Documentation – Week 2 – Learning how to use the laser cutter – Razvan Ursachi

Objective:

Cut a badge with the name cut/engraved on it

General information:

  • Laser cutter: Epilog Mini Legend 40W
  • Material: Wood (MDF) – 6mm thickness
  • Size: width: 300mm – height: 200mm

Steps:

1. Design a 2D circular badge in a vector creation software

  • used Inkscape
  • drawn a circle and added my name on it
  • the result was saved as a SVG and PDF file

2. Import the SVG file to the computer where the laser cutter is installed and set-up the scene

  • the SVG file was copied to this computer and added to an empty canvas of CorelDraw
    • the canvas was set to dimensions 600mm x 300m that correspond to the max area where the laser cutter is able to cut
  • the SVG files of my colleagues were imported to the same canvas
  • each model has been transformed to a dimension of 50mm x 50mm and aligned in one line close to the top border.
  • select all the models and set the top-right position to be x: 1px and y: -1px
Corel Draw - all models added

Corel Draw – all models added

  • some models included only pieces to cut and some pieces to engrave
    • TO CUT: selected the outline of the model (or graphics inside the model) -> in the bottom right corner of Corel Draw selected Outline Pen -> in the first box of width select Hairline -> in the color box select Black color
    • TO ENGRAVE: selected the graphical objects -> fill the background color RED and set No line as Outline Pen.
Corel draw - set Hairline & Black color for the Outlines of the objects to cut & set Red color background for the objects to engrave

Corel draw – set Hairline & Black color for the Outlines of the objects to cut & set Red color background for the objects to engrave

3. Start the laser cutter

The machines

  • we needed to start at first the laser cutter from the switch on/off button situated on its left side
  • also, the huge fume extractor situated below needs to be turned on
  • finally, the 3rd machine needs to be turned on as well, but because it is noisy you can turn it on just before starting the cutting.

Material

  • we used a piece of wood with 6mm thickness
  • carrefully added it to the plate of the machine, preferably with the usable area for cut on the top-left corner.
Laser cutter - placing the material to the machine's plate

Laser cutter – placing the material to the machine’s plate

Setting-up the laser cutter

  • pressed button 9 to show the pointer position on the added material
  • pressed button 8 to change the predefined position -> it asks you if you want do this? press GO and the pointer gets released
  • the pointer was released at this point and we moved it carefully with out hand to the top-left corner – the position is displayed on the laser cutter screen.
  • pressed button 7 to set the new point as defined origin.
Laser cutter - setting it up

Laser cutter – setting it up

Setting up the print

  • we went back to the Corel Draw file on the computer and pressed Ctrl + P
  • insured that the machines used is the laser cutter Epilog Mini and pressed on Properties
Epilog mini - Window of properties

Epilog mini – Window of properties

  • as we had to both cut and engrave,  we selected Job Type – Combined
  • in Raster setting -> added the recommended properties for engraving on 6mm wood material from the laser cutter book.
  • in Vector setting -> added the recommended properties for cutting on 6mm wood material from the laser cutter book.
Epilog mini book - the recommended properties for cutting and engraving

Epilog mini book – the recommended properties for cutting and engraving

  • click OK -> Apply -> Print.

Printing

  • once we clicked on print on Corel Draw, the laser cutter detected the new asked operation and displays it on its small screen.
  • checked if it is the right file we wanted to print.
  • checked if all 3 machines are turned on.
  • press on GO button and it started the print!
During the laser cutting

During the laser cutting

Note: we needed to stand around the machine in order to be sure that the laser does not get out of the material or if it does not get fire.

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