Laser Cutting & Engraving in The Fab Lab

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    Laser Cutting & Engraving in the FabLab


    What is Laser Cutting?

    Laser cutting is a precise method of cutting a design from a given material using a CAD file as instruction. 
    This involves firing a CO2 laser which cuts by melting, burning or vaporizing your material. The FabLab has a Universal Laser System 660 laser cutter & engraver as well as a GlowForge Pro.

    How Do I Laser Cut? 

    First you must create your desired design file for your cut
    Create your design using the AutoDesk Inventor file template provided by the FabLab ***we offer a specific template for you to use

    You can also use Adobe Illustrator to create vector design art.  The laser cutter will only cut when the line is .001" and RGB in color.  The laser cutter will engrave anything that is black.

    Cut-File Template

    The AutoDesk Inventor FabLab template is available on the student desktop on log in.  Contact fablab@gisd.org if you are unable to locate the template.

    FABLAB YouTube Channel

    YouTube Channel

    Preparing Your Files For The FabLab Universal Laser System Laser Cutter

     

    Steps to Prepare A Cut-File for Laser-Cutting Through Autodesk Inventor
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    Open Inventor and create a new Standard IDW file, using the FabLab AutoDesk Inventor template.

    1. In the IDW, project all base views of the part you want to cut.
    2. Once the parts have been placed, the correct thinness and color should be selected for this project. Steps for that are-
      a. First, click on all of the lines and edges of all the parts by holding shift.
      b. Then right click to open the drop menu and select properties.
      c. when the Edge properties box is opened, keep the line type as "By Layer", the line width to 0.001 inches, and change color to red (because laser cuter only reads red color).
    3. When all the editing is completed, make sure to place all the parts close to the top- left edge. (This is so the material cannot be wasted).
    4. Save the file as a PDF, and send to for laser cutting. Steps-
      a. Click file
      b. Click on "Save as" side menu
      c. Click on "Save copy as...”
      d. Choose a file name and save the file type as PDF.
      e. Select the correct folder and click save.

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    How Do I Submit My Cut-File?
    Once your file has been created submit your project to the FabLab technician on duty.  Your job will be placed in the work queue and will be processed in the order that it was received. 

    Only approved FabLab technicians working in the FabLab are allowed to operate the laser cutter at ANY time.


    Universal Laser Cutter Technical Data

    Maxium material size is 18 inches X 32 inches

     

    Materials Allowed For Laser Cutting
    - WOOD 
    - PLEXIGLASS
    - FOAM MOLD
    - POLYCARBONATE
    - ACRYLIC


    ---Safety---
    *Intense light that appears during the engraving or laser cutting process is the product of combustion and vaporization
    - DO NOT STARE AT THE BRIGHT LIGHT OR RISK DAMAGE TO YOUR EYES 
    *Always wear the requisite safety apparel such as googles and gloves when handling the laser cutter and other equipment