Universal Laser Systems VL-300 Specifications

Models VL-200 & VL-300
Advanced Driver
Computerized
Controls
Printer Driver and Graphics Software
Installation, Setup, Operation Instructions and
Material Power Settings Guide
Using Microsoft XP
Universal Laser Systems, Inc.
16008 North 81st Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85260 USA
Customer Support Department
Phone: 480-609-0297
Fax: 480-609-1203
Web Based Email Support: www.VersaLASER.com
May 2006
PRINTER DRIVER INSTALLATION
Notice
This publication and its contents are proprietary to Universal Laser Systems, Inc. (ULS), and are intended
solely for the contractual use of ULS, Inc. customers.
While reasonable efforts have been made to assure the accuracy of this manual, ULS shall not be liable
for errors contained herein or for incidental or consequential damage in connection with the furnishing,
performance, or use of this material.
ULS reserves the right to revise this manual and make changes from time to time without obligation by
ULS to notify any person of such revision or changes.
ULS does not assume any liability arising out of the application or use of any products, circuits, or
software described herein. Neither does it convey a license under its patent rights nor the patent rights of
others.
This publication and its contents may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted, or distributed in any form,
or by any means, radio, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, scanning, facsimile, or otherwise, or for
any other purpose, without the prior written permission of ULS.
ULS provides no warranties whatsoever on any software used in connection with a ULS Laser Engraving
System, express or implied. Neither does it guarantee software compatibility with any off-the-shelf
software package or any software program that has not been written by ULS.
Intended use of this system must be followed within the guidelines of this manual. In no event will ULS
be liable for any damages caused, in whole or in part, by customer, or for any economic loss, physical
injury, lost revenue, lost profits, lost savings or other indirect, incidental, special or consequential
damages incurred by any person, even if ULS has been advised of the possibility of such damages or
claims.
HP is a registered trademark of Hewlett-Packard Corporation.
Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.
Macintosh is a registered trademark of Apple Computer Corporation.
PostScript, Photoshop, and Streamline are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Inc.
CorelDRAW is a registered trademark of Corel Corporation.
AutoCAD is a registered trademark of AutoDesk Inc.
© Universal Laser Systems Inc., 2006
All Rights Reserved
Section 1-2
PRINTER DRIVER INSTALLATION
Table of Contents
Section 1 – Printer Driver Installation
Installation ........................................................................................................................1-1
Section 2 – Graphic Software Setup
General Software Setup...................................................................................................2-1
Specific Software Setup ...................................................................................................2-5
CorelDRAW 12 ........................................................................................................2-13
CorelDRAW X3…………………………………………………………………………...2-14
AutoCAD 2000i/2002/2004......................................................................................2-15
Adobe Illustrator CS ................................................................................................2-16
Section 3 – Printer Driver Controls
Definitions and Terminology ............................................................................................3-1
Laser Settings Tab ...........................................................................................................3-2
Engraving Field Tab .........................................................................................................3-9
Advanced Tab ................................................................................................................3-10
Section 4 – Material Settings Guide
Acrylic – Cast and Extruded.............................................................................................4-4
Acrylic - Mirrored ..............................................................................................................4-6
Aluminum - Anodized .......................................................................................................4-8
Brass – Painted................................................................................................................4-9
Corian / Avonite / Fountainhed ......................................................................................4-10
Cork................................................................................................................................4-11
Delrin ..............................................................................................................................4-12
Glass/Crystal..................................................................................................................4-13
Leather ...........................................................................................................................4-14
Marble ............................................................................................................................4-15
Mat Board.......................................................................................................................4-16
Melamine - Standard......................................................................................................4-17
Melamine – Photo/Clipart engraving..............................................................................4-18
Plastic – Microsurfaced ..................................................................................................4-19
Rubber Stamps ..............................................................................................................4-20
Vinyl – Sign ....................................................................................................................4-21
Wood / Wood Inlay.........................................................................................................4-22
Section 1-3
PRINTER DRIVER INSTALLATION
Section 1
Printer Driver Installation
The ULS printer driver allows Microsoft Windows based graphics software programs to interface with the
laser system. Before continuing with the printer driver installation and the operation of your laser system,
a complete and thorough understanding of how your computer, the Windows operating system, and your
graphics software work is essential. Also, we recommend that you read your laser system’s operations
manual before proceeding. It contains important information concerning safety and the proper use of the
equipment as well as defining much of terminology used in this manual.
Section 1-4
PRINTER DRIVER INSTALLATION
Windows XP (ONLY)
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Power ON your PC. If your PC is already ON, close all programs.
Click Start, and then click Printers and Faxes.
Click Add Printer. When the Add Printer Wizard dialog box appears click Next.
Choose Local Printer attached to this computer and deselect (uncheck) Automatically detect and
install my Plug & Play Printer and then click Next.
Use the following Port (LPT1) should already be selected. We recommend the use of this port. If the
system is connected to a different port, choose the correct port from the dropdown list and click Next.
Click Have Disk, insert the printer driver CD-ROM, which can be found in a sleeve attached to the
rear cover of this manual, and then click Browse.
Locate the ULS2000.inf file in the
\WIN2000_XP_Vxxxx\ folder (where xxxx is the version number), click Open, and then click OK.
When the list of printers appears, choose your model from the list. If you are unsure of your model’s
name, turn on the laser system and the model name will appear in the control panel display while the
system is initializing or the model name can also be found engraved on the serial tag found on the
backside of the machine. Click Next.
The Name your printer dialog box will appear. You may rename the printer if you like, however, we
suggest that you leave the name unchanged or simply add a word or two after the name (keeping the
name, including blank spaces, under 31 characters). Choose to whether or not you would like it to be
your default printer and then click Next.
The Printer Sharing dialog box will appear. Unless you are planning to share the laser system on a
network, select Do not share this printer. Please consult your network administrator if you would like
to share the laser system on your network.
Select No to Do you want to print a test page and then click Next.
Click Finish to close the wizard. When the Windows Logo Testing warning appears click Continue
Anyway.
After the driver finishes installation, store your printer driver disk in a safe place for future reference.
Section 1-5
Section 2
Graphics Software Setup
Choosing the right graphics software program to run the laser system is essential for maximum usage
and control of the laser system. Not all software can be used to run the laser system because many have
limitations. Because you may be using word processing software to output to your laser printer does not
mean you should use it to output to your laser engraving system. Setting up you software correctly is
essential to running the laser system properly.
The following examples assume that you are configuring the software for a VL-200. If you have a VL300, substitute the correct maximum page size:
VL-300 = 24 x 12 inches (609.6 x 304.8mm)
NOTE: We have provided specific instructions for setting up CorelDRAW 12,X3 AutoCAD
2000i/2002/2004, and Adobe Illustrator CS in order for these programs to work well with the laser
system. You will find them at the end of this section.
General Software Setup
There are many software programs that you can purchase off-the-shelf that will work with the laser
system. Some of them can access more features of the laser system than others may. Whichever
program you choose, it must be set up to work with the laser system otherwise unexpected results may
occur. Use the following GENERAL guidelines when configuring your software program.
Page Setup
To properly generate and position artwork, most graphics software will permit the customization of the
page size and orientation. Set the page orientation, in the graphics software to Landscape, and the page
size to match your maximum engraving area of your Platform. The driver’s orientation and page size
MUST then be set to match these specifications EXACTLY, otherwise the artwork may not print correctly.
When setting page orientation and driver orientation to Landscape mode, the laser system will operate in
the horizontal direction, left to right. If page orientation and driver orientation is set to Portrait mode, the
laser system will operate in the vertical direction, front to back. The laser system is designed to operate
best in the Landscape mode and this orientation is highly recommended. The page size may also be
reduced to match the size of the engraving material, but remember to adjust the page size in the driver’s
to correspond to the graphics software’s page size. Note that in production situations it is often more
efficient to leave the page size at its maximum page size and engrave or cut more than one object at a
time. This is accomplished by duplicating the image on screen as many times as necessary to fill up the
entire page.
Ruler Setup
Usually the graphics software will provide on-screen rulers, which can be configured to match the rulers in
the laser system. Using rulers in the software and matching them with the ones provided in the laser
system gives the ability to correctly align the graphic on the screen with the material in the laser system.
For now, consider that the laser system’s origin is fixed in the upper left corner of the engraving area and
cannot be altered. Later on you will learn how to relocate the origin. But for right now, change the ruler
position on screen to match the laser system with the origin (0,0) in the upper left corner. It is also
possible to use a page size smaller than the maximum engraving area. For example, if you desire an 8inch (203.2 mm) x 10-inch (254 mm) page size, set this page size in the graphics software as well as in
the printer driver. The laser system will automatically move the engraving area to the origin so place the
object all the way up into the left-hand corner against the rulers in the laser system.
PRINTER DRIVER CONTROLS
Power Control through Color Selection
The laser system allows the use of 8 different colors to access 8 different power settings when cutting
and engraving. The printer driver controls this feature. When using this power change feature with
driver, the colors that are used MUST exactly match the colors listed in the driver. The colors are black,
red, green, yellow, blue, magenta, cyan, and orange. Some programs will provide these basic colors predefined and other programs may require the creation of each of the colors by defining them in RGB. If
you are using CorelDRAW we have made our own custom palette and placed the file on the printer driver
disk. Please refer to the software setup instructions for your specific version of CorelDRAW. If you are
using other graphics software and need to mix your own colors, use the chart below to create them.
COLOR
BLACK
RED
GREEN
YELLOW
BLUE
MAGENTA
CYAN
ORANGE
RED
0
255
0
255
0
255
0
255
GREEN
0
0
255
255
0
0
255
102
BLUE
0
0
0
0
255
255
255
0
If using a color other than the exact colors listed above, the driver will attempt to match it to a color in the
driver that it most closely resembles. The driver will then use that color’s power setting and apply a
halftone pattern to represent the original color’s shade. For example, if using a color like pink to fill a
rectangle, the driver takes a reading of the percentage of different colors used to create that color and will
use the power setting assigned to one of the eight colors of the driver that it most closely resembles. It
might be expected that the driver will use the power setting assigned to the color red but instead the
driver may choose the magenta setting and halftone the rectangle as a representation of the pink color’s
lighter shade. To prevent the incorrect assignment of laser power, be sure to use the right colors. If
using graphics with colors other than the eight listed above or to simplify the assignment of power
settings, try using the Clipart Mode feature in the driver. This feature will cause the system to only use
the power setting assigned to the color black and halftone all of the other colors.
Outlines and Fills
The driver distinguishes between raster mode (engraving) and vector mode (cutting) by the type of
graphic artwork being used. Basically, all graphics other than outlines of very thin line widths will be
interpreted as engraved images and the raster mode will be used for output. If laser cutting is desired,
set the line thickness of the lines that are drawn in the graphics software to .001 inches (.025 mm) or the
smallest possible line thickness that is available. The printer driver will interpret these objects as vectors
and will cut them out providing that your software has the capability of vector output. Basically, all
software programs have the ability to provide raster output. However, not all programs have the ability to
provide vector output even if you set the line width to the smallest thickness possible. Check with
Software Anomalies section in the back of this manual for software that can vector output. The use of
color fills or bitmaps will cause the laser system to engrave. The combination of engraving and cutting is
available in most graphics software. We suggest that when combining engraving and cutting objects, use
different colors for the fills and outlines since engraving requires different power settings than cutting
objects. One thing to keep in mind when creating cutting objects is that if the outline thickness is set too
thick, the driver might interpret the outline as a filled object and will engrave the outline instead of cutting.
This might be desirable if engraving thick outlines is necessary. The outline thickness at which the driver
will interpret cut lines as filled objects is dependent on the software used. Usually, any line thickness .008
inches (.2 mm) or greater will engrave. The only way to determine the cross over point for line thickness
is to experiment with different line widths. Software programs that do not have outline capabilities
definitely will not have the ability to cut.
Section 2-2
PRINTER DRIVER CONTROLS
Image Processing Order
When cutting or engraving a graphic image, the laser system will perform all engraving first, and then
proceed to vector cutting. Raster engraving will proceed in the exact order of the colors listed in the
driver. For example, all black filled objects will engrave first, then all red filled objects, then all green filled
objects and so on. When all engraved objects have been completed, the laser system will proceed to
vector cut any outlines present in the artwork. Vector output order is dependent on your operating
system, printer driver version, and your software. Refer to the printer driver controls for more details.
Overlapping Fills
If the artwork created has overlapping filled areas, the driver will automatically filter these fills to prevent
the overlapped area from being engraved twice. This is similar to color separation in the printing industry.
The entire filled area of the object on top will be engraved and only the visible part of the underlying filled
area will be engraved. The final result is a what-you-see-is-what-you-get output. In this way the color
white can be used as an effective drawing tool. Since the laser system will not engrave the color white
(this is the background color), it can be used to block out the undesired engraving areas of filled regions
and/or bitmaps. However, you cannot use a white fill to cover an outline, the outline will vector cut even
though you cannot see it on screen.
Overlapping Outlines
The driver does not filter outlines that overlap each other. If placing one outline one on top of another,
both outlines will be cut by the laser system. This is a useful feature that will allow deeper cutting by
passing the laser over a single outline path twice or more. To take advantage of this feature, duplicate
the outline on top of itself.
Hidden Vector Lines in Artwork
The driver does not automatically filter out outlines that are overlapped by engraved objects such as fills.
If there are filled objects with some hidden outlines underneath, the laser system will then engrave out the
fill and cut the hidden outline on top of the fill. This is a common occurrence when using pre-drawn clipart
designed for laser printers. To prevent this from happening, turn on the Clipart Mode feature in the driver.
