Nina Guide to the Laser Engravers
Set your coordinate system origin to be the top left of the 24" by 18" page. Do this by making sure that View-->Rulers is selected. Then, click and dragging the resize button at the top left of your document just underneath the document tabs.
When changing the dimensions of your object, it is important to identify whether you want to change both the width AND the length or change one or the other. In order to preserve the ratio of the object, you must click the padlock button just to the right of the width and length boxes.
There are two ways to make a circle in CorelDraw. One way is to press the 'ellipse' tool on the left-hand side of the page and click and drag where you want the circle to be. Then, change the width and length of the ellipse to be the same value and press the padlock button to lock the dimensions. The other way is to hold the 'control' key when placing and dragging the ellipse, which snaps the shape into a circle.
To draw a horizontal or vertical line, select one of the line drawing options and hold shift after clicking your first point.
To adjust the page size of the document (24" x 18" is our default). Follow Layout--> Page Setup, ensure the units are in inches, and change the width and length boxes to whatever value you desire.
In order to align shapes and text, follow Object-->Align and Distribute, and choose your preferred option
Doubling the DPI will increase the print time by a factor of 4. Thus, it may be worthwhile to start at 300 DPI if you are not working on a final product. The difference between 600 and 1200 DPI is inconsequential and is not recommended because of the speed sacrifice. Manual recommends 400 DPI, might be a hot call
Almost always choose bottom-up rastering so that the direction matches the laser's airflow. This way, smoke will not be pulled across a part of your piece that you've already engraved.
When setting up a print, it is important to consider how to minimize the cutting time of the job. -Make a video showing how to orient something well
When you select the focus setting, the laser will move to its "park" position which is about 1" down and 1" to the right of its home position. Sometimes, the laser will be focused at a lower height than the workpiece and would hit the workpiece if it moved to "Park". To prevent this, hit "Stop" before hitting "Focus" and you will be able to change the bed height without the laser moving.
- the RGB values for the colors need to be exact. I.e. for red, the values must be 255Red/0Green/0 Blue
- You can also add new colors by adjusting the sliders on the left side of the display menu and then clicking the Plus Symbol button
- Always leave air-assist checked. It is a vector only function that will blow air at the piece and clear the flammable smoke from the laser.
- The order that the colors are displayed on the right-hand side of the screen is important. The laser will always start at the top color and then work its way down. Note that the values do not move with the colors so you must move the colors first and then change its values.
- Raster color mapping can be incredibly efficient if you want to engrave columns of text over the full bed. By changing each column to be a unique color and having all of the raster values to be the same, the laser will engrave one column at a time instead of traveling all the way across the bed. This is incredibly more efficient.
- Color Mapping is the most efficient when there is a large amount of white space between engraving objects.
- Even in color mapping, all raster operations are completed before any vector operations occur. Also, all color mapped raster operations occur before regular raster operations
Speed and Power of a raster cut can be adjusted on the fly with the dashboard. This can be helpful for experimenting to get the right settings for a material that you are unfamiliar with.
In order to manually set a temporary home position
- Press "X/Y OFF" and then Press "GO" to disable the X and Y axis.
- Move the laser head to its desired position (use the pointer as a visual locator aid)
- Press "Set Home" to establish the new home position
- In order to return the laser to its default home at the top-left corner of the printer bed. Hit "Maintenace", "Down Arrow" and then "GO" to select "1. Resore Home". Be sure that the focus is high enough that the autofocus plunger won't collide with the outskirts of the bed.
Calibrating the X/Y Home
- Design a 1" by 1" square in Corel Draw
- Position the square 1" to the right and 1" below the top left corner (make sure that you have this 1" by 1" transformation in reference to the top left edge of your square. The default setting is for the distance to be in relation to the center of the square. Adjust this by clicking the top left rectange on the 3x3 grid to the left of the coordinates)
- Line up a workpiece to the top left corner
- Send the print through and measure the distance between the edge of the wood and the start of the raster.
- For instance, by x-value was 1.004 but my y-value was 0.942
- Press "Config" --> "Right Arrow" --> "Right Arrow" to see the YHome and its value
- Y Home has a value between -600 and +200
- Decreasing Y-Home Value increases the distance between the ruler and the square
- My Y-Home value was -0.11 and so I decreased that to -0.69 and pressed "GO"
- Move the square, or use another piece, and verify that the two distances are now 1.000"
Laser will not recognize line unless is it at least 0.05" away from the top and side of the page
Cleaning the Optics
- Remove the two 3/32" hex screws that fasten the focus lens and the mirror.
- Take the cotton swabs, lens cleaner solution, and tissue papers from the cabinet
- Wet the cotton swab thoroughly with the cleaner and then blot it against the tissue so that it is soaking wet
- Very gently dab the surface of the lens, taking care to expose clean cotton to the surface each time
- Feel free to use several cotton swabs as brushing the lens with a particulate-covered swab can scratch the surface
- Once the lens is free of visible contamination, gently sweep over the lens with a dry cotton swab
- Repeat this procedure for the other two lens
- Resecure the optical components
- There is an additional mirror mounted on the X-beam to the left of the laser bed
- Repeat the same procedure for cleaning this mirror
Cleaning the Mechanics
- Remove the X-Beam cover by loosening the two front screws and six rear screws (Don't need to remove them completely to remove the lid)
- Gently run a cotton swab along the optical strip (the clear vertical strip of plastic directly underneath the laser's circuit board)
- Blow compressed air into the encoder (the horseshoe shaped metal piece that straddles the optical strip)
- Take tweezers and remove the accumulated debris where the laser head meets the x-axis rail
- Run a moist cotton swab along the x-axis rail
- Every 3 months lubrication must be added to the x-axis rail
- Take the Epilog supplied grease syringe and place an inch long bead into the top and bottom grooves of the X-axis rail.
- Run the carriage back and forth to lubricate the system
- Clean the right and left side Y-axis rails by sliding a tissue along the rails
- Move the rails up and down and clean the deposits at the extremes
- Repeat until there is no visible residue left after movement along the rail.
- Clean the autofocus plunger by lowering the laser bed, taking a damp paper towel, and gently scrubbing at the underside of the plunger. Since the height of the plunger determines the autofocus point of the laser, it is important to keep the surface free of debris.
- The instructions in the manual are sufficient
- 600 DPI, 25S, 100P, Standard worked very well on a thick glass jar
Once a cut/print has finished, leave the laser lid closed for at least 2 seconds so that all of the fumes are evacuated from the chamber
Just after optic cleaning, 100 power on laser 1 -12s - could pop it out but it stuck in several places -11s - a couple of burrs but able to pop off -10s - small hold but nearly clean -9s - clean through -8s - clean through
Just after optic cleaning, 100 power on laser 2 -12s - could pop it out but it stuck in several places -11s - a couple of burrs but able to pop off -10s - small hold but nearly clean -9s - clean through -8s - clean through
Made a demonstration piece of different powers
-stucki vs. jarvis vs. standatd -top down vs. bottom up -smoke coated vs. smoke protected by tape
-cardboard different power demonstration -acryllic different power demonstration