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tools:digitalfabrication:lasercutter [2020/01/09 22:17]
tools:digitalfabrication:lasercutter [2020/06/30 10:11] (current)
sgt.dicks [Showcase of Awesome]
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 ===== Laser Cutter ===== ===== Laser Cutter =====
-<WRAP center round alert 60%> +<​alert ​type="​danger"​ icon="​fa fa-warning"​>This machine can only be operated under supervision of one of the Laser Supervisors.</​alert>
-This machine can only be operated under supervision of one of the Laser Supervisors. +
-</WRAP>+
  
-=== State of Operation (2020-01-07): === +<callout type="​info"​ icon="​true">​ 
-The auto drain on the air assist'​s air compressor ​has diedYou need to manually bleed the air compressor outside, then the air line at the back of the machineat the beginning ​of each session and after each hour of air assist use thereafter.+=== State of Operation (2020-06-24): OPERATIONAL ​=== 
 +**Recent notes:​** ​The air extraction ducting outside is falling apart and has been patched but needs checking before useThere is a leak in the air compressor ​box outside ​for the air assist, so this needs to be turned on and bled before use, then turned off when you're done. We don't have a complete library of cutting/​marking/​engraving settings after the machine'​s recent power-increasing upgrades, so please understand that there'​s a good chance we'll have to spend some time trying to work out the right settings for your job first (including if it's the same material but in a different thickness, or cut vs mark vs engrave). Some of the Smoothieboard settings still haven'​t been dialled in perfectly for the new tube eitherlike the laser'​s raw output power or even the linearity ​of its power output. Also keep in mind that not only will this be time-consuming for the Supervisors (who are volunteers who get nothing for volunteering their time), but because we're still optimising the internal settings then even if we worked them out for you one week we may need to work them out from scratch again only a week later if something else has changed. You will need one of the Laser Supervisors to help you begin & end your job. Tuesday Open Nights are the best time to catch one as there'​s normally more than one Laser Supervisor present anyway. If that's not suitable try [[https://​discord.gg/​avtkH5t|Discord chat]] or [[https://​forum.hsbne.org/​c/​cause-effect/​digital-fabrication|the forums]]. If you'd like to help improve & maintain this machine, talk to either one of the Laser Supervisors or the Digifab cause leader</​callout>​
  
-Operationalbut with a few caveatsWe don't have complete library of cutting/marking/engraving settings after the machine'​s recent power-increasing upgradesso please understand that there'​s a good chance we'​ll ​have to spend some time trying to work out the right settings for your job first (including ​if it'​s ​the same material ​but in a different ​thicknessor cut vs mark vs engrave)Some of the Smoothieboard settings still haven'​t been dialled in perfectly for the new tube either, like the laser'​s ​raw output power or even the linearity of its power output. Also keep in mind that not only will this be time-consuming for the Supervisors (who are volunteers who get nothing for volunteering their time)but because we're still optimising the internal settings then even if we worked them out for you one week we may need to work them out from scratch again only week later if something else has changed. You will need one of the Laser Supervisors to help you begin & end your job. Tuesday Open Nights are the best time to catch one as there'​s normally more than one Laser Supervisor present anywayIf that's not suitable try [[https://discord.gg/avtkH5t|Discord chat]] or [[https://forum.hsbne.org/c/cause-effect/digital-fabrication|the forums]]. If you'd like to help improve & maintain this machinetalk to either one of the Laser Supervisors or the Digifab cause leader.+==== Quick FAQs ==== 
 +  * **What can the machine cut?** The most common stuff people cut is up to 8mm acrylic or 6mm woodpaper/​cardboard and natural untanned leatherNo metals (not even foil), PVC, vinyl, polycarbonate or fake leather. For full list check [[https://wiki.hsbne.org/​tools/​digitalfabrication/​lasercutter#​material_choices|Material choices]]. 
 +  * ** How large is the bed size?** 500mm * 700mm. If your sheet material is too largeyou'​ll ​need to cut it down (the [[tools:​woodshop:​tablesaws|Table Saw]] in the [[causes:​woodworking|Wood Shop]] is good if it'​s ​suitable).  
 +  * ** Can it engrave too?** Yes! It does vector outline marking as well as raster fill engraving (which takes a while). Depth/​strength is customisable ​but takes while to test different ​optionsask a Laser Supervisor about it. 
 +  * ** How do I use this machine?** It'​s ​a very complicated & very fragile beast that takes a long time to learnso it's interlocked. For occasional use we recommend ​you organise ​time with one of the Laser Supervisors to assist ​you in setting up the machine; ​there'​s normally more than one floating around on Tuesday nights but you can ask on Discord or the ForumsCheck the [[https://wiki.hsbne.org/tools/​digitalfabrication/​lasercutter#​usage_guide|Usage Guide]] for more details. 
 +  * ** Can I use my own materials?​** So long as you're absolutely sure what material it actually is and it's on the approved list, absolutely! Our stockpile is limited, is mostly recycled/​scrap material and doesn'​t have much variety. Some suggested suppliers are in the [[https://wiki.hsbne.org/tools/digitalfabrication/lasercutter#​usage_guide|Usage Guide]]. 
 +  * ** Can I attach the laser to a shark'​s head?** No[[https://​www.youtube.com/​watch?​v=Bh7bYNAHXxw|Dr Evil]], you may not. Meat is not an allowed cutting material.
  
