Difference between revisions of "Laser Cutter Introduction"

From CoMakingSpace Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
m (→‎Workflow: linked file formats & exhaust system)
(Removed incomplete notice)
Line 1: Line 1:
This is the content required for an introduction to our [[Laser_Cutter|laser cutter]]- '''reading this does NOT replace the mandatory session with a [[tutor]]!''' It will make it a lot quicker though ;-)
This is the content required for an introduction to our [[Laser_Cutter|laser cutter]]- '''reading this does NOT replace the mandatory session with a [[tutor]]!''' It will make it a lot quicker though ;-)

Revision as of 20:38, 18 June 2020

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 manual (available on the Laser PC).


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

Dangers Precautions
Fumes generated by burning/evaporating your work-piece might be dangerous
  • Always ensure the exhaust filtering system is turned on before firing the laser.
  • Make sure your work-piece can safely be used with a laser cutter (please reference the list of possible materials
  • Make sure you have read the list of forbidden materials (ANYTHING containing halogens like 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.

Basics of Laser Cutting

The Tutor will show you:

Operating the machine

The Tutor will first show you the basic operations at the Laser:

  • How to prepare the 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
  • How to turn on the laser
  • How to turn on the water cooling system
  • How to move the x and y motors by using the control panel
  • How to ensure the focus of the laser is set correctly by moving the table up and down
  • How to use the emergency stop
  • How to check the safety switches: 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.


The tutor will show you:

  • 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
    • 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
    • clean tray under the table
    • vacuum the table if necessary
    • share your experiences with the others :-)
    • donate for the machine time!
      • currently 20 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!