Search…
⌃K
Links

Full Spectrum Lasers

One of two Full Spectrum Lasers

Description

We have 2 Full Spectrum laser cutter/engravers. Each one uses a 40 watt CO2 laser tube. The laser beam is in the infrared portion of the spectrum.
Lasers can reliably cut through plywood up to 1/8" thick. (Slightly more if cutting solid wood.)
Each laser bed is 20" x 12".

Use

When running, the laser must always be monitored for fire by the Operator.
Lasers are operated via Retina Engrave 3D software. It is installed on the Laser Area computer, but...
The software can also be installed and run on any Windows machine that is on the Area 515 WiFi network. The required version is no longer being updated. The last release was version 4.430 and it may be downloaded here on the Full Spectrum website.
Power and Speed settings for various materials cannot be listed here since laser tubes slowly lose power over their lifetimes. (Therefore the settings that work for a material in January may or may not work for the same material in July.)
Please see the Power vs Speed charts on top of each machine to learn the current state of each laser tube. (Power vs Speed charts list the date they were made, and new ones are made on a strict schedule of whenever-the-Stewards-get-around-to-it. They are done on 1/8" Baltic Birch plywood.)

Baltic Birch Plywood

The Stewards try to keep a small supply of quality 1/8" Baltic Birch, 20" x 12" panels for members to purchase. They can be found on the labeled shelf beneath the lasers. Please put money in the metal lock box on the right side underneath the lasers.
Any materials found on the wider set of shelves on the right is free for anyone to use without charge. Likewise, if you have any left over material bigger than about 4" x 4", you can put that on those shelves for others to use.

Approved Materials

Plastics:

  • Delrin (acetal) - the harder the strength, the better
  • Kapton tape
  • Mylar (polyester) - if very thin (NO GOLD COLORED)
  • Nylon
  • Polyethylene (PE)

Wood and Paper:

  • Wood
  • Plywood (less than 1/8" thick) - MUST BE FLAT
  • MDF (less than 1/8" thick)
  • Most Paper Products - avoid stacking
  • Cardboard - MUST BE FLAT

Other Stuff:

  • Denim
  • Cotton
  • Magnetic Sheet
  • Cork

Stuff Not Banned But That Will Smell So Bad You'll Yearn For Flatulence:

  • Leather - NOT PLEATHER
  • Acrylic (Plexiglas)

BANNED MATERIALS:

Material
Danger
More Info
PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride)/vinyl/pleather/artificial leather)
Emits pure Chlorine gas
The fumes will ruin the laser optics, corrode the metal portions of the machine, and ruin the motion control system. (Also, Chlorine gas is better known as Mustard Gas.)
Polycarbonate / Lexan
Catches fire, melts, discolors
Polycarbonate doesn't laser well because it strongly absorbs infrared radiation - which is what our lasers use.
ABS
Emits cyanide gas
In addition to the toxic fumes, ABS has a higher chance of catching fire, and tends to leave gobs of melted plastic in laser bed
HDPE / milk bottle plastic
Catches fire and melts
It melts. It gets gooey. Don't use it.
PolyStyrene Foam
Catches fire
It catches fire, it melts.
Polypropylene (PP)
Catches fire
Like PolyStyrene, it melts, catches fire, and the melted drops continue to burn and turn into rock-hard drips and pebbles.
Fiberglass
Emits toxic fumes
It's a mix of two materials that can't be cut. Glass (etch, no cut) and epoxy resin (fumes)
Coated Carbon Fiber
Emits noxious fumes
A mix of two materials. Thin carbon fiber mat can be cut, with some fraying - but not when coated.