TUTLab Epilog laser cutter quick guide
Epilog laser cutter
Suitable materials for laser cutting:




Wood: solid wood, plywood, medium-density fibreboard (MDF), high-density
fibreboard (HDF), …
Acryl
Card board, paper
Textile, leather…
Preparing the file:

For the cutting, you need vector file in a format that can be opened with Adobe
Illustrator (dxf, dwg, svg, pdf, eps, ai etc.).

For engraving grayscale, images are preferred.

Lines what you want to cut must be 0.01 mm thick. Other lines and areas are
understood as areas to be engraved. Line weight is adjusted in Adobe Illustrator.
Step-by-step instructions:
1.
Focusing the laser .......................................................................................................................................2
2.
Set the origin ..............................................................................................................................................3
3.
Editing the artboard ...................................................................................................................................4
4.
Preparing printing.......................................................................................................................................5
5.
Printing .......................................................................................................................................................7
6.
Finishing and cleaning up ...........................................................................................................................8
1
TUTLab Epilog laser cutter quick guide
1. Focusing the laser
Before cutting, the laser must be focused. Place the material you are using on laser’s work
surface. You can find tape, weights etc. from the metal cabinet next to the laser cutters.
Focusing happens using the cutter’s control panel (Fig. 1). Use the up and down arrows to
select focus from the list.
Fig 1: Control panel in focus mode
After that place the focusing tool (metallic triangle found from the cup at the left corner
of the cutter) to its place according Fig.2 and adjust the height of the platform so that
that the focus is right using the joystick. Focus point of the laser is in the tip of the
tringle. Focus is adjusted right when the focus point is in the middle of the material.
Fig 2: Focusing triangle at right height for 6 mm plywood
After focusing, take the tringle away and put it back to its place.
2
TUTLab Epilog laser cutter quick guide
2. Set the origin
Set the origin or the reference point. This is the point on the material that corresponds
to the upper left corner of the document containing the artwork to be cut or engraved.
(When center engraving, the origin should be set in the center of the material's surface to
be engraved.) Procedure for setting the origin:
Place the material to be cut or engraved in the upper left corner of the table (or anywhere
on the table).
Select JOG on the laser machine's control panel using the arrow keys.
Fig 3: Control panel in JOG mode
Use the joystick to move the lens carriage to the desired position.
When the origin was chosen, press the joystick to set the origin (it will show on the
control panel's screen +0.02 +0.02).
3
TUTLab Epilog laser cutter quick guide
3. Editing the artboard
Measure the size of your material if not known beforehand (you can find measuring
tape from the metal cabinet next to the laser cutters). Open your file in Adobe Illustrator
using File → Place. This maintains your document settings and panels (if you have a
non-illustrator file and you open it from File → Open, it removes your document
settings). Adjust your artboards size to match your material size. To do this select
“document setup” from the upper panel shown in Fig 4.
Fig 4: Top panel when program is started
Then select “edit artboards” from the window presented in Fig 5.
Fig 5: Document setup
Edit artboard’s size by adjusting W and H values presented in Fig 6.
Fig 6: Artboard setup
Adjust lines that you want to cut to 0, 01 mm thick (line colour does not matter) (Fig 7.).
Fig. 7 adjusting the line thickness.
4
TUTLab Epilog laser cutter quick guide
4. Preparing printing
Select print. You should see window presented in Fig 8. For the printer select “Epilog
Engraver WinX64 Fusion”. After that, select “Setup…” and then “Continue”.
Fig 8: Illustrators print window
You should see window presented in Fig 9. Select “Epilog Engraver WinX64 Fusion”
and then “Preferences”.
Fig 9: Print setup
5
TUTLab Epilog laser cutter quick guide
Printing preferences window opens up (Fig 10). All the cutting and rasterizing settings are
set in this window. Preferences that must be adjusted are the following:





