Now that I have a CO2 laser available, it opens up some new things that I can do, like cutting and engraving clear acrylic. Adding some side lighting to that and we can make a pretty sweet sign. I also plan on making a few more of these for gifts, so this first one is my experiment piece to try out all the techniques needed.Continue reading “Making LED Acrylic Signs”
Wood cutting and engraving is great on the Gweike cloud. As one expects from a CO2 laser, its much faster than the ortur I was using before and I had to play quite a bit to find some good settings for the new laser to optimize the performance.Continue reading “Wood Working on the Gweike Cloud”
After having used a diode laser for a while, it had proven itself as a useful tool for my workshop. So what’s the next step to go from there, obviously a CO2 laser with more power and speed than the diode laser. I wanted a desktop model in the 50w+ range and found it in the Gweike cloud pro laser cutter. It has a similar feature set to other desktop models and supports LightBurn and local control (a major boon over the likes of GlowForge and despite the “cloud” part of the Gweike Cloud name).Continue reading “Getting Started on the Gweike Cloud Pro”
Unable to Perform Path Operations
If you can’t do boolean operations in InkScape, you may have to un-group the paths. It can’t do path operations on groups, and sometimes InkScape will put a single object into a group. You can combine paths and do boolean operations on them that way, but that is using the path combine tool, you just cannot use the grouping feature.
You can’t use object operations on it for LightBurn to understand it. No use of object clip or mask should be used when creating files for use in LightBurn. You can make use of path difference or intersection to make changes to similar effect when avoiding the object tools.
DeepNest is a software package to optimize part placement in laser cutting designs. It works out very well for maximizing your usage of material and avoiding unnecessary waste. I’ve started using it combined with Boxes.py in order to part out wooden boxes and position them onto sheets to try and maximize the number of boxes fitting.Continue reading “Using DeepNest and LightBurn to Optimize Laser Cutting”
While trying to cut some fabric with the Ortur Laser Master 2, we ran into a strange curiosity in light burn. We found that different SVG types generated different GCode for the same shape. After this we managed to put together a table of cutting settings for various fabric colors.Continue reading “Cutting Fabric with the Ortur Laser Master 2 & SVG Types”
I can’t believe I missed this option being added to LightBurn. In the device settings, there is now an option to enable is the laser on when framing option. This turns on the laser with a low power setting when running the frame to make it obvious where you will be cutting/engraving. This replaces holding shift when hitting the frame button from older releases. This small quality of life improvement is much appreciated here.
I have a laser cutter in my office that I use from time to time. I close the door when its running because you need safety glasses on while its running, but since I use my office for other things, the door closed doesn’t necessarily mean safety glasses are needed. To make this simpler, I decided to try and make some automations to notify when the laser is running. I want to use a WLED strip around the door and light it different colors based on laser operating status (and other statuses in the future).
- Set the WLED strip to red when the laser starts cutting
- Set the WLED strip to the previous settings (or turn it off) when the laser stops cutting
I found an online fractal generator that creates PNG images of the fractals it generates. I wanted to make use of them in my laser cutting. To do this, I have two options, grab the JS and rework it to generate SVG files, or I can trace the images in CATIA and export SVG files for use. I decided to do the latter for a few fractals to use in some laser cutting.Continue reading “Tracing Images in Catia”
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.