Laser Cutter Quick Guide

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These lists are not exhaustive. If your material is not on either list, ask first! The largest material that will fit in the laser is 48" x 32" but the cutting area is smaller.


  • Acrylic
  • Anodized aluminum, etching only
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Glass, etching only
  • Leather, naturally dyed
  • MDF
  • Paper
  • Plywood
  • Fabric

Forbidden / Incapable

  • Metal
  • Skin/flesh
  • PVC -- or anything containing PVC


  1. Turn on the machine
    1. Turn on the Key Lock
    2. be sure to disengage the E-STOP
    3. Verify the following are up and running
      1. Laser Cutter
      2. Chiller
      3. Exhaust fan
      4. Air compressor
  2. Start the LaserCut software
    1. Communication Problem?
      1. Click download to regain communication
      2. Save work
      3. Exit LaserCut
      4. Restart LaserCut
    2. “SoftDog” dongle errors
      1. These are usually random
      2. retry
  3. Create your design
    1. Shapes, Text, Graphics
      1. Use LaserCut for simple work, or
      2. Import from Corel, AutoCad, etc
    2. Assign objects to layers then values for:
      1. Speed
      2. Power
      3. Frequency
      4. Output
    3. Set drawing origin (Choose intelligently based on your design)
    4. Click Calculate
    5. Simulate if necessary
  4. Download the design to the laser cutter
    1. Click “Download” then “Download Current”
    2. Close the download window
  5. Prepare the material
    1. Lower the table so that material doesn't hit the laser head
    2. Position material in center of bed (use squaring blocks if necessary)
    3. Jog laser head over to the material using computer or keypad
    4. AutoFocus
      1. Press Z
      2. Press Datum
      3. Focus will be 6mm below air cone
      4. If you run the head through the table hit the E-STOP and see Laser Cutter Emergency Guidelines
      5. Press Z again to exit Z-axist mode
    5. Engraving: Focus is on the surface, you are done
    6. Cutting: Focus inside, by raising the bed about 2 mm in Z mode
  6. Check design boundary
    1. Click "Run Box" to outline the extent of your design area without the laser powering on
      1. Don't use Clip Box or it will power on the laser
  7. Remember your Laser Cutter Safety Training
    1. Locate water spray bottle
    2. Locate fire extinguisher
    3. Most flare-ups will self-extinguish when the laser stops
    4. Stay at the laser while it is running. If you must leave, someone else trained must take your place.
    5. If you need to suspend your job quickly, raise the hood. Cutting will resume when you lower the hood.
    6. Due to software bugs, do not use the Pause or Stop buttons on either the machine or software
  8. Start the Laser
    1. Click 'Start'
    2. If you must suspend you can open the hood or click 'Start' again.
    3. Avoid using "Stop" or "Pause" if possible.
  9. Finished?
    1. wait for cooldown and exhaust to clear
      1. Temperature display should be below 25°C
    2. Turn off the key lock switch
    3. Verify the following are off:
      1. Laser Cutter
      2. Chiller
      3. Exhaust
      4. Air Compressor
    4. Clean up the machine
      1. Rails
        1. Clean each rails with a rag and alcohol. Gloves are recommended.
      2. Scraps
      3. Drawer
      4. Hood
    5. Document!
      1. Add your results to logbook. These are visible here
      2. Log any issues. Redtag device if necessary.
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