Laser Cutting Paper on a Diode Laser

Laser cutting paper can be a mix of a science and art-form. The paper manufacturer, glossiness, color, and weight all come into play to make a successful cut. I’ve done some experimenting with a few different types of paper, basic printer paper to card stock.

Finding a good paper is key, I went through a number of different manufacturers/types till I found one that worked well. I found the darker colored papers were best (and in this case, color didn’t matter), so I used those. The dark color hides soot marks and makes the paper absorb more laser light, getting a better cut. AstroBright Grocer Kraft is a good paper and color. These have been seen to work better than generic white card stock. The white card stock had too much of a sheen to it, the laser could cut it, but it took slower passes or multiple passes to do so, while sooting far more than the AstroBright paper.

Next up is a good lens, I found that the G8 lens is better than the stock ortur laser master 2 lens for paper cutting. Using the G8, I’m able to cut paper in fewer passes with less scorching and a smaller focus size. Using this lens may even work quickly through the bright whites that the stock lens couldn’t handle (more experimentation is needed).

Holding It Down

I’ve used a few different hold down methods, none, blue tape, and a vacuum table. While using nothing to hold down the paper, the paper would curl up during the cutting, causing the cuts to lose accuracy, it could also shift around from other forces in the environment (air conditioning) which caused issues.

Blue tape worked okay but using it meant the edges of the paper weren’t cut completely through and everything had to be gently removed to prevent damage to the paper. I could cut through the edges completely with slower speeds or more passes, but this meant more scorching of the rest of the paper that didn’t need the extra power and this was undesirable.

The final stop was using a vacuum table to control the fumes and hold the paper down, this works the best as it holds the paper so it doesn’t bend upwards during cutting while also pulling the fumes to prevent as much sooting. This can also prevent scorching by reducing flareups during cutting.


Paper cutting on the laser master isn’t bad once you have everything tuned, running the G8 lens, darker card stock, and a vacuum table if possible. This all comes together to provide the quickest and cleanest cuts.

Home Assistant Notifying of Clothes Washer Completion

My clothes washer makes a little jingle when it completes a cycle, however that noise isn’t exactly loud, and its simply not possible to hear it other than in the room right next to the machine. Because of this I’d like to get a text message notification when the machine finishes.


  • Send a notification to my phone when the washing machine is done
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Intro to InfluxDB V2

I have watchtower setup on my Unraid server to handle automatically updating all my docker containers. This is quite convenient, however it does come with some dangers. For instance, my InfluxDB instance recently updated to version 2. This version of influx has a brand new query language, authentication system, and much more. This also breaks all compatibility with my Telegraf, Unifi-Poller, Grafana, and other services. Instead of trying to revert to an older version and refuse the slow change of technology, I decided to just start stepping up services to work with the new version. So I know get to introduce myself to InfluxDB V2 and then to move on to stepping up services to use it.

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Sending Notifications to Phones from Home Assistant

As I build out my smart home systems, I have realized that I wanted to be able to push notifications from it to my phone. I have other services that do this through Email, so I wanted to set up something similar with home assistant. I have a list of a few things I would like notifications of, and getting one or two of them off the list will at least prove out my implementation and give me some more capability from my home assistant setup.

Some things to notify me of

  • water leaks
  • washing machine done
  • chest freezer without power
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Testing the G8 Lens on the Ortur Laser Master 2

I’ve been using the ortur laser master 2 for a while now, and while I had seen plenty of chatter about the G8 lens, I didn’t think it would be that major of an upgrade for me, but I was Very wrong. I recently picked up the G8 to try it out and once it was focused, the beam was tighter than it ever could be with the stock lens. This gave me high hopes for the test cuts.

I ran one cut job on some brown AstroBright paper that I was using a few days ago. With the stock ortur lens, I found that 900 mm/min at 100% power for 2 passes would give a clean cut through and require minimal to no hand work to split the papers apart. For my test with the G8, I started with one pass, and that’s all I needed, everything was perfectly cut apart, no tabs between the pieces, nothing. I did run into one snag with that first test run, some of my cuts were inaccurate, lines not lining up and some corners shifted. I noticed while focusing the lens that it was really loose in the mount. I pulled it out, put 2 wraps of teflon tape around the threads, and put it back in the laser. Second test cut went 100% perfectly, all pieces fell apart, no shifting of lines/corners.

The G8 lens is absolutely worth getting and installing on the ortur laser master 2. The tighter focus will help with both cutting and engraving and let you run the machine faster.

Setting up Z-Wave in Home Assistant on Proxmox

Recently I have ended up with 2 Z-Wave devices in my home, and while the devices work just fine without it enabled, I wanted to mess around with them in home assistant. I’ve seen lots of information on Z-Wave and Zigbee devices and sensors and had been looking at getting some anyway, so I used this as a reason to jump in.

Since I run Home Assistant on a VM via Proxmox, my setup will end up being a bit different than the usual “just plug in the USB Z-Wave controller and go” for those running Home Assistant on a Raspberry Pi or NUC.

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NextCloud “Maintenance” Mode Error Resolution

For a while my NextCloud server decided to stop allowing my phone or desktop to upload to it due to it being in “maintenance mode”, however I could log into the webui with no problems, and nothing in the logs showed it being in maintenance mode. This started to frustrate me as I could find nothing to signify why my clients thought the server couldn’t be used. I tried a number of things:

  • Clearing out the file locks table (there were 600,000 entries in it, and I’m the only user on the server)
  • occ db:add-missing-columns
  • occ db:add-missing-indices
  • occ db:add-missing-primary-keys
    What finally worked:
  • occ files:scan –all

Finally with the files:scan –all it started working again and my app was able to start uploading to the server. If you have a NextCloud server and have been running into “maintenance mode” errors when your server is not in maintenance mode, this is certainly worth trying.

Some GitHub Issues worth checking:

Time Lapse 3d print

I wanted to create a time lapse of a 3D print however I wasn’t sure the best way to do this. I’ve made time lapses using octoprint before, but for that to work, octoprint needed to be the machine driving the printer. I tend to prefer running my Ultimaker from the SD card as I’ve forgotten what all my previous octoprint settings were to get it running as smoothly as the Cura settings from the card. I also wanted to work on a more generic way to create a time lapse.

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