Last modified 01/25/2015
The laser cutter is a machine that takes 2D vector files or picture files and uses a high power laser to cut through, or etch into, a wide variety of materials based on a user's design. It's used to cut materials into precise shapes or detailed designs and it's useful for quickly prototyping ideas or applying a finishing touch to a project.
- The laser can cut materials into shapes that would be difficult to cut by hand or with the power tools.
- It can etch images into materials.
- This makes it a great tool for quickly prototyping designs and smaller scale mechanisms.
- Some materials cannot be cut on the laser due to their toxicity when burned. Look at the list of useable materials before designing for the laser cutter.
- Always consult the 75 Watt laser's approved materials and settings list when using this laser cutter.
- DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM THE LASER WHEN IT IS ON. IT IS A FIRE HAZARD.
This laser cannot be used without proper training or supervision. If you have not been trained please contact John Duane, or Residents: Rios, Sanniti, or Xuedi Signup for time slots here
AVOID FIRE & HEALTH HAZARDS:
- The laser must be ventilated when in use. Always turn on the Filter and the Air pump before starting a cut.
- The 75 Watt Laser has a maximum bed size of 32 inches x 20 inches.
- It can vector cut through materials as thick as 3/8 of an inch.
- It can can raster etch materials up to 14.25 inches thick.
- Do not attempt to vector cut thicker materials, it is a fire hazard
- Never cut unapproved materials on the laser.
- Never walk away from the laser when it is cutting or etching.
- To successfully run a job on the Laser you must:
- Design a file and save it as an Adobe Illustrator .ai file. The laser will accept other file types (e.g. .dxf, .dwg, .eps, .svg, .pdf ) but they may need to be reworked after being transferred to the laser's computer.
- Turn on the Filter (located under the spray booth in the back of the power tools room)
- Turn on the Air Pump.
- Turn on the Laser
- Open your file in Adobe Illustrator.
- Make sure your design is at the correct scale and your lines are the correct colors and stroke widths.
- When you are ready to cut go to "File -> Print -> Settings -> Preferences."
- Make sure the autofocus box is NOT CHECKED and enter the correct settings for your material.
- Hit Print to send the job to the laser
- Carefully place your material inside the laser. If it is too thick to fit in between the bed and the laser use the arrows to navigate to Focus Mode then use the joystick to lower the cutting bed
- Use the Focus Gauge and joystick to focus the Laser, the gauge should be just touching the surface of your material
- REMOVE THE FOCUS GAUGE BEFORE CUTTING
- if your material is too long or wide to fit in the machine you must first cut it down to at least 32 inches x 20 inches.
- Put on the safety glasses
- Hit the "Go" Button
- The "Stop" Button will pause your job.
- The "Reset" Button will bring your job back to its beginning.
- Once you are finished cutting leave the material in the laser for a minute to allow the fumes to fully ventilate.
- Remove your material, close the laser. If no one is waiting to use the laser turn off the air pump and the laser as well.
All approved materials and there setting for the 75 Watt machine can be found on this materials list.
Tutorial on setting up your file at ITP. Here is a guide to cutting various plastics, and the results which happen with each type of plastic.