Difference between revisions of "Laser cutter"

From Richmond Maker Labs
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Line 1: Line 1:
''' <u>Introduction</u>
+
=Introduction=
  
 
This tool cuts sheet material such as card, acrylic and wood.  At a reduced power rating, it will mark the surface without cutting all the way through.  The laser cutter focusses a point of high-energy light into an area just a fraction of a millimetre across, and it instantly vapourises the material that it touches.
 
This tool cuts sheet material such as card, acrylic and wood.  At a reduced power rating, it will mark the surface without cutting all the way through.  The laser cutter focusses a point of high-energy light into an area just a fraction of a millimetre across, and it instantly vapourises the material that it touches.
Line 7: Line 7:
 
The maximum size of material is 680mm by 500mm.  That's a little larger than A2 size.  Maximum thickness depends on the type of material and it reduces as the laser tube ages.  3mm plywood, 3mm MDF and 5mm acrylic are about OK.
 
The maximum size of material is 680mm by 500mm.  That's a little larger than A2 size.  Maximum thickness depends on the type of material and it reduces as the laser tube ages.  3mm plywood, 3mm MDF and 5mm acrylic are about OK.
  
''' <u>Safety</u>
+
=Model=
 +
* KH-7050-B
 +
* Some good information from another maker club [[https://wiki.lansingmakersnetwork.org/equipment/kh7050b-laser_cutter]]
  
 +
=Safety=
 
Two things to remember:  Don't use it with plastic compounds containing chlorine (PVC, poly-vinyl-chloride for instance), and don't ever look at the laser beam when it's cutting.
 
Two things to remember:  Don't use it with plastic compounds containing chlorine (PVC, poly-vinyl-chloride for instance), and don't ever look at the laser beam when it's cutting.
  
Line 20: Line 23:
 
* The mechanism crashing into something on the cutting table that's too high
 
* The mechanism crashing into something on the cutting table that's too high
  
'''<u>Before use</u>
+
=Before use</u>
  
 
Switch on the laser cutter using the illuminated green rocker switch on the right-hand side.  Switch on the extractor fan using the controller on the wall.  Check that the cooling water reservoir is not empty and that the pump is running.  Check for a gentle air blower at the cutting head.
 
Switch on the laser cutter using the illuminated green rocker switch on the right-hand side.  Switch on the extractor fan using the controller on the wall.  Check that the cooling water reservoir is not empty and that the pump is running.  Check for a gentle air blower at the cutting head.
Line 26: Line 29:
 
Switch on the computer monitor.  The computer itself is left normally running.
 
Switch on the computer monitor.  The computer itself is left normally running.
  
''' <u>Preparation</u>
+
=Preparation=
  
 
Using the computer, keyboard and mouse, open the RDWorks programme.  There are two versions.  Version 8 is recommended.  Use File > Import to read in a .dxf, or use File > Open to read a .rld
 
Using the computer, keyboard and mouse, open the RDWorks programme.  There are two versions.  Version 8 is recommended.  Use File > Import to read in a .dxf, or use File > Open to read a .rld
Line 36: Line 39:
 
Open the cover on the laser cutter and position the material to be cut onto the honeycomb support.  Use the arrow controls on the top panel of the laser cutter to move the cutter head to be above the material.  Adjust the height of the honeycomb support using the push buttons on the right-hand side of the laser cutter, so that the head is exactly 25mm from the surface of the material.  There's a plastic guide to help with the measurement.
 
Open the cover on the laser cutter and position the material to be cut onto the honeycomb support.  Use the arrow controls on the top panel of the laser cutter to move the cutter head to be above the material.  Adjust the height of the honeycomb support using the push buttons on the right-hand side of the laser cutter, so that the head is exactly 25mm from the surface of the material.  There's a plastic guide to help with the measurement.
  
''' <u>How big can I cut?</u>
+
==Using other programs==
 +
[[Inkscape_to_Laser_Cutter_via_Illustrator]]
 +
 
 +
==How big can I cut?==
  
 
There are two parts to the question, how big a sheet can I put in the machine, and then what's the biggest part I can cut?
 
There are two parts to the question, how big a sheet can I put in the machine, and then what's the biggest part I can cut?
Line 44: Line 50:
 
2) The machine can cut in an area 680mm x 500mm (a shade larger than an A2 sheet of paper)
 
2) The machine can cut in an area 680mm x 500mm (a shade larger than an A2 sheet of paper)
  
''' <u>Using it</u>
+
==Using it==
  
 
On the screen note the 'origin' mark, a small green square.  Manually drive the cutter head to a position over the material where the origin should be.
 