This feature disables the cutting mode and converts all visible outlines to engraved objects and ignores all
hidden outlines.
Speed Optimizing
It is advantageous to engrave an object in its longest direction because total engraving time will be
reduced when the motion system has to make fewer stops and starts. If the engraving object is longer
than it is tall, rotating the graphic 90 degrees and placing the material in the laser system sideways can
achieve a greater engraving speed. Be aware that some graphics programs do not allow the rotation of
bitmaps. In this case, it may be necessary to use a bitmap image processing software to first rotate the
bitmap before importing the bitmap into the graphics program. If the artwork contains engraved objects of
the same color with a great deal of space between them in the engraving direction, processing time can
be longer since the laser must make long strokes to engrave both objects at the same time. To reduce
engraving time in cases like these, use different colors for each of the objects but assign the same power
setting to both colors. This will cause the laser to engrave one object at a time, skipping over all blank
space, which in many cases will reduce engraving time. On the other hand, if the objects are relatively
close together in the engraving direction, then leave them the same color because it will be quicker to
engrave them both at the same time. Experiment with these techniques to optimize the speed of
engraving.
Bitmapped / Scanned Images
There are primarily three types of bitmaps available. They are monochrome (black and white), grayscale,
and color. Bitmaps are patterns of dots (pixels) blended to form pictures. Scanning artwork into a
computer through a scanner creates most bitmaps. Drawing them in a bitmap image-processing program
creates others.
Section 2-3
PRINTER DRIVER CONTROLS
The laser system can print all three types of bitmaps providing that either the driver or the bitmap imageprocessing program converts the grayscale and/or color bitmaps into a monochrome bitmap. Essentially,
the laser system is a monochromatic printer, either it fires the beam to burn a dot or it does not fire the
beam to leave an empty dot on the material.
There are several different bitmap storage formats available: TIF, JPG, BMP, PCX, and others. The
format makes no difference to the laser system. The difference in formats involves how they are stored
on your computer’s hard disk. Bitmaps cannot be edited in most graphics software. Some basic
functions such as cropping, scaling, or mirroring might be possible but it is usually necessary to use a
bitmap image processing software to perform a dot by dot editing, rotation, or scaling of the bitmap.
Monochrome Bitmaps
If you scan the image in monochrome (black and white) mode, set your scanner to at least 600 DPI.
The higher the DPI, the smoother the image will be. Scanning monochrome images at 300 DPI is the
minimum recommended resolution but scanning them at 600 DPI will provide a significant
improvement in the image quality. Clean it up in your bitmap image-processing program and save it
to your hard disk. You can now either print the image directly from your bitmap image processing
program, or import the bitmap into a graphics program and print it from there. Monochrome bitmaps
are engraved in the same manner as black filled text. The black area will turn the laser on and the
white area turns the laser off.
Grayscale Bitmaps
When scanning image in the grayscale mode, you should scan the image at no more than 300 DPI.
Scanning at a higher DPI does not improve image quality but it consumes more memory and will take
longer to print. Grayscale images cannot be printed directly to the laser system. Since the laser
system actually works like a black and white printer, grayscale images must be converted into black
and white images. To do this, either the driver will do it automatically or you can convert the
grayscale image to a black and white image in your bitmap image-processing program.
The two, primary grayscale image conversion techniques are Halftone or Error Diffusion. The printer
driver can print either one and it is selected in the driver under the “Graphics” tab. Please refer to the
section on the printer driver for more details on how to set these parameters. Since the driver has a
fixed method of conversion, you may want to experiment by using your bitmap image-processing
program to make the conversion. These software programs usually have more options for controlling
the size, angle, shape, and the amount of black and white dots (pixels) created when converting the
image. Experiment with all of the controls to see which looks the best. Big dots look good on some
materials and small dots look better on others. Once the image is converted by your program, save it
and either print it directly from that program or import it into your graphics program and print it from
there. Essentially, a Halftone image and an Error Diffusion image are actually both monochrome
images and can be treated as such. If you decide not convert the grayscale image to a monochrome
image in your bitmap image editing program, then the driver will do it automatically and will use
settings based on the Resolution settings in the driver.
Color Bitmaps
The printer driver handles color bitmaps the same as grayscale bitmaps. Since color bitmaps use
more memory, they are unnecessary and are therefore NOT recommended, however, you can still
use them.
Section 2-4
PRINTER DRIVER CONTROLS
Encapsulated Postscript (EPS) Images
Bitmap images cannot be cut by the laser system only engraved. The only way to have the laser system
cut out or vector a bitmap is to first convert it to a vector file format such as an EPS. Raster to vector
conversion programs are available that trace the bitmap (this only works well with monochrome bitmaps)
and creates a separate EPS vector file. These EPS files can then be imported into the graphics program
and printed out from there. Since tracing programs have many adjustments, some practice with them is
necessary to produce desirable results.
The laser system does not support Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) printing directly. EPS files can only be
edited and printed if they are first imported into a graphics program. However, since EPS files support
engraving and cutting objects, they are therefore useful for transferring artwork from one graphics
program to another. Once an EPS file has been imported into a graphics program, the objects can be
outlined, stretched, rotated, mirrored, filled with different colors, or anything else desired just as long as
your graphics software can edit EPS images. Be careful when using EPS files in layout software as
opposed to true graphics software. Layout software may allow the placement of EPS files in the artwork
but may not actually import and convert the EPS file to a useful format for the printer driver and therefore
may not print correctly. Please refer to your graphics software’s documentation on whether or not it can
edit and print EPS images to a non-Postscript printer.
Postscript (PS) Images
The laser system is NOT a postscript device. This means that postscript fills, postscript textures, and
especially POSTSCRIPT FONTS WILL NOT be able to print to the laser system. Sometimes using
Adobe Type Manager (ATM) will allow some postscript fonts to print correctly but most of the time does
not work properly.
Helpful Tip
If you are having any problems printing a font and you cannot figure out what is going on, select the font
and “convert to curves” or “convert to paths” in your graphics software. This will convert the font into a
bitmapped image and will print correctly to the laser system. Refer to your graphics software on how to
convert fonts. However, postscript textures and postscript fills cannot be converted and will not print to
the laser system.
Specific Software Setup Instructions
Some graphics software programs require a special setup procedure in order for the software to function
correctly with the ULS printer driver. In the following pages you will find setup instructions for the most
popular software programs that our customers use. If you are having trouble with other software
programs not included in this document, you may want to switch to one of them. As a reminder, ULS
provides no warranties whatsoever on any software used in connection with a ULS Laser Engraving
System, express or implied. Neither does it guarantee software compatibility with any off-the-shelf
software package or any software program that has not been written by ULS.
Section 2-5
PRINTER DRIVER CONTROLS
CorelDRAW12
1. Using Windows Explorer, locate the file named “VersaLASER.CPL”, on the VersaLASER
Installation CD, and copy this file over to the C C:\Program Files\Corel\Corel Graphics
12\Languages\EN\Custom Data\Palettes folder.
2. While still in Explorer, locate a file named “corelapp.ini” located in the C:\Program
Files\Corel\Graphics12\Config folder. Double-click on the file it will open up in Notepad. Scroll
down past the semi-colons to the [Config] header. Then scroll down 31 lines to the line that reads
“Fontrasterizer=1”. Change the 1 to a 0 (this is a zero, not an o), save the file, and exit Notepad.
3. Open CorelDRAW12 and start a new graphic.
4. In the menu bar, click on “Window”, then “Color Palettes”, and then click “None”. Once again click
“Window”, then “Color Palettes”, and then “Open Palette”. In the pop-up box, double-click on
"VersaLASER.CPL" which allows it to appear on the right side of the screen.
5. On the property bar, click on the landscape orientation (the sideways rectangle). Enter the page
width of 16 inches (406.4mm) (model VL-200) or 24 inches (609.6mm) (model VL-300) and
height of 12 inches (304.8mm).
6. The rulers on screen need to match the rulers in the VersaLASER. Adjust the ruler's vertical
origin by double-clicking directly on the vertical (side) ruler. The “Options” dialog box will appear.
In the vertical origin box, type in 12 inches (304.8mm). Click OK
7. Set the default value for line width and color of the graphic objects, by clicking the outline tool and
then the outline pen dialog in the flyout. With “Graphic” being the only selection checked, click
“OK”. Click the down arrow in the Color dropdown box to expand the list and click on the color
red. Click the down arrow in the “Width” dropdown box and click “Hairline”. The units can be
“inches”, “millimeters” or anything else you prefer. Click “OK to close the Outline Pen dialog box.
8. In the top menu, click “Tools, then click “Color Management”. Click on the down arrow to expand
the “Style” dropdown list. Click “Color Management Off”, and then click “OK”.
9. Finally, at the top of the screen, click on “Tools”, then “Options”, then “Document”, and then select
“Save Options as Defaults for New Documents”. Make sure ALL the options listed are
CHECKED then click “OK”.
10. The setup defaults for CorelDRAW12 are now complete. Whenever you start a new document,
all of the default settings that we had setup will automatically apply to the new document.
Remove the VersaLASER Installation CD-ROM from your CD-ROM drive and store it either back
into the pocket of the rear cover of the manual or in a safe place.
Section 2-6
PRINTER DRIVER CONTROLS
CorelDRAW X3
1. Make sure that you have installed all Service Releases and software patches from Microsoft. For
Windows 2000, install Service Pack 3. If you are reading this document from the ULS Windows
Printer Driver CD, as a service to you, you can find the file on this CD. There is an update available
for Windows XP included in the ULS Windows Printer Driver CD, but it is not mandatory that you
install it. For the latest releases, check Microsoft’s website, www.microsoft.com. Please contact
Microsoft if you have any questions regarding these upgrades. ULS is not responsible for any
problems as a result from the usage of these patches.
2. If you have not already done so, install CorelDraw on your computer, but do not open it yet.
3. It is important that your version of CorelDraw is updated with the latest patches and service releases.
For the latest patches and updates go to CorelDraw’s website, www.corel.com. As of the date of this
publication there are no updates available for CorelDraw X3. Be sure to check
for any updates
from time to time to keep your version up to speed. Please contact CorelDraw if you have any
questions regarding these upgrades. ULS is not responsible for any problems as a result from the
usage of these patches.
4. The ULS Windows Printer Driver must be loaded before continuing. Please refer to the
Computerized Controls manual on how to install the driver. If you have already installed the printer
driver, you will need to re-insert the ULS Printer Driver Disk back into your CD drive at this time.
5. Using Windows Explorer, locate the file named “ULS.CPL” and “ULS.PAL” on the ULS Windows
Printer Driver CD, and copy these files over to the C:\Program Files\Corel\Corel Graphics SUITE X3
(13)\Languages\EN\Custom Data\Palettes folder. Note: ULS.CPL may not show up with a .CPL
file extension. It may be listed as ULS with “Control panel extension” shown as a detail. If
you own a VersaLASER the name of the file is VersaLASER.CPL.
6. Open CorelDraw and start a new graphic.
7. In the main menu at the top of the screen, click on “Window”, then “Color Palettes”, and then click on
“None”. Once again click on “Window”, then “Color Palettes”, and then click on “Open Palette”. After
the “Open Palette” pop-up box appears, double-click on "ULS.CPL". The color palette will now appear
on the right side of the screen. Note: You can use either the ULS.CPL palette or the ULS.PAL
palette, however, to use the ULS.PAL palette you must first select the PAL file type in the open
palette screen.
8. On the property bar, click on the landscape orientation (the sideways rectangle). If you would like the
drawing units in metric, choose millimeters from the drop down list. Now type in the page width and
height that matches your laser platform.
9. We now need to adjust the vertical ruler, on the left side of the screen, to match the rulers in the laser
system. To do this, we need to adjust the ruler's vertical origin. Double-click directly on the vertical
(side) ruler. The “Options” dialog box will appear. In the vertical origin box, type in the same height
value as you did when you set up the page height in the previous step. For example, 12 inches for an
M-300 machine. If you would like the scale to be displayed in tenths, choose “10 per Tick” in the “Tick
Division” drop-down list box.
10. While still in the “Options” dialog box, double-click on “Global” to expand the list. Double-click on
“Printing” to expand the list. Now click on “Driver Compatibility”. Make sure that the laser system's
name is displayed in the printer drop-down list. In the settings specific for this driver dialog box, make
sure that ALL the check boxes are UNCHECKED. Now click on “OK” to close the “Options” dialog
box.
11. The next step is to set the default value for the line width and color when drawing graphic objects. To
do this, click on the outline tool, then the outline pen dialog in the flyout. With “Graphic” being the only
one selected, click “OK”. Click the down arrow in the Color dropdown box to expand the list and click
on the color red. Click the down arrow in the “Width” dropdown box to expand the list and click
“Hairline”. The units can be “Inches”, “millimeters” or anything else you prefer. Click “OK to close the
Outline Pen dialog box.
12. In the top menu, click “Tools”, and then click “Color Management”. Click on the down arrow to
expand the “Settings” dropdown list. Click “Color Management Off”, and then click “OK”.
13. Finally, at the top of the screen, click on “Tools”, then “Save settings as Defaults”.
14. The setup defaults for CorelDRAW X3 are now complete. Whenever you start a new document, all of
the default settings that we had setup will automatically apply to the new document.
Section 2-7
PRINTER DRIVER CONTROLS
AutoCAD Version 2000i, 2002 and 2004 for Windows XP
NOTE: AutoCAD version 2000 is not compatible with ULS laser systems. You must upgrade to version 2000i
or higher. Also, we recommend installing ULS printer driver version 1.07F or higher.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
Make sure the ULS Printer driver is installed prior to setting up AutoCAD.
