Difference between revisions of "Laser Cutter Introduction"

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(Starting to update for the new laser cutter)
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** install [[LaserCut 5.3]] (Demo version, Windows only)
** install [[LaserCut 5.3]] (Demo version, Windows only)
** download/import settings
** download/import settings
** import [[SVG]] file into [[LaserCut 5.3]], set cutting/engraving settings per path
** import [[DXF]] file into [[LaserCut 5.3]], set cutting/engraving settings per path
** calculate time estimate
** calculate time estimate

Revision as of 21:26, 13 June 2020

This page is INCOMPLETE and still missing some important information before it can be used as a resource. Please use the "Discussion" feature above or talk to one of the tutors if you would like to help improve it. Thanks!

This is the content required for an introduction to our laser cutter- reading this does NOT replace the mandatory session with a tutor! It will make it a lot quicker though ;-)

Let's begin! First off, make sure you have read the machine's manuel (availble on the Laser PC).


Personal protection: no special PPE needed since the enclosure protects you.

Dangers Precautions
Fumes generated by burning through your workpiece might be dangerous
  • Always ensure the exhaust filtering system is turned on before firing the laser.
  • Make sure your workpiece can safely be used with a laser cutter (please reference the list of [materials]
  • Make sure you have read the list of forbidden materials (ANYTHING containing chlorine or fluorine!) may not be placed into the laser cutter at all
  • If you notice a strong smell: Turn off the laser and check the filtering system: something may be broken or the filter is full!
Invisible but powerful IR radiation luckily contained by the enclosure (laser class 1).
Fire can destroy the machine! Do not leave the room when operating the machine.

Preperation of your job

The Tutor will show you:

Operating the machine

  • practical session, especially demonstrating the machine and filter control pads and focussing
    • release of x and y motors, definition of workpiece origin
    • operation of the exhaust filter unit
    • safety switch: laser turns off when glass is lifted - important when fire breaks out!
      • also useful if you only have one try and want a "dry run" using only the pointer (that laser stays on)

This should act as a guide, tutors can always emphasize or add points of importance.


  • software
    • install Inkscape or similar software to produce vector files
    • install LaserCut 5.3 (Demo version, Windows only)
    • download/import settings
    • import DXF file into LaserCut 5.3, set cutting/engraving settings per path
    • calculate time estimate
  • prepare laser cutter
    • to prevent fires, clean the tray under the table when it gets cluttered with little pieces
    • clean lens (roll Q-tips with isopropanol over lens - roll with light pressure, do not wipe) if necessary
      • you can use a mirror or cellphone selfie-cam to look under the lens - only with the laser pointer disabled!
    • clean mirror/s (especially mirror above lens) if necessary
    • switch on laser cutter
    • move lens to starting point
    • set focus (move the table up or down until the red dot is centered below the laser)
    • transfer job via LaserCut 5.3
  • execution
    • activate exhaust system
    • start the job either via the Laser PC or on the cutter's display
    • observe cutting, watch for irregular fumes or flames - especially if testing new materials
    • cutting might not work for the first one or two cm after a "cold start" - in that case, restart the job briefly at the end
    • do not leave the laser cutter unattended!
      • cutting: stay at the machine the entire time!
      • engraving: stay at least within sight and earshot!
  • after cutting
    • switch off exhaust system
    • remove parts from table
    • vacuum table if necessary
    • share your experiences with the others :-)
    • donate for the machine time!
      • currently 50 ct per minute

Waiting List

This introduction takes longer than many others and usually can't be done spontaneously during regular opening times. If you would like to receive it, please add yourself to >> this list << and we will find a good time once a few members are on it!