Blue Laser Cutter Settings

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Revision as of 18:08, 27 April 2012 by SteveBaker (talk | contribs) (Changing the Settings)

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ATX HackerSpace Pages relating to
the Blue Laser Cutter
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Blue Laser Cutter PLS 6.60
Red Laser Cutter XL1200
Epilog Legend EXT36 75W
Laser Cutter Materials
Laser Cutter Settings
Laser Cutter Supplies
Laser Operation Class
Advanced Laser Class
Using Inkscape with the Laser Cutter
Laser Cleaning
Laser Cutter Manuals
Laser Calendar
Laser Committee
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There are a wide range of materials that the Laser Cutter can cut, etch or mark - but some simply don't work (eg metals) and some are extremely hazardous to either humans or the machine itself (eg PVC). It is therefore imperative that you check these lists before attempting to cut materials that you have not worked with before.

These settings should serve as a starting point for experimentation - they might work as-is, or they might save you time and get you close to what works well for your material. Keep in mind that different material thickness, laser focus, dirty optics, etc. will affect the required settings for a certain material.

Material Operation Thickness Power Speed PPI Notes
Clear acrylic Cut 0.118" (sometimes labeled 1/8") 100% 2% 500 Remove top backing or FIRE. Cast acrylic may cut more slowly. Beware thickness variation.
Clear acrylic Raster 0.118" (sometimes labeled 1/8") 60% 40% 1000 Vary power/speed for desired raster depth.
AFL Plywood x x x x -

Changing the Settings

There is a subtle and poorly-explained issue with the Laser Cutter driver software that is important to understand if you are doing anything but fairly simple cutting/etching.

There are three possible ways to access the laser settings - and although the user interface is identical in all three cases, the amount of functionality that you can get to is wildly variable. Some parts of your source art may be entirely ignored if you don't set things up in the correct place!

  • When you hit "Print..." from within CorelDraw, there is a "Preferences" dialog that brings up the "Settings" panel. At this point, no data has been sent to the driver and all of the settings are switchable/adjustable.
  • Once you've hit "OK" and the file has been sent to the driver, you may open up the driver's control panel using the red square icon on the Windows task bar and the "Settings" button brings up the exact same settings panel. However, since the data has already been sent to the driver from Corel - many options simply don't work anymore. This is not always obvious - so you need to be super-careful! For example, if you turned off some of the colors in panel when you accessed if via the "Print" dialog, then vectors of that color will never have been sent to the driver - so turning those colors back on again at this late stage has no effect (although turning them off with the "Skip" option still works). Similarly, things like changing the order that the various colored vectors are drawn - or altering the sorting and enhancement or speed/quality sliders have no effect at this stage.
  • After you've hit the big green button to set the laser cutting, you can still hit the "Settings" button and up comes that exact same panel to let you play with the settings as the laser is running. Some changes have an immediate effect on the operation that's in progress (eg altering speed and power) - but some things mysteriously don't work - such as changing the Z-offsets.

Bottom line is that you should try to make all of your material settings from the "Print.../Preferences" panel where you have access to 100% of the functionality of the controls.