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laser_cutter [2018/11/29 19:02]
zwmm
laser_cutter [2019/12/11 19:15] (current)
glassgiant [Preparing Your Files]
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 {{ :​tools:​hobby_crop.jpg?​300|}}Purchased in 2015, the water-cooled CO2 laser cutter will cut material up to 20x12 inches, 1/4 inch thick, and can engrave on thicker material. ​ The laser cutter is a wonderful piece of tech, and we continue to find new uses for it.  The laser cutter requires a special introductory course before members can use it.  Shawn is most familiar with the laser cutter. Any questions or concerns about it should go to him. {{ :​tools:​hobby_crop.jpg?​300|}}Purchased in 2015, the water-cooled CO2 laser cutter will cut material up to 20x12 inches, 1/4 inch thick, and can engrave on thicker material. ​ The laser cutter is a wonderful piece of tech, and we continue to find new uses for it.  The laser cutter requires a special introductory course before members can use it.  Shawn is most familiar with the laser cutter. Any questions or concerns about it should go to him.
  
-This is the cutter: [[http://​fslaser.com/​products/​lasers/​hobby-lasers/​newhobby]]+This is the cutter: [[http://​fslaser.com/​products/​lasers/​hobby-lasers/​newhobby]].  It uses RetinaEngrave software.
  
 As a general rule of thumb, you can cut non-chlorinated plastics (no vinyl, no pvc), leather and wood.  Metal can't be cut or etched. ​ This page is a good guide to what can and can't be cut: [[https://​www.pololu.com/​docs/​0J24?​section=3]]  ​ As a general rule of thumb, you can cut non-chlorinated plastics (no vinyl, no pvc), leather and wood.  Metal can't be cut or etched. ​ This page is a good guide to what can and can't be cut: [[https://​www.pololu.com/​docs/​0J24?​section=3]]  ​
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 Cutting plastics __with__ chlorine in them can release chlorine gas which is **highly toxic** to you (known as mustard gas in World War 1!) and can corrode the laser components. Cutting plastics __with__ chlorine in them can release chlorine gas which is **highly toxic** to you (known as mustard gas in World War 1!) and can corrode the laser components.
  
-The cutter mounts as a printer, so in theory any file that can be printed can be cut or engraved. ​ In practice, we usually use the freeware Inkscape ​or GIMP for cutting or engraving.+ 
 + 
 +===== Preparing Your Files ===== 
 +The laser cutter mounts as a printer, so in theory any file that can be printed can be cut or engraved. ​ In practice, we usually use the freeware Inkscape for cutting or engraving. 
 + 
 +To prep your file with Inkscape you'll need need an SVG.  Some tips: 
 +  * It should be as simple as possible, with objects like dynamic offsets converted to paths. ​ Ideally, you'd only have paths in your file.  But the software will recognize some simple objects like circles and rectangles. 
 +  * Filters should be removed. ​  
 +  * All colors and layers should be 100% opacity. ​    
 +  * All layers should be 100% opacity. 
 +  * The page size should be less than 20x12 inches. 
 +  * There should be some white space between the page border and your paths. ​ The laser cutter software will strip out all the white space. 
 +  * All paths should be within the page borders. 
 +  * Stroke styles should be solid. 
 +  * The laser recognizes red, green, blue, cyan, yellow, magenta and black strokes, and will treat them separately. So if you're cutting a doughnut, you might want to make the center blue and the outside red.  When you cut it, specify blue before red to make sure that the doughnut doesn'​t shift at all before the center is cut.  Or if you're designing a wood box that will have an acrylic window in it, make the wood and acrylic lines different colors so you can choose not to cut one or the other. 
 +  * The laser will "​snap"​ path stroke colors to a color it recognizes (pink, salmon and rose will all snap to red). Any colors or lines it doesn'​t know what to do with will snap to black. ​ For that reason, it's best to avoid black on any lines you want to cut (so you can turn black cuts off). 
 +  * You can make SVGs from any number of programs. However, there'​s a bug in Adobe Illustrator that will alter the size of the SVG by 20 or 25%. Watch out for this.  See below for a fix. 
 +  * The laser cuts along the path.  So the stroke width is irrelevant to the laser when it's cutting along a path (vector mode). ​ Stoke width, however, is relevant when in engraving (raster) mode. 
 +  * Engraving (raster mode) is determined by a black and white value slider (everything darker than the slider value is engraved). ​ As such, it will really only do on/off or black/​white. ​ It doesn'​t do "​gray"​. ​ While importing bitmapped images like JPGs and PNGs into an SVG is legal, it often produces alignment issues. ​ It's best to convert these to vector using something like Inkscapes "trace bitmap"​ tool. 
 + 
 + 
  
 ===== Pre-Cutting Checklist ===== ===== Pre-Cutting Checklist =====
laser_cutter.1543518179.txt.gz · Last modified: 2018/11/29 19:02 by zwmm