On the screen note the 'origin' mark, a small green square.  Manually drive the cutter head to a position over the material where the origin should be.
Line 54: Line 60:
 
At the end of the cutting process, the laser cutter emits three quiet beeps.
 
At the end of the cutting process, the laser cutter emits three quiet beeps.
  
''' <u> When finished</u>
+
==When finished==
  
 
Clear up any cuttings from the honeycomb support.  Switch off the laser cutter and the extractor fan.  Exit from RDWorks, turn off the computer monitor leaving the computer switched on.
 
Clear up any cuttings from the honeycomb support.  Switch off the laser cutter and the extractor fan.  Exit from RDWorks, turn off the computer monitor leaving the computer switched on.

Revision as of 16:26, 30 January 2019

Introduction

This tool cuts sheet material such as card, acrylic and wood. At a reduced power rating, it will mark the surface without cutting all the way through. The laser cutter focusses a point of high-energy light into an area just a fraction of a millimetre across, and it instantly vapourises the material that it touches.

This information sheet does not describe how to create a computer file containing the shape to be cut.

The maximum size of material is 680mm by 500mm. That's a little larger than A2 size. Maximum thickness depends on the type of material and it reduces as the laser tube ages. 3mm plywood, 3mm MDF and 5mm acrylic are about OK.

Model

  • KH-7050-B
  • Some good information from another maker club [[1]]

Safety

Two things to remember: Don't use it with plastic compounds containing chlorine (PVC, poly-vinyl-chloride for instance), and don't ever look at the laser beam when it's cutting.

There are protective glasses allowing you to glance at the beam while cutting, but these are not recommended for continuous viewing

Hazards include:

  • Chlorine gas fumes when cutting prohibited materials
  • Eye damage from looking at the light beam
  • Material catching fire when cutting too slowly
  • The mechanism crashing into something on the cutting table that's too high

=Before use

Switch on the laser cutter using the illuminated green rocker switch on the right-hand side. Switch on the extractor fan using the controller on the wall. Check that the cooling water reservoir is not empty and that the pump is running. Check for a gentle air blower at the cutting head.

Switch on the computer monitor. The computer itself is left normally running.

Preparation

Using the computer, keyboard and mouse, open the RDWorks programme. There are two versions. Version 8 is recommended. Use File > Import to read in a .dxf, or use File > Open to read a .rld

Select the shape that is to be cut, then allocate a colour from the strip of colours at the bottom of the window. Double click the colour as it appears in top right of screen, and set the power level and the speed appropriately. Cutting all the way through wood requires a high power level, cuting through card or plastic sheet can be done at a lower power level and a higher speed.

Optionally, text or patterns can be selected in a different colour, and the speed and power settings may be chosen for marking without cutting. Large areas or designs with half-tone regions may require the 'scan' setting to be used.

Open the cover on the laser cutter and position the material to be cut onto the honeycomb support. Use the arrow controls on the top panel of the laser cutter to move the cutter head to be above the material. Adjust the height of the honeycomb support using the push buttons on the right-hand side of the laser cutter, so that the head is exactly 25mm from the surface of the material. There's a plastic guide to help with the measurement.

Using other programs

Inkscape_to_Laser_Cutter_via_Illustrator

How big can I cut?

There are two parts to the question, how big a sheet can I put in the machine, and then what's the biggest part I can cut?

1) The machine can take a sheet ??? x ???mm , but the laser can't reach all of that area.

2) The machine can cut in an area 680mm x 500mm (a shade larger than an A2 sheet of paper)

Using it

On the screen note the 'origin' mark, a small green square. Manually drive the cutter head to a position over the material where the origin should be.

The cutter head has a small red light beam that shows where the laser beam will cut. The accuracy of the red beam is affected every time the height is changed, so you may need to re-calibrate it.

Close the top cover. Back at the computer screen, click on the button 'Send to cutter' and the laser cutter should start to operate almost immediately. Sometimes there's an error message, in which case just repeat the click on the 'Send' button. If it still won't work after a few tries, switch off the laser cutter and switch it back on again.

At the end of the cutting process, the laser cutter emits three quiet beeps.

When finished

Clear up any cuttings from the honeycomb support. Switch off the laser cutter and the extractor fan. Exit from RDWorks, turn off the computer monitor leaving the computer switched on.