Laser Cutters

For instructions on how to prepare files for laser cutting, follow this link: Laser Prep Directions.

Laser cutting is a method that can be used to produce parts/components that have flat surfaces in the vertical direction. The Innovation Studio provides students access to laser cutters that can be used for engraving in addition to making cuts. These laser cutters can be used for materials like acrylic and delrin. The available laser machines are:

Epilog Lasers

These are capable of performing vector cuts and raster engraves; however, student use on these machines are limited to vector cuts. A detailed list of laser cuttable materials can be found here. There are two models of Epilog lasers that are available at the studio:

E1

          Max Sheet Size: 32″ x 20″

          Max Power: 75 watts

          Auto-focus: No

          No. of units: 2

E2

          Max Sheet Size: 24″ x 12″

          Max Power: 60 watts

          Auto-focus: Yes

          No. of units: 2

Operating Procedure

  1. A top-down view drawing of the required part is created in Creo*. The View-Style is set to “No-Hidden” and the Line Thickness is set to “0.001 inches.” The Scale should be set to “1.”
  2. The drawing is saved as a PDF by using the File -> Save As menu.
  3. The saved PDF file is opened using Adobe Reader or similar software. Then, the Print menu is opened and the available Epilog laser cutter is selected from the drop-down options.
  4. After the Epilog laser cutter has been selected as the print destination, the Page Size is set to “Actual Size.” Next, the Properties button is clicked to adjust the laser cutter settings.
  5. The Mode is set to “Vector,” Auto-focus is toggled “On/Off” (depending on the machine) and the Speed, Power and Frequency are adjusted using the following table, based on the type of material.
  6. The file is then sent to the laser cutter by clicking the Print button.
  7. The material is double-checked to be laser cuttable and laid on the bed of the laser cutter. The filters and air supply are checked to be turned on. Using the control panel on the lasers, the Home position is set to the desired location. Further, the laser is focused using the available triangular tool (depending on the availability of auto-focus).
  8. The correct job is selected using the control panel of the laser, and the Go button is pressed.
  9. Depending on the material and its thickness, more than one pass might be required. One way to check if the material is being cut through is to look for sparks caused by the reflection of the laser beam off the metal bed of the laser cutter.
  10. Once the job has been completed, the part should be left inside the machine for a few seconds before it is removed. This will allow any fumes to be removed by the filter and avoid human inhalation of the toxic fumes.

****Note: Creo is the popular choice for CAD work. However, AutoCAD can also be used. If AutoCAD is used, the drawing need not be saved as a PDF, and the laser cutter settings can be controlled from directly within AutoCAD.****