The laser cutter is essentially a big printer. It has a moving head just like an inkjet printer, but instead of laying down droplets of ink, a laser is directed by mirrors to spot on the material where it burns away a precise spot.
The intensity of the laser can be varied so it can either print/engrave, called raster, or you can cut all the way through material, called vector.
The laser determines whether to raster or vector the material based on the “stroke weight” of the lines on the image. If you want to vector (cut) an image out, highlight the specific line(s) and change the stroke weight to 0.001, any other line weight will be rastered.
The lasers have an area of 24 inches wide by 12 inches high.
A variety of materials can be used in the laser cutter including cardboard, wood, plastics, and some metals. Note: PVC and vinyl are not laser safe.
There are several safety features about the laser that you need to be aware of before you begin. First and foremost, while the laser is in operation, you need to be able to touch the machine at all times (be no further away than an arm’s length).
Secondly, make sure the vent is on to ensure that exhaust and fumes are removed and that the possibility of fire/combustion is minimized. Before hitting “go” on the laser, ensure that the light switch behind the machines is flipped up and that the gates on the pipes are open to let the air supply flow.
Take care when placing material into the cutter so as to not hit the mirrors on the carriage inside the machine, they are very sensitive and it is easy to damage them if you are not careful. Also, never lean on the honeycomb bed platform inside the machine as it will bend and break easily.
1. Open the file
2. Place your part(s) in free space of the material you are using. Keep them close together so you are not wasting the material.
3. Go File > Print
4. Click “Setup” in the bottom left corner.
5. Select the printer (Epilog Engraver) from the list on the top (you may have to scroll to the left).
6. Click “Preferences”
7. Select Auto Focus.
8. Enter the settings for the material you are using. See Material Settings sheet next to the computer.
9. Make the piece size the same as your document dimensions.
10. Click OK, then Print, then Print again.
11. WAIT for the document to appear on the screen on the laser (you can also see the estimated time for the job in this screen), then press GO on the laser (if you don’t wait, you may print the wrong file).
Stay within an arm’s length of the laser while it’s running.
If something goes wrong, press stop.