Tool Location

Laser Cutters

Tool Type

Tooltip

Overview

Lasers cutters are powerful tools that can engrave and cut through a variety of different materials. However a poor selection of settings will lead to undesirable results including but not limited to charred images, unfocused details, and incomplete cut jobs. This article will share good practices to quickly discover effective settings to u

Materials

  • Each laserable material will have different settings that are optimal for engraving and cutting. At the Invention Studio, there will be a collection of engraving and cutting templates depicting various power & speed settings that users can use as a reference when adjusting their power & speed parameters on JobControl. (For more information on JobControl, click here. For Laserable Materials, click here.)

Safety Features

  • If material is constantly flaming, stop the job immediately and wait for the fire to die down. If the fire is continuously burning, shut the exhaust valve for the laser cutter, get the fire extinguisher and spray just enough to put the fire out. Report the incident to the Laser Master.

How To Use This Tool

  1. Print the vector file from Inkscape and open the Materials Setting button on the top bar in Job Control where you’ll be able to adjust your power & speed parameters.
  • If there isn't a template of a material available, the best practice would be to bring in some extra material to use to test.
  • Engrave/Cut the default test squares that appear on a new Inkscape page. To start, use low power and high speed settings for both engraves/cuts and adjust until you find settings that you like. If high power and low speed is used, the material may end up burnt .
  • It is important to note that when cutting, numerous passes with lower power and higher speed settings are often times more effective than a single run with high power and low speed.
  • In general, good settings for the most commonly used materials used in the Invention Studio fall within these ranges:

 

Plywood (ex: Birch)

  • Engrave: Low Power, High Speed
  • Cut: High Power, Low Speed

Natural Wood (ex: Walnut)

  • Engrave: Low Power, Medium Speed
  • Cut: Medium Power, Low Speed

Acrylic

  • Engrave: Low Power, Medium Speed
  • Cut: High Power, Low Speed

Aluminum/Stainless Steel

  • Engrave: High Power, Low Speed

Glass

  • Engrave: Low Power, Medium Speed

Note:

Engrave:

  • Low Power/Speed: 10-30
  • Medium Power/Speed: 40-60
  • High Power/Speed: 70-100

Cut:

  • Low Power: 10-30,     Low Speed: 1-5
  • Medium Power: 40-60     Medium Speed: 6-10
  • High Power: 70-100     High Speed: 11-20 (Any higher usually leads to ineffective cuts)

 

  • If you do not have enough material on hand to make test cuts, ask the P.I. on duty for suggestions or use the Trotec pre-loaded settings on the left side of the Material Settings in JobControl if applicable (Keep in mind that these settings, while nice, may not give your idea of optimal results).

Material keeps flaming and scorching my job:

  • Pause your job and double check that the air assist and the ventilation is turned on. If they weren’t, do so and tell a P.I. on duty to check the lens since they may have been damaged.
  • Reduce the power and/or increase the speed. If excessive heat is applied too quickly, it will cause burning and other undesirable side effects to the material.

Material is not being engraved upon:

  • Increase the power and/or decrease the speed, if the laser is set to apply very little power very quickly, the laser may not have enough energy to actually engrave anything on the material.
The laser is not registering a certain color as an engrave/cut job:
  • Check that the order of colors of the Material Settings page corresponds to the order of colors at the bottom of the Inkscape program. If they do not match, the Laser may skip certain color settings.

References:

Author Information

Article was written by Jeff Park.

Last Updated: August 12 2018.

Love it? Share it!