If AutoCAD is already installed and you are just upgrading ULS printer drivers:
•
Close all open programs.
•
In Windows, Click Start>Printers & Faxes.
•
Delete ALL ULS drivers from the Printers (Printers and Faxes) folder.
•
With the Printers and Faxes folder still open, click File>Server Properties>Drivers and remove
ALL ULS printer drivers from the list. Close Printers & Faxes.
•
Using Windows Explorer, search for all files and folders with a .pc3 extension then delete all ULS
Printer pc3 files (i.e. M-360.pc3).
•
Next, search for files with a .pmp extension and delete all ULS Printer .pmp files (i.e. M-360.pmp).
•
Reboot the PC.
Start AutoCAD and open a new drawing.
Click File>Plotter Manager, and double-click Add a Plotter Wizard. If the Autodesk Hardcopy System
window appears, select the version of AutoCAD you are using, and then click Continue.
Click Next. Select System Printer, and then click Next.
Select the appropriate ULS Printer Driver, and then click Next.
DO NOT click the Import file button, simply click Next.
You may edit the plotter name, if desired, and then click Next.
Click on Modify Standard Paper Sizes (Printable Area) in the Device and Document Settings Tab
window, and then click the Modify button. Change ALL margins to 0.00, and then click Next.
Edit the PMP file name if you desire then click Next. DO NOT click the Print a Test Page button, click
Finish. Click OK to exit the Plotter Configuration Editor window and then click Finish.
Click File>Page Setup, and then select the Plotter Configuration name, pc3 name (not the driver)
from the dropdown list.
If you would like to change the drivers settings, click the Properties button, then click the Custom
Properties button. Make your changes and then click OK and then OK again.
Click New to create a new Plot Style table to set your pen widths. As a default, the ULS print driver
produces vector output when pen widths are set to 0.001 inches (0.025 mm). If the pen widths are
set between 0.002 – 0.008 inches (0.050 – 0.20 mm), then the ULS print driver may or may not
convert the lines to raster images – this will depend on the image being plotted. Therefore it is
recommended that for colors requiring vector output, set the pen widths to 0.001 inches (0.025 mm),
and for colors requiring raster output, set pen widths greater than 0.008 inches (0.20 mm). So now,
select Start from scratch, and then click Next. Enter a name and then click Next. Click the Plot Style
Table Editor button. Click Color 1, hold the shift key on your keyboard and click colors 2 through 7.
You can only use colors 1 through 7 with the ULS printer driver. With all 7 colors highlighted, click the
Edit Lineweights button and then select the units desired. Add a lineweight of 0.001 inches (0.025
mm) to the Value column by clicking on Edit Lineweight and entering 0.001 (or 0.025 for metric
settings). Click OK, click Save & Close, and then click Finish.
Click the Layout Settings tab and set the Plot Scale to 1:1.
AutoCAD is not set up properly to work with the ULS printer driver.
Section 2-8
PRINTER DRIVER CONTROLS
Adobe Illustrator CS for Windows XP
Adobe Illustrator CS, in combination with the new ULS printer driver version 1.07F or later, is now
capable of both raster and vector output as well as full-field engraving capability. The following procedure
assumes that you are familiar with the use and operation of Windows 200 or XP, and Adobe Illustrator
CS.
Procedure
1. Close all Windows programs.
2. Upgrade to Adobe Illustrator CS but do not launch it yet.
3. Upgrade to ULS printer driver version 1.07F or later.
4. Set your Windows default printer to the ULS printer driver.
5. Launch Adobe Illustrator CS and start a new graphic.
6. You will now need to set the Page Setup, in Adobe, to the largest square page that is equal to the
width of your laser systems field. For example, if your laser system has a 24 x 12 inch field, then
set the page setup in Adobe to 24 x 24 inch Portrait mode (not Landscape). If you laser system
has a 16x12 inch field, set the page setup in Adobe to 16 x 16 Portrait.
7. Now, place your graphics ONLY within the top portion of your page in Adobe. Don’t use the
bottom portion that extends below the physical size of the engraving area of your machine. Since
your laser system truly doesn’t have a usable area as big as the page size you created, the only
way to make Adobe work is to trick it into thinking it is outputting to a larger, square-fielded,
device.
8. If you would like vector output, in Adobe, set your stroke weight to either .001 inches or .1 points.
You will have to type in this setting because it is not available from the dropdown list.
Section 2-9
Material Settings Guide
Section 3
Printer Driver Controls
This section describes the use of each of the features of the printer driver.
Definitions and Terminology
Vector Graphic: An image generated from mathematical descriptions that determine the position,
length, and direction in which lines are drawn. Vector graphics are composed of fills and/or outlines.
Fill: A color, bitmap, fountain, or pattern applied to the interior area of a vector graphic.
Outline: The line that defines the shape of a vector graphic.
Bitmap: An image composed of grids of pixels or dots.
Motion System: The mechanical/electrical system that delivers the laser beam by moving the
focusing lens directly above the application material.
Laser Beam Delivery Method (Mode): Three distinct ways the laser system can deliver the laser
beam to the application material called raster engraving, vector marking, and vector cutting.
Raster: The process where the laser beam makes a series of bi-directional,
horizontal scan lines to produce an image. Fills and Bitmaps are automatically
raster engraved by the laser system.
Vector: The process where the laser beam follows the path of the outline (if
present) of the graphic.
Marking: Setting the laser power low enough to only penetrate the surface
of the material.
Cutting: Setting the laser power high enough to cut all the way through
the material (if the material can be cut).
NOTE: When adjusting the printer driver settings, it is highly recommended that you practice
engraving or cutting on a scrap portion of that material in case the settings need to be re-adjusted
to obtain the desired results.
Section 4-1
Printer Driver Controls
Laser Settings Tab
Pen Mode
The driver uses the word “PEN” because the laser system works similar to the operation of a pen plotter
output device. A pen plotter physically selects a colored pen that matches the same colored objects in
your graphic, called “color mapping”, and draws the graphic, on paper, in that color. The laser system,
however, applies a Mode, % Power, % Speed, PPI, and Gas Assist (computer controlled air assist
models only) setting to the individually colored objects in your graphic. Up to eight (8) sets of useradjustable parameters, which control laser beam delivery to your application material, can be “mapped” to
the respectively colored filled or outlined objects in your graphic.
NOTE: Black and white, grayscale, and color bitmaps are all mapped to the black color’s settings.
Clicking the square button toggles through the following laser beam delivery modes for the each of the
eight respective pen colors.
•
•
•
•
RAST/VECT (default) rasters fills and vector marks or cuts proper outlines.
RAST rasters all fills AND outlines regardless of outline thickness.
VECT only vector marks or cuts proper outlines. It will skip all fills and will skip all outlines with
line weights thicker than a hairline.
SKIP ignores all fills and outlines.
Color, Power, Speed, and PPI
To change the % Power, % Speed, and/or PPI of a color, position the mouse arrow on the color name
and click once. This will highlight the color’s parameters and will allow the changing of the settings by
using the scroll bars or by typing in each setting in the appropriate control box. It is possible to click on
more than one color to set them to the same setting at the same time. IN the Windows 95/98/ME driver,
PPI is not adjustable unless the Use Default PPI (500) is NOT selected.
% Power
Available settings are from 0 to 100%. This setting is directly related to how deep the engraving will
be. The higher the setting, the deeper it engraves, marks, or cuts, and vice-versa.
% Speed
Available settings are from 0 to 100%. This setting determines the maximum rate of travel of the
motion system. Actual engraving time (throughput) is not only dependent on the % Speed setting, but
is also dependent on the size and the placement of the graphic in the engraving field. The motion
system will accelerate/decelerate as fast as it can up to the chosen speed. If the motion system
cannot achieve the chosen speed based on the size of the graphic or graphical placement in the field
it will automatically adjust its speed internally to the maximum speed it can achieve. This is evident
when you see the motion system automatically slow down while cutting curves or circles as opposed
to straight lines. Automatic proportional pulsing (see PPI) of the laser beam will ensure that there is
no difference in the depth of cut from straight lines to curves. Remember that depending on the
graphic and your chosen settings, increasing or decreasing the speed setting will not necessarily
process the file faster or slower, respectively. We will discuss how to optimize the throughput of the
system later in this manual.
% Power and % Speed work together in determining how deep the engraving or cutting will be.
Higher power and slower speeds produce deeper results. Lower power and higher speeds produce
shallower results.
NOTE: 100% raster speed is different than 100% vector speed. Due to the inertia of the X-axis
arm, movements in the Y-direction, and also depending on which model you have, vector
speeds will range from one-third to one-half the maximum raster speed.
Section 3-2
Printer Driver Controls
PPI
Available settings are 10 to 1000. The laser beam is always pulsed and never “on” continuously even
though it may appear that way. The PPI setting indicates how many laser pulses, per linear inch, the
laser cartridge will emit. The pulsing of the laser beam is electronically linked to the motion system.
These pulses will always fire, equally spaced, from one to the next, regardless of changes in speed.
In raster mode, the laser pulses are applied in bi-directional, horizontal scan lines just
like a dot matrix printer. If you set the PPI to 500 and use the standard focusing lens
(2.0”) which has a laser spot size of five thousandths of an inch (.005”), pulses will
fire every .002 inches (500 PPI), which will produce pulse overlap. Raising the PPI
higher, such as 1000, the pulses will overlap more whereas lowering the PPI to
something like 150 will spread the pulses out far enough where they may not overlap
at all. When raster engraving filled objects, it is advisable to use a PPI setting of 500 or higher. If
using less, the image resolution of the engraving is reduced. In some rare cases, using less than 500
PPI may produce better results.
In vector mode, laser pulsing follows the path of the outline of the object. Imagine
the laser system working like a sewing machine where the stitching always remains
consistent whether you sew fast, slow, or around curves. The setting you use will be
application material dependent. Using less than 150 PPI may result in the pulses
being spread so far apart that they may or may not touch one another. Perforated
paper has this characteristic. Higher PPI settings may cause more of a melting or
burning effect on the edges whereas lower PPI settings may reduce the burning, melting, or charring,
but may result in a serrated or perforated-looking edge. Increasing or decreasing the PPI setting
does not affect engraving speed, only the frequency of the pulses.
Set Button
After making % Power, % Speed, and PPI adjustments, you must click the Set button to register the
change. If you do not click on Set, but click the OK button instead, the settings will revert back to the
previous settings.
?
This selection, located in each tab, opens the printer driver’s help screens.
Section 3-3
Printer Driver Controls
Save
By clicking Save, the “Save Engraving Setup” dialog box will appear and will allow you to enter in a
file name. All settings will be stored in this file that has a “.LAS” extension. DO NOT rename the
extension; the driver will not recognize the file as a laser settings file if it does not have the “.LAS”
extension name. These files can be stored in any directory on your hard drive or floppy disks and you
can have as many setting files as your disks can hold.
Load
To recall printer driver settings that have been previously saved, click on the “Load” button and
choose the desired .LAS settings file. The settings that are currently on screen will be replaced by
the settings from the .LAS file. You may abort this change by clicking Cancel; clicking OK will
approve the change.
Default
This button will reset the driver settings to the originally installed values.
Print Mode
In this dropdown list, you can choose from 4 different printing modes, Normal (default), Clipart, 3D, and
Rubber Stamp.
Clipart Mode
This control simulates laser printer output and is very useful if using a drawing with many colors,
shades of gray, or many outlines. It is recommended to turn this control ON when using DRAWN
clipart because there may be some underlying cutting lines hiding behind filled areas. Having this
control ON gives a what-you-see-is-what-you-get output very similar to laser printer output. The
entire drawing will be raster engraved, including all outlines, and only the Black color setting is used.
The driver automatically turns OFF its color-mapping feature and all colors are engraved as different
shades of gray, represented by a halftone pattern. The type of halftone pattern is based upon the
“Quality” setting of the driver the same way grayscale bitmaps are interpreted. Since clipart images
use a wide variety of colors, shades, and outlines, the only effective way of engraving these images is
to have this control turned ON. Clipart mode also provides greater compatibility with Windows
software that does not work well with vector devices such as the laser system. Do not activate this
control when printing photographs or bitmapped images; use it ONLY with DRAWN clipart.
3D
There are two ways to use this feature. The first method is used produce an engraving that has a
contoured depth, giving it a three dimensional feel. It is used in combination with grayscale bitmaps
by automatically assigning laser power levels to the shades of gray of the bitmap WITHOUT
converting the image to a halftone. These power settings are based off the setting you entered for
the color black, in the printer driver. The darkest shades of gray (black) will be assigned the value of
the setting for the black color. The lightest shade of gray (white) will automatically be assigned a 0%
power. All other shades of gray that fall between black and white will automatically be assigned an
appropriate power level that matches the darkness of the color. The engraving will appear “3D”
because the depth of the engraving will vary according to the image. Sometimes it takes several
passes to create enough relief in the engraving to get the desired results.
Special 3D software is required to produce the type of grayscale images that are compatible with this
mode. You cannot simply use ANY grayscale bitmap to produce a “3D” effect. Please contact our
Applications Department for the latest 3D software recommendations.
The second way to use the 3D feature is to engrave any photograph, lightly onto the surface of hard
materials such as black marble, anodized aluminum, painted brass, micro-surfaced engravers plastic,
etc., to produce unbelievable photographic quality. Using the appropriate materials and settings, the
end result is an engraving that looks more like a photograph than a halftoned or diffusion dithered
image does. To use the 3D feature in this method you must first set up a few things.
