Laser Cutter (60 Watt) Universal Laser Systems x2

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We have two of them.  They are CO2 based lasers with 60 watts of power.

Requirements for Use
Required Badges: 

Laser Cutter

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Meet Animator during their scheduled hours.
Instructions for Use: 

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.
 

    Tips

    • 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.

     

    Focusing Information
    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

    Recomended Settings

    MATERIAL CUT/ENGRAVE POWER PPI SPEED RESULTING DEPTH NOTES
    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%

    1000

    4% .005"  
    ACRYLIC - CAST AND EXTRUDED VECTOR CUTTING 100% 1000 2% .25"  
    PAPER VECTOR CUTTING 15% 200 3.2% .02"  
    PLYWOOD VECTOR CUTTING 75% 250 4.8% .125"  
    PLYWOOD RASTER ENGRAVING 50% 250 30% .02"  
    CARDBOARD VECTOR CUTTING 25% 250 4% .125"  
    CARDBOARD VECTOR ENGRAVING 10% 250 4.0% .05"  
    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"  
    LEATHER  RASTER ENGRAVING 19% 500 100% .001"  
    LEATHER  VECTOR ENGRAVING 3% 500 4% .001"  
    LEATHER  VECTOR CUTTING 50% 200 2.1% .1"  
    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"  
    WOOD  RASTER ENGRAVING 100% 500 25% .02"  
    WOOD  VECTOR ENGRAVING 80% 500 10.1% .03"  
    WOOD  VECTOR CUTTING 50% 250 3.1% .125"  

    More material settings and info on page 47 of the manual
     

    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.

    This is a list of materials that are OK to and not OK to cut. 

     

    Understanding How Raster and Vector Settings Behave

    MENU DRIVER RESULT
    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.
      Vector Prints Nothing
      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/

     

    Additional Resources

    http://fab.cba.mit.edu/content/tools/universal_laser/

     

    Repair Notes

    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".

     

    Area of Interest: 
    fabrication

    Materials for Sale

    Custom text
    Acrylic (Clear w blue protection) 0.060 $12.00 per 21.25"x30.25" Sheet Add to cart
    Acrylic Sheet (8 in × 12 in) Cast sheets in various colors good for use in laser cutters $10.00 per Small Sheet Add to cart
    Acrylic Sheet (12 in × 24 in) Cast sheets in various colors good for use in laser cutters $15.00 per Sheet Add to cart
    Cast Acrylic Sheet, Clear, 12" x 12" x 0.118" $6.00 per Square Sheet Add to cart
    High Impact Polystyrene (white) .030 or .020 - Food Safe $6.00 per 21.25"x30.25" Sheet Add to cart
    Laserable Rubber Sheet Laser-safe rubber for stamps $15.00 per Sheet Add to cart
    Laserable Rubber Square Inch Please try to leave as much usable area. Use sheets that have already had cutouts first. $0.30 per per square inch Add to cart
    Square Clear Acrylic 12" x 12" x 0.236" Cast Acrylic purchased form Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009AEAG2E/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00 $7.00 per Sheet Add to cart

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