 ====== Specifications ====== ====== Specifications ======
   * **Machine:​** [[http://​www.cnccheap.com/​X700.html|RedSail X700 Laser Engraver]], Red & Black   * **Machine:​** [[http://​www.cnccheap.com/​X700.html|RedSail X700 Laser Engraver]], Red & Black
-  * **Location:​** [[:​digitalfabrication|Digital Fabrication Room]]+  * **Location:​** [[tools:​digitalfabrication:home|Digital Fabrication Room]]
   * **Power:** 60W power supply, 80W rated glass tube, <​del>​62mm diameter, 1220mm long</​del>​ new tube dimensions not yet recorded (could fit 1250mm maximum) ​   * **Power:** 60W power supply, 80W rated glass tube, <​del>​62mm diameter, 1220mm long</​del>​ new tube dimensions not yet recorded (could fit 1250mm maximum) ​
   * **Wavelength:​** CO<​sub>​2</​sub>​ infra-red 10.6µm   * **Wavelength:​** CO<​sub>​2</​sub>​ infra-red 10.6µm
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 **This machine is INCREDIBLY delicate. If you haven'​t been approved by the Laser Supervisors it's recommend you don't move, open or even touch this equipment.** **This machine is INCREDIBLY delicate. If you haven'​t been approved by the Laser Supervisors it's recommend you don't move, open or even touch this equipment.**
  
-Laser cutters can be picky machines - particularly ours, given it was originally a cheap Chinese unit that's had half its guts pulled out & replaced and various hacks or upgrades installed throughout it. Sometimes we compare it to the differences between a plane and a car. Knowing how to drive one car means you can pretty much just hop in and drive most other cars straight away, from a Porsche 911 to a Model T Ford, whereas knowing how to fly one plane gets you the basic theory but there'​s enough differences between models that you need to learn how to fly each type/model of plane separately (it's common for a lot of larger aircraft to not even include a key because just knowing how to actually operate them is all that's needed to prevent people stealing them). In the same way, knowing how to use other laser cutters gives you the basic theory behind them, but not the knowledge of how to properly operate //our// one. Ironically, our past experiences have been that people who know how to use other laser cutters are actually //more likely// to damage our one due to things like false confidence & expecting it to work one way when it works another, and there'​s unfortunately many past instances of damage backing up why we're a bit protective of this machine. Our machine has had features added to it to ensure it's safe for humans to use it, but it's still lacking many features to ensure safety for the machine itself - that is, there'​s nothing stopping the machine from destroying itself in a fraction of a second if you do something wrong. For these reasons, this machine is interlocked and can only be turned on by certain people.+Laser cutters can be picky machines - particularly ours, given it was originally a cheap Chinese unit that's had half its guts pulled out & replaced and various hacks or upgrades installed throughout it. Sometimes we compare it to the differences between a plane and a car. Knowing how to drive one car means you can pretty much just hop in and drive most other cars straight away, from a Porsche 911 to a Model T Ford, whereas knowing how to fly one plane gets you the basic theory but there'​s enough differences between models that you need to learn how to fly each type/model of plane separately (it's common for a lot of larger aircraft to not even include a key because just knowing how to actually operate them is all that's needed to prevent people stealing them). In the same way, knowing how to use other laser cutters gives you the basic theory behind them, but not the knowledge of how to properly operate //our// one. Ironically, our past experiences have been that people who know how to use other laser cutters are actually //more likely// to damage our one due to things like false confidence & expecting it to work one way when it works another, and there'​s unfortunately many past instances of damage ​and literal //years// of cumulative downtime ​backing up why we're a bit protective of this machine. Our machine has had features added to it to ensure it's safe for humans to use it, but it's still lacking many features to ensure safety for the machine itself - that is, there'​s nothing stopping the machine from destroying itself in a fraction of a second if you do something wrong. For these reasons, this machine is interlocked and can only be turned on by certain people.
  
