Tool Location

Laser Cutters

Tool Type

Subtractive

 

Additional Information

Overview

The Trotec Speedy 300 is a laser cutter: a tool that can cut or engrave a pattern on a variety of materials. The laser beam is focused to a point and burns or vaporizes the material underneath as it traverses through an assigned path. The laser cutter is a very precise tool and has endless uses for both artistic and engineering proposes.

Capabilities

Cut Area

The maximum cutting area of this tool is 29"x17".

Cut Kerf

The kerf of this laser is between ~0.005-0.010in (depending on lens, material, settings). 

Max Material Thickness

This laser can only cut through materials which are 0.5" thick or thinner (depending on lens, material, settings). 

Materials

Laser cutters can cut and etch a wide variety of metals including: wood, paper, cardboard, acrylic, and most fabrics. However, because lasers are literally igniting the materials, it is unsafe to cut things which release hazardous chemicals when burned. The list of materials that we do not allow on our lasers includes: PVC, polycarbonate, teflon, carbon fiber, and vinyl.

For more information, and to see a full list and explanation of the materials allowed on our laser cutters, please read our article on laserable materials.

PPE

No PPE is specifically required for this tool.

Note that some laser systems require special filtering safety glasses. This is not needed for the Speedy 300 or Speedy 400 because the lid serves as a filter for harmful light waves.

Safety Features

E-stops:

  • There is an emergency stop wired into the lid of the laser cutter. If at any point you need to immediately stop the laser, slightly lift the lid and the laser will stop firing. (Note that this will cancel the job in process.)
When to use the E-Stop:
  • If the material in the laser bed catches on fire (Brief tongues of flame while the laser is firing are acceptable, but if a constant flame is started, abort the job.)
  • If the smoke from the material is building up in the machine and not being evacuated through the ventilation system

Example Work

Living Hinge Book Covers

A neat little trick that you can do with wood and acrylic boards in the laser cutters.

Laser Cut 3D Puzzles

Laser cut 3D puzzles are a great gift to give to friends and family.

Laser Cut Chess Game Set

Simple and visually striking project done with acrylic, spray paint and glue.

How To Use This Tool

Setup
  1. Turn on the exhaust system. Open the exhaust valve for the laser.
  2. Reach to the left side of the back of the laser and flip the power switch.
  3. Close the lid of the laser and allow it to perform its homing sequence. The laser will beep when this is complete. The laser is now ready for use.
Operation*
  1. Once the laser has finished homing, open the cover and place the material into the laser cabinet. Material can be squared against the edges of the honeycomb bed.
  2. Focus the laser by maneuvering the laser head above the material. Identify which lens is being used (red, blue, or black) and select the matching positioner. Hang the positioner from the lip on the right side of the laser head. Raise the laser bed until it just barely knocks the positioner off the ledge. The laser is now focused.

{lens and positioner}, {positioner hung}

  1. Open the job file in Inkscape on the computer connected to the laser. Ensure that the dimensions are correct for the material selected. Print the prepared file and select the Trotec Engraver as the printer (this will launch JobControl). Connect the laser to Jobcontrol. Use the laser head to position to the job on the material. Set the power and speed for each cut and engrave in the job. Click Start to run the job.
  2. Monitor the job while it runs. If there is excessive flaming or a fire starts, immediately stop the job.
Clean-Up
  • Remove all material from the laser cabinet. Any excess material can be thrown away or donated to the scrap pile.
  • Occasionally the honeycomb table will need to be removed and the table underneath vacuumed of debris. Otherwise if enough debris accumulates, it may catch on fire during operation.
  • If the studio is closing or is closed, shut down the laser, computer, and exhaust system

Note: If engraving metal, take care to not touch it immediately after the job is finished. The metal will be hot from the engraving and needs to cool before removing from the laser.

Basic Troubleshooting

Laser won’t fire/very weak:

There are a few reasons why the laser won’t fire.

  • The first thing to check is the lens. The lens in the laser head can become clouded with smoke and debris. If the lens is clouded, it can weaken the laser. Ask a Laser Cutter master or apprentice to clean the lens.
  • The second common reason that would prevent the laser from firing is overheating. If the laser is overheating check the cooling fans for blockage. Turn the laser off and allow it to cool for about 10 min before powering it up again. (The cooling fans are situated on top of the laser generator behind the lid.)

General File Troubleshooting Tips:

A number of problems can stem from formatting issues in the job graphic, particularly if the file was imported into Inkscape. A good strategy when troubleshooting is to make the file as “simple” as possible. Ungroup any groups. Combine all objects with the same fill and stroke into a single path entity using tools like: Union, Difference, Combine, etc as appropriate (All found in the Path Menu). Convert any objects to paths (Path > Object to Path).

Job that show up empty or cut off:

Return to Inkscape. Reposition the job so that it is inside the top and left of the page. A job can overflow the right and bottom of the job, but anything above or the left will be cut off in printing.

Job shows up as a solid black box:

This usually indicates a transparent or partially transparent object. Return to Inkscape select all objects. Open the fill and stroke toolbox. Set opacity to 100%.

If problem persists, Return to Inkscape. Select each object individually. Invert selection (Edit > Invert Selection). Delete any “invisible” objects this reveals. Reprint.

Cut lines won’t cut:

Return to Inkscape. Ensure that the color of the cutlines matches perfectly with one of the 16 Trotec colors (The color bar at the bottom of the program has the 16 Trotec colors). Reprint.

Font is different on the laser:

This happens when the font originally selected is not installed on the computer that runs the laser. This problem can be most easily worked around by returning to the original computer. Make a copy of the file for backup. Open the file. Convert the text to a path (Path > Object to Path). This will convert the text to a shape. Note that the text cannot be edited as text anymore (this is why the backup was created).

Rotary Attachment does not work:

When using the rotary attachment, the laser head should automatically home to the center of the rotary attachment. If this does not occur, restart the laser or unplug and replug the rotary attachment. If problem persists, notify the master or apprentice on duty. See also Rotary Engraver 

References:

Trotec Laser. Operation Manual: Trotec Speedy 300. [online]. Available at: https://www.troteclaser.com/fileadmin/content/images/Contact_Support/Manuals/Speedy-300-Manual-EN.pdf  [Accessed 7 Jul. 2018]

Author Information

Article was written by Reed Morris and edited by Jeff Park.

Last Updated: August 14 2018.

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