Difference between revisions of "Laser Cutter"

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(Suggested Cutting Settings: Removed table. Refer to whiteboard in space.)
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== Suggested Cutting Settings ==
== Suggested Cutting Settings ==
Cutting turns the laser on and moves the beam over the surface. The intense heat energy vaporises the material where it is focused, forming a cut.
These settings (and more [[Laser Cutter Settings]]) have been tried and tested, with some success. Experiment with them.
{| class="wikitable"
There is a whiteboard in the space near the laser cutter with some suggested cut settings. If you find a combination that works well add it to the list.
! style="font-weight: bold;" | Material
! style="font-weight: bold;" | Thickness
Please ensure that you test any and all settings before committing to a large job.
! style="font-weight: bold;" | Power
! style="font-weight: bold;" | Speed
! style="font-weight: bold;" | Notes
| Acrylic
| 3 mm
| 100
| 14
| 3 mm
| 100
| 14
| MDF - vector etch
| 3 mm
| 60
| 60
| Laser Ply
| 3mm
| 100
| 14
| Card
| 150gsm
| 60
| 40
| T-Shirt
| 24-25
| 100
| Resolution 300dpi
== Suggested Etch Settings ==
== Suggested Etch Settings ==

Revision as of 23:22, 2 January 2017

Laser Cutter
Equipment Information
Status Unknown
Manufacturer China!
Model 6040
Hackspace Information
Induction Required Yes
Induction Information Here
Card RFID Enabled Yes
Owner Hackspace

See Also

The Laser Cutter Manual is a quick refresher for inducted members on how to use the laser cutter.

Berlin FabLab have some fantastic instructions for using VisiCut available here

SVGNest is an online tool for nesting SVG files using space efficiently.


In December 2014 we purchased an A2 laser cutter from China and a LAOS controller board v0.5 to upgrade it. The laser was delivered in January 2015 and is now fully operational. Occasional improvements are made to it to improve its performance as we learn more about how to configure it.

After the upgrade the laser is controlled with Visicut. The configuration for Visicut can be automatically installed (as of Mid Feb 2015) by simply selecting Leeds Hackspace from the list of laser cutters on first installation. An additional element using Visicam to work with Visicut has also been added.

An induction on using the laser cutter is required before use by a designated Hackspace inductor. Without an induction, your Hackspace card will not allow you to use the machine. For brief reference there is a simple Laser Cutter Manual to be used as a reminder.

Suggested Cutting Settings

There is a whiteboard in the space near the laser cutter with some suggested cut settings. If you find a combination that works well add it to the list.

Please ensure that you test any and all settings before committing to a large job.

Suggested Etch Settings

Etching pulses the laser in order to etch into surface, because the beam is narrow the machine has to make multiple passes to construct your etch and so can take a long time. Currently etching only works unidirectionally bidirectional etching will result in squished output.

Material Etch Type Power Speed Notes
Macbook Solid Etch 60 100 Power 100 gives "feelable" finish, 60 seems nice.

Usage tariff

Usage of the laser cutter costs £1 per 10 minutes, with a £1 minimum charge. This is to cover the cost of replacing the laser tube, which has a limited lifespan.

Please note: you're charged for the amount of time that your card is inserted into the machine.

Post move modifications

Visicut works exactly as it did before the move, but you will need to make one change, as detailed below.

  • Open Visicut.
  • Click Edit -> Settings -> Manage Lasercutters
  • Select "Leeds LAOS" from the list.
  • Click the cog icon.
  • In the Settings section, change the value of "hostname" from "laser.hackspace" to "".
  • Click Save
  • Click Save once more


The 6040 in the name is a reference to the size of the cutting bed - 600x400mm - given that the home position is not 0,0 we will lose some of that. It is a 60w Laser but it is a cheap chinese 60w laser, we have to not over-expect. The focal length from the centre of the lens to the centre of the cutting piece should be 50.8mm

There are limits to how thick it can cut, but the laser should cut:

  • Acrylic sheet
  • Plywood
  • MDF
  • Paper
  • Card (with the exception of corrugated card)

You will NOT cut:

  • Vinyl (toxic/corrosive fumes)
  • Lexan (different toxic fumes)
  • Corrugated card (fire risk)
  • Food (it smells horrible and gunges up the laser)

You will NOT lick the laser cutter, even when inducted.

"Etch"-able with a mask on material (covered in induction):

  • Metal
  • Glass[1]
  • Ceramics

All of the above need their reflectiveness dealing with or you could damage the laser.

Anything not mentioned above, ask a Laser-inducted director and do not be surprised/upset when they say "hell no!"

A useful guide as to whether they will say yes/no : http://www.originlaser.com.au/laser-materials/


  • After use
    • Allow laser to cool with water still running before powering off.
    • Vacuum out any laser crud that's on/under the bed.
    • Ensure you've left the laser clean and tidy.
    • Clear your scrap.
      • Don't leave things by the side of the laser!
      • Obvious rubbish goes in the bin (recycling options?)
      • Break down bigger pieces into something useful.
      • Take the remains home or donate to scrap laser storage.
    • Remember your RFID card!
  • Periodic
    • Check coolant levels, top up with distilled water if necessary.
    • Check vent tube for any escaped laser crud.
    • Clean optics. [please ask on the mailing list if you think this needs doing]

Operational/Installation Maintenance

  • Mount laser on trolley - May wish to be re-mounted to ensure cutter is straight
  • RFID access - Operational, requires Marvin integration
  • Motor Control - There is potentially an operational problem with printing circular complex objects (cogs)