Section 3-4
Printer Driver Controls
Choose Your Material
The best material to use is one that has the highest contrast such as black anodized aluminum,
black marble, or black cored engravers plastic with a white micro surfaced coating. While other
materials may work ok, they might not produce the highest quality.
Establishing Nominal Power
Choose your %Speed and you Image Density settings. Set the PPI to 1000 but don’t set the
%Power setting just yet. The objective is to use the LOWEST %Power setting that produces the
most contrast such as the whitest (as in black anodized aluminum) or the darkest (as in black
cored engravers plastic with a white micro surfaced coating) results. This is what we call the
“nominal” power setting. Over-powering the material will produce poor results.
In your graphics software, create a series of 5 rectangles that are about ¼ inch high and 6 inches
wide as in the following diagram:
Starting with the top rectangle set the power setting to a value that you know will be too low. For
example, engrave the first rectangle at 5% power, increasing the power for each subsequent
rectangle 5% finishing the series off at 25% power and note the results. Choose the rectangle
that uses the lowest %Power setting to achieve the most contrast. If 25% is not enough power,
then engrave the rectangles once again, this time starting at 25% and incrementing by 5% and so
on.
In this particular example, we’ll say that 20% power looks over-burned but 15% appears underburned. Since the material may be sensitive to small power changes, you may need to narrow it
down a bit further. Engrave a new series of rectangles, but this time start the top rectangle at
15% then add 1% for the next rectangle, and so forth, until you find the best setting between 15%
and 20%.
The setting that produces the highest contrast using the least amount of %Power is called the
nominal power setting.
Engraving a Calibration Scale
Now that you have established the nominal power setting, you will need to engrave a grayscale
calibration scale. You can create one of your own or use the one provided for you which can be
found on the printer driver disk called “Calibration Scale.CDR”. This is a CorelDRAW 8 file so
using versions 8 and higher will open the file. The scale looks like this:
00
01
02
03
04
05
06
07
08
09
10
11
12
13
14
15
Each rectangle is .5 inches wide and .25 inches tall. Each successive shade of gray is
incremented by 16 levels starting at 0 and ending at 255. The numbers below the scale are there
as a reference to the 16 levels of power control (explained later) and do not need to be engraved
if you do not want to.
You can also load a custom grayscale color palette into your CorelDRAW program. This file can
also be found on your driver disk and is named “ULS photo.cpl”. Use this palette if you want to
create your own calibration scale.
Section 3-5
Printer Driver Controls
Engrave the calibration scale, onto your material, using the nominal power setting you
established earlier. Compare it to the actual calibration scale that you see on screen or in this
manual. If the response of your material to the laser beam was perfectly linear, then the result
should look exactly like the calibration scale. Most likely you will find that several rectangles
appear to have the same appearance of shading. The objective would be to engrave the
calibration scale and produce a result that would appear as if each rectangle would have its own
distinguishable level of gray, starting from white all the way to black. To help you achieve those
results, the printer driver gives you the ability to calibrate the power level of each one of the
rectangles. To access the feature, click on the “Configure” button.
Configure Button
When you click this button, the ULS 3D Power Calibration screen will appear. Notice that there
are 16 slider bars representing the 16 shades of gray of the calibration scale. The 00 and the 15
are not adjustable as they represent white and black. The 14 other ones can be adjusted. The
objective is to go back and forth between adjusting the corresponding slider bars and reengraving the calibration scale until you can duplicate the appearance of the calibration scale as
best as you can. As you are progressing MAKE SURE YOU KEEP SAVING YOUR SETTINGS
IN AN LAS FILE just in case your computer crashes, etc. This is a lengthy procedure so you do
not want to have to do it twice.
Once you have duplicated the Calibration Scale onto your material, calibration is now complete.
You only need to do this calibration one time for each material you intend on using to produce
photographs.
NOTE: If you are using a type of material that becomes lighter when you engrave, such as
black marble, you will need to invert the photograph first (make a negative image), in your
photo editing software, otherwise when you engrave the image, it will appear like a
negative image.
APPLY Button
Click this button to enable the settings that you just set.
CLOSE Button
This closes the 3D Power Calibration settings window and cancels any changes you made to
the scale if you didn’t click the APPLY button.
DEFAULTS Button
Applies the factory default settings to the 3D Power Calibration settings
Rubber Stamp
This mode causes a “shouldering” effect when raster
engraving rubber stamp material or any other material that
requires a “shouldered” engraving. The effect looks as if
the laser beam engraved the material on an angle, but in
actuality it is the precise control of laser power that creates
this appearance. This is a “raster only” feature that only
works with black colored graphics and uses the power
setting of the black color in the printer driver. Vectors are
processed normally and can be used for vector engraving
or cutting by assigning any of the seven other printer driver
colors to the outline desired.
This image...
...turns into this
image by the driver...
...and the engraved
image looks like this.
This image...
...turns into this
...and the engraved
To obtain a “raised” engraving such as a rubber stamp,
image by the driver...
image looks like this.
simply create a “negative” graphic so that the background
is black and the text or graphic objects are white. This way, the background engraves and the text or
objects remain untouched, producing a “pyramid” effect.
Section 3-6
Printer Driver Controls
To obtain a “chiseled” or “sunken” engraving, create a “positive” graphic so that the background is
white and the text or objects are black. This way, the text or graphic engraves and the background
remains untouched, producing a “chiseled” effect.
Configure Button
Selecting it brings up a pop-up window so you can choose from the following settings:
Taper Selection
Choose from various types of shoulder angles. Experiment with each setting and note
the result.
Invert Page
This converts all black objects into white and all white objects into black for the ENTIRE
PAGE. This is very useful for engraving a full sheet of rubber stamps.
Mirror Page
This mirrors the ENTIRE PAGE from left to right (horizontally). It will not mirror individual
objects or selections. This is very useful for engraving full sheets rubber stamps because
the graphics on screen are non-mirrored and can be proof read easily.
Power
Notice that when you click on different Taper Selections, that the power table changes.
This is because the laser applies power in different profiles to produce different styles of
taper. You will notice that you cannot adjust the pre-defined Taper, however, if you
would like to create a custom taper of your own, first select the Taper Selection that you
would like to start with and then click the “NEW” button. This will copy the taper as a
“Custom Shoulder” that you can rename by typing a new name in the dialog box and
clicking “Rename”. You can also adjust the profile however you desire. Each slider bar
controls the lasers power for that step. The numbers at the bottom of that slider bar
define the width of the step in .001 inches (mils). The square at the top of each slider bar
is it activate/deactivate button. Always deactivate the steps you are not using so that it
will apply 100% power to that level.
STEP POWER %
0
8
20
31
39
49
59
100
Material
.002”
STEP WIDTH
Normal Rubber Stamp Setting
...will give you these results
The diagram above is an example of the Normal Rubber Stamp Taper Selection. You
can see that there are 8 steps used to create the shoulder. The surface of the material is
considered the first step and the bottom of the engraving is considered the last step. You
can define as many as 16 steps but the first or the last steps are not definable because
they are fixed at a power setting of 0% and 100% respectively. You can only define the
parameters for the steps in between the first and last steps in which there are 14 of them.
By adjusting the power setting for each step, the width in (.001) inches for each step, and
the number of steps, different shoulder profiles can be created. NOTE: The maximum
shoulder width is .056 inches.
Section 3-7
Printer Driver Controls
Engraving Field Tab
Language
Select from many different languages in this drop down list. Some language changes will not take effect
until the printer control panel is closed and then re-opened.
Version
Clicking Version will display a pop-up dialog box containing information on the current driver version
number as well as the driver’s copyright notice. If contacting technical support, it is important to have the
version number of your driver available.
Start Options
Choose from either Auto Start or Manual Start in Windows 95/98/ME only. Windows 2000/XP users can
only use Manual Start.
Auto Start
This enables the laser system to begin engraving as soon as you click the OK button and without
having to push the start button on the control panel of the laser system. This option functions only
when the laser system’s one file memory mode is activated. Refer to the laser system’s operations
manual on how to activate one file memory mode.
CAUTION: Before using AUTO START, please ensure that your exhaust system is powered ON and
your material is loaded into the machine and properly focused. Use extreme caution when using this
feature because there will be very little time to stop the laser system from engraving or cutting once
you have clicked OK in the driver.
Manual Start
This is the normal mode of operation of the laser system. The laser system will not start until the
entire file enters into the laser system and the operator pushes the start button on the control panel.
Engraving Field
Width and Height
The page size that you enter here MUST match the page size in your graphics software program
EXACTLY and it is up to the operator to enter in the correct settings. Select the metric box if metric
units are desired.
NOTE: Incorrect use of this feature may cause no graphics, partial graphics, erroneous graphics, or
a misaligned graphics output, relative to the application material, to occur. To avoid problems, we
recommend that set it to the maximum field size of your laser system (click the Maximum Page Size
button) and also set your graphics software programs page size to match.
Maximum Page Size Button
Clicking on this button restores the driver back to the default maximum page size that your model can
accept.
Orientation
Orientation determines the raster direction of travel and MUST also match your graphics software’s page
orientation EXACTLY. The landscape mode is the NORMAL mode of operation and causes the laser
system to raster in the left and right direction. Portrait mode (Windows 95/98/ME only) causes the laser
system to raster from the front to the back of the laser system (not recommended for continuous use).
DO NOT choose different orientation settings between your graphics software and the driver otherwise,
your graphic may not print in the correct position or may not print at all because it may be inadvertently
placed off the printable area of the page.
Section 3-8
Printer Driver Controls
Rotary Fixture
This option is available for most models. Please refer to operations manual on how to install and use the
Rotary Fixture.
Advanced Tab
Dithering
Dithering settings are used when printing grayscale or color bitmapped images such as TIF, JPG, and
BMP formatted images. Since the laser system is essentially a black and white printer (black turns the
laser ON and white turns the laser OFF), and if you choose the correct settings, the driver will
automatically convert the grayscale or color bitmap into a 1-bit “halftoned” black and white image. This
process is very similar to how newspaper photographs as well as laser printer photographs are printed.
For a more detailed explanation of the terms “grayscale”, “bitmap”, “halftone”, or “dither”, please refer to
the “Graphic Software Setup” section in this manual.
Halftone
This halftone pattern generator converts grayscale bitmaps into a halftoned image based on your
Image Density choice in the driver.
IMAGE DENSITY
6
5
4
3
2
ANGLE
45 DEGREES
45 DEGREES
45 DEGREES
45 DEGREES
45 DEGREES
SHAPE
ROUND
ROUND
ROUND
ROUND
ROUND
LINES PER INCH
180
90
60
45
36
Error Diffusion
Unlike halftoning, error diffusion scatters the black pixels in a random pattern to represent shading. It
uses the quantity of black dots instead of the size of the black dots to represent the different shades
of gray. The pattern created will be dependent on the quality setting that you choose in the driver
with the exception that there is no chart to reference. Higher quality settings such as 5 will produce a
more densely packed, higher dot quantity pattern whereas lower resolution setting such as 2 will
produce a loosely packed, lower quantity dot pattern
NOTE: DO NOT use Error Diffusion when engraving rubber stamps otherwise dots will appear in the
background. Choose only Halftone.
Black and White Mode
This mode thresholds the image at 50% black. Each pixel that is greater than 50% black will be
converted into white and each pixel that is 50% black or less will be converted into black. This effect
is very similar to trying to duplicate a photograph using a photocopier.
Helpful Tip
Engraving grayscale bitmaps using a dithering pattern requires some practice and a bit of trial and error
to achieve perfection. It also requires some knowledge of bitmap editing software. These images will
visually appear different on one material as opposed to another material even if you use the same driver
settings. As a rule of thumb, use an Image Density setting of 5 using halftone or diffusion pattern on
harder materials such as marble, anodized aluminum or microsurfaced engraver's plastic. Use an Image
Density setting of 3 using the halftone or diffusion pattern for softer materials such as wood or materials
that you intend on engraving very deeply.
Section 3-9
Printer Driver Controls
Print Direction
Your choices are Down or Up. The default direction is Down which begins engraving at the top of the
field and finishes at the bottom. On some materials you may get better results by starting at the bottom
and engraving towards the top of the field (Up). This is because the engraving smoke is being drawn
towards the top of the field. On some materials engraving Down causes the smoke or debris from the
engraving to be deposited onto the previously engraved surface, possibly damaging the engraved area.
Experiment with the different directions using different materials and choose the best method for your
application.
NOTE: The Up direction is especially useful when engraving rubber stamps and utilizing the Back Sweep
Air Assist option.
Image Enhancement
These controls allow the user to “fine tune” the image which will enable the laser system to produce the
highest quality, highest detailed images at high or low speeds. Image Enhancement may be used at any
engraving speed and with any application material.
The following procedure may appear lengthy, but when you actually learn how to use the controls,
establishing the correct parameters is easy and quick. Once you have established those parameters you
can “SAVE” them in the ULS printer driver as .LAS settings and recall them when needed. Many users
choose to name these saved setting according to the application material’s name. Before stepping you
through the procedure we must first define the parameters.
NOTE: The Image Enhancement settings are designed to work with the BLACK pen color in the
printer driver. However, the other 7 pen colors of the printer driver will use the same Image
Enhancement settings. Keep in mind that those settings will have a different resulting effect on if
the other colors %power, %speed, and PPI are different than the black pen color’s setting.
