We have two of them. They are CO2 based lasers with 60 watts of power.
Never leave the laser unattended when running. Be vigilant about fire safety: a CO2 extinguisher is fixed to one of the lasers and is the preferred extinguisher to use. Before use check the lens for dirt (its housing unscrews and you can take it out), a dirty lens can shatter from laser heat, if dirty clean it with the camera lens cleaning kit. Remember to turn on the fan.
Printing from Inkscape
In order to print from Inkscape in the vector format, you need to:
- Convert any objects (shapes, text, bitmaps) to paths. Convert bitmaps/png/rasters using the Path --> Trace Bitmap. Convert shapes using Path --> Object to Path.
- You also need your stroke width to 0.02 pixels or less (be sure units on line width are "px" not "in")
- Make sure that the stroke color is solid (ex R:255, G:0, B:0, A:255 for a red line)
- Print from the Extensions--> Export-->Win32 Vector Print. In this screen cut properties can be assigned to colors. You must also select vector for each color (box to the left of each color).
- It is also sometimes helpful to work in the outline mode when designing very thin vectors. You may go into outline mode by clicking View-->Display Mode-->Outline. Please remember to go back into Normal display mode when you would like to print a raster.
In order to print from Inkscape in the raster format, you need to:
- Define Fill under Stroke and Fill.
- Make sure that the fill color is solid (ex R:255, G:0, B:0, A:255 for a red line)
- Print from the Extensions--> Export-->Win32 Vector Print. In this screen cut properties can be assigned to colors. You must also select raster for each color (box to the left of each color).
- Alternatively, print from the File-->Print Dialog box.
- If you send a print job and the top is open the laser will not turn on the cutting laser but will show a red dot where it will cut.
- You can repeat any job by just pushing the green button again (great for multiple passes on a cut).
- When you are cutting through a material it is best to use a platform that allows air to escape from under the material. You will get cleaner cuts.
- Be sure any material you are cutting is cut all the way through before moving it, as you will not be able to get it in exactly the same spot again.
- When cutting make a small notch in your design along the edge of your material. You can use this to test if the cut is all the way through.
- Use the "skip" fuction for specific colors to avoid recutting areas you do not want to pass over again.
- Do a fast light vector on paper or cardboard to test placement. If you are engraving glass you can put your peice right over it.
- Plastics release fumes for several hours. Keep finished pieces in the laser enclosure with exhaust on until it no longer produces smells.
- Engrave with 70% gray instead of black – gives cleaner image, reduces chipping.
- When doing a raster of a photo first take it into Gimp and adjust the contrast to maximize the parts of the image you want to emphasize.
- Be sure to check the advanced tab to be sure there are not settings that mess with your print.
- If you find your image is extended or stretched try adjusting the image density slider in the print driver. 5 is a good setting.
- When printing a raster from the regular print menu in Inkscape remember to go to Document Properties and change the page color from transparent to white. Otherwise you will get a big block of black.
This cutter is equipped with the 4.0 Lens and a 2.0 lens, which means its point of Focus is roughly 4" or 2". The 4 has more room to fudge distances, the 2 is a crisper line. We have a 3D Printed focus tool, which should allow you to focus correctly. Just load your piece into the cutter, below the laser head. Place the focus tool on top. While the printer is on, hit the Z button; then use the up and down arrows to move the laser head up and down. Use the Focus Tool the same way you would on the Epilog, the laser head should bump the notch on the tool and push it out of the way. It is now focused. A website with experience with these printers cautions that due to chinese optics, the main focus may be 3.8" or 3.9
|ACRYLIC - CAST AND EXTRUDED||LIGHT RASTER ENGRAVING||22%||500||100%||.002"|
|ACRYLIC - CAST AND EXTRUDED||DEEP RASTER ENGRAVING||100%||500||90%||.010"|
|ACRYLIC - CAST AND EXTRUDED||VECTOR ENGRAVING||20%||
|ACRYLIC - CAST AND EXTRUDED||VECTOR CUTTING||100%||1000||2%||.25"|
|CARDBOARD||RASTER ENGRAVING||30%||250||80%||.01"||Medium dark engraving|
|ANODIZED ALUMINUM||RASTER ENGRAVING||30%||500||100%||.001"|
|ANODIZED ALUMINUM||VECTOR ENGRAVING||4%||1000||4%||.001"|
|GLASS / CRYSTAL||RASTER ENGRAVING||100%||300||30%||.001"|
|GLASS / CRYSTAL||VECTOR ENGRAVING||10%||300||7.9%||.001"|
|RUBBER STAMPS||RASTER ENGRAVING||23%||500||23%||.03"||Smells really bad. Be sure to let air clear befoe opening. Only used laser safe rubber|
|RUBBER STAMPS||PERFORATED VECTOR CUTTING||60%||90||3.1%||.04"|
What Material Can Be Laser Cut
You must know for certain that your material is laser cutter safe. If you do not know you can not cut it. Some plastics like PVC produce chlorine gas that will destroy the laser and pose as health risk. To be safe stick with wood, and acrylic labeled as laser safe. With great caution there are some tests that can be used to determine an unknown plastic.
Understanding How Raster and Vector Settings Behave
|File > Print||Raster||Prints exactly what you see as Raster (as interprated by settings in advanced tab) Remember it prints the full page so reduce page size in document properties for faster prints.|
|Raster /Vector||Prints exactly what you see as Raster (as interprated by settings in advanced tab)|
|Extensions > Export > Win 32 Vector Print||Raster||Prints as raster only lines that have thickness above .200px|
|Vector||Cuts all lines at .200px or less|
|Raster / Vector||First does raster of any fill of your vector art, then does cuts of lines under .200px|
Burning a Photo to Wood
To burn a photo or anything with grey scale you need to go to the Advanced tab on the printer driver window. Here you can choose to do HalfTone or Error Defusion for the grey scale. The rule of thumb is that you should use Error Defusion on rough surfaces and HalfTone on smooth surfaces. It is also best to play with the contrast in another program before printing, the more contrast and sharpness the better. There is a great description of the technical asspects of this process at: http://www.slideshare.net/MikeClarke1/working-with-photo-graphs-on-your-laser-in-coreldraw
Remember: When printing a raster from the regular print menu in Inkscape and remember to go to Document Properties and change the page color from transparent to white. Otherwise you will get a big block of black.
Additional materials can be found at: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B5HW3m6TFEyDaHpPSS1PeV9iRTQ&usp=sharing
Even More Materials at: http://www.engraversnetwork.com/support/universal-lasers/service-tos/
If it randomly stops working two things to check
USB Spot - It uses a virtual usb port so if it is unpluged from a port and put in another the computer can get confused about what usb to use. Try other ports, or reinstalling driver.
Random Setting Reset - From time to time it will forget the settings in firmware. It then defaults to serial as the communication. You need to go into settings and change the preference to "parallel".