Laser cutter, large (Rabbit Laser RL-80-1290) ID:6

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The large laser cutter, with its lid open and a piece of material on the bed. The laser cutter's computer is on the right side, with its monitor, keyboard, and mouse on top of the laser cutter's body. The tray of laser cutting tools and samples is on top of its body on the other side. The chiller is visible on the bottom shelf, along with some supplies. The vacuum cart is visible in the background on the left, with the Bay 108 electrical panels on the wall behind; that space is now occupied by the pinball machine, while the vacuum cart is now to the right of the laser cutters.
  • Name: Laser Cutter
  • Make/Model: Rabbit Laser USA RL-80-1290 (where RL is the factory code, 80 is the original laser power in watts, and 1290 is the bed size)
  • Serial Number: ??
  • Original Owner: Brian Queen
  • Loan Status: Semi-Permanent Loan
  • Arrival Date: Before 2013
  • Location: Bay 108, near the door to the front rooms
  • Functional Status: Operational
  • Usage Permissions: Members & Friends Only
  • Certification: Must complete Laser Certification
  • Wiki ID: 6





Arguably the most popular tool at Protospace, the Laser Cutter uses a CO2 laser to cut & engrave a variety of non-metal materials (though some metals can be engraved).

Software

We currently have LaserCut 6.0 installed on the computer connected to the Laser Cutter. Unfortunately LaserCut 6.0 requires a USB dongle to be hooked up to the PC at all times as a form of DRM. If you're running a personal copy you are restricted to a demo version (no saving - though there is a work around). Later versions (6.1+) have dropped the USB dongle requirement but can't communicate with our laser cutter directly.

Downloads

LaserCut 5.3 (Google Drive, Direct from Leetro) for Windows Paid, Demo

The full version, but requires a special SenseLock USB Dongle to be connected to the PC running it or the software is limited to a demo mode (which is still useful for familiarizing yourself with the program). :This version is needed in order to communicate with our laser cutter, as 6.1 doesn't support ours.


LaserCut 6.1 (Google Drive, Direct from Leetro) for Windows Free

Not directly compatible with our laser cutter but has no USB dongle requirement, is fully functional aside from not being able to communicate with our laser cutter. Can still be used to prepare files for the earlier version of LaserCut (5.3). Both versions of LaserCut can be installed at the same time making this version a great option too.


123D Make (Direct from Autodesk) for Windows, Mac, iPad/iPhone Free

A program for converting 3D models into pieces which can be laser cut & attached together to form a fully 3D model out of laser cut materials (example).


Pepakura Designer (Direct from Tama Software) for Windows Paid, Demo

A program for converting 3D models into origami style pages which can be printed, cut out by hand &/or laser cut, then folded to form a 3D object (examples).

Resources

The Powerpoint Presentation that is shown as part of the laser certification process (December 8, 2015), useful as a refresher once you've completed your certification.

TemplateMaker, a very useful Online tool for generating various custom boxes & shapes that can be cut on the laser.

Wolfie's SVG Puzzle Generator, exports a randomly generated puzzle in SVG format which can be converted to DXF and then laser cut out of something (in order to make personalized puzzles).

MakerCase, generates a proper box with the option to set the thickness of the material & pick which style of joints to use.


It is imperative that you do a Chlorine Test on unapproved materials before working on them with the Laser Cutter


Specs

  • 80-watt DC-excited laser
    • Water-cooled, with chiller accessible from the front
  • Bed size: 1200 mm × 900 mm (47.2" × 35.4")
    • Front panel of machine can be removed or folded down to insert pieces longer than 3'
  • Controller: Leetro MPC 6525A
  • Can cut or etch up to 1/2" thick light materials such as woods and some plastics
Do not cut any chlorinated synthetics (some types of plastics & rubbers)! The HCl vapors will damage the machine.

Usage Notes

  • Complete Laser Certification to learn how to use the laser. Training is offered about once a month.
  • Perform a simple Chlorine Test on unapproved materials, as cutting or etching chlorinated materials damages the optics
  • See Power Levels page for notes and details on cutting and etching various materials
  • Power modulation is in a restricted range in the software due to a firmware bug (Approximately 8%-30% represents 0%-100% power)
  • Controller occasionally locks up after large cut jobs. E-stop immediately if job timer does not increment in first 5 seconds of job. Post to list for recovery instructions
  • Consult our Laser Standard Operating Procedure

History

  • Originally on loan for 6 months (ending Aug 2012) in exchange for Protospace performing repairs.
    • Loan has been extended.

Repairs Needed

  • Upgrades discussed
    • Adding air cooling to optics and laser head block
    • Convincing power supply to modulate power levels properly
    • Seal display on controller to prevent smoke from clouding over time.
    • Replace and upgrade chiller (current chiller struggles to keep up with heat generated, and has no safeties on it to signal failure)
    • Relocate chiller to an open-air position (wall mounted)

Repair History

Break-Fix log:

  • 2017: UP
  • 2016-12-04: UP with restrictions. Please keep your large jobs under 2 hours until December 18, 2016
  • 2016-12-04 - UP: Chiller repaired. Alignment and power testing is pending.
  • 2016-11-24 - DOWN: Laser tube replaced, chiller pump is broken.
  • 2016-11-13 - DOWN: Two new laser tubes ordered from an American source.
  • 2016-11-11 - DOWN: Chiller failure. Laser tube destroyed.
  • 2016-11-07 - UP: Laser tube replaced with an aging, but unused tube that was donated from a scrap laser
  • 2016-11-06 - DOWN: Chiller failure. Laser tube destroyed (overheated and glass cracked)

Regular maintenance log: