Lasercutter

From Noisebridge
Revision as of 04:59, 25 February 2011 by Alan Rockefeller (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

Contents

Lasercutter (name to be determined)

Full Spectrum Laser 4th Generation 40W CO2 Laser Engraver - Deluxe Model

Safety information and training

We should have a bunch of helpful information here on safe operation of the device and who to go to to be trained on its use here.

  • Please speak to one of the people who is experienced with this laser cutter before using itt so we can show you where everything is, how to setup the software, how to use it without breaking it, basic safety tips, etc.
  • Read the instructions first. Manual
  • Never turn the current up above 15 milliamps, that will fry the laser tube quickly. Usually just a few milliamps is more than enough power to do what you want. Using too much power on wood or paper will start a fire. Instead of turning up the power, turn down the speed and/or use multiple passes. Always use the minimum power you can do to the job to prevent unsightly burn marks and extend the life of the laser tube.
  • Never operate the laser cutter unattended because sometimes things catch fire. A squirt bottle with water is kept next to the laser to put out small fires. A fire extinguisher is in the corner of the room for larger issues.
  • If little flames shoot up off of your material, turn down the power. Little flames can start fires and will fog up the lens, which is difficult to clean.
  • It is easy to make the laser head bang against the side or top of the unit. This causes an awful noise and must be very bad for the gears. If the laser cutter makes a banging noise, stop it immediately and reposition the laser head before the next cut, or resize the artwork.
  • Do not cut plastics which create hazardous fumes when burned. Acrylic is ok. PVC and vinyl releases the very toxic gas phosgene when heated. As a general rule, chemical resistant plastics should not be put in the laser cutter.
  • Be very careful with the silver honeycomb, especially when removing it from the machine to clean little bits of debris off of it. It bends very easily and once bent can not be straightened out completely. It is mostly a cosmetic issue, but pressing your thumb in the wrong place will cause permanent marks.

Software

Any program can print to the laser cutter, I had success using Inkscape and Gimp. As far as I know Gimp can not do vector cuts, a major limitation. Inkscape is not the easiest software to learn but it is not difficult either.

RetinaEngrave (Windows)

Requirements

Supported formats/modes

How to install

How to use

ctrl-cut

Amir Hassan and Marius Kintel are working on open source laser cutter drivers through the CUPS interface. Primarily they're working on getting it operational with an Epilog cutter, but would like to expand past that soon.

Quirks

  • It is easy to make the laser head bang against the side or top of the unit. Don't let it do that.
  • If you are doing a raster engrave, you can not set the speed too high. Here is some artwork on paper, raster engrave, 85% speed: [1]. Here is the same image at 71% speed: [2]
  • Turn off the machine when not in use. The air pump gets hot if left on for long periods. It is not quite hot enough to cause a problem, but it will last longer if it is not always on, and turning it off will keep dust from accumulating inside the laser unnecessarily.

Things you can put in the laser cutter

  • Paper
  • Acrylic and several other plastics
  • Wood (careful of fire)
  • Cotton
  • Leather
  • Glass
  • Anodized/coated metal

Things you should not put in the laser cutter

  • Anything containing chlorine
  • PVC
  • Lexan
  • Vinyl
  • Bare metal

Tips

  • Before putting your material into the laser cutter, test your image on paper. If you don't test on paper first you will ruin a lot of the material you are cutting.

Discussion

On the Discussion page!

Personal tools