Definitions
CONTRAST: Adjusts the difference between the unengraved and engraved areas in the high density part
of the graphic or where there is the most concentration of graphic pixels (in between the dotted lines) as
the following diagram illustrates:
Universal Laser Systems, Inc.
Within this effective area, using too little CONTRAST may cause some parts of the letters to appear thin,
faint, fuzzy, or even non-existent. Having too much CONTRAST will cause the effective area to appear
thick, bold, or over powered.
DEFINITION: Adjusts the difference between low density and the high density part of the graphic. The
low density part of the graphic can be considered such as the ascenders and decenders of text, or single
pixels that may be horizontally spaced far from other pixels, or the start of the graphic in the direction of
the raster stroke. Refer to the following diagram:
Universal Laser Systems, Inc.
Setting this parameter too low may cause the effective part of the graphic to appear thin, faint, fuzzy, or
non-existent. Too high of a parameter will cause these objects to appear thicker, bolder, or more powered
than the high density areas of the graphic.
Section 3-10
Printer Driver Controls
DENSITY: Adjusts the difference between the entire unengraved and engraved areas. If the parameter
is too high, then the entire engraved image may appear thick, bold or over powered. Too low of a setting
may cause the image to appear thin and pixels or parts of characters may disappear altogether. The
opposite effect would occur on inverted images such as white text on a black background.
TUNING: Adjusts the image so that the pixels vertically line up with each other during the left and right,
bi-directional raster strokes, will line up properly. A misadjusted TUNING value will cause the image to
appear double-imaged or inadvertently bolder than normal. A typical non-Image Enhanced TUNING
value can be from -4 up to 0, whereas a typical Image Enhanced TUNING value generally averages
around +4. Yes, TUNING will be different if you have Image Enhancements enabled or disabled. Saving
the printer driver settings will also save the TUNING value.
Procedure
The following procedure assumes that you have some experience working with the laser system and you
have a general idea of the Power, Speed, PPI, and Image Density settings that you intend to use for the
chosen application material.
In the following example, we will be engraving painted brass choosing 100% speed for good throughput,
and Image Density 5 for good quality.
Step 1: Establish the nominal power setting.
In your graphics software, create a series of 5 rectangles that are about ¼ inch high and 6 inches wide as
in the following diagram:
Starting with the top rectangle set the power setting to a value that you know will be too low. For
example, set it to 5% power and the rest of the parameters to 100% speed, 1000 PPI, and Image Density
5. At this time, ensure that Image Enhancement is NOT enabled. Engrave the first rectangle at 5%
power, increasing the power for each subsequent rectangle 5% finishing the series off at 25% power and
note the results. What you are looking for is the LOWEST power setting that has the cleanest removal of
material. This would be the nominal power setting. While higher than nominal settings may also produce
clean engraving, it will overpower the material and may cause highly detailed engraving, unlike these
rectangles, to appear too thick, bold or washed-out. If 25% is not enough power, then engrave the
rectangles again, this time starting at 25% and incrementing by 5% and so on. In our particular example,
we’ll say that 20% power looks good but 15% appears underpowered. Since we know that this material
happens to be sensitive to small power changes, we’ll need to narrow it down a bit further. Engrave the
rectangles once again, but this time start the top rectangle at 15% then add 1% for the next rectangle and
so on until you reach 20%. The results now indicate that nominal power setting of 17% power looks as if it
is the LOWEST power setting that produces the cleanest results at 100% Speed, 1000 PPI, and Image
Density 5.
Step 2: Using text to set the CONTRAST parameter.
Type in a random line of text, using the Times New Roman font, set at 8 or 10 points in size. Make sure
that the text string is at least 6 inches long and that the characters used include punctuation marks,
spaces, and lower and upper case as in the following example:
Universal Laser Systems, Inc. produces the “BEST” laser systems in the world!
Section 3-11
Printer Driver Controls
Engrave it with the settings determined in step one but this time ENABLE Image Enhancement and set
CONTRAST to 0, DEFINITION to 0, DENSITY to 100 and the TUNING value to +4. You should expect
the results to appear fuzzy, having parts of the characters missing, and overall engraving quality to be not
as good as expected. This is normal. Move the line of text, slightly downward in your graphics software
so that you will engrave a clean part of the material but keeping it close enough to the previous engraving
so that you have something to compare it to. Keep engraving samples and adjusting the CONTRAST
upwards in increments of 5 and note the results. The objective is to adjust the CONTRAST just enough to
cause the high density areas of the text to be sharp and clear. Ignore the appearance of the ascenders
(like quotation marks or the tops of h’s) and decenders (like commas or the bottom of lower case p’s) as
they will appear faint and unclear. This is to be expected. DO NOT adjust the CONTRAST setting to try to
force these to appear, we will use the DEFINITION adjustment for those. Right now, ONLY concentrate
on the high density part of the characters. Setting CONTRAST too high can cause the characters to
appear “fat” or “bold”. Adjusting the CONTRAST by just one number can make a big difference in
appearance so continue adjusting the setting by first incrementing in 5’s until you get close, but then fine
tune the setting by incrementing or decrementing by 1’s until the exact setting is achieved.
Step 3: Adjusting DEFINITION to enhance the ascenders and decenders.
Now, increase the DEFINITION in increments of 5 at a time until the ascenders, decenders, commas,
quotation marks and any other low density area characters begin to appear. The objective is to increase
the setting just enough to cause these parts of the graphic to match the appearance of the high density
areas. Setting the DEFINITION too high will result in ascenders and decenders appearing too “fat” or
“bold” compared to the rest of the graphic.
Step 4: Reducing DENSITY as needed.
Once CONTRAST and DEFINITION have been set to the appropriate levels, the graphic may or may not
appear to be “fat” or “bold”. In most cases, the appearance will look great without making any more
adjustments. However, if everything appears overpowered or bold, try reducing the DENSITY down from
100 in increments of 5 and note the results. If the characters begin appear to be “chunky” or appear as if
pixels have been eliminated, then you have reduced it too much. Normally you can leave the DENSITY at
100. However, there may be cases where you need to reduce it. Reducing DENSITY can be very useful
when the image is inverted such as white text with a black background. In this case, if the engraved area
(the background) is overpowering the text (foreground) then reducing the DENSITY may help thicken the
text.
TUNING
Step 5: Fine tuning the raster strokes.
At this point, we are finished with Image Enhancements. Make sure that you save your settings. But your
graphic may need a little more “fine tuning”. The typical TUNING setting is +4 when Image Enhancement
is enabled. However, this may or may not be the best setting for your system. To check this setting, you
should perform this last test. Engrave the same text, with all your Image Enhancement settings but this
time set the TUNING value to 0. Then move the graphic down and engrave it again with TUNING setting
+1, then +2 and so forth all the way to +8. Compare each one to the other and find the one that is the
sharpest and clearest. Go back and set the TUNING value to the appropriate number and SAVE your
settings once again.
The Image Enhancement settings for that material are now complete. If you feel that you can “tweak” it a
little more, go back to step 2 and try again, but this time start with your current Image Enhancement
settings that you saved. It is not necessary to reset your nominal power setting and we recommend that
you leave it the same as the value you determined in step 1.
Setting the Image Enhancement parameters using this procedure will cause all of your graphics, whether
big or small, inverted or not, dense or highly detailed, to appear better than ever. We suggest that you
run this procedure for all your materials and save your parameters. This may sound like a big job, but the
additional productivity and engraving quality that your system is capable of producing is well worth the
small amount of time spent.
Section 3-12
Printer Driver Controls
NOTE: Image Enhancement will cause files to take longer to print. Since most materials do not require
the use of Image Enhancement, use this feature only as needed. Also, Image Enhancement and 3D
Effects cannot be selected at the same time. The printer driver will automatically notify you if you attempt
to do so.
Texture
Selecting this new feature produces a “textured” or “splattered” engraving background. This helps
improve the appearance of engraving large areas of material. It only works when Image
Enhancement is activated.
Calculate Button
After you establish your nominal power setting for your material using the Black pen color settings,
click on this button to have the printer driver automatically “estimate” your enhancement settings.
The results may be useful “as-is” or may need to be adjusted. Due to the differences in laser
performance, power, and material interaction with the laser beam, usage of this feature may not
always yield the best results and may serve only as a starting point.
Vector Optimizer
The four available selections apply to vector output only and have no effect on raster images. Regardless
of which of the following selections you choose, vectors are grouped by pen color and will always output
in the color order listed in the printer driver.
OFF
Turns off this feature.
ENHANCE ONLY
The printer driver collects all the vectors from the application software and reconstructs them (so
to speak) by removing start and stop points within the vector curves so that they run smoother
with less jitter. It has no effect on straight, horizontal or vertical, lines
SORT ONLY
The printer driver collects all the vectors from the application software, stores them in temporary
memory, sorts them, and the outputs them in the following order:
• All open path vectors are output first (not closed path vectors like circles and squares)
beginning with the end point of the vector path that is closest to the current position of the
focus carriage. All subsequent open vector paths are output using the same “nearest
neighbor” starting point method which eliminates the random “vector hopping” that
causes longer processing times.
• Closed paths will follow, beginning with the innermost closed path and ending with the
outermost closed path. This is particularly useful in an elevated cutting application to
prevent the outer piece from falling first. The beginning point of a closed path is
automatically selected by the printer driver by the “nearest neighbor” vector path that has
the steepest angle in the Y-axis direction.
ENHANCE AND SORT
This turns on both features simultaneously.
Section 3-13
Printer Driver Controls
Vector Scaling
This feature allows you to calibrate vector cutting or vector engraving to your particular application. To
calibrate the system, as an example, draw a precise, 5” x 5” square in your graphics software. In the
printer driver, set the laser power and speed setting to vector mark (do not cut through) this square onto
some scrap material. After marking, remove the material and with a precision measuring device such as
a caliper, measure the square in both the horizontal (X) and vertical (Y) directions. Let’s say that the
measurement was 4.997”x and 4.996”y. Use the formula (desired length/measured length) and enter the
result into the X-axis and Y-axis boxes respectively. In this example, the result would be X-axis = 1.0006
to 1.0000 and Y-axis = 1.0008 to 1.0000. The printer driver will scale the images larger for numbers
greater than 1.0000 and will scale the image smaller for numbers less than 1.0000. After changing the
numbers, repeat the marking procedure and verify that the square is scaled correctly. We used a 5” by 5”
square just as an example but you can use any size object that is smaller than the maximum size of the
engraving field. Using the Vector scaling feature with larger images produces more accurate results.
Keep in mind that this feature DOES NOT scale raster images so if you combine raster and vector images
in one file, the raster image may not align with your vectors. You will need to manually position your
raster images in their desired position.
CAUTION: Do not attempt to use the vector-scaling feature when your graphic extends out to the
absolute edge of the engraving field. You may accidentally cause the driver to attempt to print past the
edge of the maximum allowable page size. Unexpected results may occur. If you use this feature, the
actual allowable page size decreases by the same amount that you are attempting to offset.
Rotary Rotation
If you have purchased the optional Rotary fixture, you may need to calibrate your fixture if your
application requires you to engrave or cut completely around the cylinder precisely 360 degrees. Only
use this option if you completely understand and have used the Rotary Fixture in the past. If you are
familiar with the operation of the Rotary Fixture and as an application you create a vector line or raster
graphic that extends from the top of the page (in your graphic software) all the way to the bottom of the
page, you should expect that the Rotary Fixture would rotate a full 360 degrees. If the fixture comes up
short or long by a few degrees, you can compensate for this in the driver. If your application comes up
short, increase the number past 1.0000 as much as you need to and run your sample again. If your
application rotates past 360 degrees, then decrease the number of degrees below 1.0000 to get the ends
to line up. You can calculate the exact number (refer to the Vector Scaling technique in the next
paragraph) but it may be difficult to measure circumference.
Section 3-14
Printer Driver Controls
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
Engrave these different power settings and note the LOWEST setting that cleanly engraves the material.
To narrow down the precise setting further, take this setting, apply it to the middle rectangle, and subtract
2% going up and 2% going down for each rectangle. For example, let’s say that we think the best setting
was 20%. Take the 20% setting, apply it to the middle, and the other settings should appear as shown.
16%
18%
20%
22%
24%
Run the test again and choose the LOWEST power setting that cleanly engraves the material. This is the
power setting we will use as the correct power setting for the material while processing it at the speed and
quality setting chosen. Let’s say that we feel that 18% power, 100% speed and quality setting 5 is the
choice we are going with. Go ahead and makes sure that you set this setting to the black color of the
driver.
Step 2: Create a highly detailed image to set enhancement levels. We like to use a 10-point, Times New
Roman font and create some random characters that have decenders and ascenders such as the
following:
Dkjfhgnbpwiueywroeho;weurhg8o743650t92othj2’j’;ldg8-9a0wwu10234jtr’3j4tn[912yun40pjm4pjk’;uuut0
Engrave this sample using the settings we determined, and note the results. Pay attention to the
decenders and ascenders of characters such as a “y” or a “b”. If the ascenders and decenders appear
normal, then no enhancements are necessary so you can stop testing and exit the procedure. If the
appear faint, thin, or do not appear at all, enhancements are necessary. Proceed to the next step.
Step 3: Click on Enable and set the Low Density and High Density levels to the same as the power
setting we chose (18% in this example). Run Step 2 again and observe the decenders and ascenders
again. If they are still faint, increase the Low Density value by 5% and try again. Keep trying until the
ascenders and decenders appear normal. If the center parts of the characters are faint, such as the
vertically centered part of a “2” or the vertically centered part of a “/”, then the High Density value should
be increased. Increase the High Density by 5% also, and try again. Keep adjusting both settings until
you balance out the ascenders and decenders, and the vertically centered part of the letters until they are
equalized. Once you have found the correct setting, make sure that you save it. Now run your regular
sample and note the difference. If you set enhancements correctly, your image should be sharper and
have more detail. It takes some practice to get the settings just right.
