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Laser Cutter Cheat Sheet

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					Laser Cutter Cheat Sheet

Note: The following settings should be used for ¼” acrylic. The cutting of thicker or thinner acrylic will
require different power/speed/frequency settings. In addition, if you wish to cut materials other than
acrylic, first ask the course staff to ensure it is permissible. Many materials release highly toxic and/or
carcinogenic fumes when incinerated and therefore should not be laser cut.

    1.    Create a drawing in Solidworks.
    2.    Save the drawing as a .SLDDRW for backup and future editing.
    3.    Save the drawing as a .DWG file. This is the format that can be read by CorelDraw.
    4.    Transfer your .DWG file to the laser cutter computer.
    5.    Open the Laser Cutter Template file located on the course website as well as the .DWG file of
          your design.
    6.    Copy your entire design into the Laser Cutter Template file and place it in an area of the
          rectangle where the stock is untouched.
    7.    Hit Ctrl + A to select all the segments and curves in your part and change the lineweight to
          0.001” by double clicking on the Pen Icon in the bottom right of the screen.
    8.    Change the colors of your drawing to pure red (RGB: 255, 0, 0) and pure green (RGB: 0, 255, 0)
          corresponding to cuts and etches respectively. This can be done by selecting the appropriate
          segments and right clicking on the color of choice. Make sure you are using an RGB color
          palette and not a CMYK. This can be checked looking under Window  Color Palettes and
          ensuring that RGB is the only color palette selected.
    9.    Select File  Print.
    10.   The default printer should be the laser cutter (Epilog Engraver Win32). If this “printer” isn’t
          selected, select it. Then, hit the Preferences button to bring you to the laser cutter
          configuration.
    11.   Under the General tab, make sure Auto-Focus is enabled. The Job Type should be Vector Only.
          The Piece Size should be set to 24” horizontal by 18” vertical (which is the bed size).
    12.   Under the Color Mapping tab, enable color mapping. Set the appropriate power settings for
          red/cut (Speed: 12, Power: 100, Frequency: 5000, Raster: No, Vector: Yes, Air Assist: Yes) and
          green/etch (Speed: 30, Power: 100, Frequency: 5000, Raster: No, Vector: Yes, Air Assist: Yes).
          After setting each color, use the Right Arrow button in the dialog box to save the setting for that
          color. When done setting both colors’ power settings, make sure green is the first color in the
          list by highlighting it and hitting the Up Arrow button in the dialog box. Hit the OK button when
          done.
    13.   Turn on the laser cutter.
    14.   Enable the ventilation by routing the ventilation tubing out the window, plugging in the exhaust
          power, and flipping the secondary exhaust switch on the surge protector located next to the
          computer. Ventilation is important as the fumes from acrylic can be toxic when inhaled in large
          doses.
    15.   Double check all of the preferences you just set before hitting OK to “print.”
    16.   Hit OK to “print” the job and send the job to the laser cutter.
   17. Ensure your stock is located in a position such that the files will be cut and not run off the edge
       of the stock.
   18. Press the “Go” button the laser cutter.


Troubleshooting:

   1. If the model appears to be an incorrect size, double check that units were properly specified
      when importing the file into CorelDraw. In addition, if the drawing is a projection of a
      Solidworks .SLDPRT file, you should also check that a 1-to-1 scaling was used in the projection.
   2. If the job runs without cutting anything, this likely means you have not set your lineweight to
      the proper size.
   3. If the laser does not fully cut the material when the proper settings are used, it may mean the
      lens of the laser is dirty and needs to be cleaned. Contact the course staff for assistance.

				
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posted:2/9/2012
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