Laser Cutter

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Revision as of 18:14, 28 June 2014 by JoshW (talk | contribs)
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Machine Information

  • Owner: Backyard Brains
  • Who Can Use: Roger S., Josh W., and Zach S, Alex C., Vanya P., Nick R. currently have experience running this LASER. Greg G., and Tim M. purchased it. Accordingly, they can do whatever they want with it ; )

Status: Temporarily Operational

  • The machine is up and running, but we lack:
    • Permanent filtering/ventilation
    • Documentation
    • Price info

Josh Williams is currently the primary contact for the installation process.

General usage information

This is very temporary and very much in flux. If you have not been given permission to use the laser cutter by Greg Gage, Tim Marzullo, or Josh Williams, please don't use the cutter. Training opportunities will be available soon!

i3 Detroit has a similar laser cutter and a very nice wiki:

Their power/speed settings won't correspond with ours, as their cutter is 150 watt, this one is 80.

Turning everything on

  1. Find out where the Big Red Emergency Stop button is on the laser cutter.
  2. Find out where the fire extinguisher is
  3. Turn on the Power strip next to the computer
    1. This should turn the chiller on which makes a beeping noise for 5-10 seconds.
    2. If you don't hear a beeping noise, something is wrong. Please stop here.
  4. Turn on the computer
  5. Turn on the LASER Cutter using the laser key.
    1. Key is located in the laser cutter toolbox above the laser computer.
      1. The bed of the laser should light up, if not there is an on off switch on the side of the laser below the control panel.
  6. Turn on the Filter (temporarily located in the boiler room behind the laser cutter)
  7. Turn on the Blower (temporarily located in the boiler room behind the laser cutter)

File prep & loading your material

  1. On the computer, launch "LASERCut 5.3" from the desktop
  2. Place the material you are cutting towards the center of the laser bed
    1. If the bed is too high, use the "Z-" within the lasercut software to lower the bed.
  3. Use the x and y panel within the Lasercut software to position the laser head at the top left corner of your object
  4. Use the "Z Datum" button on the computer to set the laser at the right height.
    1. The laser must be positioned on top of your material for this to work accurately
  5. Adjust your speed & power settings in the top right hand corner in accordance to your needs.
    1. This has not been covered yet.
    2. 3mm Orange Acrylic: 100% power @ 15% speed seems to cut through in one pass.
    3. Setting the power around 10% does not seem to enough to fire the laser. Choose something higher.
  6. Set the laser origin to "top left" by:
    1. Select everything (Ctrl-A)
    2. Tools Menu -> Set laser origin
    3. Check "Relative to Selection" and choose "Left-top"
  7. Select the "Pick" mouse cursor tool
    1. Make sure your design is still selected
    2. Hit the Space Bar
    3. Select "Left-top"
  8. Unite lines
    1. Select all of your design
    2. Click the "Tools" menu
    3. Choose "Unite lines"
      1. This should make your life easier. When you import an item into lasercut it generally breaks up all of your lines into individual lines to cut, stopping and starting the job instead of running a continuous line. However, it might do funny things. It's best to zoom in to your design to get a better idea of what's happening. The zoomed out view does not show as much detail.


  1. When you have everything setup, click "Download"
    1. Select "Download Current" to load your design on to the laser cutter
    2. Select "Run Box" to do a perimeter test.


  1. Double check to make sure the filter, blower, and chiller are on.
  2. Click "Start" to begin your burn.
  3. Do not leave the laser cutter while your burn is going

Shutting down and cleanup

  1. Turn off the laser cutter computer
  2. Turn off the power strip that the laser cutter & chiller are connected to
  3. Turn off the power strip for the blower
  4. Turn off the power strip for the filter
  5. Check the bed below the laser cutter. If you were cutting out small pieces they will fall below the honeycomb bed.

Interesting Issues

  1. When running an outline of a Moai head, the laser stopped and started at various points for a very brief moment.
    1. We simplified the outline in inkscape and made sure to unite lines in lasercut 5.3. This helped, but we still stop/start problems with the laser.
  2. It appears that if your image/vector file is greater than any dimension of the bed (140cm * 90cm), the software will crash upon opening.

Occasional divets noticed when cutting through acrylic

Material: 3mm Clear Acrylic

Steps to get it running

  • Reconnect electronics (disconnected during leg removal)
  • Go over LASER cutter, compare with manual.
  • Install Tube
  • Connect power to LASER Cutter: Boots
  • Connect Air Compressor to LASER: Working
  • Connect power to Chiller, connect alarm cable to laser: Works
  • Test Jogging X/Y/Z
  • Super brief test firing: Works
  • Align Mirrors
  • Figure out placement of computer/monitor
  • Install lasercut software & test connection to laser
  • Remove Metal Cutting Board (below honeycomb)
  • Fix hood closing issue (catches on right side)
  • Install hood handles
  • Organize Air & Water Tubing
  • Mount Air Compressor to floor
  • Where is hole for ventilation?
  • Where to exhaust to?
  • How much to exhaust out of building (top)
  • Filter: We are testing the RSU 20CCHR Electrocorp

Notes specific to the install at AHA

  • Water Chiller installed underneath laser. Pull laser forward ~4' in order to access. Be careful to avoid crushing or pulling out tubes for air & water
  • Air Compressor installed underneath laser. Pull laser forward ~4' in order to access. Be careful to avoid crushing or pulling out tubes for air & water
  • Currently two power strips are utilized, each connected to a separate circuit
    • The laser itself connects to the red spray painted outlet. This circuit is accessible from two other places within AHA. This should be avoided!
    • The Computer and Water chiller connect to the outlet adjacent to the red spray painted outlet. The blower will also likely be connected to this outlet

What was Ordered

Jinan TransonCNC 1490A in a 1490B shell. (It comes apart easier for the purpose of fitting through our front door)

  • We have been told that everything is outfitted to run on standard 120ac (LASER Cutter, Chiller/Pump, and Exhaust)
  • LASER Power Reci80W
  • Weight: ~450 kg (1000 lbs)
  • Equipment Dimension Top Half 192*131*42cm
  • Equipment Dimension Bot Half 192*131*70cm
  • Working Area 140cm*90cm
  • Metal Slat Table
  • Motorized up and down table
  • honeycomb table
  • Red Dot pointer
  • Auto Focus
  • Extra Reci80W (LASER Tube)
  • Extra Lens & Mirror
  • Extra Motion Card (Controller)
  • Extra Belt - X Axis
  • Extra Belt - Y Axis
  • Extra Motorized up and Table Belt
  • Extra Girdle Belt
  • Extra X Motor
  • Extra Y Motor
  • Extra Z Motors (2)
  • LASER Goggles
  • CW3000 Water Chiller


  • Exhaust Port: 6"
  • CFM ~512


Ongoing Maintenance Costs

Regularly Recurring

  • Filters
  • Activated Charcoal?
  • de-ionized water
  • LASER Tubes


  • Replacement Hardware on LASER (Motors, Belts, etc.)

Ongoing Maintenance

  • Who is responsible for the work?
  • Who is responsible for the costs?


  • TBD once we have the machine. See the manuals linked above for "What we know now"