NOTE: Image Enhancement will cause files to take longer to print. Since most materials do not require
the use of Image Enhancement, use this feature only as needed. Also, Image Enhancement and 3D
Effects cannot be selected at the same time. The printer driver will automatically notify you if you attempt
to do so.
Section 3-15
Printer Driver Controls
Rotary Rotation
If you have purchased the optional Rotary fixture, you may feel the need to calibrate your fixture if your
application requires you to engrave or cut completely around the cylinder at least 360 degrees. Only use
this option if you completely understand and have used the Rotary Fixture in the past. If you are familiar
with the operation of the Rotary Fixture and as an application you create a vector line or raster graphic
that extends from the top of the page (in your graphic software) all the way to the bottom of the page, you
should expect that the Rotary Fixture would rotate a full 360 degrees. If the fixture comes up short or
long by a few degrees, you can compensate for this in the driver. If your application comes up short,
increase the number past 360 as much as you need to and run your sample again. If your application
rotates past 360, then decrease the number of degrees below 360 to get the ends to line up.
Vector Scaling
This feature allows you to calibrate your vector cutting or vector engraving to your particular application.
To calibrate the system, draw a precise, 5” x 5” square in your graphics software. In the printer driver, set
the laser power and speed setting to vector mark (do not cut through) this square onto some scrap
material. After marking, remove the material and with a precision measuring device such as a caliper,
measure the square in both the horizontal (x) and vertical (y) directions. As an example, let’s say that the
measurement was 4.997”x and 4.996”y. Enter these measured values into the Virtual X and Virtual Y
boxes respectively. This altered setting forces the printer driver to compensate for the difference.
Numbers less than 5 will cause the driver to stretch the image and numbers greater than 5 will cause the
driver to compress the image graphically. Repeat the marking procedure and verify that the square is
scaled correctly. This procedure uses a 5” by 5” reference to scale the vectors across the entire table.
Keep in mind that this feature DOES NOT scale raster images so if you combine raster and vector images
in one file, the raster image may not align with your vectors. You will need to manually position your
raster images in their desired position.
CAUTION: Do not attempt to use the vector-scaling feature when your graphic extends out to the
absolute edge of the engraving field. You may accidentally cause the driver to attempt to print past the
edge of the maximum allowable page size. Unexpected results may occur. If you use this feature, the
actual allowable page size decreases by the same amount that you are attempting to offset.
View Tab
When using programs such as CorelDRAW and/or AutoCAD, there is a file preview feature that is part of
the graphics program itself. Refer to your software program’s manual on how to use the file preview
feature. File preview can be a very useful tool. It can help you determine if you have set up your graphic
properly BEFORE trying to print to the laser system. But what about AFTER you send the file to the laser
system? Since the laser system itself does not have the ability to graphically display the downloaded file
that has already been printed, this “View” feature, which is actually a post-viewer, was added to the driver
so that you can view the last 10 files that were printed to the laser system.
The file displayed is the last file that was sent to the laser system. It shows the name of the file as well as
the date and time that you printed it. In the above example, if you were to click on an object such as the
“Test” graphic or the rectangle around the graphic, the color as well as the Power and Speed for that
color will be displayed. Also, if there were a check mark in the “R” and “V” boxes, then the raster images
as well as the vector images would be visually displayed, respectively. The “<<” and the “>>” will toggle
you backwards and forward through the last 10 files. When the 11th file is printed, printer driver deletes
the first file automatically, which maintains the list of the last 10 files.
Section 3-16
Material Settings Guide
Section 4
Material Settings Guide
This section provides sample driver settings and helpful hints to get started engraving and/or
cutting the materials listed.
Safety
NEVER LEAVE THE LASER SYSTEM RUNNING UNATTENDED FOR ANY REASON. Exposure to the
laser beam can cause ignition of combustible materials. All laser cutting and engraving should be
constantly supervised.
NEVER OPERATE THE LASER SYSTEM WITHOUT A PROPERLY INSTALLED AND OPERATING
EXHAUST SYSTEM. Some materials when cut or engraved can produce fumes that are hazardous in
concentrated amounts. Also make sure that your room is adequately ventilated as some materials will
continue to produce fumes for several minutes to possibly hours after the cutting or engraving process
has been completed. Since many materials can produce toxic and possibly caustic fumes or residue, it is
advisable to obtain the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) from the materials manufacturer. The MSDS
discloses all of the hazards when handling or processing that material. The law requires all
manufacturers to provide this information to anyone who requests it.
DO NOT ENGRAVE OR CUT PVC (Polyvinylchloride) BASED MATERIALS. The fumes are extremely
toxic if you inhale them. The fumes are so caustic that it can chemically destroy the metal parts of the
laser system. Damage to the laser system from this type of abuse ARE NOT covered under warranty.
DO NOT ENGRAVE OR CUT UNCOATED METALS OR REFLECTIVE SURFACES. The laser beam
can reflect off of these materials causing damage to the laser system as well as being a safety hazard.
Damage to the laser system from this type of abuse ARE NOT covered under warranty.
Section 4-1
Printer Driver Controls
•
Laser engraving or cutting materials other than those described in this manual can be a safety hazard
and can damage the laser system.
•
Damages to the laser system due to neglect, misuse, or operator error ARE NOT covered under
warranty.
•
Damage to the laser system due to an inadequate or improper operating environment is considered
abuse and ARE NOT covered under warranty.
•
In no event will ULS be liable for any damages caused, in whole or in part, by customer, or for any
economic loss, physical injury, lost revenue, lost profits, lost savings or other indirect, incidental,
special or consequential damages incurred by any person, even if ULS has been advised of the
possibility of such damages or claims.
Materials
There are many variables that can affect the cutting and engraving process such as differences in the
thickness of the material, density of the material, composition of the material, and the manufacturing
processes used to make the material.
Please use these settings as a guideline or starting point, in most cases these
settings should work out well, but sometimes may have to be adjusted to produce
desirable results.
PRINTER DRIVER SETTING TIPS
Power Setting
•
•
Higher burns deeper. Too much power sacrifices detail. Has no effect on running time.
Lower burns shallower. Too little power sacrifices detail. Has no effect on running time.
Speed Setting
•
•
Higher saves time. Burns shallower and reduces detail.
Lower increases time. Burns deeper but too deep may reduce detail.
PPI Setting
•
•
Higher increases the burning or melting effect. Produces finer detail if speed is not too fast. Has no
effect on running time and very little effect on depth.
Lower decreases the burning or melting effect. Reduces image detail if set too low. Has no effect on
running time and very little effect on depth. Very low settings are used to perforate the material.
Rule of Thumb
•
•
Doubling the power doubles the depth and halving the power halves the depth.
Halving the speed doubles the depth and doubling the speed halves the depth.
Section 3-2
Printer Driver Controls
NOTE
When engraving very small objects, top speed cannot be achieved because acceleration and
deceleration of the motion system requires time and distance. The laser system will automatically adjust
itself to a maximum engraving speed that it can achieve due to the size and position of the graphic. This
is why you might notice that there might be no difference in engraving time on certain graphics whether
you choose 100% speed or less.
The following materials were tested with the laser system set at an Image density of 5 except where
noted otherwise. The following pages will fully describe the results of these tests and will offer helpful
hints when choosing materials, setting parameters, and using different techniques to provide the best
laser cutting and engraving results.
Please use these settings as a guideline or starting point, in most cases these
settings should work out well, but sometimes may have to be adjusted to produce
desirable results.
ACRYLIC - CAST AND EXTRUDED
ACRYLIC – MIRRORED
ALUMINUM – ANODIZED
BRASS – PAINTED
CORK
CORIAN / AVONITE / FOUNTAINHEAD
DELRIN (SEAL PRESS)
GLASS / CRYSTAL
LEATHER
MARBLE
MAT BOARD
MELAMINE
PLASTIC – MICROSURFACED
RUBBER STAMPS
VINYL – SIGN (3 MIL)
WOOD / WOOD INLAY
Section 3-3
Printer Driver Controls
ACRYLIC - CAST AND EXTRUDED
LIGHT RASTER ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
DEEP RASTER ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
VECTOR ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
VECTOR CUTTING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
POWER
70
SPEED
80
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.001”
40
35
30
26
22
20
80
80
80
80
80
80
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.001”
.001”
.001”
.001”
.001”
.001”
POWER
100
SPEED
20
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.010”
100
100
100
100
100
100
33
40
47
54
60
67
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
POWER
10
SPEED
4.0
PPI
1000
PASS
1
DEPTH
.010”
6
5
4
3
3
3
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.6
5.2
5.8
1000
1000
1000
1000
1000
1000
1
1
1
1
1
1
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
POWER
80
SPEED
.2
PPI
1000
PASS
1
DEPTH
.2”
90
75
65
55
50
45
.4
.4
.4
.4
.4
.4
1000
1000
1000
1000
1000
1000
1
1
1
1
1
1
.2”
.2”
.2”
.2”
.2”
.2”
Section 3-4
Printer Driver Controls
COMMENTS
There are two types of acrylic available, cast and extruded. Cast turns white or frosted and extruded
remains clear when engraved. Use extruded acrylic for paint filled engraving and cast for regular
engraving. Cast engraves better without masking. Lightly engrave the surface to frost it with a low power
setting such as the first setting listed above. If deep engraving is desired, it is necessary to mask the
acrylic with transfer tape to prevent the smoke from damaging the clear surface of the acrylic. However,
another problem with deep acrylic engraving is that the intense heat creates a white, crusty, deposit that
accumulates along the edges of the area that was just engraved and is impossible to remove without
causing damage. Engraving lightly and without masking seems to be the better all around alternative.
If only cutting acrylic, extruded works better and is less expensive than cast. The cut edges of extruded
acrylic will appear to be more highly polished and clearer than cast acrylic when laser cut. When cutting
acrylic, it might be necessary to remove both sides of the original masking and re-mask with transfer tape
if cutting through the original masking produces flaming. The original masking is coated with wax and will
not absorb water. If cutting through very thick acrylic, re-mask both sides with transfer tape and dampen
the masking on both sides of the acrylic with water from a spray bottle. Elevate the acrylic off the table at
least 1/2 inch, re-focus, and then proceed to cut. Elevating the acrylic will allow the beam to completely
pass through the material which allows the smoke and heat to escape from underneath. If cutting directly
on the engraving table, the trapped heat might cause the bottom edge of the cut to pit and distort. Remasking and dampening with water will act as a heat sink to pull the laser heat away from the cutting area
resulting in less distortion or heat effected zones (HAZ). When dampening, be sure not to leave puddles
of water. Puddles of water will reduce cutting depth significantly. For the best results when combining
engraving and cutting on the same piece, first engrave lightly and unmasked. Then mask with transfer
tape, dampen, elevate, re-focus, and cut as a second step.
Paint filling the engraved area is possible by first masking the acrylic or leave on the original masking
then engraving through the masking. Before removing the masking, brush or spray on some acrylic
based or water based paint right on to the masking. When the paint is dry, remove the masking and the
paint will remain in the recessed area of the engraving. Remember to use extruded acrylic when paint
filling and cast acrylic when simply engraving.
Acrylic is extremely flammable.
engraving.
Do not leave the laser system unattended when cutting or
Section 3-5
Printer Driver Controls
ACRYLIC - MIRRORED
LIGHT RASTER ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
DEEP RASTER ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
VECTOR ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
VECTOR CUTTING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
POWER
75
SPEED
80
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.003”
45
40
35
31
27
25
80
80
80
80
80
80
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
003”
003”
003”
003”
003”
003”
POWER
100
SPEED
20
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.010”
100
100
100
100
100
100
33
40
47
54
60
67
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
POWER
12
SPEED
4.0
PPI
1000
PASS
1
DEPTH
.010”
8
7
6
5
5
5
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.6
5.2
5.8
1000
1000
1000
1000
1000
1000
1
1
1
1
1
1
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
POWER
80
SPEED
.2
PPI
1000
PASS
1
DEPTH
.2”
90
75
65
55
50
45
.4
.4
.4
.4
.4
.4
1000
1000
1000
1000
1000
1000
1
1
1
1
1
1
.2”
.2”
.2”
.2”
.2”
.2”
Section 3-6
Printer Driver Controls
COMMENTS
Engraving mirrored acrylic is similar to engraving regular acrylic. The idea is to engrave through the
mirrored backing enough to begin to penetrate into the acrylic. Engraving deeply will cause a crusty
residue to form just like with non-mirrored acrylic. A double image will appear if engraving on the front
side of the mirror. It is not necessary to mask the backside when engraving because the mirrored
backing shields the acrylic from smoke damage. To cut mirrored acrylic, it might be necessary to remove
all original masking, re-mask with transfer tape, and dampen the tape with water from a spray bottle.
Next, place the acrylic in the laser with the mirrored surface facing upwards and elevate at least 1/2 inch
above the table. The laser beam will not reflect off of the mirrored surface because it is absorbed by the
acrylic first. Sometimes cutting the acrylic from the backside will cause the mirrored backing to distort and
crack from the intense heat required to cut. If the combination of engraving and cutting is desired, our
suggestion is to engrave the backing, unmasked, remove the acrylic, mask both sides with transfer tape,
flip the acrylic over, dampen, elevate, re-focus, and cut from the front side. When paint filling the
engraved area, make sure to use an acrylic-based paint or paint that does not contain acetone or alcohol,
as these chemicals will crack the acrylic. Water based paints also work very well. Since the mirrored
backing serves as a masking, it is not necessary to mask the backside before engraving.
