Small Laser Cutter

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Fab Lab
3D Printing 2D Cutting Misc

Hive13 Equipment
List of All Documented Equipment
Owner/Loaner: Hive13
Hive13 Asset Tag: HV0141
Make/Model: Full Spectrum Engineering 60W CO2 Laser Cutter/Engraver (google)
Arrival Date: 06/2011
Does it work?: Yes
Certification Needed?: yes
Contact: Laser warden
Floorplan: Laser Bay

WARNING: Do not look into laser with remaining eye. Pages to do with the Laser Cutter:

File:Small laser cutter.jpg

Current Status - New controller installed and everything "works", just need laser alignment

The Small Laser now has the same controller as the Big Laser. A touch sensor like the Big Laser has also been installed. This is to make their operation almost identical. The new controller operating panel does not fit in the current opening so it is just loosely hanging on the front. A new laser head has been mounted but it protrudes deeper into the bed area (this will limit the maximum height of the part), we are working on pulling the laser lens holder closer to the gantry. The next step is to do a full laser alignment. The 2nd mirror is probably not in the correct X or Y position since a bracket was made to get it close in alignment to the new laser head.

In midst of an upgrade away from sucky software

We are updating the controller to talk to the much more modern software Lightburn.

Ralph Blumberg is doing the vast majority of the heavy lifting to get the hardware talking to other hardware.

We will be creating an updated operating manual as soon as we get things working.

The auto Z-Datum is not working. You must manually set the Z height to 56 mm.

A metal cylinder was created (labeled 50mm lens)


that is placed on your material aligned with the non-contact sensor, and then the bed is raised until it stops (when the non-contact sensor detects the metal cylinder). Remove the metal cylinder and place in the back of the laser work area out of the way. Your material should now be the correct distance from the laser lens.

The controller has been updated to a Leetro 8530. File:MPC8530S Hardware Manual V1.0(1).pdf   The new operating panel is too large to fit in place of the old panel, so for now it is attached by a cord and operates like a game controller.

LaserCut2017 is installed on the Small Laser PC. File:LaserCut2017 Manual V01.pdf It is much the same as EasyCut 5.3 though you should plan some time to become acquainted with it's nuances.

Certified with the laser? Want to get on the good side of the laser operators? See what you can possibly do to help document and maintain the Laser!


The Laser is only available to Hive13 members who have been certified on its use & care. To become certified, you need to take the certification class. Contact us about scheduling one at other times.

Note: The list of certified people is currently up to date. Please notify a trainer (listed below) if you were accidentally left off the list

Only the following people are certified and permitted to fire the lazzzor:

Lorin Parker

Dave Velzy

Brett P.

Will B

Brad Walsh


  • Brad Walsh
  • Lorin Parker
  • Dave Velzy



For details on the different settings required for different materials, see Laser Settings.

For sources of materials to cut and engrave, see Materials Resources.

General material limits:

  • Acrylic ¾” max
  • Wood ¾” max
  • Circuit Boards (theoretically, not tested yet)
    • Either - Apply coating, laser etch off coating, etch off exposed copper w/ acid.
  • Metal - Will not cut
    • Must apply chemical to "etch". Does not really etch, chemical only bonds to metal.
    • Can only do this to soft metal.
  • Paper / Cardboard
    • Yes

Operating the Laser Cutter

  1. == Start the Laser and Align the Work Grid ==
    1. Perform a system pre-check
      • Check that the general area around the laser is free and clear.
      • Open the laser lid and check that the work zone is free and clear and level.
      • - WHY? Because on power up the laser will auto home the head at the back right hand corner. Make sure it doesn't crash into anything
      • Check the water level in the chiller sight gauge under the big laser PC. If low, fill with Distilled Water only.
      • Check for a working fire extinguisher and fire blankets.
    2. Power up the Laser system
      • Plug the Chiller and Exhaust Fan into the 220V outlet. (to power up the chiller and exhaust fan).
      • Turn on the Small Laser power key switch
      • - Make sure the Red STOP button is in the up position.
      • - See the splash screen appear and change to the laser menu screen.
      • The Chiller is wired into the Big Laser and should come on with a double Beep Beep - The chiller cools both lasers
      • - Assure the chiller is running properly and the water level is in the green.
      • - You can see the chiller temperature display from the back of the laser. it should be in the low 20's C
      • The Small Laser air pump must be plugged in to the power strip.
      • Assure the air pump is blowing air out the laser nozzle. Use your hand to check the air flow.
      • The Exhaust Fan is powered through the Big Laser.
      • -Assure the Exhaust fan is running.
    3. If you are using the Honeycomb, assure that it is clear and will not get caught under the laser frame by the rising bed.
      • DO NOT CUT WOOD, PLYWOOD, BIRCHPLY, or MDF on the HONEYCOMB - They leave sooty marks on the surface.
      • Visually align the honeycomb to be clear at all four corners of the bed.
      • Manually raise the Z axis from the control panel until the honeycomb surface is 38 mm from the lens.


  1. Check for water flow on startup
  2. Make sure exhaust fan is running
  3. Check for fires and put them out ;)


  1. Ever leave the laser unattended (see fires above)
  2. Turn off the “Air” button. That needs to be on to protect the lens
  3. Laser on Vinyl, PVC, Sintra (will produce corrosive and toxic gases)
  4. Cut metals (it won't work)
  5. Bump or touch the mirrors or lenses (will put the machine out of alignment or damage optics)


LaserCut2017 (Windows only)

See this link for a manual on how to prepare your Art Work Preparingtheartwork.pdf ‎

  • This software will import files in these formats:
    • *.PLT (HPGL)
    • *.AI (Adobe Illustrator)
    • *.DXF (AutoCAD)
    • *.DST (Tajima)
    • *.CDR (Corel Draw)
    • *.BMP (Plain old bitmap, monochrome only) - and other common raster formats like PNG and GIF that will do monochrome

For more design software, see Design Resources

Calibrating the Laser

  • TODO: Add info about aligning the laser and mirrors.
  • The small cylinder meant for focusing the laser on the workpiece is 25mm in height and 25mm in diameter. It is made out of aluminum. Store the cylinder on the back shelf inside the Laser.



Please see the Service Log for technicians responsible for service/maintenance of the laser cutter.


Optics Alignment


  • Refilling the CO2 canisters
    • People love to play with them, so they need to be refilled fairly often.
    • Ian (iwilson/uid0) got them refilled at land, air, and sea in northern kentucky several times at a cost of $5ish/bottle. Not the cheapest.