Laser cutter Howto manual

JOB TYPES &
GENERAL TAB
LASER CUTTER INSTRUCTIONS
AS220 INDUSTRIES
N OT E S
J O B T Y P ES
R A STER ENG R AV I NG
Raster engraving is dot matrix “printing” with a laser. The laser head scans back and forth, left
to right, engraving a series of dots one line at a time. You can raster engrave scanned images,
text, filled shapes, clipart, photographs, or line drawings.
VEC TOR CUT T I NG
Vector cutting is a continuous path that follows the outline, or profile, of an image.
It is normally used to cut completely through materials at lower power settings It can also be
used for quick marking and scoring.
To vector cut a line, the thickness of your your stroke must be 0.001 inch thic.
EP I LO G DA S H BOA R D G EN ER A L TA B
RESOLUT ION
Increasing resolution while keeping the same Speed and Power settings will result in a greater
cut depth because there is an overlap of each raster line at higher DPIs.
It’s always best to start with high resolution images; if the artwork that is sent to the laser is
poor quality, trying to engrave it at 600 DPI will not improve it.
75 – 150 DPI
These low resolution values are typically used for quickly producing a
rough draft.
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GENERAL TAB
LASER CUTTER INSTRUCTIONS
AS220 INDUSTRIES
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300 DPI
This resolution can be good for production work where image quality needs to be good,
but not great. Attempting to produce really fine detail with 300 DPI is not recommended.
400 DPI
This resolution value is ideal for many applications. It combines very good image quality with
fast engraving times.
600 DPI
Used when really fine detail or overall excellent results are required.
1200 DPI
This resolution is used for projects that require the best engraving
quality possible.
OP TIONS
Auto Focus
Allows you to turn on the auto focus feature.
Center Engraving
The Center Engraving Option allows you to define the center of your artwork as the home
position.
JOB T YPE
Raster
Only raster images will be sent to the laser cutter.
Vector
Only vector images will be sent to the laser cutter.
Combined
Combined mode is used when you want to incorporate both Raster and Vector functions in
the same job. All raster operations will be performed first, followed by the vector operation.
PIECE SIZE ( INCHES )
This is the size of the laser cutter table.
R A STER SE T T I NG
Speed
Determines the travel speed of the carriage. The slower the speed, the deeper the cut.
Power
Determines the amount of laser energy that is delivered to the piece being cut. The higher
the power, the deeper the cut.
Engrave Direction
Top-Down engraving, debris moves towards the exhaust vent, causing some of it to collect
in the area that has just been engraved.
Bottom-Up engraving prevents this debris from collecting in the freshly engraved spaces.
Image Dithering
Defines how the dot patterns will be engraved in raster images that contain grayscales,
blends, or color. Dithering is used only for Raster engraving and has no affect on vector cut
lines.
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GENERAL TAB
LASER CUTTER INSTRUCTIONS
AS220 INDUSTRIES
N OT E S
Clipart Modes
Standard
This mode is the default mode and will be used for most engraving jobs that include
text and clipart at 600 DPI.
Brighten
Many users find this mode good for engraving photographs onto wood or marble at
600 DPI.
Low Res
Adds an artistic half-tone type look to the engraving.
Photograph Modes
Floyd-Steinberg
Produces an almost wave-like pattern to an image. This works well for some photos
containing a great deal of detail. Photos with more monotone swatches of color may
not be as pleasing as Jarvis or Stucki modes.
Jarvis
This mode produces a very nice looking pattern on almost all photos.
Stucki
Produces results that are only marginally different than the Jarvis dithering pattern
VEC TOR SE T TING
Speed
Determines the travel speed of the carriage. The slower the speed, the deeper the cut.
Power
Determines the amount of laser energy that is delivered to the piece being cut. The higher
the power, the deeper the cut.
Frequency
Frequency is the number of laser pulses that the laser fires per inch of travel and can be
adjusted from 10 to 5000 pulses per inch; the lower the frequency, the less heat applied to
the material being cut.
Lower frequency rates are helpful for products like wood to reduce edge charring.
High frequencies are useful on material like acrylic where it is desirable to melt, or flame
polish, the edges.
Frequencies from 50 to 100 will produce a perforation, as opposed to a continuous cut.
Vector sorting
If sorting is enabled, you have two choices of how the vector lines will be sorted Optimize
and Inside-Out.
If sorting is disabled, the vectors will cut in the order in which they were drawn.
Optimize mode
Vectors will be cut in the most efficient manner, and will generally vector the next
closest line to the one just finished. This is the most preferred method as it saves the
most time, is the most predictable and will create a continuous line path.
Inside-Out
Will vector from the inside object first to the outside objects last. As an example, if you
have a small circle surrounded by a large circle, the small circle will cut first.
Frequency Automatic
For this setting the laser will automatically adjust the pulsing of the laser to a value of 5000.
