Difference between revisions of "Laser Cutter"

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|laserType        = Sealed CO2 laser tube
|laserType        = Sealed CO2 laser tube
|bedHeight        = ~10 inches
|bedHeight        = ~10 inches
|cutSpeed          = 36,000 mm/min
|cutSpeed          = 300 mm/s
|engraveSpeed      = 60,000 mm/min
|engraveSpeed      = 600 mm/s
|engraveResolution = 1000 DPI
|engraveResolution = 1000 DPI
|manual            = RL-80-1290_User_Manual.pdf
|manual            = RL-80-1290_User_Manual.pdf

Revision as of 12:31, 3 May 2019

Rabbit QX-80-1290 Laser engraving/cutting machine
Rabbit Laser Cutter
Technical Specifications
Bed Size 1200 x 900 mm (47.2 x 35.4 inches)
LASER Power 80W
LASER Type Sealed CO2 laser tube
Max Bed Height ~10 inches
Max Cut Speed 300 mm/s
Max Engrave Speed 600 mm/s
Max Engrave Resolution 1000 DPI
Additional Information
User Manual RL-80-1290_User_Manual.pdf
Website Rabbit QX-80-1290 Product Page

The Laser cutter cuts or engraves digital designs on a variety of materials. Laser cutting is a great way to rapidly prototype projects.

An authorization workshop, hosted by an approved instructor, is required of all members before using the laser cutter. Workshops are posted on the calendar. Peer authorization is not an approved path for use of the laser cutter.

Interfacing with the laser cutter is performed with Laserweb.

The laser cutter does require regular cleaning and alignment. This is to be performed by trained volunteers only.



Fire Safety

Laser cutters pose a fire hazard. A high intensity beam of laser light can produce extremely high temperatures as it comes into contact with the materials it is engraving, marking, or cutting. When using the laser cutter, remember:

  1. You may only use the laser cutter if you have been officially authorized according to the machine access policy
  2. Never leave the laser cutter unattended while it was powered on (even if it is not firing)
  3. Never cut materials that you don't know are safe
  4. Never override laser cutter safeties and switches
  5. Know what to do if a fire happens
    1. Move the head out of the way, if it's small.
    2. Hint: Hit the big, red, emergency stop button. This will shutdown the laser and the air supply
    3. A Carbon Dioxide (CO2) fire extinguisher is located next to the laser cutter
    4. Verify it is out and then:
      1. Place a note that a fire occurred and the machine is out of service.
      2. Post on the forum about it, or send an email to fablab@makeict.org
      3. Someone from the laser group will check the machine, clean as necessary, and put it back into service.

Eye Safety

The laser is encased and will not fire unless the doors are shut. Do not bypass any safety lockouts or open panels without consulting the fablab lead first. Lasers can cause serious eye damage, even indirectly through scattered energy.

Air Safety

Many materials give off toxic fumes when cut. Do not cut unapproved, unknown or banned materials on the laser cutter. See the list of approved/banned materials on this wiki

Starting the laser cutter

  1. Check that the screen in the collection bin is clean and the bin is empty
  2. Start the laser cutter with the key switch
  3. Make sure the air compressor and the fan motor are on
  4. Home the head!
    • If you do not do this, you may crash the head, which is not good
  5. Beware of flammable materials while using the machine


A detailed step-by-step presentation of laserweb steps is here: Laserweb Screenshots

  1. On any computer - Create design
    Design step 1: Create your design in your favorite graphics program
    1. Laser web accepts *.png, *.jpg, *.jpeg, *.bmp, *.gcode, *.g, *.svg, *.dxf, *.tap, *.gc, & *.nc.
  2. At the laser cutter computer
    1. Check the calendar http://makeict.org/lasercutter to make sure you're not running into a reservation
    2. Start laser web
  3. LaserWeb: Files tab
    1. Import your file into laserweb on the "files" tab.
    2. Create setup layers for each speed and power setting
  4. LaserWeb: Comms tab
    1. Turn on the laser cutter with the key switch
    2. Click "connect". If there is a circle slash over "connect", you are probably already connected
  5. LaserWeb: Controls tab
    1. Press Z up to increase distance between laser head and table
    2. Home laser head
    3. Load media into cutter
      Sample of hardboard - Letter shapes are engraved, outline is cut
    4. Jog head to center of media
    5. Auto-focus
    6. Move laser to desired origin
    7. Set Zero
    8. Check Size
    9. Close lid then run job
  6. After cut is finished allow ~30 seconds before opening to vent smoke/fumes

When Finished

  1. Home the head
  2. Remove media and clear debris
  3. Power off

Rotary Axis

If you are using the rotary axis, refer to this page

Troubleshooting Guide

  • Head won't move, error shown in laser web software
Home the head
  • Bed only travels downwards
  1. Wiggle the probe and make sure its not jammed
  2. Check to see if the upper z-limit switch is stuck
  3. Try replacing the probe
  4. If none of these work, notify the fab lab team fablab@makeict.org
  • Lines are cutting fuzzier and thicker than normal
  1. Make sure you ran the autofocus
  2. Try focusing the laser cutter by hand if you like and notify the fab lab team fablab@makeict.org
  • The laser doesn't fire
  1. Open the door and reclose (the door switch might be flakey)
  2. Check the door switch to make sure it is not broken (Close the lid. Look at the power supply. P0 on the power supply is an indicator of it being broken. A0 means it is ok. The power supply is in the left side of the cabinet behind the lower left door would indicate this is the case.)
  • Edges of cut pieces are slanted, rather than straight.
The Laser is out of alignment and needs to be adjusted, notify the fab lab team fablab@makeict.org
  • Focus probe is broken.
There are spares in the kit in the cabinet on the left-hand side of the laser. When putting a thicker material in the cutter remember to lower the bed before moving the head.
  • Fumes are not venting well.
  1. Stop cutting
  2. Ventilation fan needs to be cleaned, notify the fab lab team fablab@makeict.org
  • The head crashes when approaching the left or bottom of the bed.
The head must be homed before starting to cut. Do not unlock without homing