Acrylic is extremely flammable.
engraving.
Do not leave the laser system unattended when cutting or
Section 3-7
Printer Driver Controls
ANODIZED ALUMINUM
RASTER ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
VECTOR ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
POWER
90
SPEED
80
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.001”
54
45
38
34
30
27
80
80
80
80
80
80
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.001”
.001”
.001”
.001”
.001”
.001”
POWER
20
SPEED
4.0
PPI
1000
PASS
1
DEPTH
.001”
12
10
9
8
7
6
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
1000
1000
1000
1000
1000
1000
1
1
1
1
1
1
.001”
.001”
.001”
.001”
.001”
.001”
COMMENTS
There is a process called Laser Color Marking which enables the color filling of anodized aluminum. First,
coat or spray the aluminum with a clear acrylic finish. After the finish has thoroughly dried, laser engrave
the graphic onto the aluminum. Then take a water based marker, such as those found in an art supply
store, and swab on the ink into the engraved area. You can actually see the ink get absorbed into the
engraved area but not the unengraved area. The ink will appear lighter in color because the white
engraved area tends to lighten the shade. Use a darker tint marker to compensate for the lighter effect.
Wipe off the excess with a soft, lint free cloth. Finish the piece by applying another coat of clear acrylic
finish and let dry.
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ENGRAVE DEEPLY OR CUT THIS MATERIAL WITH THE
LASER SYSTEM. High Power and low Speed settings can cause the laser beam to
reflect off of this material which can damage the laser system and can be a safety
hazard. Damage caused by this type of abuse WILL NOT be covered under warranty.
ENGRAVING THIS MATERIAL PRODUCES ABRASIVE PARTICLES. Clean the
laser system more frequently to reduce wear and tear on the motion system
components and optics. Damage to the laser system from inadequate or insufficient
maintenance WILL NOT be covered under warranty.
Section 3-8
Printer Driver Controls
BRASS - PAINTED
RASTER ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
VECTOR ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
POWER
90
SPEED
80
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.001”
54
45
38
34
30
27
80
80
80
80
80
80
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.001”
.001”
.001”
.001”
.001”
.001”
POWER
20
SPEED
4.0
PPI
1000
PASS
1
DEPTH
.001”
12
10
9
8
7
6
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
1000
1000
1000
1000
1000
1000
1
1
1
1
1
1
.001”
.001”
.001”
.001”
.001”
.001”
COMMENTS
The manufacturing process for coated brass varies from one vendor to another. Some manufacturers do
not polish the brass before coating it. Since CO2 lasers at this power level do not engrave into metals
when the coating is removed, the tarnished brass underneath will have a dull appearance that will need to
be polished with a brass polishing compound. This type of brass is designed for mechanical engravers
that actually remove the metal when engraving which gives the brass a shine without polishing. Brass
that is produced for the laser engraving industry is polished, then clear coated, and finally coated with
paint. When laser engraving this type of material, adjust the power so that the laser beam removes the
painted coating but not the clear coating. This will expose the polished, clear-coated brass without
penetrating all the way down to the metal. Since the brass is already clear coated and polished, it will not
require any cleanup after engraving nor will it ever oxidize. If too much laser power is used, the brass the
clear coat will be removed and the brass underneath will be exposed to the heat of the laser beam
causing instant tarnish. If polishing the brass, use a soft, non-abrasive cloth or tissue (not paper towels)
and good quality brass polish. Do not rub too hard, as this will scratch the painted coating.
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ENGRAVE DEEPLY OR CUT THIS MATERIAL WITH THE
LASER SYSTEM. High Power and low Speed settings can cause the laser beam to
reflect off of this material which can damage the laser system and can be a safety
hazard. Damage caused by this type of abuse WILL NOT be covered under warranty.
Section 3-9
Printer Driver Controls
CORIAN / AVONITE / FOUNTAINHEAD
RASTER ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
DEEP RASTER ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
VECTOR ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
POWER
100
SPEED
20
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.005”
100
100
100
100
100
100
33
40
47
53
60
67
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.005”
.005”
.005”
.005”
.005”
.005”
POWER
100
SPEED
10
PPI
1000
PASS
1
DEPTH
.015”
100
100
100
100
100
100
17
20
23
27
30
33
1000
1000
1000
1000
1000
1000
1
1
1
1
1
1
.015”
.015”
.015”
.015”
.015”
.015”
POWER
100
SPEED
4.0
PPI
1000
PASS
1
DEPTH
.010”
60
50
43
38
33
30
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
1000
1000
1000
1000
1000
1000
1
1
1
1
1
1
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
COMMENTS
If paint filling, mask the material first, then engrave through the masking. In this way, when ready to paint
fill, the material is already masked. Spray painting seems to be the easiest. Use the paint sparingly.
Excess paint can accumulate on the edges of the engraving, which will make mask removal difficult and
leave unsightly ridges. It is best to apply several lighter coats than one heavy coat of paint. Remove the
masking after the paint has dried.
ENGRAVING THIS MATERIAL PRODUCES ABRASIVE PARTICLES. Clean the laser
system more frequently to reduce wear and tear on the motion system components and
optics. Damage to the laser system from inadequate or insufficient maintenance WILL
NOT be covered under warranty.
Section 3-10
Printer Driver Controls
CORK
RASTER ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
VECTOR ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
VECTOR CUTTING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
POWER
80
SPEED
30
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.010”
80
80
80
80
80
80
50
60
70
80
90
100
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
POWER
20
SPEED
4.0
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.010”
12
10
9
8
7
6
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
POWER
100
SPEED
1.6
PPI
100
PASS
1
DEPTH
.060”
60
50
43
38
33
30
1.6
1.6
1.6
1.6
1.6
1.6
100
100
100
100
100
100
1
1
1
1
1
1
.060”
.060”
.060”
.060”
.060”
.060”
COMMENTS
Cork is not very popular for engraving but it does engrave and cut nicely. Cork is mainly used for making
gaskets by vector cutting the gasket patterns.
LASER CUTTING THIS MATERIAL CAN CAUSE FLAMING AND SPARKING. Use
caution when attempting to cut this material. It would be better to use a longer focal
length lens to prevent the lens from being damaged during processing. NEVER leave
the machine unattended while processing any material. Damages caused by
processing any material WILL NOT be covered under warranty.
Section 3-11
Printer Driver Controls
DELRIN (SEAL PRESS)
RASTER ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
VECTOR CUTTING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
POWER
100
SPEED
18
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.015”
100
100
100
100
100
100
29
35
41
47
53
58
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.015”
.015”
.015”
.015”
.015”
.015”
POWER
75
SPEED
1.2
PPI
200
PASS
1
DEPTH
.060”
75
75
75
75
75
75
2.0
2.4
2.8
3.2
3.6
4.0
200
200
200
200
200
200
1
1
1
1
1
1
.060”
.060”
.060”
.060”
.060”
.060”
COMMENTS
The laser system can be used to make dies for
seal presses. It can engrave and cut out a
typical Notary Seal in less than 5 minutes.
Create the male with a white graphic and a black
background. Mirror the image and invert it by
making the background white and the graphic
black. Add a .010 inch black outline to the
graphic portion of the female side. This will give
the greater clearance to the female side to
prevent the paper from piercing through when
MALE
FEMALE
the male side of the seal presses into the female
side. Once the seal is made and fastened to the
press, make several impressions onto 400 grit sandpaper to smoothen out the edges of the plastic. Make
sure you turn the sandpaper over to get both sides of the seal.
LASER CUTTING THIS MATERIAL CAN CAUSE FLAMING. Use caution when
attempting to cut this material. Make sure that the flame does not come in contact with
any part of the laser system. NEVER leave the machine unattended while processing
any material. Damages caused by processing any material WILL NOT be covered
under warranty.
Section 3-12
Printer Driver Controls
GLASS / CRYSTAL
RASTER ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
COMMENTS: Engrave at 333 DPI
VECTOR ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
POWER
100
SPEED
10
PPI
300
PASS
1
DEPTH
.001
100
100
100
100
100
100
17
20
23
27
30
33
300
300
300
300
300
300
1
1
1
1
1
1
.001
.001
.001
.001
.001
.001
POWER
10
SPEED
2.0
PPI
300
PASS
1
DEPTH
.001
10
10
10
10
10
10
3.3
4.0
4.7
5.3
6.0
6.7
300
300
300
300
300
300
1
1
1
1
1
1
.001
.001
.001
.001
.001
.001
COMMENTS
Glass engraving is different from other types of engraving. A CO2 laser cannot engrave into the glass nor
can it cut glass. Instead, laser interaction with glass causes the surface of the glass to appear frosted.
Sometimes, placing a piece of newspaper on the glass and dampening is with water will improve the
appearance of the engraving. Another method is to apply transfer tape to the glass, wet it with water from
a spray bottle, and laser engrave it. The transfer tape and water will act as a heat sink and pull the heat
away from the glass as the laser system engraves it. This helps reduce chipping or flaking of the glass.
Be especially careful when engraving leaded crystal. The lead in crystal conduct heat, which can cause
much more flaking or even the cracking of the crystal. Use a lower power setting to try to reduce the
chance of damage. It is always good to have at least one extra piece to use as a test piece to get the
right settings especially if you have never tried to engrave that material before.
ENGRAVING THIS MATERIAL PRODUCES ABRASIVE PARTICLES. Clean the
laser system more frequently to reduce wear and tear on the motion system
components and optics. Damage to the laser system from inadequate or insufficient
maintenance WILL NOT be covered under warranty.
Section 3-13
Printer Driver Controls
LEATHER
RASTER ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
VECTOR ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
VECTOR CUTTING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
POWER
56
SPEED
80
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.001”
34
28
24
21
19
17
80
80
80
80
80
80
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.001”
.001”
.001”
.001”
.001”
.001”
POWER
10
SPEED
4.0
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.001”
6
5
4
4
3
3
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.001”
.001”
.001”
.001”
.001”
.001”
POWER
50
SPEED
1.0
PPI
200
PASS
1
DEPTH
.1”
50
50
50
50
50
50
1.7
2.0
2.3
2.7
3.0
3.3
200
200
200
200
200
200
1
1
1
1
1
1
.1”
.1”
.1”
.1”
.1”
.1”
COMMENTS
Leather is a very simple material to engrave and most types of leather engrave very well with the laser
system. Simulated leather engraves well also, but the results are not as nice as with the real thing.
Engraving lightly will turn the surface of the leather dark brown giving it a high contrast in appearance.
Try engraving at a light power setting first. If the result is not deep enough the job can be run again over
the same spot. Experiment with different depths of engraving and note the results.
Section 3-14
Printer Driver Controls
MARBLE
RASTER ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
VECTOR ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
POWER
100
SPEED
28
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.003”
100
100
100
100
100
100
46
55
64
73
83
92
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.003”
.003”
.003”
.003”
.003”
.003”
POWER
40
SPEED
4.0
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.003”
24
20
17
15
13
12
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.003”
.003”
.003”
.003”
.003”
.003”
COMMENTS
Most marble and polished stones will turn white when engraved. Masking is not necessary and light
engraving works out better than heavy and deep engraving. Engraving deeply will cause a highly detailed
image to appear washed out. The objective is to engrave deep enough to turn the marble white and
provide a good contrast. Too much power can also cause the material to discolor and turn brown as if it
were burned. Photographs look great when engraved on marble, especially darker marbles where the
whiteness of the engraving really stands out. Avoid using marble that is very textured looking. The
texture washes out the details of the engraving. Try to use uniformly colored marble and related stones.
Marble can also be paint filled by using a wax based paint. Rub the paint on with a fingertip, let dry and
then buff with a soft cloth. The paint will only adhere to the engraved surface and not the surrounding
areas.
ENGRAVING THIS MATERIAL PRODUCES ABRASIVE PARTICLES. Clean the
laser system more frequently to reduce wear and tear on the motion system
components and optics. Damage to the laser system from inadequate or insufficient
maintenance WILL NOT be covered under warranty.
Section 3-15
Printer Driver Controls
MAT BOARD
RASTER ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
VECTOR ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
VECTOR CUTTING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
POWER
90
SPEED
80
PPI
250
PASS
1
DEPTH
.005”
54
45
39
34
30
27
80
80
80
80
80
80
250
250
250
250
250
250
1
1
1
1
1
1
.005”
.005”
.005”
.005”
.005”
.005”
POWER
40
SPEED
4.0
PPI
250
PASS
1
DEPTH
.005”
24
20
17
15
13
12
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
250
250
250
250
250
250
1
1
1
1
1
1
.005”
.005”
.005”
.005”
.005”
.005”
POWER
100
SPEED
3.2
PPI
200
PASS
1
DEPTH
.050”
60
50
43
38
33
30
3.2
3.2
3.2
3.2
3.2
3.2
200
200
200
200
200
200
1
1
1
1
1
1
.050”
.050”
.050”
.050”
.050”
.050”
COMMENTS
Mat board (thick cardboard) is an excellent material to use for architectural modeling and for picture
framing. It cuts and engraves very neatly and cleanly. It comes in a variety of shades and colors.
Patterns can be engraved on the surface with a power setting for light engraving which just breaks
through the very thin top layer and exposes the lighter colored underlying substrate. When engraving, a
low PPI setting is used to prevent overexposure of the underlying substrate material, which causes
excessive dark discoloration. Masking is not necessary on the top surface when engraving. When
cutting, both sides might need to be masked and the material elevated above the engraving table. This
will produce an extremely clean edge on both sides of the material.