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TA B
ADVANCED TAB
LASER CUTTER INSTRUCTIONS
AS220 INDUSTRIES
N OT E S
EP I LO G DA S H BOA R D A DVA N C ED TA B
R ASTER T YPES
Basic
This setting is used to raster engrave clipart, photographs and text
In this mode the laser fires whenever there is a dot and the output power is always
the same.
Dots are interpreted depending on the type of artwork that is being used:
1. If the image being engraved is black and white, the laser fires wherever there is black.
2. If the image is a grayscale or color image, the laser fires wherever there is a black dot.
Grayscales are defined in percentages of dot density. A 10% gray has one black dot for
every ten available dot spaces and produces an engraving pattern with widely spaced dots.
A 50% gray has 5 black dots for every ten available spaces and produces a pattern with a
higher dot denisty. Colors are interpreted as shades of gray.
3D
Instead of looking at the dots and determining where to fire the laser based on the dot
spacing, the laser looks at the dots and determine how much laser power to apply to
each dot.
An additional aspect of 3D mode is that, unlike Basic mode, the laser fires continuously
between most dots – even if it is engraving from a 10% fill pattern to a 30% fill pattern.
This is by design so there is a gradual change in the depth of engraving when the artwork
transitions from one shade of gray to another. The only time that this is not true is when the
artwork changes from 100% black to 100% white (or visa versa).
Stamp
The stamp option automatically converts your artwork into to a format that will produce
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COLOR MAPPING TAB
LASER CUTTER INSTRUCTIONS
AS220 INDUSTRIES
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a laser engraved stamp. This function automatically inverts your artwork so that the
background is engraved away while your text and graphic images are left standing. It also
puts a supporting shoulder around every component of the artwork.
CONFIGUR ATION
This is where you can save and load settings for different materials.
EP I LO G DA S H BOA R D CO LO R M A P P I N G TA B
COLOR MAPPING
Color mapping is used for two main reasons:
1. Using color so that multiple Speed and Power setting can be used in a single print job
where one color is used for marking and another color is used for cutting.
2. Using different colors allows users the ability to sequence the order that objects will be
cut or engraved.
Color Values
The values in Color Mapping MUST match the colors used in your document, so it’s best to
use one of the six basic colors:
Red
RED: 255, GREEN:0, BLUE:0
Green
RED: 0, GREEN:255 , BLUE:0
Blue
RED: 0, GREEN:0, BLUE:255
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COLOR MAPPING
LASER CUTTER INSTRUCTIONS
AS220 INDUSTRIES
N OT E S
Cyan
RED: 0, GREEN:255, BLUE:255
Yellow
RED: 255, GREEN:255, BLUE:0
Magenta
RED: 255, GREEN:0, BLUE:255
Color Mapping Sequence
When color mapping is used, it always cuts in sequence starting from the top color in the
Map List and working down.
Color Mapping allows you to control the following laser functions.
Speed
Sets Raster speed and Vector speed for all objects of the color.
Power
Sets Raster power and Vector power for all objects of the color.
Freq
Color Mapping allows you to set different frequencies for different vector colors within a
single job setup.
Raster
Colors that are set to “Yes” will raster engrave at the speed and power settings for that
color. Colors that are set “No” will be prevented from raster engraving.
Vector
Colors that are set to “Yes” will vector cut at the speed and power settings for that
color. Colors that are set “No” will be prevented from vector cutting.
Air Assist
This is a vector only function. Colors that are set to “Yes” will turn the air assist on when
vector cutting. Colors that are set “No” will turn the air assist off when vector cutting.
Scroll buttons
These buttons move the selected color up or down in the table. The values do not move
with the colors. You must move the colors first, and then change the values.
Color Mapping & Combined Mode
There are a couple sequencing considerations you will need to account for when using
combined mode with color mapping
1. Any object that is color mapped will be raster engraved first in the color order from
the right side of the tab. Any other raster objects that are not color mapped will
then be raster engraved using the Raster settings found in the General Tab of the
Dashboard.
2. After all of the raster objects have all been engraved, the vector objects will be
vectored in the color order from the right side of the tab. Any other vector objects
that are not color mapped will then be vectored using the Vector Settings found in
the General Tab.
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MACHINE SET-UP &
RECOMMENDATIONS
LASER CUTTER INSTRUCTIONS
AS220 INDUSTRIES
N OT E S
M ACHINE SE T- U P
X / Y OFF
Pressing the X/Y OFF button and then pressing the GO button disables the X and Y motors
and allows you to move the carriage by hand to any location on the table which allows you to
perform several different functions:
1. Manually focus anywhere on the table.
2. Create a new, temporary, home position.
3. Accurately determine X and Y axis location. When you disable the axes and move
the carriage by hand, the X and Y axis coordinates will be displayed on the LCD
panel.
SET HOME
The process of setting a temporary home position involves the following steps:
1. Turn on the Red Diode Pointer as a visual locator aid
2. Press X/Y OFF
3. Press GO to disable X and Y axis
4. Move the lens assembly by hand to your desired location
5. Press SET HOME to establish your new home position
6. press RESET button to move the carriage to it’s park position a short distance to the
front of where you set home.