-To use this machine you either need to be supervised by a Laser Supervisor, be inducted, or be a Laser Supervisor yourself. For casual use or newcomers the first option is the one you want; the easiest way to organise a time with one of the Laser Supervisors is during Tuesday Open Nights as normally there'​s more than one present anyway. If that's not an option for you the next best choice is to ask in the #​cause-digifab channel or the general channel on [[https://​discord.gg/​avtkH5t|Discord chat]], or the forums in the [[https://​forum.hsbne.org/​c/​cause-effect/​digital-fabrication|Digifab section]]. What's generally involved on the day is a Laser Supervisor will check over your job, run you through setting everything up, then start the job for you. You then watch over the machine to make sure nothing goes wrong (see [[https://​wiki.hsbne.org/​tools/​lasercutter#​how_to_know_when_something_s_wrong|How To Know When Something'​s Wrong]]) while the Laser Supervisor leaves & does whatever they were doing before, then when your job is finished the Supervisor will return to show you how to properly clean the machine & leave it in a good state ready for the next person. Hopefully you'll pick up a thing or two watching the Supervisor, so on future jobs you can do more & more of the required beginning/​ending work so the Supervisor does less of it for you and more just checking you did everything right. There'​s a //lot// to know though, more than most people are honestly willing to learn, and more than can be remembered from a single session. Generally most people care about getting their job cut, not fully learning how to use a laser cutter, which is completely okay and is why we do it this way.+To use this machine you either need to be supervised by a Laser Supervisor, be inducted, or be a Laser Supervisor yourself. For casual use or newcomers the first option is the one you want as induction takes multiple sessions over multiple days; the easiest way to organise a time with one of the Laser Supervisors is during Tuesday Open Nights as normally there'​s more than one present anyway. If that's not an option for you the next best choice is to ask in the #​cause-digifab channel or the general channel on [[https://​discord.gg/​avtkH5t|Discord chat]], or the forums in the [[https://​forum.hsbne.org/​c/​cause-effect/​digital-fabrication|Digifab section]].
  
-Note that we ask for a donation to be made to Digifab when using the laser cutter to cover its ongoing operating costs (cleaning supplies, lubricants, mirrors/​lenses,​ laser tubes, replacing parts that break or wear out, upgrades, etc), plus an additional donation if you use some of our on-hand material stock. The suggested donation for using the laser cutter ​is currently $12/houror $1 every 5 minutes, plus extra if you use the honeycomb bed. Note that this is only just covers estimated running costsso please don't skip the donation & higher amounts are definitely appreciated. We recommend bringing your own materials as our stockpile will always be small, limited & pretty random in what we have on offer, and there'​s a good chance we won't have what you want as it's mostly reclaimed or scrapsA few local suppliers are [[https://www.acrylicsonline.com.au/|Global Acrylics]], [[https://www.mylittleacrylicshop.com.au/​|My Little Acrylic Shop]], [[https://www.australiansheettraders.com.au/|Australian Sheet Traders]], or even [[https://www.bunnings.com.au/|Bunnings]]. Suggested donations for using our materials ​are on posters in Digifab orfor some more exotic materials, directly on themAcrylic is $18/kg for good condition or $12/kg for scratched or damagedsheet plastics are $30/kg for good condition or $24 for scratched or damaged, and cardboard ​is $10/kgNote that unless ​you square up the remaining material, you'​re ​buying ​the whole piece (and each side must be >10cm, no tiny pieces please). Scales are by the laser cutter computer, but for reference if you prefer to calculate things by hand, a 600mm*300mm*4.5mm sheet of acrylic is almost exactly 1kg.+__Being supervised__:​ what's generally involved ​on the day is a Laser Supervisor will check over your jobrun you through setting everything upthen start the job for you. You then watch over the machine to make sure nothing goes wrong (see [[https://wiki.hsbne.org/tools/digitalfabrication/lasercutter#​how_to_know_when_something_s_wrong|How To Know When Something'​s Wrong]]) while the Laser Supervisor leaves & does whatever they were doing beforethen when your job is finished the Supervisor will return to show you how to properly clean the machine & leave it in a good state ready for the next person. Hopefully you'll pick up a thing or two watching the Supervisor work, so on future jobs you can do more & more of the required beginning/ending work so the Supervisor does less of it for you and more just checking you did everything rightThere'​s a //lot// to know though, more than most people ​are honestly willing to learnand more than can be remembered from a single sessionGenerally most people care about getting their job cutnot fully learning the intricacies how a laser cutter works and how it should/shouldn'​t be usedwhich is completely okay and is why we do it this wayIf you do find yourself using the machine frequently enough with the same types of jobs that the Laser Supervisor isn't correcting ​you any morethey may grant you induction status if they feel you'​re ​competent enough that it's unlikely you'll damage ​the machine.
  
