assignment_2 – Laser Cutter

Laser Cutter Documentation

General Information about the Laser Cutter:

  • Epilog Mini 24
  • cuts many materials such as wood and acrylic
  • Depending on the chosen material the effects will be different.
  • The maximum thickness of the material is 6mm.
  • The maximum size is 300mm * 600mm.

 


Class

1. Creation of the 2D files in a vector software (such as Inkscape or Illustrator).

The objective was to have our name in a circular shape. I used Illustrator to design the first versions, which we exported as a PDF and SVG file and put them on a USB stick.

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 23.29.41

Designs in Illustrator.

2. Things to do on the computer attached to the Laser Cutter

To open our designs, we each clicked on the file in the Windows Explorer and selected « Open With Coral Draw ». Already some of the designs differed from the originally created ones, as some fonts were changed.

We then assembled all designs into one, by copy pasting each into a newly created file of the dimensions 300mm * 600mm. This file reflects the actual size of the area the Laser Cutter is able to cut (therefore the maximum material size is also 300*600).

As a next step we resized each element to 50mm*50mm in the input field located in the top left corner of the application. To be able to move the elements easier we grouped each with Ctrl + U.

In accordance with the piece of wood we would use, which was cut off at the bottom, we distributed all elements at the top of the document. We made sure that the distance to the outline was on the x axis 1mm and on the y axis  -1mm.

Following this we started the profiling. For this we ungrouped the elements again. We needed to make sure they did not contain any background, which we selected and then deleted with the delete key. Also attention is necessary as Coral Draw often duplicates (!) elements when importing shapes, which we have to erase. In this step some of the designs get « screwed up » and need to be simplified.

To choose what was to be engraved and what to be cut, we converted the shapes into outline and then to an object. After this we selected the outlines and coloured them red for engraving and black for cutting, with the tools in the bottom right corner. Cut parts also are set to « hairline » border which we set to none for engraved parts.

3. Things to do on the Laser Cutter itself

First we added the material, which in our case was wood, by laying it into the machine and aligning it to the top-left corner. 

Following this we turned on the machine at a switch on the left side of the machine.

img_0346

Turn on the machine.

We then moved to the control panel of the cutter and performed the following actions:

  1. Push Button 9 to set Zero. A laser pointer appears to show the current origin.
  2. Push Button 8 to disengage the motors.
  3. Press go. The Cutter head is now movable by hand.
  4. We then move the head to the upper left corner by pushing it with our hand. We have to keep in mind that the border of 1mm is already set in the document.
  5. Press 7 to set the current position as the origin.

After this we start the fume extractor, which prevents fire. The button for this is located beneath the table and is green.

img_0351

Start fume extractor.

3. Cut

We now return to the computer and press Ctrl + P. The first time a warning appears, which means that some objects are beyond the canvas. After finding it we press it again and a dialog window opens. We

  • press « Preferences »
  • set Precision to 600 dpi
  • select « Job Type: Combined » (cut and engrave)
  • set the power, speed and frequency according to a sheet next to the printer. These valued depend on the kind of material that is used. In our case, wood, we set it to 6 (speed), 100 (power), 500 (frequency).
  • select Autofocus

On the machine again we start the compressor (box under the table) and then the green button.

DSC_2914

The cutting process.

The process of the cutting begins. It is mandatory to stay in the room until everything is finished, to be sure no fire starts or something goes wrong.

Because of simplifications that needed to be made in Coral Draw the final result is somewhat different from the initial design. Next time :)

Result

Ups. That turned out differently than expected.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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