Makerhaus Laser Cutter Notes.
For about a year, I was a member of MakerHaus, a maker space which was reasonably convenient for me. Alas, they closed last year, shortly atfer I had taken the class to become certified to use their laser cutter. Since I am eagerly awaiting my Glowforge laser cutter, I thought I'd share my notes from that class. Note that while the general concepts should apply to the Glowforge, these notes were originally for a unknown laser cutter: shown in this video.
The depth of the laser's cut is a result of the combination of power, speed and material. Run a test grid of speed and power combinations to calibrate materials.
Maximum size is defined by cutter; 46" x 34" in this case.
Acceptable materials (and their max thickness)
- Acrylic (3/8")
- MDF (3/8")
- Plywood (3/8")
- Hardwoods (1/4") varies by species
- Softwoods (1/2")
- Cardboard (1/2")
- Leather (1/4")
- Paper (varies)
- Stamp rubber (1/2")
- Uneven surfaces such as bumps or welds
- Mirrored surfaces, sparkles, glass
- Metal (unless it's been coated with Cermark etching spray)
- Halogens (fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine and astatine)
- Anything including Teflon
- Polycarbonates, PVC, vinyl (bad fumes)
- Tap Plastics in SLU
- Crosscut Hardwoods (larger sheets)
- Home Depot
- DXF files are best.
- Run Illustrator files through Corel to make them happier.
- Can auto-engrave with .jpg and .tiff files. Use Draw on host computer.
Laser Cutter Operation
- Pause / Start: Can pause program and re-start.
- Test: Laser traces outer edges of shape. Watch this with the lid up before starting a burn to ensure design will stay on material.
- Adjust z axis (z to enter/exit)
- "Download" will delete current from cutter
- Stack steel weights.
- Move weights or material when under laser.
- Move laser by hand.
- Leave on.
- Assign shape to color, then a command (engrave, cut).
- Translate all into outlines (paths), not shapes.
- Cut = follow path. Engrave = fill.
- "light cut" = engrave a line, don't cut through.
speed power max speed engrave: 600 85 700 light cut: 75 15 cut: 30 85 100
- Never set power above 90%.
- Corner power = max power -5%
- Engrave and light cut first. Then cut.
- Sequence of operations is shown in command box.
- Stopwatch to estimate time.
- Un-check output to skip certain commands / paths.
- Box move / "set knife origin" to right top.
- Then test perimeter.
- "Soft stop error" implies that materials are out of bounds. Check knife origin and perimeter test.
- "Download" to send file from host to cutter. You still have to *start* program at cutter.