Machine: Trotec Speedy300 Laser Cutter/Engraver
- This CO2 Laser cutter is good at making minor cuts in non-metallic materials and even better at intricately engraving things like leather, wood, anodized aluminum, etc.
- Do not use the autofocus feature. It’s a common mistake to run the build table into the focusing apparatus b/c of this.
- Lenses cost $500 dollars apiece! Be extremely careful not to damage lenses and clean them regularly. If you choose a speed too low when cutting things like wood/plastic, the resulting flame can destroy the lens. Go for higher velocity and multiple passes versus low velocity cutting if you see flame ups.
- If your autocad file won’t print to the cutter make sure it’s saved on the desktop. The printer driver doesn’t like to read off USB thumb drives for some reason.
- It’s easy to import pictures and engrave them directly. The Engrave Lab program is good at preparing them for the machine.
- Click here for a manual written by Matt
- Cutting thicknesses vary considerably depending on the properties of what is being cut
- 1/4 Inch Acrylic cuts very well. The machine can cut (with some difficulty) up to ½ inch Acrylic. If you’re making a thick cut keep in mind that the beam will un-focus as the cut depends. You can account for this by inputting z-axis offset or just moving the table up a smidgen.
- Do not cut any plastic that might off gas a poisonous inhalant. PVC is a good example of this (chlorine is released). Never cut pvc!
- Never leave the machine unattended- there have been fires caused by doing so.
- Acrylic is the best plastic to cut with. Other plastics work (HDPE, HLPE, PLA, etc) but some melt considerably.
- Leather backed notebooks work very well (think moleskins)
- Thin wood, felt, and even plain paper works quite well.
For ideas of BIG things you can make from laser cut components, visit http://www.woodmarvels.com/
If you need Acrylic in a hurry, you can pick up same day from McMaster-Carr.*
If you want Acrylic for cheap, you may want to try eStreetPlastics.*
If you want more exotic Acrylic, you may want to try Inventables.*
*Links do not imply endorsement by the Invention Studio, Georgia Tech, or any of its employees.