Laser Usage Procedure

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

This page contains the recommended usage procedures for operating the Laser Cutter.

Start the Laser and Align the Work Grid

  1. Perform a system pre-check and log your start date/time.
    • Check the laser user log book and read the notes left by the last user.
    • Enter your name and start date/time in the log book.
    • 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.
    • Check the water level in the bucket.
    • Check for a working fire extinguisher.
  2. Lower the lid by hand and turn on power at the power strip.
    • Notice that the cooling water pump starts and is running OK.
    • Notice that the fans on the heat exchanger are spinning.
    • Notice that the exhaust duct fan starts and is running OK.
  3. Turn on the key switch at the laser control panel.
    • See the splash screen appear and change to the laser menu screen.
    • See the spotting laser (red dot) illuminate inside the work zone.
  4. Align the work surface honeycomb grid to the laser spot.
    • Push the honeycomb grid back into line contact with the back wall.
    • Slide the grid to the right to center the right edge under the laser spot.

Load Your Stock and Set the Laser Focus

Aluminum setup Cylinder
  1. Open the lid and place your stock material in position on the work surface honeycomb grid.
  2. Press 'ESC' to un-highlight the displayed 'LASER' file name.
  3. You can now use the arrow buttons to move the laser head. Press and/or hold down the 'Left Arrow' (-X jog) and 'Down Arrow' (-Y jog) to move the laser head over your stock.
  4. Place the aluminum setup cylinder under the yellow proximity switch block on the laser head.
  5. Press 'Z' to enter the 'Z-AXIS OPERATE' mode.
  6. Press 'RESET' to launch the laser focus setting motions.
  7. Press 'Z' to exit the 'Z-AXIS OPERATE' mode.
  8. Return the aluminum setup cylinder back to its storage spot.
  9. Press 'RESET' to cause the laser head to return to the default top right reset position in the work zone and close the lid.

Import Your DXF Geometry into Easycut 5.3

  1. Verify the 'WHCX-LASER' dongle is in the PC USB port.
  2. Click on the Easycut5.3 icon to launch this PC application.
  3. Enter the menu command string File / Import / (from location) / (filename) and then click on the Open button.
  4. Verify your geometry has imported at the correct scale and position in the Easycut5.3 application window.
    1. The geometry will be centered on a blue 'X' in the displayed workspace.
    2. There will be a blue dot at the upper right hand corner of your geometry.
    3. The cut path list (the window in the upper right corner of the screen) will show how many color layers are in your geometry.
  5. You can use the EasyCut5.3 CAD features to selectively edit your geometry as desired at this point.

Unite Lines and Set Laser Path Parameters

  1. Use the mouse to drag a box to outline and select all geometry. Then unite lines with the command string Tools / Unite lines / (set tolerance to 0.100) / OK.
  2. In the cut path list window, scroll each color row to set:
    • Mode = Cut, Engrave, GradeEngrave, or Hole (just use Cut or Engrave)
    • Output = If checked, this layer is sent to the laser; if not it is not sent.
    • Times = Usually set to '1', set to '2' to cut the path twice for thicker material.
      Double-click elsewhere on a color row to open the 'Set cut options' window where you can set the following additional cut options for your material:
    • Speed = 1 to 400 (choose a speed suitable for your material)
    • Power = 0 to 100 (choose a matching power level suitable for your speed)
    • Corner Power = 0 to 100 (less than power setting due to corner slow downs)
    • Overlap = Leave at 0.0200 (this is the default engraving step-over value)
    • For the three radio buttons, always select 'Always blow' (air on the optics).
    • […] = Advanced settings window (Don't go here or change any of these!)
  3. If you have multiple color cut layers, you can move color layers up and down in the list to change the cutting order.

Calculate and Download to the Laser

  1. Verify the 'Immediate' check box is checked.
  2. Press the 'Calculate' button. Notice the pop-up 'processing data' window opens, finishes, and closes.
  3. Press the 'Download' button. See the 'Stand-alone file manager' pop-up window. There, press the 'Download Current' button. See the pop-up 'Download' window appear and when it closes, the cutting program for your geometry has been downloaded to the laser.
  4. Close the 'Stand-alone file manager' window.
  5. You are done in Easycut5.3 for now. You can do a File / Save at this point to create and save an ECP file of your geometry and session settings in the Easycut5.3 application.

Test and Cut Your Geometry on the Laser

  1. At the laser control panel, press 'ESC' to un-highlight the 'LASER' file name shown on the laser display.
  2. Use the laser control panel arrow keys to jog the laser head to the desired 'immediate' starting point (upper right corner of the geometry's bounding box) on your stock material.
  3. Press 'TEST' to cause the laser head to trace the bounding box outline of your geometry in non-cutting mode.
  4. If the test outline was traced successfully, now press 'START PAUSE' to start the motions that will cut your part from start to finish.
  5. Watch as your part is cut. Do not leave the work area. If there are any problems, including fires, press the red STOP button. The laser head will stop by itself when the cutting program ends.

Reset the Laser Head & Unload Your Stock

  1. At the laser control panel, press 'ESC' to highlight the 'LASER' file name shown on the laser display.
  2. Press 'RESET' to cause the laser head to return to the default top right clearance position in the work zone.
  3. Open the lid and remove your stock.
  4. Clean out any detached slugs that may have become lodged in the work surface honeycomb grid.

Power Off Laser and Prep for the Next User

  1. At the laser control panel, press 'ESC' to un-highlight the 'LASER' file name shown on the laser display.
  2. Press 'RESET' to cause the laser head to return to the default top right clearance position in the work zone.
  3. Verify the laser work zone is clean and clear.
  4. Remove any stray slugs that may be lodged in the work surface honeycomb grid.
  5. Turn off the key switch to power off the laser.
  6. Turn off power at the power strip on the left side of the laser.
  7. Clean the area around the laser and PC. Empty the trash can. Leave the laser area better than when you found it.
  8. Enter your usage stop date/time and any notes in the log book. Note any problems or anomalies encountered.