-Because ​we haven'​t sorted out 100% of everything involved, inductions for the laser cutter are currently a long process taking many one-on-one sessions ​that end up taking at least month, and inducted ​members ​still have many restrictions placed on them (eg only certain specific materials/​types of cuts that are known good, not the entire library in Visicut as the library currently has many dud profiles). Again because we don't have everything sorted out and because they have to be essentially done one-on-one, inductions take //a lot// of Supervisor time, and the Supervisors are only volunteers that get nothing in return for volunteering all their time too. It's not worth the large amount of volunteer time if you're only needing a handful of future cuts, particularly given it's a topic complex enough that you're likely to forget things if you don't use the machine regularly. So unless you plan to regularly cut a //lot// of separate jobs regularly over a long period of time, the Laser Supervisors would rather just supervise you on individual jobs because it's far quicker and easier for everyone. If this is a burning (pun intended) passion of yours though, we suggest you start by reading through both [[https://​www.repairfaq.org/​sam/​lasersam.htm|Sam'​s Laser FAQ]] and IEC 60825.1. As with both the laser cutter itself and the rest of the Hackerspace in general, help improving this system is always welcome.+__Becoming inducted__: because ​we haven'​t sorted out 100% of everything involved, inductions for the laser cutter are currently a long process taking many one-on-one sessions ​(we have to check you've actually remembered everything so we can't just show it to you once and call it done, and how many sessions it takes depends on how quickly you pick it all up). They usually start with normal supervised cut, and then depending on how much you remember the second time we go from there, explaining in more detail about all the hidden or subtle things that go into both producing good cuts and not damaging the machine, as well as the reasons why for those things. Inducted ​members ​usually ​have restrictions placed on them (eg only certain specific materials/​types of cuts that are known good, not the entire library in Visicut as the library currently has many dud profiles), to save time so if you're not intending to cut eg latex we won't bother explaining the different work-flow for that specific material. Again because we don't have everything sorted out and because they have to be essentially done one-on-one, inductions take //a lot// of Supervisor time, and the Supervisors are only volunteers that get nothing in return for volunteering all their time. It's not worth the large amount of volunteer time if you're only needing a handful of future cuts, particularly given it's a topic complex enough that you're likely to forget things if you don't use the machine regularly. So unless you plan to regularly cut a //lot// of separate jobs regularly over a long period of time, the Laser Supervisors would rather just supervise you on individual jobs because it's far quicker and easier for everyone. If being inducted ​is a burning (pun intended) passion of yours though, we suggest you start by reading through both this entire Wiki article plus [[https://​www.repairfaq.org/​sam/​lasersam.htm|Sam'​s Laser FAQ]] and IEC 60825.1. As with both the laser cutter itself and the rest of the Hackerspace in general, help improving this system is always welcome.
  
