Laser Standard Operating Procedure

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Is it your first time using the Laser Cutter? Don't be afraid to ask a fellow member to do a dry run with you!

Get your material ready

  • We recommend acrylic or plywood but there are many other materials you can cut/engrave.
  • It is your responsibility when using the Laser Cutter to ensure that the material is safe to use (See Chlorine Test)
  • The following materials are NOT SAFE TO USE ON THE LASER CUTTER
    • PVC
    • Vinyl
    • Lexan/Polycarbonate
    • Foam - fire risk
    • Any other material that contains Chlorine

Clear the Cutting Bed

  • Open the lid and clear the contents of the bed
  • Be advised that the laser head will automatically return home when turned on (crashing the head into things is bad!)

Check the Water Level in the Chiller

  • The Water level in the chiller should be about a quarter inch below the upper return
  • Only use distilled water in the chiller loop (there should be a jug nearby)

Turn on the Main Power Switch

  • Turn on the "Light switch" located on the wall by the ventilation pipe (This will turn on the ventilation system and supply power to the machine)

Turn on the Laser Cutter

  • Twist the "Emergency stop button" & pull it outwards (Big red button on the Laser Cutter)
  • Turn the starter key to the on position
  • The laser will now turn on and automatically return home

Start the Software

  • Login to the desktop next to the Laser Cutter with the credentials you were provided after completing the Laser Certification course (or have a certified member supervise you)
  • Double click the "Lasercut" Shortcut on the main desktop to start the program

Set up your Job in the Software

  • Import your files, the software supports Autocad 2000, or Illustrator 9.0 files
  • It helps to have your source files set up by layer, but you can manually change the layers in Lasercut
  • Set up your speed and power for each layer (The working order of the layers is from top to bottom, Double check before starting your cut/engraving as the layers will change order when you aren’t looking)
  • Check the "immediate" check-box to make the laser start from where the head currently is (If it is unchecked the machine will cut using the top corner of the software as the top corner of the bed)

Set up your Material

  • Ensure your material is laser safe and contains no Chlorine
  • Place your work piece (material) on the bed
  • Press the "Z" Axis button and adjust the height of the bed with the Up & Down arrow keys DO NOT RUN THE HEAD INTO THE TABLE (if this occurs follow the shut down procedure and make a post on the discussion list so a qualified member can take a look at the head, we value your honesty!
  • Use the focus gauge to properly set the height (there should be some laser cut focus gauges sitting in the tray near the laser cutter, the numbers on the side of them represent the thickness of your material in millimetres and have "steps" above each that are the proper height to use, it doesn't need to be exact - close should suffice) DO NOT LEAVE THE FOCUS GAUGE IN PLACE WHILE MOVING THE HEAD
  • Press the "Z" Axis button to exit this menu (The "Esc"ape button doesn’t work for this)

Download your job to the Laser

  • Press the "Download" button on the bottom right of screen
  • Click Delete all (to clear all previous files on the Laser Cutter)
  • Click Download file (to download your file to the Laser Cutter)

Double check the positioning

  • Double check that the bed is clear of obstructions!
  • Press the "Test" button & the head will trace a rectangular outline of your job

Run job

  • Make a mental note of where the fire extinguishers are in the building
  • Press the "Start" button.
  • The machine will begin cutting/engraving.
  • Keep an eye on your job while the machine works (Don't burn the place down, any flames while the machine runs should extinguish themselves quickly or the machine should be Emergency stopped)
  • DO NOT LEAVE THE LASER CUTTER UNATTENDED WHILE YOUR JOB IS RUNNING (No distractions!)
  • You are responsible for your job

Remove your material

  • Allow the fumes to fully dissipate before opening the cover
  • Remove your work piece and clean ANY scraps from under the table!

Power down

  • Hit the "Emergency stop" on the laser and turn the key
  • Shut off the wall switch that turns on the ventilation & supplies power to the laser cutter
  • Double check that you have removed any material from the bed as well as any scraps that may have fallen through.