 The control software

Done on: PC next to the laser

Check that the Ruby app is running:

  1. Look for the Ruby icon in the Windows notification tray.
  2. If it is not there, Start / Ruby (need to check this).

3.2 The Ruby web app

Done on: PC next to laser OR any device connected to the local network (see “Working remotely”)

  1. Check that the Ruby web app is open in a web browser (Chrome and Edge are fine).
  2. If not, open you preferred web browser and go to https://slms-05.local:2402.
  3. You have to proceed from one Ruby screen to the next, as each provides context for the next.

4. Ruby “Design” Screen

Done on: PC next to laser OR any device connected to the local network (see “Working remotely”)

Instructions for cutting so far. Need to add engraving and rotary.

Ruby has VERY rudimentary object creation and manipulation tools - nowhere near as sophisticated as Inkscape and Adobe Illustrator etc.
Most people will want to do their design work in a proper editor and use the “Design” screen simply to import their file.

Provided the file has been created as per the requirements in “Job preparation” above, there are no special instructions for importing the file into Ruby.

  1. Press the Import button.
  2. Select the SVG file.
  3. The file will appear on the left sidebar.
  4. Click on it to select it and it will appear in the main window.
  5. Move the objects to the required position on the bed (if needed).
  6. Change the object order if required (see notes below).

Notes on cut and engrave order (tested with Inkscape only, so far):

  • The objects will appear in a list on the bottom right, but not the order in which they appear in the main window.
  • The default object order is newest to oldest.
  • The order will influence the order of laser operations (in conjunction with “inner geometries first” covered later in this manual). If you have a complex job containing numerous objects, the extra travel time as the laser moves inefficiently from one object to another can significantly increase the total job time.
  • You can manually reorder the objects, one at a time.
  • If objects have been grouped or combined, then they will appear together, in the order in which they were modified.
  • Objects that are combined are treated as a single object in the list.
  • If you add a stroke (required) AND a fill, it treats the stroke as one object and the fill as another

5. Ruby “Prepare” screen

Done on: PC next to laser OR any device connected to the local network (see “Working remotely”)

Instructions for cutting so far. Need to add engraving and rotary.
Instructions on cut, vector engrave, raster engrave

Understanding parameters: Trotec documentation

  • Power - the output power of the laser
    – applies to both cut and engrave
    – specific to the material (e.g. wood more, paper less)

  • Speed - how fast the laser head moves
    – applies cut or engrave, but speeds for cut and engrave are not comparable
    – specific to the level of detail, the material and the intended effect

  • PPI - determines how many laser pulses per inch are used
    – applies to engraving only
    – suggest setting to auto

  • Frequency - the number of laser pulses per second
    – applies to cutting only
    – specific to the material - e.g. acrylic

5.1 Output options

  • Inner geometries first - inner objects are cut and engraved before outer objects, to prevent objects “falling out” of the sheet, and then being cut again in the wrong place [fix clumsy wording].
  • Overlapping lines - where objects share a common border, there are options for determining whether to cut the overlapping line twice.

6. Ruby “Produce” screen

Done on: PC next to laser only. You cannot do this step on another device.

Instructions for cutting so far. Need to add engraving and rotary.
Running jobs

Check that the laser is in Ruby mode, not JobControl mode:

  1. Right click on the Ruby Control in the Widows notification tray
  2. Go to Laser mode
  3. Select Ruby

7. Cleanup

Include the existing documentation here.

Working remotely

You can import and set up your job from any device connected to the makerspace network.
You can only start the cutting/engraving from the Laser PC.

You must already have an account on the Laser PC. If this is your first time logging in, you’ll need your temporary password sent to you via email, and you’ll need to change your password on first login.

  1. Login to the makerspace wifi (password is on the blackboard)
  2. Open your web browser
  3. Go to https://slms-05.local:2402
  4. Bypass the security warning - in Chrome: Advanced / Proceed to slms-05.local (unsafe)
  5. Login

Great work @Brendon_Hatcher!
Glad they’ve gotten rid of particular stroke width for cuts.
I’m a little worried about allowing net traffic from outside the space in. It seems inevitable that as a Makerspace, we’ll have a bunch of devices with various amounts of proper security. @petra and I had a chat about it before in the context of the laser. Happier to open the discussion a bit wider. Not really my domain @Courty @asander1