Laser Cutter

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Welcome To Unallocated Space's Laser Cutter Wiki Page!

This page was created by Honey_Badger to document his trials and tribulations of learning how to utilize Unallocated Space's laser cutter. Here you will find the following information:

  • DOs and DO NOTs
  • Laser Information (Make, Model, etc...)
  • Materials Settings (Wood, Leather, Acrylic, etc...)
  • Basic Checklist To Follow When Operating The Laser Cutter.

DOs and DO NOTs

  • DO - Check That The Mens Bathroom Fan Is ON
  • DO NOT - Attempt To Lift The Lid While The Laser Is Cutting
  • DO - Focus The Laser With The Puck To The Material You're Cutting/Engraving
  • DO NOT - Cut/Engrave Materials Listed Under The "Prohibited Materials" List

Laser Cutter Information

Model: Full Spectrum Laser Muse
Laser Tube Power: 45 Watt CO2 Laser Tube
Working Area: 20" x 12"

Material Settings

Prohibited Materials
Material DANGER! Cause/Consequence
PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride)/vinyl/pleather/artificial leather Emits chlorine gas when cut! Don't ever cut this material as it will ruin the optics, causes the metal of the machine to corrode as chlorine is released and ruins the motion control system.
Thick ( >1mm ) Polycarbonate/Lexan Cuts very poorly discolors, catches fire Polycarbonate is often found as flat, sheet material. The window of the laser cutter is made of Polycarbonate because polycarbonate strongly absorbs infrared radiation! This is the frequency of light the laser cutter uses to cut materials, so it is very ineffective at cutting polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is a poor choice for laser cutting. It creates long stringy clouds of soot that float up, ruins the optics and messes up the machine.
ABS Melts / Cyanide ABS does not cut well in a laser cutter. It tends to melt rather than vaporize and has a higher chance of catching on fire and leaving behind melted gooey deposits on the vector cutting grid. It also does not engrave well (again, tends to melt). Cutting ABS plastic emits hydrogen cyanide, which is unsafe at any concentration.
HDPE/milk bottle plastic Catches fire and melts It melts. It gets gooey. It catches fire. Don't use it.
PolyStyrene Foam Catches fire It catches fire quickly, burns rapidly, it melts, and only thin pieces cut. This is the #1 material that causes laser fires!!!
PolyPropylene Foam Catches fire Like PolyStyrene, it melts, catches fire, and the melted drops continue to burn and turn into rock-hard drips and pebbles.
Epoxy burn/smoke Epoxy is an aliphatic resin, strongly cross-linked carbon chains. A CO2 laser can't cut it, and the resulting burned mess creates toxic fumes ( like cyanide! ). Items coated in Epoxy, or cast Epoxy resins must not be used in the laser cutter. ( see Fiberglass )
Fiberglass Emits fumes It's a mix of two materials that cant' be cut. Glass (etch, no cut) and epoxy resin (fumes)
Coated Carbon Fiber Emits noxious fumes A mix of two materials. Thin carbon fiber mat can be cut, with some fraying - but not when coated.
Any foodstuff ( such as meat, seaweed 'nori' sheets, cookie dough, bread, tortillas... ) The laser is not designed to cut food, and people cut things that create poisonous/noxious substances such as wood smoke and acrylic smoke. If you want to cut foodstuffs, consider sponsoring a food-only laser cutter for the space that is kept as clean as a commercial kitchen would require.
Vector Cutting
Material Max Thickness Speed Power Current Passes Notes/Warnings
Most Woods 1/4" 30 70 - 80 35 - 40 2 - 3 Avoid oily/resinous woods
Acrylics 1/2" 80 35 100 6 - 9 These numbers are intentionally low. With less power and more passes the better the cut will turn out. Higher power/current will cut with fewer passes, however, the acrylic may overheat and chip along the cut line. If you find yourself with small chips along the cut, lower the power/current and up the passes.
Paper < 0.1 mm 100 Like, 1 50 1 Cuts nice and quickly.
Blank's Raster settings in beta
Material Texture Power Speed Blur Edge One Passes Notes/Warnings
Most Woods almost smooth 30 70 - 80 35 - 40 2 - 3 Avoid oily/resinous woods
Cork Not burned 10 (15 if not dark enough) 100 - -
Glass etching Looks good during condensation 45 80 - -
Leather Black etch 30 100 - -

Rotary

= Jellys Lessons learned

  • Always run a perimeter before cutting
  • Do move the laser "up and down" before every print to verify that the laser is aligned to the center of your material.
  • Enable rotary in web UI by going to Settings and something in the second tab. The UI on the engraver doesn't alwatys work.
  • Do always align your material with the buck. Also check the level of your item. You always want to cut at a consistent level. ESPECIALLY important when working on glasses that are inherently uneven.
  • It doesn't matter where you place your stencil/image/shapes in the laser engraver software. The SIZE is what matters.

= How to use?

1) Remove existing bed. Insert some wood about 4 inches thick

2) Insert rotary and connect 4 pin molex like connector

3) Switch Muse to rotary mode in web ui

4) Place material to cut on rotary. Modify the 12 knobs such that your material is consistently level.

5) Cry on the inside and outside because it's really hard to do all of this manually.

6) Use the left <-> right move buttons we typically use to move the laser, to now rotate your material.

  • Watch the back of your material to make sure it doesn't "lift up" (super important with lighter materials).

7) Place laser over center of material, or wherever you intent to center your cut.

8) Calibrate laser height with puck.

9) Place images/shapes in the UI. 10) VERIFY that the orientation of the material is consistent with the orientation of the rotary.

Coming Soon

  • Vector Engraving/Etching vs Raster Engraving
  • File types and when to use them
  • Using the laser cutters web interface
  • Maintenance?
  • Using the rotary attachment?
  • Formal Training?