Speed and Power Settings

Every material and sometimes even every day is different, but here are some starting points:

Material Power (%) Cut Rate (mm/s)
Plywood - 6mm 50% 15
Cardboard 50% 50
Engraving 2-15% 300


Cutting a bad material in the laser cutter can be dangerous. Only approved materials should be cut, and banned materials should never be placed in or even around the laser cutter. Cutting an unknown material risks bodily harm and damage to equipment/facilities.

Approved materials

Name Notes Warnings
Acrylic (aka Plexiglas, Lucite, PMMA)
Cuts well, leaves a smooth polished edge. Higher powers can leave smoke/scorch marks along edges. Some people remove paper/plastic protection sheets before cutting.
Cuts well, can catch fire FIRE hazard!
Engraving only Mirror surfaces can reflect the laser beam
Cloth (cotton, felt, hemp)
Cuts easily NO plastic coated or impregnated cloth!
Cuts nicely, the quality of the cut depends on the thickness and quality of the cork. Engineered cork has a lot of glue in it, may not cut nicely.
Coroplast (corrugated plastic)
Difficult to cut through cleanly, due to the ribs. Multiple passes are usually needed.
Comes in a number of shore strengths (hardness), the harder tends to work better. Great for gears!
Has a sandblasted look, #009900 glass works best Mirror surfaces can reflect the laser beam
Leather, suede
Leather is very hard to cut, can be if thinner than a belt thickness
MDF, engineered woods
May experience a higher amount of charring when cut
Magnetic sheet
Cuts easily
Engraving only Mirror surfaces can reflect the laser beam
Matte Board
Works well if it's thin. Thick mylar has a tendency to warp, bubble, and curl Gold coated mylar will not work
Paper, card stock
Plywood, composite woods
Contain glue, and may not cut as well as solid wood
DO NOT CUT unless the rubber compound has been tested Beware chlorine-containing rubber! If you're not sure, assume you've got chlorinated rubber, and don't cut it.
Engraving Only. Mirror surfaces can reflect the laser beam
Avoid oily/resinous woods FIRE - Cutting oily woods, or very resinous woods can catch fire.
Wood Veneer
Contain glue, and may not cut as well as solid wood
Anodized Aluminum
Engraving only. Vaporizes the anodized layer away
Bare Metals
Engraving only.
Engraving only.
Coated Metals
Engraving only. Vaporizes the coating away
Painted Metals
Engraving only. Vaporizes the paint away
Stainless Steel
Engraving only.
Engraving only.
PolyPropylene Sheet
PolyStyrene Sheet
NOT FOAM Tends to melt; avoid overheating.

Banned materials

These materials should never be processed in the laser cutter. This list is not exhaustive.

ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene)
Emits cyanide gas and tends to melt ABS does not cut well in a laser cutter. It tends to melt rather than vaporize, and has a higher chance of catching on fire and leaving behind melted gooey deposits on the vector cutting grid. It also does not engrave well (again, tends to melt).
Chlorinated plastics (PVC/Poly Vinyl Chloride, vinyl/pleather/artificial leather)
Emits pure chlorine gas when cut! Don't ever cut this material as it will ruin the optics, cause the metal of the machine to corrode, and ruin the motion control system. Bubbles yellow, smokes alot, STINKS!!!!!
Coated Carbon Fiber
Emits noxious fumes A mix of two materials. Thin carbon fiber mat can be cut, with some fraying - but not when coated
Emits fumes It's a mix of two materials that cant' be cut. Glass (etch, no cut) and epoxy resin (fumes)
Galvanized metal
Emits dangerous fumes Zinc fumes are poisonous. Galvanized metal should never be super heated (so don't weld on it either).
Power needed for LASER to cut metal
Milk bottles/HDPE
Catches fire and melts It melts, gets gooey. DON'T. Someone has to clean the hex worktable.
Mirrored surfaces
Will not cut, reflects laser beam Mirror surfaces can reflect the laser beam, damaging the cutter's interior components. Some mirrored materials can be placed reflective-side down and cut.
Cut very poorly, disbackground-color, catch fire Polycarbonate is often found as flat, sheet material. The window of the laser cutter is made of Polycarbonate because polycarbonate strongly absorbs infrared radiation! This is the frequency of light the laser cutter uses to cut materials, so it is very ineffective at cutting polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is a poor choice for laser cutting.
CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, etc.
Made of Polycarbonate.
PolyPropylene Foam
Catches fire Like PolyStyrene, it melts, catches fire, and the melted drops continue to burn and turn into rock-hard drips and pebbles.
PolyStyrene Foam
Catches fire Like PolyPropylene. It catches fire, it melts, and only thin pieces cut. This is the #1 material that causes laser fires!!!
Pressure treated wood
Emits dangerous fumes Should never be burned -- not in your fireplace, and definitely not in our LASER
Printed circuit board (FR4 and other material types)
Unidentified plastics/rubbers
If you don't know what it is, don't put it in the LASER cutter
Plastics from The Yard Store
They do not properly identify their plastics

Links & Other Resources