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Laser Cutters

For the Full Spectrum Muse^, with a 45 Watt CO2 laser:

Material Speed Power Current Passes Notes These vector settings are just starting suggestions. Always test on a scrap first.
1/4" plywood 20 100 100 1 or 2 Lot's of popping, but faster / lower current causes very burnt edges. Try multiple passes? Note 1
1/8" / 3mm plywood 30 100 100 1
plywood etch 50 100 n/a 1
Luan door sheet 50 100 100 1
1/4" Acrylic, Clear 30 100 100 2 Colored materials are easier to cut. Try 1 pass at 80 and another at 25. Note 2
PET (Polyethylene)
Delrin
HDPE
Mylar
Polyurethane Rough cuts
Cardboard 100 80 80 1 Note 1
Paper 100 10 10 1 Almost impossible to cut things out without the paper being blown out of position. You an use cardboard or cardstock over paper so that the weight holds the paper in place, and bump up the power accordingly. A sheet of glass might also work.
PVC / Vinyl NEVER USE! Will destroy the machine!
unknown NEVER USE! MAY destroy the machine!

"Power" Controls the frequency of laser pulses. "Current" controls the strength of each pulse, but is only active during vector cutting since the laser is modulated by the pixel darkness during raster operations.

After cutting, the fan will stay on. If you want to turn it if, it's under the gear icon on the front panel. Open the lid, and do NOT move the material! Just hold it in place and try to remove a cutout or the outside edge. If it isn't fully cut, close the lid and run the job again, then decrease speed, increase power or passes the next time you that material.

Note 1: Woods and cardboard can catch fire. Always watch and have a fire extinguisher handy. Plywoods can vary because of the changes in the glue used to combine the layers. Individual testing is necessary. The gasses coming off the wood is often still combustible and will causes small explosions or "pops" which can blow up parts into the path of the cutting head.

Note 2: Setting the current to 10 will lightly mark the surface which will then allow you to verify the size and position without making super obvious marks on the part.

Note 3: On thicker materials, focus is critical to ensure a straight edge during the cut. Even with perfect focus, the edge will be slightly angled.

The web based RetinaEngrave 2.0 software has issues (which may or may not affect the Windows program version^ but it can not be used with the Muse):

Engraving requires some space to either side of the picture for the head to reach the correct speed before turning on the laser. Otherwise, the burn would be greater at the edges. This means that you can NOT engrave all the way to the edge of the workable area. Decreasing the speed (and power to compensate) of the settings for engraving can help to decrease this, but it is still significant.

Silk Screens: By setting a light fill color, and an even lighter stroke color on thin lines around each fill, you can produce an SVG or other graphic which will "Half-Tone Dither" to burn tiny holes in a thin plastic or other durable material. This can then be used as a silk screen or stencile. Fills with a saturation of 25 or less and strokes (line color) of 20 or less seem to work well at 250x250 DPI, with Blur Filter Raius at 7, Edge Enhance Threshold at 30 and Intensity Collrection at 0. PET plastic lids from candy containers work ok, but are a bit thick for the paint. Manila folders prodice a very nice screen, but are not very durable.

Maintenance:

See also:


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