Job type
o Raster
 engraving pictures (line weight anything but 0.01)
o Vector
 cutting or drawing (line weight of 0.01)
o Combined
 Lasers first the rasterized areas, then vector areas
Piece size
o Size of your art board in Adobe Illustrator
Raster Settings
o speed, power, frequency and image dithering can be looked from examples
Vector Settings
o speed, power and frequency can be looked from example materials
o for thick materials, multiple cuts might be necessary
Engrave direction
o When rasterizing, choose bottom-up
Fig 10: Printing preferences window
6
TUTLab Epilog laser cutter quick guide
5. Printing
When settings are correct press “OK” and then “Print”. After this, you should be back at the
window in the Fig 6. Check that the preview image looks right. If not, try to press, “Done”
and then choose again “Print” from the “File”- menu. When everything is ready press
“Print”. File is now sent to the cutter.
Check that your material is in the left-top corner of the printer. If the material is bent, it is
possible to use weights. If using weights, makes sure that the weights are outside the
printing area and the laser will not hit the weights at any point of the cutting. This is also
the last chance to focus the cutter.
When everything is ready, select Job from the control panel (Fig 11) with arrows. Make
sure that your file has completely transferred (the data light stops flashing). You can
choose files from the list using the joystick; the latest file has the largest number. When
you have the correct file in the screen press the green “GO” -button. Cutting will start.
Remember to stay near the cutter at all times so if something goes wrong you can stop
cutting.
Fig 11 Choose Job from control panel and make sure that the Data light has stopped
flashing.
If something goes wrong, the laser can be stopped by opening the lid or pressing the
“Stop”-button. Note that opening the lid only turns the laser off but does not stop
movement of the lens. Printing can be continued after pressing stop by pressing the “GO”button again.
7
TUTLab Epilog laser cutter quick guide
6. Finishing and cleaning up




Remove any remaining stock material from laser’s working surface
Take all the materials you have used back to the metal cabinet
Do not turn off the power from the laser
In the evening if you are the last user of the day, allow ample time for the laser to
cool down after working, before turning it off
 15 minutes for short, under 30 min jobs
 45 minutes when the laser has been on all day
8
TUTLab Epilog laser cutter quick guide
7. Never cut these materials:
Not allowed material
DANGER!
Cause/Consequence
PVC (Poly Vinyl
Chloride)/vinyl/pleather/artificial
leather
Emits
chlorine gas
when cut!
Do not ever cut this material, as it will ruin the
optics, cause the metal of the machine to
corrode, and ruin the motion control system.
Thick ( >1mm )
Polycarbonate/Lexan
Cuts very
poorly,
discolors,
catches fire
Polycarbonate is often found as flat, sheet
material. The window of the laser cutter is made
of Polycarbonate because polycarbonate strongly
absorbs infrared radiation! This is the frequency
of light the laser cutter uses to cut materials, so
it is very ineffective at cutting polycarbonate.
Polycarbonate is a poor choice for laser cutting.
ABS
Melts
ABS does not cut well in a laser cutter. It tends to
melt rather than vaporize, and has a higher
chance of catching on fire and leaving behind
melted gooey deposits on the vector cutting grid.
It also does not engrave well (again, tends to
melt).
HDPE/milk bottle plastic
Catches fire
and melts
It melts. It gets gooey. Don't use it.
PolyStyrene Foam
Catches fire
It catches fire, it melts, and only thin pieces cut.
This is the #1 material that causes laser fires!!!
PolyPropylene Foam
Catches fire
Like PolyStyrene, it melts, catches fire, and the
melted drops continue to burn and turn into
rock-hard drips and pebbles.
Fiberglass
Emits fumes
It's a mix of two materials that cant' be cut. Glass
(etch, no cut) and epoxy resin (fumes)
Coated Carbon Fiber
Emits
noxious
fumes
A mix of two materials. Thin carbon fiber mat can
be cut, with some fraying - but not when coated.
9