Small Laser Cutter

Revision as of 18:52, 9 January 2016 by Nessie (talk | contribs)
Fab Lab
3D Printing 2D Cutting Misc

Hive13 Equipment
List of All Documented Equipment
Small laser cutter.jpg
Owner/Loaner: Hive13
Hive13 Asset Tag: None
Make/Model: Full Spectrum Engineering 60W CO2 Laser Cutter/Engraver (google)
Arrival Date: 06/2011
Does it work?: Yes
Certification Needed?: yes
Contact: Fab Lab area warden
Floorplan: 1A

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

Current Status - Partially working

The red sighting laser needs to be remounted in a new way due to the combiner getting fried.

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!

Paul is working on setting up a Laser Class.


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 out 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:

  • Ian Blais
  • Dustin Bruce
  • Ben Dakin
  • Jim Dallam
  • Chris Davis
  • Elly Hall
  • James Hartley
  • Chris Hodapp
  • Mike Horwath
  • Tiffany Horwath
  • Jordan McElroy
  • Ivan McCuistion
  • Dave Menninger
  • Daniel McNamara
  • Jim Chen
  • Dave Blundell
  • Tom Meyer
  • Dave Myers
  • Jon Neal
  • Coy Paeltz
  • Kris Sandrick
  • Jim Shealy
  • Bill Steele
  • John Stoughton
  • Craig Smith
  • Paul Vincent
  • Ian Wilson
  • Brandon Wooldridge
  • Ryan Hershey
  • Craig Jolly
  • Michael Krause
  • Brent Shields


  • Jim Dallam
  • Elly Hall
  • Ryan Hershey



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


Pay by the Minute

  • $0.25 / minute for members, pay by the minute.
  • Non members must have a member operate the laser cutter for them. Costs are still $0.25 / minute to the hive and the operator may charge as they please on top of that.
  • You may be able to purchase minutes at a lower cost by finding someone who will sell them to you. Several members received a significant quantity of minutes for donating to purchase the laser cutter. Ask around!

Operating the Laser Cutter

Scheduling time on the Laser

Please note: The Laser is only available to Hive13 members who have been certified on its use & care. If you are not in this group, you may be able to do so when members are present, but please get in touch ahead of time to prevent a wasted trip.

  1. Open your Hive13 Calendar ( is a good start) and create an event.
  2. On the left hand side, select 'Add.. Rooms, etc.' and then 'Add 60W Laser Cutter'
  3. Select the 'Find a time' tab and navigate to the date and time you would like to use the laser, and make sure it is not shown as previously reserved on the calendar. You may schedule up to 2 hours at a time in advance. If no one else schedules time you can just continue using the machine - but we'd appreciate it if you would update your block later so we can keep track of usage.
  4. Save your event.


  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)


LaserCut (Windows only)

  • 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
  • Manual (pdf)

Printer Driver (Windows only)

  • Currently in beta, does vector only; raster coming later
  • Can print from most windows programs
  • Outputs a *.PLT file in the C:\output directory, which can then be imported into LaserCut

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.



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.