-Becoming ​a Laser Supervisor is a decision made by the Digifab Cause Leader on advice of the other Laser Supervisors. Normally this is only done when we need another one (too many and we end up with a "​[[https://​www.youtube.com/​watch?​v=QrGrOK8oZG8|too many cooks in the kitchen]]"​ scenario). You'll need to know things like calibrating the optics, reading/​writing G-code, diagnosing faults both software and hardware, repairing and/or replacing components, etc. Basically it's the Supervisors'​ job to fix this machine when other people break it, and if you're a Supervisor it's expected you will regularly put in the hours required to both Supervise others and keep this machine up & running.+__Becoming ​a Laser Supervisor:__ this is a decision made by the Digifab Cause Leader on advice of the other Laser Supervisors. Normally this is only done when we need another one (too many and we end up with a "​[[https://​www.youtube.com/​watch?​v=QrGrOK8oZG8|too many cooks in the kitchen]]"​ scenario), but we're pretty open to having more people supervise others ​. You'll need to know things like calibrating the optics, reading/​writing G-code, diagnosing faults both software and hardware, repairing and/or replacing components, etc. Basically it's the Supervisors'​ job to fix this machine when other people break it, and if you're a Supervisor it's expected you will regularly put in the hours required to both Supervise others and keep this machine up & running
 + 
 +__Suggested Donations:​__ Note that we ask for a donation to be made to Digifab when using the laser cutter to cover its ongoing operating costs (cleaning supplies, lubricants, mirrors/​lenses,​ laser tubes, replacing parts that break or wear out, upgrades, etc), plus an additional donation if you use some of our on-hand material stock. The suggested donation for using the laser cutter is currently $12/hour, or $1 every 5 minutes, plus extra if you use the honeycomb bed. Note that this only //just// covers estimated running costs, so please don't skip the donation if you don't have a reason to do so, and of course higher amounts are definitely appreciated. We recommend bringing your own materials as our stockpile will always be small, limited & pretty random in what we have on offer, and there'​s a good chance we won't have what you want as it's mostly reclaimed or scrap materials. A few local suppliers are [[https://​www.acrylicsonline.com.au/​|Global Acrylics]], [[https://​www.mylittleacrylicshop.com.au/​|My Little Acrylic Shop]], [[https://​www.australiansheettraders.com.au/​|Australian Sheet Traders]], or even [[https://​www.bunnings.com.au/​|Bunnings]]. Suggested donations for using our materials are on posters in Digifab or, for some more exotic materials, directly on them. Acrylic is $18/kg for good condition or $12/kg for scratched or damaged, sheet plastics are $30/kg for good condition or $24 for scratched or damaged, and cardboard is $10/kg. Note that unless you square up the remaining material, you're considered as consuming the whole piece (and each side must be >10cm, no tiny pieces please). Scales are by the laser cutter computer, but for reference if you prefer to calculate things by hand, a 600mm*300mm*4.5mm sheet of acrylic is almost exactly 1kg.
  
 ===== Current Laser Supervisors ===== ===== Current Laser Supervisors =====
   * Aaron '​Crofty'​ Bycroft   * Aaron '​Crofty'​ Bycroft
-  * Jaimyn '​jabelone' ​Mayer+  * Jaimyn '​jabelone'​
   * Drew '​dreadnought'​ Spriggs   * Drew '​dreadnought'​ Spriggs
   * David '​Buzz'​ Buzz   * David '​Buzz'​ Buzz
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 ===== Maintenance Log ===== ===== Maintenance Log =====
 This list is not all-inclusive but covers some of the major works performed on the laser cutter so that down the track we know when various things happened. This list is not all-inclusive but covers some of the major works performed on the laser cutter so that down the track we know when various things happened.
-  ​* 5/1/2020 power connector replaced+ 
 +  * 3/3/2020 - Extraction fan ducting temporarily patched (Doc and Jared Saunders). Second mirror, third mirror, lens cleaned (riumplus) 
 +  * 23/2/2020 - Compressor auto drain replaced, compressor reed valved replaced, extractor fan start capacitor replaced by qualified electrician (Drew) 
 +  * 7/2/2020 - Lens cleaned (Drew) 
 +  ​* 5/​1/​2020 ​power connector replaced
  
 ====== Resources ====== ====== Resources ======
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 ====== Showcase of Awesome ====== ====== Showcase of Awesome ======
-For a few pics of out stuff, please go to the next page: [[tools:​lasercutter2|Laser Pics Page!]]+For a few pics of out stuff, please go to the next page: [[https://​wiki.hsbne.org/​tools/​digitalfabrication/​lasercutter2|Laser Pics Page!]]
 (as embedding the images on this page directly broke it) (as embedding the images on this page directly broke it)
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