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laser_cutter [2016/01/22 14:06]
oliverh Added info about Avon ply
laser_cutter [2016/04/29 10:19] (current)
libbymiller Page referred to the old laser
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-A laser cutter is a computer-controlled machine that moves a powerful laser in two dimensions. As such, it can cut or engrave flat objects, quickly and accurately, to a design you produce on a computer using software such as Inkscape, CorelDraw, or your own code. +See the page [[a0_laser_cutter]] - for information about our beautiful new(ishA0 laser.
- +
-Cutting is done by slowly drawing ​the shape you want cut, with the laser on a high power, so it cuts all the way through. As the laser moves through the exact shape you want, nice clean cuts with smooth edges are produced. +
- +
-Engraving is done by rapidly scanning the laser back and forth across the workpiece, turning it on and off as it goes to "​scan"​ shapes in a raster pattern. As it is moving quickly, and at a lower power, it only burns away the top layer of the material, creating the engraved pattern. +
- +
-The hackspace has the shared use of a laser cutter, owned by Lauren. It is in the messy space. +
- +
-==== Dire warning ==== +
- +
-DO NOT USE THE LASER CUTTER UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN INDUCTED IN ITS USE AND SIGNED THE USAGE AGREEMENT. YOU MAY DAMAGE IT OR YOURSELF. {{:​lasercutter:​laser_cutter_user_agreement.pdf|Reference copy of user agreement}} +
- +
-Inductions cost £30 (or £10 if you are already an experienced laser cutter user and just need to know the details of this laser), and usage is charged at £15 per hour. +
- +
-=== List of inducted folks === +
- +
-^ Name         ^ Inducted On ^ Status ^ +
-| Lauren S     | n/a         | Inductor and Owner | +
-| Harry G      | 2013-09-27 ​ | Complete | +
-| Steph T      | 2013-10-02 ​ | Complete | +
-| Ian S        | 2013-10-03 ​ | Complete | +
-| Alaric S-P   | 2013-10-03 ​ | Complete | +
-| Mike Thomson | 2013-10-13 ​ | Complete | +
-| Toby S       | 2014-04-15 ​ | Complete | +
- +
-==== Rules for using the Laser Cutter ==== +
- +
-During the induction, the procedure for safe usage of the laser cutter will be explained to you. +
- +
-{{:​lasercutter:​laser_cutter_rules.pdf|Laser Cutter Rules}} +
- +
-Ensure that the air hose is out of the window and the fan is running at all times the laser is in use. +
- +
-FOCUS: Focus the laser before starting to cut. Place your material in the cutter, and press the FOCUS button, then rotate the knob on the laser'​s control panel until the bottom of the metal square with the lens in is 49mm above the top of your material. +
- +
-==== Useful Settings ==== +
- +
-The manual has some guidelines, but we can share our favourites here: +
- +
-^ Material ^ Vector Speed%/​Power% ^ Engrave Speed/Power ^ +
-| 6mm laser ply | 10/50 | 25/100 (for a nice ~1mm engrave) | +
- +
-If you find settings that do a particularly good job on some material, please share them here! +
- +
-==== Getting your artwork in ==== +
- +
-The laser is best driven from Corel Draw as it lets you set the cut lines to "​hair-thin",​ to prevent the laser from interpreting them as lines to be engraved. But many prefer to design in Inkscape because it's free. +
- +
-It is said that the following is a good way to get things from Inkspace into Corel without lossage: +
- +
-* Select all +
-* Object -> Convert Object to Path +
-* Extensions -> modify path -> flatten beziers (0.1) +
-* Save as .dxf +
-* Load .dxf into Corel +
- +
-And other say that you should open it in Inkspace, Select all, Copy, and then Paste into Corel. +
- +
-==== Capabilities of the laser cutter ==== +
- +
-Bed size (largest sheet of material it can work on): 812mm x 508mm +
- +
-Suitable materials for cutting:  +
- +
-  * Laser-safe plywood,  +
-  * Acrylic (aka Perspex),  +
-  * Paper +
-  * Leather +
- +
-No other materials are to be used, as they may produce toxic and/or damaging fumes. (Lauren has suggested that other laser-safe materials may be considered ONLY after the BV Building Manager (Rob) has approved them, and she has a final right of veto.) +
- +
-DO NOT attempt to cut any material that contains/​emits hazardous vapours. +
-[[http://​www.epiloglaser.co.uk/​laser_faqs.htm#​pvc]] +
- +
-A well presented list of materials that are NOT laser-cutter-friendly can be found [[http://​www.atxhackerspace.org/​wiki/​Laser_Cutter_Materials|here]],​ courtesy of the [[http://​www.atxhackerspace.org/​wiki/​Main_Page|ATX HackerSpace]]. +
- +
-=== Supported file formats === +
-The laser is driven by Corel Draw, so anything it can import will work fine. The laser will cut any shape that has a "​hairline"​ border line, and will engrave anything else in the image. +
- +
-See below for the Epilog driver that other programs can use. Note it's only compatible with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 (32-bit mode only)+
- +
-==== Useful Information for Laser Cutter Users ==== +
- +
-=== Epilog manual === +
- +
-  * [[http://​www.epilogfiles.com/​legend_manual.pdf]] +
- +
-=== Epilog Drivers === +
- +
-  * [[http://​www.epiloglaser.co.uk/​downloads_legend.htm]] +
- +
-=== Obtaining Materials === +
- +
-Some suppliers of materials you can cut with the laser (not to say that everything they sell is suitable, merely that some things are! ALWAYS CHECK!): +
-  * [[http://​avonply.co.uk]] based in Pixash Lane Keynsham. Sell 3 / 4 / 6mm birch ply (and other sheet materials). Sheets are roughly 1500x1500mm but they will cut them into smaller pieces for a nominal charge. ​      ​Delivery or collection. Phone in advance if you want cuts, occasionally they have a day or two backlog. +
-  * [[http://​hpclaser.co.uk]] +
-  * [[http://​www.hindleys.com]] +
-  * [[http://​www.mindsetsonline.co.uk/​ | Mindsets Online ]] sell some laserable boards including [[http://​www.mindsetsonline.co.uk/​Catalogue/​ProductDetail/​birch-ply-4mm-laserable-?​productID=4b0b994c-38ea-45d9-af81-9a135c48d962&​catalogueLevelItemID=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000 | birch ply ]] +
-  +
-FIXME: Please add more links to good suppliers here. +
- +
-Some [[laser_cutter_risk_assessment|materials risk assessments]] for different materials are available. +
- +
-=== Things to Cut === +
-See [[http://​www.thingiverse.com/​thing:​35918|matt venn's label maker]] for a python script and pipelines for generating SVGs with python and exporting to working DXFs. +
- +
-See [[http://​boxmaker.rahulbotics.com/​]] for a tool to make templates for nice boxes. +
- +
-Epilog'​s [[http://​www.epiloglaser.co.uk/​sample_club.htm|Sample Club]] has free examples to download and use.+
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