Section 3-16
Printer Driver Controls
MELAMINE - STANDARD ENGRAVING
LIGHT RASTER ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
DEEP RASTER ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
VECTOR ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
POWER
100
SPEED
20
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.015”
100
100
100
100
100
100
33
40
47
53
60
67
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.015”
.015”
.015”
.015”
.015”
.015”
POWER
100
SPEED
14
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.020”
100
100
100
100
100
100
23
28
33
37
42
47
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.020”
.020”
.020”
.020”
.020”
.020”
POWER
40
SPEED
4.0
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.010”
24
20
17
15
13
12
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
4.0
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
.010”
COMMENTS
Engraving melamine is very similar to engraving regular wood with the added benefit of a consistent
surface finish and uniform base material composition. Unlike regular wood that has grain patterns and
density variations, melamine, when laser engraved, produces a flat and even engraved area. This
characteristic gives this material superior engraving and paint filling qualities. Masking can be used if
desired but it is just as easy to spray the engraved area with water and wipe down with a chamois cloth to
remove the smoke residue. Since the top surface material is consistent in texture and color, engraving
photographs or highly detailed images produces exceptional results. Refer to the next example on
engraving photographs and/or ClipArt.
Section 3-17
Printer Driver Controls
MELAMINE - PHOTO/CLIPART ENGRAVING
RASTER ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
POWER
80
SPEED
30
25
80
50
30
80
60
35
80
70
40
80
80
45
80
90
50
80
100
COMMENTS: Engrave unmasked. Use a resolution of 500 DPI.
RASTER ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
POWER
80
SPEED
15
25
80
25
30
80
30
35
80
35
40
80
40
45
80
45
50
80
50
COMMENTS: Engrave unmasked. Use a resolution of 250 DPI.
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.008”
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.008”
.008”
.008”
.008”
.008”
.008”
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.008”
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.008”
.008”
.008”
.008”
.008”
.008”
COMMENTS
Engraving photographs can be challenging at first but becomes easier once there is an understanding of
what to look for and how to achieve the desired results. In an image processing software, scan the image
in at 300 DPI. Adjust the brightness and the contrasts to brighten the light colors and darken the dark
colors. The photo might look better by using a sharpening filter to sharpen up the image slightly. The
next step is to select a halftone pattern. Usually, imaging software gives the choice of using different
halftone patterns including frequency of lines per inch and pattern angles. Use a line frequency above 20
and below 100. The size of the dots decreases as the line frequency increases. Experiment to see which
pattern looks the best. Big dots look good on some materials and small dots look better on others. If it is
not possible to assign a halftone pattern in the imaging software, the printer driver will automatically
default to a predetermined pattern based on RESOLUTION. When using the Clipart mode switch, which
prints all Clipart or drawings as grayscale bitmaps, use the same parameters and techniques as for
engraving photographs. Please refer to Section 3 about using predefined halftone screens in the driver or
creating custom ones.
Section 3-18
Printer Driver Controls
PLASTIC - ENGRAVERS MICROSURFACED
RASTER ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
VECTOR CUTTING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
POWER
70
SPEED
80
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.003”
40
35
30
26
22
20
80
80
80
80
80
80
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.003”
.003”
.003”
.003”
.003”
.003”
POWER
100
SPEED
1.2
PPI
150
PASS
1
DEPTH
.060”
60
50
43
38
33
30
1.2
1.2
1.2
1.2
1.2
1.2
150
150
150
150
150
150
1
1
1
1
1
1
.060”
.060”
.060”
.060”
.060”
.060”
COMMENTS
Laser engraveable plastic comes in many different colors, thickness, coatings, and surface textures.
Most engravers plastic will engrave and cut well with the laser system as long as it is microsurfaced and
formulated for laser engraving. Removal of large amounts of material will warp the plastic. You might
need to tape it down or hold it down flat somehow to prevent it from curling as you engrave. Since these
plastics have low melting point, a low PPI setting is used when cutting to reduce the possibility of melting.
Masking and dampening with water also helps to reduce melting and keeps the plastic clear of smoke
residue. Always remove the original clear masking from the plastic because it does not react well with the
laser. Since there are so many types of engravers plastics, the only true way to find out if a particular
brand and type will work well with the laser is to experiment. Use these power settings as a guideline for
experimentation and adjust as necessary. Thicker top coated plastics are not recommended because it
requires too much power to remove the material and the large amount of smoke created usually stains
the substrate.
LASER ENGRAVING OR CUTTING PLASTIC CAN IGNITE THE
MATERIAL. Never leave the laser system running unattended for any
reason.
Section 3-19
Printer Driver Controls
RUBBER STAMPS
RASTER ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10 (Not recommended)
25
30
35
40
45
50
PERFORATED VECTOR CUTTING
LASER WATTAGE
10 (Not recommended)
25
30
35
40
45
50
POWER
N/A
SPEED
N/A
PPI
N/A
PASS
N/A
DEPTH
N/A
100
100
100
100
100
100
13
16
19
21
24
27
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.030”
.030”
.030”
.030”
.030”
.030”
POWER
N/A
SPEED
N/A
PPI
N/A
PASS
N/A
DEPTH
N/A
60
60
60
60
60
60
1.3
1.6
1.9
2.1
2.4
2.7
90
90
90
90
90
90
1
1
1
1
1
1
.040”
.040”
.040”
.040”
.040”
.040”
COMMENTS
To create a rubber stamp, use the “3D Effects” tab in the driver (Section 3). In the above example, only
one pass is necessary to achieve a deeply engraved rubber stamp. When cutting out the rubber stamp,
we recommend using a very low PPI setting. This setting spreads the laser pulses far enough apart that
they just touch at the edges. The result is a perforated cut that allows the rubber stamp to remain
attached to the entire sheet but easily removed by simply tearing it off. The advantage to this is that the
possibility of distortion or melting while cutting is virtually eliminated and the entire sheet of rubber stamps
can be removed from the machine at one time instead of having to pick them up one by one.
•
LASER ENGRAVING OR CUTTING RUBBER CAN IGNITE THE MATERIAL. Never
leave the laser system running unattended for any reason.
• LASER ENGRAVING OR CUTTING RUBBER CAN PRODUCE FOUL ODORS.
You might need to particulate filter and/or odor filter your exhaust depending on your
environment, installation location, and/or your local air quality control laws.
• LASER ENGRAVING OR CUTTING RUBBER PRODUCES ABRASIVE DUST.
Clean the laser system more frequently to reduce wear and tear on the motion
system components and optics. Damage to the laser system from inadequate or insufficient
maintenance WILL NOT be covered under warranty.
Section 3-20
Printer Driver Controls
SIGN VINYL
RASTER ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
VECTOR CUTTING (KISS CUT)
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
POWER
100
SPEED
15
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.015”
100
100
100
100
100
100
25
30
35
40
45
50
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.015”
.015”
.015”
.015”
.015”
.015”
POWER
3
SPEED
2.0
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.003”
5
5
5
5
5
5
3.3
4.0
4.7
5.3
6.0
6.7
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.003”
.003”
.003”
.003”
.003”
.003”
COMMENTS
Sign vinyl comes in a wide variety of colors, patterns, thickness, finishes, and reflectivity. There
are a few methods for using sign vinyl with the laser system. One method is to vector cut
(unmasked) through the vinyl but not through the backing. This technique provides results
equivalent to a vinyl cutter machine. Once the vinyl has been cut, remove the excess vinyl,
apply transfer tape and use a squeegee to remove trapped air bubbles. The transfer tape can
then be lifted off and the vinyl lettering or objects that were vector cut will stick to the transfer
tape and maintain their correct spacing with respect to each other. Now apply the tape to the
desired surface and squeegee, peel off the transfer tape, and the lettering will remain adhered
to the surface. The other method is to apply a piece of vinyl to the desired surface (unmasked)
and adjust the laser power so as to cut through the vinyl without engraving into the material
below. Another example is to cover the entire surface of a wooden plaque with vinyl, use a
squeegee to remove all air bubbles, and then mask the entire surface with transfer tape to
protect the vinyl from smoke damage. In the graphics software, color the background black and
place white filled text on top of the colored background. Since the laser system does not
engrave white filled objects, the background will be engraved and the lettering will be
untouched. Peel off the excess vinyl and transfer tape to reveal the final product.
MOST SIGN VINYL IS MADE FROM PVC (Polyvinylchloride). DO NOT USE PVC
BASED VINYL. The fumes are extremely toxic if you inhale them. The fumes are also
caustic and can chemically destroy the metal parts of the laser system. Damage to the
laser system from this type of abuse WILL NOT be covered under warranty.
Section 3-21
Printer Driver Controls
WOOD
RASTER ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
VECTOR ENGRAVING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
VECTOR CUTTING
LASER WATTAGE
10
25
30
35
40
45
50
POWER
100
SPEED
15
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.020”
100
100
100
100
100
100
33
40
47
53
60
67
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.020”
.020”
.020”
.020”
.020”
.020”
POWER
100
SPEED
2.5
PPI
500
PASS
1
DEPTH
.030”
80
80
80
80
80
80
4.2
5.0
5.8
6.7
7.5
8.3
500
500
500
500
500
500
1
1
1
1
1
1
.030”
.030”
.030”
.030”
.030”
.030”
POWER
60
SPEED
0.8
PPI
250
PASS
1
DEPTH
.125”
50
50
50
50
50
50
1.3
1.6
1.9
2.1
2.4
2.7
250
250
250
250
250
250
1
1
1
1
1
1
.125”
.125”
.125”
.125”
.125”
.125”
COMMENTS
When engraving wood with a laser, a brown, maple syrup like residue will deposit on the surface of the
wood. This is normal and impossible to eliminate by POWER, SPEED, or PPI changes. More residue
will be present when engraving deeper and/or slower. This residue washes off with water and a sponge.
We recommend using a kitchen sponge with a nylon string mesh wrapped around it. Dampen the sponge
and wipe off the residue. A damp chamois cloth works well also. Do not use paper towels or a regular
sponge because these materials will get lodged in the engraved area when wiping and are extremely
difficult to remove. A method to avoid cleanup is to mask the wood with transfer tape and peel off the
tape after engraving. If desired, after engraving and before peeling off the tape, spray paint can be
applied to color fill the engraved areas. After the paint dries, peel off the tape. If an intricate drawing has
been engraved and there are many small pieces of tape to remove, it may be easier to flood the masking,
after engraving, with water. This will loosen the tape and it can be easily removed by rubbing it off by
hand. In the vector cutting example, the wood was elevated from the table to let smoke and heat escape
from underneath. If elevating the wood, mask and/or dampen the bottom side of the wood very lightly
and the water acts as a heat sink to prevent the underside from flaming and charring. Elevating the wood
also helps to determine whether the laser has passed completely through since the cut pieces will fall
through to the table when cutting is finished. If raising the wood, set up the drawing so that the inner
pieces of the drawing are cut first, otherwise pieces may fall through at the wrong time.
Section 3-22
Printer Driver Controls
Not all wood finishes are created equal. When ordering wood from a supplier, be sure to specify that it is
being used for laser engraving. Some finishes cannot handle the heat from the laser and will bubble,
blister, and possibly turn white. For engraving softer woods such as pine or balsa, reduce the power
settings to acquire the best depth. Engraving too deep on soft woods will reduce quality. Every type of
wood will engrave differently. It is better to engrave woods that are finished. If engraving unfinished
wood and it is not masked with transfer tape, the smoke residue tends to embed in the wood and is
impossible to remove without sanding. To prevent this, mask all unfinished wood with transfer tape.
WOOD INLAYS - VENEERS
Create a drawing with no outlines, only filled areas. Engrave the filled areas almost as deep as the
thickness of the veneer (usually about .003 inches (.1 mm) or less). With some water and a nylon brush,
remove all residue from the engraved area. When cutting veneers make sure they are lying absolutely
flat. In the drawing, give the objects an outline of .001 inches (.1 mm) and remove the fill. Adjust the
power so that there is just enough power to cut completely through the veneer. Overpowering the cut will
cause too much material removal and the fit will not be snug. Some software programs allow outline
offsetting to compensate for the thickness of the beam called contouring. Usually, a contour to the
outside of the vector line of .006 inches provides a tight fit. Remember if using more power to cut through
the veneer, compensate for the thicker width of the laser cut by contouring a little further to the outside.
Another method is to first create your graphic and fill it with the color black. Then give it a white outline of
.012 inches (.3 mm). If you look at the graphic when you add the outline, you will see that it appears to
shrink. Now raster engrave the graphic to a depth slightly shallower than the thickness of the veneer.
When the engraving is finished, place the veneer into the laser system. Remove the black fill and change
the outline to a different color. Cut out the veneer with the laser system, add glue to the veneer, and
apply the veneer into the engraved area of the other piece of wood and let dry. After the glue has
thoroughly dried, sand the veneer until it is flush with the base wood. A good veneer to use is one with an
adhesive backing. Once cut, place the veneer into its proper place on the engraved wood block and with
a clothes iron, and iron the veneer into the engraved wood. This melts the glue and causes the veneer to
stick to the engraved area. Finish the wood as you desire and the finished product will look fantastic. The
veneer can now be sanded flush with the surface and a finish coat applied.
LASER ENGRAVING OR CUTTING WOOD CAN IGNITE THE MATERIAL.
Never leave the laser system running unattended for any reason.
Section 3-23