Essential information about operating our LASER cutter and engraver.
Don't cut anything particularly flammable or noxious. Check the Laser Infobase page for this list
When using the laser, whether for engraving or cutting, stay and watch your job.
Know where the fire extinguisher is and be ready to use it.
If your job catches on fire:
- You are more important than the laser--do not put yourself in unnecessary danger to save the laser. (Cf. Bloominglabs rules)
- Use your judgment--flare-ups will happen, and most go out quickly (a second or so) on their own.
- Any flame lasting longer than a second or two is a fire--put it out.
Do not look directly into either the cutting laser or even the visible targeting laser.
Make sure the lid is down before you even try starting your job. There is an integrated safety lock-out, but don't rely on this.
The lid should absorb most laser radiation, but if you're cutting reflective material, it wouldn't hurt to use the tinted safety glasses (should be located near the laser).
Always make sure the water pump is working and that there's plenty of water in the reservoir (blue bucket below the blower and compressor). Operating the laser without the cooling system running will damage it.
- Turn on main power strip
- Verify water pump is pumping water (you should be able to feel the flow in either hose)
- Verify ventilation fan, and air assist compressor are running
- Make sure print area is clear and clean
- Start/attach dedicated computer and start up RetinaEngrave
- Home lens head by using home button on device or pressing 'H' in RetinaEngrave
- Place material to be cut/etched on honeycomb and focus lens
- Close lid, holding it at the middle so it doesn't catch in the back
- Move lens head to top left of desired print area using either onboard or RetinaEngrave controls
- Adjust speed and power to appropriate levels for material and job
- Run raster portion before vector
- Watch your job like a hawk
- Allow the blower to clear any remaining smoke before opening the lid
- Remove your engraved/cut object!
- For higher precision placement of the lens (say, for engraving on small objects) hit the padlock button on the control panel until it says "Unlocked", then use your hands to carefully move the lens to the correct starting location. There's no need to relock the lens position when you are done, just start the operation.
(Read The Frickin' Laser Manual)
Lenses and Focusing
- 2" (for cutting and engraving up to 1/4" thick)
- The unmarked aluminum billet stored under the laser is used for focusing this lens.
- 1.5" (for extra fine engraving eg for fonts < 8 points)
- 2.5" (for thicker cutting eg over 1/4" and straighter cuts)
- 5" (for increased working distance eg engraving bowls)
FocusingPer the manual:
To focus for engraving or cutting, simply place the billet on the top of the engraving plane and then release the locking mechanism on the focus head until the air assist nozzle rests on top of the billet. Then re-tighten the sliding head and remove the billet from the work piece.
We will probably be making additional focal billets for the other lenses. Until then, they may still be used fairly easily by measuring the distance of their focal length to either the surface (for engraving) or half the thickness (for cutting) of your material.