RESTORING HOME POSTITION
Press Set Home and Reset simultaneously then press GO and the carriage will return to the
default home postition.
FOCUS
Pressing the Focus key allows you to raise or lower the table by pressing the Up or Down
Arrow keys. When the Focus key is pressed, the carriage will move out several inches from its
standard park position in the upper left corner.
To prevent the carriage from colliding with your material, you can do one of two things:
1. Press the Stop key first before pressing the Focus key. This holds the carriage in its park
position, allowing you to lower the table with your material in place.
2. Remove your material, press the Focus key and use the Down Arrow key to lower the
table.
RECOMMEN DAT IO N S
SPEED AND POWER
The Power settings are linear(50% power is half as much as 100% power).
The Speed setting scale of 1% to 100% is not linear (100% speed will not be twice as fast as
50% speed). This non-linear scale is very useful in compensating for the different factors that
affect engraving time, but using speed to predict a jobs engraving time is not practical.
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RECOMMENDATIONS &
WARNINGS
LASER CUTTER INSTRUCTIONS
AS220 INDUSTRIES
N OT E S
The two basic rules for determining Speed and Power are:
1. Hard materials generally engrave and cut at low speeds and high power.
2. Soft materials generally engrave and cut at high speeds and low power.
Cutting Depth
Depth will increase if the power is increased, or if the speed is decreased.
Changing only one variable at a time will help to determine the correct setting for your
material. It is easiest to change the speed or power variable in 10% increments when you
are experimenting. This will save time and allow you to refine your settings later in 1 or 2%
increments.
Cutting Acrylic
Cutting acrylic is usually best achieved with relatively slow speed and relatively high power.
This combination allows the laser beam to melt the edges of the acrylic and produce an
almost flame polished edge.
R ASTER COLOR MAPPING
If there is a large amount of white space between engraving objects, Raster Color Mapping can
save time by setting the different colors to all engrave at the same speed and power.
MULTIPLE PASSES
If you find that you cannot cut completely through a material or if you are melting a material in
a single pass, try making two or even three passes instead of just one. Some materials are not
laser compatible, but can be cut if a gentle touch is used. Multiple passes may also allow you to
cut through thicker materials than the laser is rated for.
CLEANING THE OP TICS
If smoke, resin, or other contaminants are allowed to accumulate on the laser’s optics, they will
reduce the available laser power and may cause damage.
To clean the mirrors and lenses. moisten a high-quality cotton swab with liquid optics cleaner;
daub the optic gently, rotating the swab after each daub to expose clean cotton to the surface,
until the optic is free of visible contamination. Then prepare a fresh swab and clean the surface
with a gentle zigzag motion. Avoid any hard “scrubbing” of the surface, especially while there
are visible particles on it, and try not to use repetitive circular motions. When you are done,
be careful to remove any cotton threads that may have snagged on the mountings. Allow the
optics to dry before you operate the laser cutter.
WA RN INGS
NEVER LET THE L ASER SYSTEM OPER ATE UNAT TENDED
Many materials have the potential to burst suddenly into flames.
KEEP THE AREA AROUND THE MACHINE CLEAN
Remove any clutter combustible materials, explosives, or volatile solvents such as acetone,
alcohol, or gasoline.
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LASER CUTTER INSTRUCTIONS
AS220 INDUSTRIES
N OT E S
WARNINGS
ALWAYS KEEP A PROPERLY MAINTAINED FIRE EX TINGUISHER ON HAND.
ALWAYS USE AIR ASSIST WHEN VEC TOR CUT TING.
KEEP THE L ASER SYSTEM CLEAN
A build up of cutting and engraving residue and debris is dangerous and can create a fire hazard.
Keep the laser system clean and free of debris. Regularly remove the vector grid to clean any
small pieces that have fallen through.
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QUICK REFERENCE
LASER CUTTER INSTRUCTIONS
AS220 INDUSTRIES
N OT E S
DOCUMEN T SE T U P
DOCUMENT DIMENSIONS
24 in wide X 12 in high
DOCUMENT COLOR MODE
RGB
STROKE WIDTHS
0.001 in
0.025 mm
0.072 points
Hairline (Corel Draw)
COLOR MAPPING VALUES
R
G
B
0
0
0
RED
255
0
0
BLUE
0
0
255
GREEN
0
255
0
C YAN
0
255
255
MAGENTA
255
0
255
YELLOW
255
255
0
BL ACK
SUGGESTED CUT ORDER AND OPER ATION
Black
Raster engrave
Blue
Vector mark / score
Red
Vector cut
SET TING HOME
1. Turn on the Red Diode Pointer
2. Press X/Y OFF
3. Press GO
4. Move the lens assembly to new location
5. Press SET HOME
6. press RESET
FOCUS
1. Press FOCUS
2. Attach MANUAL FOCUS GUAGE
3. Use UP or DOWN keys until FOCUS GUAGE touches material
4. Return MANUAL FOCUS GUAGE
6. press RESET
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